Setting up a home office can be tricky, especially if you’re a little short on space or don’t work from home enough to justify dedicating a whole room to the task. Most desks are designed to be part of a permanent, dedicated home office, which means they’re too big and bulky to just stick in the corner of a multi-purpose room, and desks that are designed for intermittent use are usually uncomfortably small, cheap, and not particularly attractive. Today I want to offer a few middle-of-the-line options: desks that are small but stylish, attractive enough to look good in just about any room but not so large that they’ll get in the way.
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There are lots of ways a desk can be functionally “small,” and not all of them involve having little more than a lap desk attached to a rolling stand. Especially if you want a small desk to place in a communal room, the actual size of the desk is less important than its ability to blend with the surrounding decor. Low profile desks – that is, ones with very shallow desktops – are great for this. Like console tables, they sit very close to the wall, meaning they’ll be out of the way of foot traffic, but if you’re working primarily on a laptop, even this small amount of surface space will be plenty.
Form Before Function
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In a similar vein, you can also simply opt for a desk designed to look like a decorative accent table. These, too, can be a little light on the surface and storage space, but are more than adequate for a laptop setup, and typically have features built in that set them apart from standard tables. Keyboard trays, cubby shelves, and desk grommets or cable organizers and concealers help streamline more elaborate setups (like adding a usable mouse, keyboard, and monitor), allowing you a more permanent workstation without making the surface feel cluttered.
That said, if you really want a desk where you can settle in, it’s worth looking for one with a little more built in storage – either in terms of drawers underneath or shelves and cubbies on top. Regardless of the design, a small desk won’t have as much storage as you’d get from a dedicated office setup (complete with filing cabinet), but having a place to put your papers, office supplies, and miscellaneous electronic do-dads can make the difference between a desk that looks good in the corner of your living room and one that just catches clutter and makes the space feel messy.
Oldie But A Goodie
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Typically the best furniture for small spaces is modern in design; minimalist, streamlined, compact, and storage-smart modern furniture is hard to pass up when you’re trying to save space. But a home office setup is one place where it can actually be a good idea to opt for an antique. Petite writing desks weren’t designed with laptop computers in mind, but they’re big enough to stow them comfortably, come with tons of built in storage, and are beautiful, decorative accent pieces in their own right. If you have a more traditional design, opting for an antique replica desk is a great way to make your home office corner feel like a cohesive part of the whole room while still giving you a functional workspace.
Can’t Beat A Classic
Another added bonus of drop-front and roll-top antique secretary desks is that it’s very, very easy to stow away your workspace when you aren’t using it. Being able to literally put a lid on your work is maybe the best way to separate your work life from your home life; not only can you completely conceal the work you’re doing (and even literally lock it away on some desks!), but you don’t have to put all your stuff away to do it – you can leave your papers and projects spread out on your desk and simply close the lid on top of them.
Decorative and Designer Desks
Last but not least, as home offices without the actual office space become more popular, it’s getting easier to find desks that are meant to be maybe just a little more decorative than functional. What that means varies widely from one design to another, but more than ever it’s possible to find desks that are attractive accents in their own right – and not just antiques. Modern asymmetrical designs, gold art deco frames, mirrored surfaces, and even driftwood desks are more than just a spot to put your elecrtonics – they’re a beautiful, functional accent in any room you put them in.
The desk that will work best for you depends a lot on how and where you’re going to use it; you want a design that will both fit your work style and your decor. But even if space is a little scarce, a good, decorative small desk can get the job done – and look good doing it!
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