Tips

Desk Destinations

16 clever and stylish ways to incorporate a desk into your home décor.

by Sarah Richardson,

desk in between two beds

Between Beds:

There’s no rule that says you must have a traditional nightstand beside your bed. Sure, they’re convenient and offer a much-needed surface for the usual bedside necessities, but why not go a step further and increase your table’s utility. In this guest bedroom, a desk replaces two nightstands and fits snuggly between twin beds; each desk corner doubles as a nightstand with the added benefit of a shared surface that can be used as a dressing table or a cozy spot for catching up on correspondence. (photo: Francesco Lagnese via One Kings Lane)

desk at foot of bed

Footboard Desk:

Admittedly, small spaces are not the easiest of rooms to design. They present a unique set of challenges that put you in a constant state of give and take. You can’t have it all, but you can certainly make smart decisions that bring you one step closer to creating your ultimate setup. Ask yourself how you can optimally arrange furniture so that you get the most function per square foot without cluttering or creating cramped quarters. Despite this bedroom’s pint-sized package, the foot of the bed (an often overlooked space) is utilized as a small work area with a tiny desk that is proportionate to the bed. The desk drawers provide invaluable storage, and the desk, on the whole, provides function without sacrificing style. (photo: Designed by Nick Olsen via House Beautiful)

desk in living room

Front and Center:

You don’t need a separate room to create a home office. Try placing a desk in a prominent spot in your living room. This may be a radical idea for traditionalists, but to the modern workaholic or work-from-home urbanite – this setup might just be your best bet in lieu of a spare room. The key to this successful design is the carefully chosen assortment of desktop accessories that complement the room’s overall décor. By creating a picturesque work area among other furnishings, you can bet you’ll be making the most out of your living space. (photo: Simon Upton via One Kings Lane)

desk under stairs

Tucked Away:

Got a set of loft-style stairs or a staircase alcove? Create a work area underneath the stairs. For best results, choose a rectangular shaped desk to mimic the shape of your staircase. Suddenly this wasted space becomes a value-add for your home without stealing precious footprint. A separate home office may not be possible or even desired, but a compact desk tucked away beneath the stairs can be readily available whenever you feel like getting some work done. (photo: Design Sponge)

desk on stair landing

Office Landing:

If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over what to do with an empty space, then consider creating a mini home office. A sizeable landing like this one could be just the right spot! Your first inclination may be to fill the landing with side chairs and an occasional table – also a good idea, but if you’re the type of person who likes to be organized, then you’ll likely get more use out of a setup like this one. Sets of stairs may get you to the next level, but a staircase with a beautiful landing is inviting you to make good use of your time and stay awhile. (photo: Pinterest)

desk behind sofa

Behind the Scenes:

To console or not to console? That is the question when you’ve almost perfected your living room floor plan but you still can’t figure out what to do with the space behind your sofa. A console table is the obvious choice, but if you’re fortunate to have more space than you need, you’re going to run into the inevitable dilemma of determining how to fill that awkward gap between the wall and sofa. Do you create another sitting area with a grouping of sofa chairs, side table and rug? If that’s not in the budget or simply doesn’t suit your fancy, then try filling the gap with a chic chair and glass top table to create a modest workspace. (photo: Elle Decor)

desk in front of occasional door

Drawers Before Doors:

Older homes typically have unique design details, which give them the kind of character that can result in passionate bidding wars between prospective home buyers. Decorative mouldings, stain glass windows and garden doors are just some of those details that buyers (and designers) obsess over. But as much as they’re coveted, they can also be challenging to work with. This space has an all-too-pretty door that doesn’t see much traffic on a good day, so why not treat it as the perfect backdrop for a desk and chair. Now an awkward design detail becomes a charming destination for surfing the web. (photo: Ultralinx)

desk behind folding screen

Screened In:

The beauty of a portable folding screen is exactly that – it’s portable! So no matter where you want to set up an office in your home, a folding screen will give you the privacy you desire and you’ll be able to effectively section off the space that you have designated for your office. What’s more, you don’t have to sacrifice style for function! Folding screens come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and designs including fretwork, chinoiserie, shoji, traditional and contemporary (to name just a few!) so that you can get the job done your way, in your style! (photo: Apartment Therapy)

built in closet desk

Behind Closed Doors:

