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Clever Office: Unexpected Space

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2008


If a sit-down dinner isn't an everyday occurrence, then your dining room can easily double as a discreet office. Any table large enough for a family meal makes a spacious desk, and all other work essentials can be slyly stowed among the china and flatware.

1. A hutch or sideboard [see image 2 above] can be quickly retrofitted to accommodate all your office essentials. Silverware caddies, painted to match the hutch's exterior, organize pens, scissors, and a stapler and can be carried to the table when needed. Labeled boxes store computer disks as well as photo and plain printer paper. A pull-out shelf made with drawer glide hardware ensures hassle-free access to the laptop and printer. Cords are kept out of sight by a concealed surge protector (situated behind the computer).

2. A window seat (or a vintage trunk) [see image 3 above] can stand in for a file cabinet when fitted with freestanding hanging-file-folder racks, available in various widths to suit any size storage space. To prevent straining and twisting your back while accessing files, install them in rows that face the center of the room.

3. Individual utensil dividers [see image 4 above] prevent small items from sliding around in the drawers. The pieces don't have to be an exact fit; any gaps can be easily filled with notepads, writing implements, and glass jars with everyday necessities (the containers are turned on their side, so that contents are visible at a glance). For a coordinated look, paint the dividers and the drawers the same hue, or choose complementary colors. A single well-organized drawer may be sufficient, leaving the other one for the silverware.


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