Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitchen Office/Desk Area

If you are like me, I always tend to gather in the kitchen whether it is in my home or at a friend’s. In fact, as I type this post, I am sitting at my kitchen island. The kitchen is where the action is and I tend to like action.  The kitchen is appropriately called “Grand Central Station” or “Mission Control” because someone always seems to be coming or going to and from the kitchen or hanging out in the kitchen. Hmm, could it be because there’s food and beverage in there?

We all lead busy lives and those with children still at home are even busier. In order to get it all done, or almost all of it (does anyone ever get it ALL done?), we know what multi-taskers women have become…therefore, with a desk in your kitchen you can pay bills, answer emails, or make lists in between cooking and doing laundry. Makes sense to me!

Using the photos below, I am sharing with you ideas regarding the design of your kitchen office/desk area as well as pointing out various functional components. Although these photos are of a kitchen office/desk the same design and function ideas could be incorporated in a desk in your child’s room, a desk in the playroom, or a built-in desk in a separate room in your home used for an office.

I am joining Julia’s Hooked on Friday blog party because I am Hooked on Kitchen Office/Desks. Click here to check out her party.


^Notice in the photo above is a file drawer on the far left of the knee hole with two narrow drawers above. There is a vertical cabinet for the hard drive to left of the knee hole, a drawer or what could be a keyboard pullout above the knee hole, and a pair of cabinet doors to the right of the knee hole. There is one wide shallow drawer above the cabinet doors which would be a good place for pens, pencils, paper clips, stapler, three-hole punch, etc.  Based on looking at the photo,  I would incorporate the design shown below in the area where the two cabinet doors are located to the right of the knee hole to hold the printer.  I like using a fake cabinet door front on a pullout shelf as shown in the photo below instead of having cabinet doors because the doors become cumbersome for the person sitting at the desk trying to reach around the cabinet door to use the printer. There is a blackboard on the wall above the desk for messages. The fact that the knee hole is wide enough for the chair to fit as well as a waste paper basket is good. A common mistake is having no place for a waste paper basket.


^Southern Living July 2009


^Though the look of this desk is attractive, the seven small drawers on the left are too small to be very functional in the overall scheme of things. So much of the space is taken up by the rails and styles that form the drawers. I like the vertical cubby holes for mail and such, blackboard for messages, pencil drawer above the knee hole, two smaller drawers above the knee hole, having a lamp, and the bottom drawer to left of knee hole which appears to be a file drawer.

^Source of photo unknown

IMG_0005^In this photo is an interesting desk area tucked away in the corner of the kitchen with a great window. From what is shown in this photo, there is not much file storage or a computer.  Though this post is not about floors, don’t you think that is an unusual design and choice for a floor in front of the stove?

^Source of photo unknown


^There are four file drawers in this compact desk area in this kitchen. Also a keyboard pullout, cabinets above and bookcases to the right. No smaller drawers for pens, pencils, paper clips, etc.  I imagine in this particular home or condominium there is a lot of depth which is why this kitchen counter is so long. I can see the box of Cook’s Illustrated magazines which is one of my favorites.

^Source of photo unknown


This built-in desk is a great look with great potential but I immediately see some problems. Where would you put the hard drive for your computer?  If the wide drawer above the knee hole is for a keyboard, you still need a pencil drawer. It could be the angel of the photograph, but it seems the upper cabinets are too low. I find the upper cabinet door pulls located in the lower center of the door to be awkward. When is the waste paper basket?

What I do like are what appears to be four file drawers. I like the blackboard for messages. I like the large monthly calendar and bulletin boards on the wall between the desk top and the upper cabinets. I like the fact that phone cords and electrical cords and outlets are hidden from sight.

^Traditional Home  March 2008


^In this photo, I like the upper cabinet components having cubby holes, open bookcase, and cabinet doors. I like the file drawer and two smaller drawers above. I don’t like seeing the phone, electric, or internet cable connections in the knee hole. 

^Source of photo unknown


^This desk area blends nicely with the kitchen. However, according to Murphy’s Law, with the refrigerator right next to the desk, someone will place a beverage or food and it will spill on the laptop or important papers. important. No file drawers which I think are a must for a kitchen desk area to hold warranties, instructions, etc.