It’s true what they say: you never know what goes on behind closed doors! In this case, you’d be surprised to learn that this tiny closet is home to a compact desk and customized storage system. Make it an extension of your home office or pull up a chair and use it for printing, filing paperwork and surfing the net. Simply remove the clothing rod and replace it with wood shelves and dividers. Finish the look by painting it a snazzy colour to complement the rest of the room. Click here to see the full home office makeover. (photo: Stacey Brandford, designed by Sarah Richardson Design)

desk mounted under window

Floating Ideas:

The awkward little window down the hall is begging for some love! Give this space purpose by installing a floating, wall-mounted desk beneath the window. With a tuck-away stool, snazzy area rug and a cool art print, you’ll create a smart vignette and a practical perch for paperwork and browsing the Internet! (photo: Katrina Wittkamp via Dwell)

desk in front of bay window

Window Watching:

There’s no denying that a bay window can make a space look bigger, brighter and more impactful. If you’re lucky enough to have one, you’ll want to take advantage of its daydream potential and wide-open views. If a comfy spot to lounge and hang out is not on your wish list, skip the banquette and opt for a spot to get organized. The occasional glance out the window will help clear your mind, inspire fresh ideas and allow you to concentrate on the task at hand. (photo: Apartment Therapy)

desk doubles as dining table

Desk Disguise:

Lofts are loved for their open concept layouts of one-room living, but that’s also what makes them a challenge to decorate. If you live in a loft and desire a home office, look for clever ways to get the most out of your furniture. Here, a giant table made from reclaimed wood takes center stage in the dining area of this live/work space and does double duty as a boardroom table and gathering place for friends. With ingenious storage doors camouflaged into the columnar bases, it’s easy to hide office clutter or extra supplies and make that quick change from “work” to “live” when evenings and weekends arrive. Click here to see the full loft makeover. (photo: Stacey Brandford, designed by Sarah Richardson Design)

desk on focal wall

Focal Feature:

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for tired furniture or bland walls, but have you ever considered its ability to create a room within a room? In addition to creating visual interest, painting an accent wall can break up a large space into separate functional areas. Here, a black wall serves as the backdrop for this professional post. To create a designated work area within a large room, start by rolling a few coats of paint on a sidewall. Try painting the wall a commanding colour like black, navy or red; this way, your work area is clearly mapped out so that you can get in the zone and down to business. (photo: This Old Apt.)

desk bar in kitchen

Shelf Help:

A long shelf installed securely at bar height in the kitchen can serve a multitude of purposes: a perch to eat breakfast and read the morning paper, an extra surface to help alleviate frustration from cluttered countertops, a convenient spot to paint your nails before heading out the door, and even a place to rest your laptop and organize the mail. Now that’s what I call one helpful shelf! (photo: Homedit)

desk on stair landing

Entry Level Jobs:

For most homeowners, an entry table is a must-have; it’s a convenient spot to drop keys and mail, and it’s also a brilliant styling opportunity to inject warmth and character into your foyer by decorating it with seasonal flowers and other art objects. Consider taking your entry table one step further and treating it as a desk for sending email, sorting through postal mail and paying bills. Simply pull up chair and voila! You’ve got a dual-purpose entry table to help you stay organized and get the job done. (photo: Homedit)

desk in attic

Under the Eaves:

Peace and quiet, just you and your work, absolutely no distractions… does this sound too good to be true? Make it your reality by creating a mini office retreat in your attic. Attic spaces tend to be small and are commonly used for storage, but when stash-away clutter is properly organized and contained your attic can become a suitable space used for escaping the soundtrack of family life whenever a break is needed and deserved! (photo: Cindy Loughridge for SF Girl By Bay)

Our Favourite Desks

Row 1: Kendall Walnut Desk, $1,999 USD, Crate & Barrel | Moda Desk, $549 USD, Urban Outfitters | Frankfurt Desk, $449 CDN, Structube

Row 2: Origami Desk, $1,450 USD, Industry West | Wall Mounted Desk, $720 USD, LAX Series | Primary Desk, $1,397 USD, Design Within Reach

Row 3: Washed Wood Desk, $798 USD, Anthropologie | Asterix Ladder Desk, $199 USD, EQ3 | BESTÅ BURS, $199 USD, Ikea

Row 4: Bond Desk, $2,950 USD, Jonathan Adler | Penelope Mini Desk, $638 CDN, West Elm | Vanessa Hollywood Regency Desk, $1,248 USD, Kathy Kuo Home