16 September 2011

making an inexpensive L-shaped desk

One of my most favorite parts about our new house is my office, in that I actually have an office space all to myself. Mark and I work about five feet away from each other all day, every day in LA, and so having a little space to work and do conference calls is an enormous luxury.

The house's "loft" is my office, and it's a long, slightly (but not too) narrow space. When I saw it, I immediately thought: L-shaped desk all the way. That way I could have tons of surface area, and situate my primary workspace right under that window, and enjoy some natural light. (The rest of the space will be for my raised-height sewing table.)

I don't know why I have such a bee in my bonnet about office furniture in particular, but I just find it all so overpriced. If it was high-quality stuff, that'd be one thing, but most office furniture is the same MDF and particle board, made-in-China junk, and yet the cost does not reflect that. So if my furniture will be cheaply-made crap, I want it to be priced appropriately.

To save money, and to get a desk sized perfectly to the space, I decided to go with Ikea table tops, which come in a decent number of sizes, and they just happened to fit the space really well.

Here I laid out all the table tops to figure out which configuration I wanted. What a great fit!

And then I just had to construct the L-shaped desk, with the help of some trusty joiner straps.

I may have gone a little overboard with the straps, but I will have a bit of weight pressing down on the otherwise-unsupported part of the desk. So this is a "better safe than sorry" kind of situation.

The only careful part about putting the straps on and joining the two table tops (besides making sure you have them aligned the right way) is to ensure that the edges line up on the long side, because those straps will hold on tight, and if something is mis-aligned, it's just going to bug you forever. But fortunately, as long as the table tops are the same depth, you don't have to worry about leveling out the surfaces, because the screws and straps will bring everything to the same level as you tighten them. Tres convenient.

Here we are with one strap attached, and the other placed for attachment.

For added protection, I also used one of the table legs as support, positioning it to straddle the joint.

Add a few more table legs to the mix...

Stack it all on a drawer unit...

And voila! Instant L-shaped desk.

This area still needs to be prettied up, but it's super functional already. And it's ALL. MINE.

Cost (including tax):

Large desk top (Ikea Amon 59" x 29"): $45
Small desk top (Ikea Amon 39" x 24"): $7
Drawer unit (Ikea Alex): $88
Legs (Ikea Lage x 4): $44
Joining straps: $12

TOTAL: $196

I'm pretty happy with that, considering that the size is more custom to my space (and it's just big, regardless), it has good quality drawers, and it's all in white, which is my favorite furniture color.

I can't wait to finish up the sewing table, hang more storage on the walls, spruce the whole space up, and then tell you all about it!

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  1. Oh my gosh girl, you don't mess around! You are Speedy Gonzales fast. You're gonna have that place just the way you like it in no time. When you set your mind to something, you get things done! Just in time for my Saturday visit! :) Very impressive customized desk by the way. Looks wonderful.

  2. What a great spot. I would kill to work somewhere like that, in my own private mountain retreat, rather than my cube that I bus to and from every day! Someday... :) The first item I ever purchased from IKEA years ago was an Amon table top, they are pretty useful.

  3. Love it, can't wait to see what else you do with the place!


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