^Source of photo unknown


^Though unable to tell in this photo, because of the ladder, I think it is correct to assume the ceilings are quite high and there are at least two rows of shelves or cabinets above the desk.  I like what appears to be a framed burlap bulletin board on the wall in front of the desk. I like the size of it.  File drawers to the right of the knee hole make me smile. However, no keyboard pullout or pencil drawers is a negative. The two drawers on the desk top directly in front of the knee hole look nice but are not functional as to open them, you have to clear whatever is on the desk.  Nice looking desk chair don’t you think?

^Source of photo unknown



^Source of photo unknown


^Source of  photo unknown


^When designing your kitchen office/desk area, one decision you need to make is whether you want it desk high or bar stool high. This is a not A right or wrong decision but a personal preference. Also, is having a window important to you?  Though this desk area does not have a pencil drawer, you can see a pencil carousel on the counter. Some people like a clean counter with minimal items, others like lots of clutter. Both the pencil carousel and the pencil drawer work, it is a personal preference regarding which way to go.  I don’t know about you but I seem to have lots to file so for me the two tiers of horizontal file drawers are a big plus.

^Source of photo unknown

IMG_0010^The kitchen/desk area in this kitchen has two functions. It can serve as a desk but when cleared off, it can be used as a kitchen counter.  I like the knee hole extending to cover both counters. I also like the two file drawers. A swivel bar stool would be a better choice.



Though the photo does not show it, there are two grooves cut into the wood towards the back of the drawer. There are two metal bar sthat the hanging files are hooked on for 8 1/2 X 11 size files. Towards the back of the drawer which is showing up all white in this photo are two groove cut into the side of the drawer. The back metal bar can be lifted and moved to the back of the drawer and slid into these two grooves which then allows for hanging legal size files.  I worked this design out with my carpenter.


^Depending on what you might file in your desk drawers, consider adding locks for security.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope what I have shared regarding kitchen office/desks has been inspiring and educational. Please consider leaving me a comment as hearing from people gives me a sometimes needed boost. In a few days I will be following up this post with my related Mistakes to Avoid post.  Blessings.  …susan


bondgirl said...

Love the blog! We are doing a major renovation (and using your book as we go).

Our kitchen has a nice desk spot, but it looks a little clunky and clutters the pretty breakfast room a bit. I'm making it a bit bigger (family of six, plus we're really techie) and pushing it out toward the new laundry room so that there will be French doors separating it from the kitchen.

Hoping it will declutter the kitchen a bit and still be accessible, and if kids use the computer we'll still be able to keep an eye on it.

Here's hoping it works :).

Terry said...

What bugs me about all the magazine computer desks is the lack of elbow/forearm room. The work surface isn't deep enough. When your forearms are hanging is space typing is very tiring.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Im with Terry, lack of elbow room is where alot of desks in kitchens go lacking.

If there is no other room in the house i guess i would like these, while in the beauty factor they are great! but for me, I like to escape my main family gathering spot and cozy up in my own quiet space... even if its small its mine and quiet.

Thanks for the variety...


Struggler said...

Thanks, this is a very thorough posting with lots of great things to look out for. (How funny that people forget the waste basket... in my case I think I'd need a recycling basket too!).

One other tip is to consider the position of the window, if you'll be using the computer a lot. In some rooms, if your desk faces the window (and also if your back is directly to it), the glare can be horrible. I initially set my desk so I could look out of the window but the glare drove me nuts...

Susan Lang said...

Bondgirl, I loved reading in your comment that you are using my book! Makes me smile. I hope you are taking before and after photos of your renovation to post on your blog! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Susan Lang said...

Terry, Claudia, & Struggler, I loved reading your constructive comments. Thanks for commenting!

Cristin said...

great post and blog! glad i found you.

new fan,

Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS said...

These are really nice. I love having an area in or near the kitchen where everyone can stay organized and clutter can be tamed. I call them family "Landing Zones."

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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daven said...

great post. Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. Will use them when I design a his and hers office in our spare bedroom.

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