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Project

Clever Office: Unused Space

Introduction


A dead-end hallway, an under-the-eaves nook, or another such charming corner can have surprising office potential. With the right furniture, an organizing strategy, and a few pretty touches, any area can become as functional as it is attractive.

1. A Secretaire takes center stage, providing sufficient work and storage space for routine filing and paperwork without feeling too much like an office. Even when not in use, the desk provides a much-needed focal point at the end of a hallway. A chair kept close by is at the ready.

2.The overhead fixture and nearby window provide plenty of light. (Darker corners may require a tabletop or floor lamp.)

3.The cubby is separated into compartments with brass tension rods, which introduce order but not holes or scratches. Positioned vertically, the rods anchor folders. Used horizontally, they display reminders and notes clipped to drapery clamp rings. Diminutive boxes are a tidy, fashionable alternative to leaving stamps, stationery, and other small items loose. China and vintage glassware and bowls make decorative holders for pens and other objects.

4. The fold-down desktop is easily opened for business and closed to conceal the office. To prevent the wood finish on the writing surface from being marred, protect it with a blotter -- whether store bought or made from mat board.

5. Lower shelves provide ample storage for everyday documents. A two-tier in-box holds unopened mail and papers that need to be sorted. Upright file boxes take the place of a file cabinet. There's also enough room to stow a trash can, a recycling bin, or a shredder.

Steps

  1. Step 1

Source
Martha Stewart Living, April 2008

Reviews (34)

  • 24 Apr, 2013

    We get a large number of past customers contact us with stories of how they have set up their home office using furniture they have purchased from our Sydney showroom. Some of them are ridiculously creative. One particular customer converted half of their hallway storage into a walk in office. They measure it up and purchased a desk that would fit perfectly while keeping several shelves in tact above.

    Brett from Equip Office Furniture

  • 9 May, 2010

    also check out Craig's list...a great source for second-hand secretary desks

  • 9 May, 2010

    A secretary should measuring no more than 9 inches back to front, Its lock protected the privacy of the lady of the house from even her husband! When opened the writing service is ample enough for a laptop. It?

  • 9 May, 2010

    A secretary should measuring no more than 9 inches back to front, Its lock protected the privacy of the lady of the house from even her husband! When opened the writing service is ample enough for a laptop. It?

  • 23 Jan, 2010

    The other side of the coin - I understand the point of view of some of you "old faithfuls', but some of us are new and enjoy seeing the new-to-us ideas.

  • 26 Apr, 2009

    IKEA has a desk called the Cyril desk. It is quite shallow. However - it does not have the shelving on the bottom. You could stack pretty storage boxes underneath. We have it and like it a lot. The work surface that folds down is generous. It would also be a great bar!

  • 13 Apr, 2009

    Wish they would list where to buy this or if it's custom made! It's impossible to find something this shallow!

  • 12 Apr, 2009

    mrachich. I'm with you. We've seen several repeats. It's getting old.

  • 12 Apr, 2009

    We've seen this tip more than once. Although it is a good one, It would be nice to get some fresh new ideas.

  • 1 Jan, 2009

    Although gwenspurg commented that it looks built in, and that the sides looked to be only a couple of inches deep, that was only the angle that the photo was taken. The top must be at least six inches deep to accomodate the pot and the books, taking the windowsill into consideration. It may well be custom made, but is deeper than it might appear to be. It's a great little piece.

  • 28 Dec, 2008

    While this piece seems to be fit into a nook, these are called secretaries and I have recently found a really cool one for next to nothing at an antique market. I just did a quick online search and found several, good luck!

  • 28 Dec, 2008

    Good luck finding this piece. It looks to me that it is built in, as I can only see a few inches of the side of it and the crown moulding looks to meet the wall. I'm sure it was custom.

  • 27 Dec, 2008

    I just love this piece and was wondering if anyone know where I might be able to get it.

  • 26 Dec, 2008

    I like this filing system. I'd make sure one of the boxes was marked "tax" for storing tax receipts. Small office supplies could be stowed in IKEA spice jars. They are pretty, small, and stackable.

  • 15 Oct, 2008

    VERY ingenious!

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    I have an office inside a walkin closet. Desk built in the shelves over it and opposite the desk more shelves with filing cabinets under them.Storage under my deep desk

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    I have an office inside a walkin closet. Desk built in the shelves over it and opposite the desk more shelves with filing cabinets under them.Storage under my deep desk

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    This site has them for as low as $269

    http://www.nextag.com/secretary-furniture/search-html?nxtg=74b0a1c052d-C...

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    I just found this site as well. They advertise free shipping.

    http://www.accent-furniture-direct.com/Secretary-l214-c9514-A1724~3352.h...

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    If you look on e-bay you can find quite a few, however, pricey. But if you check out thrift stores, antique stores, etc, you may have luck finding one more reasonable and closer to where you live.

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    When someone finds this, please let me know what site. I checked both homedecorators and overstock and found nothing.

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    When someone finds this, please let me know what site. I checked both homedecorators and overstock and found nothing.

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    When someone finds this, please let me know what site. I checked both homedecorators and overstock and found nothing.

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    I would love to find the secretaire in the photo! Anyone have any ideas?

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    Homedecorators.com and overstock.com also have a few options

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    Where can I find the decorative

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    "Secretaries" can be found at antiques shops

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    I love this idea...i have been searching for a secretary desk for a long time...dose anyone have any ideas of where to find them?

  • 13 Sep, 2008

    Ballard Designs catalog and website has a good one.

  • 5 Aug, 2008

    Where can I find this piece of furniture?

  • 11 Apr, 2008

    For misshattie: The tension rods are tension curtain rods. Find them at Target, Wal*Mart, Linens 'n Things, Bed Bath

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    I love the idea of the tension rods! I think I'll use them in my kitchen cabinets to separate cookie sheets and cutting boards as well because it allows me to re-apportion the space as I get more of thing and less of another without tearing out anything permanent.

  • 6 Apr, 2008

    Where can I find these tension rods used in the desk organization?

  • 5 Apr, 2008

    I really like this idea. Pretty, yet practical. Small enough so it doesn't "grow clutter overnight like coat hangers",.