So many desks look as if they're on steroids -- hulking, ill-proportioned, and too big for their own good. A simple table, meanwhile, has more than enough room for a computer and crafting space. The website tablelegs.com sells, as its name would suggest, all kinds of table legs; we chose a classic ball-and-claw-foot model with a scrolled apron. To save on shipping, you can order just the base and corner hardware, then have a carpenter cut a top from medium-density fiberboard (this one has rounded corners), and paint it. "The effect is elegant and modern," says Blueprint senior home editor Shane Powers. "No frill, no frump," and practically a custom piece for the same price you'd pay for something not quite as suited to your needs.
The Bulletin Board
Transform any frame into a custom bulletin board. First, have a piece of 1/2-inch Homasote or 1/2-inch foam core cut to fit inside the frame. Cover with a piece of colorful linen, stretched taut and stapled on the backside with a staple gun. Wrap ribbon across the front, tacking at the center and stapling in back. Place the board inside the frame, and secure it by tapping in a few brads or using framing hardware. "It holds business cards, love letters, and pretty things you can't bear to part with but can't be bothered to file," Shane says. Ready-made "Studio" frame, $36, pictureframes.com
This storage system helps keep your desktop (and floor, and the seat of your guest chair...) clean and tidy. Plus, as Blueprint home editor Page Marchese Norman points out, the cubbies lend themselves to logical organization "and make it easy to find exactly what you're looking for." A clear Lucite letter holder frees up desk space and blends right in. Instead of being tossed in loose folders, any bills, receipts, and mail go in fabric-covered boxes; photos go in coordinating albums. To further the color-coding, books are sorted by spine or jacket color. "This tames the visual clutter and makes the hunt for 'that book' much easier," Page says.