Our Best Built-In Desk Tips

When designing your dream home office, make sure to include both open shelves for display items and drawers to hide away less attractive office supplies! For more of our best built in desk tips, check out the blog on ChristopherScottCabinetry.com!

As working from home becomes more and more common, so do the ideas for built-in desks and home offices. Here are some points of discussion regarding custom built-in desks today.

When designing your dream home office, make sure to include both open shelves for display items and drawers to hide away less attractive office supplies! For more of our best built in desk tips, check out the blog on ChristopherScottCabinetry.com!

Project Details:
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry
Home Design: The Fox Group
Desktop: Clear coated Plain Sawn White Oak

Built-In Desk For Home Office

If you’ve got the space or you’re planning a build from the ground up, creating a home office that includes a built-in desk or shelves is a great way to ensure your workspace has the look and organization that you’ve always dreamed of.

Whether it’s for a work-from-home space, a children’s homework room, or more of an office/den, built-in desks can provide a practical workspace alongside lasting design character and flow in your home.

Putting your built in desk for the home office in a mudroom can ensure any disarray can be shut away from the main living and entertaining areas of your home.

Project Details:
Cabinet Paint: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Desk Finish: Stained Quarter Sawn White Oak
Floors: Oiled plain sawn white oak
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry
Home Design: The Fox Group

However, if your floor plan doesn’t allow for a completely separate office, many other spaces in the home lend themselves to becoming a built-in desk nook. This way, the built-in desk takes advantage of a smaller existing space, often near the kitchen or just off the main living room.

For many families, a built-in desk for the kitchen is a nice way to stay close and keep communication easy.

Project Details:
This kitchen includes a small nook that is just big enough for a computer and a small desk.
Home Designer: Anson Fillerup Design
Color: see other pic
Hardware: Unlac brass
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry
Floor: Plain Sawn White Oak, Clear coat

Depending on your family’s space and lifestyle, a built-in desk in an office or nook is a nice way to stay close and keep communication easy. For this reason, near the kitchen or off the main living room are preferable locations. However, disadvantages include distractions from a nearby television or constant traffic through the living room or kitchen, as well as a lack of privacy to ensure working projects and clutter remain outside the view of unexpected guests.

If your floor plan doesn’t allow for a completely separate office, many other spaces in the home lend themselves to becoming a built-in desk nook. This way, the unique built in desk takes advantage of a smaller existing space, often near the kitchen or just off the main living room.

Project Details:
Blue Cabinet Paint: Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball
White Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore in Simply White
Floors: Plain Sawn White Oak with whitewash oil coating.
Hardware: Unlacquered Polished Brass
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry
Home Design: The Fox Group

Some even consider having their built-in desk located in a room that’s already dedicated to a bit of mess, like the mudroom or laundry room. This way, any disarray can be shut away from the main living and entertaining areas of your home.

Some of our best built in desks have appeared in slightly less conventional spaces—like the study hall + laundry room combo. But it works!

Project Details:
Paint: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Backsplash: Marble
Floors: Diagonal Checkered Marble
Cabinetry Design: C.S. Cabinetry
Designer: The Fox Group

Best Built In Desk Ideas

If you want to add a built-in desk to your home, be sure to consider  a few things such as electrical wiring, flooring layout  and lighting.

DISCOVER: Our Built-In Cabinetry Portfolio

Wonder what the best built-in desk looks like? It's the one that works for YOUR space and study + work from home needs!

Project Details:
Desk Finish: Clear Coat Plain Sawn White Oak
Home Design: Fox Group
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinets
Floor: Clear Coat Plain Sawn White Oak
Walls: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Hardware: Brass

If you’re building new, It’s wise to have a rough idea of your built-in desk layout before getting to the electrical phase,. I recommend ensuring space just below the desk’s surface for plugins, so you can neatly tuck most wiring away through a grommet in the desktop without them getting tangled near your feet. You may also want to consider outlet access for lamps in a larger office that might need a reading corner lit up, for example. If you plan to have a desk in the middle of a space, be sure to plan for wiring in the flooring so you don’t have to have cords stretch across the floor.

Another thing to consider is the surface material for your built-in desktop. It should be one that accommodates a computer, books, and pen and paper without difficulty. For instance, having a stone desktop is considered quite durable and can be beautiful. However, it is expensive and colder than other materials. On the other hand, a solid wood desktop is a good alternative. They are classically good-looking and can be refinished if necessary. They also provide a warmer working surface.

Don't forget about adding a little contrast when drawing up your built in desk ideas. The solid wood desktop not only creates a wonderful work space, but makes the custom cabinetry even more special.

Project Details:
Paint: Stormy Monday by Benjamin Moore
Desk Top Finish: Clear coat Plain Sawn White Oak
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry

Lighting is another important element in any working space. You’ll want to ensure the best possible lighting for both flat desk work and a computer screen where glare or poor lighting could quickly become your office foe. Plenty of natural light along with some softer and optional lamp-like wall sconces can be perfect solutions.

In most spaces, you’ll want to create your built-in desk, shelves, and cabinetry from similar materials as in the rest of your home. But that doesn’t mean they can’t also have unique and creative designs all their own.

Built-In Desk Design

Custom built-in desk designs range widely from home to home and aesthetic to aesthetic. Ideally, the overall tone of your home office or built-in desk nook should complement the rest of your house in form and color, but there is plenty of room for standout design elements.

Adding a splash of color to your built-in cabinets, particularly in an area dominated by clean, white walls, is a great way to make the space distinctive and purposeful.

Another way to customize the look of your built-in desk and cabinet design is with special touches like unique cabinet door cutouts and design, mullions, or specialty hardware.

Another consideration when creating a custom built-in desk is sizing, amount of additional cabinetry and shelving, and organizational needs.

There is plenty of room for making a statement with built in desk designs. Like this white one that creates a great backdrop for working, but is nestled in a deep green office for maximum personality.

Project Details:
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry
Home Design: The Fox Group
Desktop: Clear coated Plain Sawn White Oak

For instance, if I had all the space in the world, I may be able to imagine a spacious and dreamy built-in desk for my home office. But if I had very limited space to work with, there are some important things to keep in mind. I’d start with a minimum of 30” wide for seating space. Desk depth should be a minimum of 24”, but 30-36” is more comfortable if you’re using it more often. If you create a deeper desk, you’ll need to consider deeper shelves as well. However, the upper shelves can be hard to reach, so consider open shelving to make commonly used books and other items easier to access. Just make sure to leave at least 22-24” of clearance above the desktop for your computer monitor. I’d add a limited amount of closed upper storage as well.

Another necessity for a great home office desk would be a drawer dedicated to filing with at least 12” of height. Another drawer or cubby should be big enough to accommodate a modern printer. You could have a dedicated trash bin or adapt a drawer as a garbage pullout. Lastly, I’d add one or two more drawers for miscellaneous office tools (between 4-7” of usable height) and writing supplies (2.5-3.5” tall) and call it good.

Say hello to some of our best built in desk ideas, including a wrap-around work space and perfectly sized drawers and cabinets for every home office appliance you'll need!

Project Details:
Cabinet Paint: Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore
Desk Top Finish: Stained Plain Sawn White Oak
Floors: Plain Sawn White Oak
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry
Hardware: Polished Nickel

Do I Need Cabinets With A Built In Desk?

I’d emphasize again that each built-in desk and home office is going to be unique to the needs of the people working in it. That said, critical design and layout decisions in an office seem to revolve around a few key functions aside from the computer screen and desktop surface: printers, trash, and filing. All of that likely means you’ll need and want cabinets with your built-in desk.

More often than not printers are now either on a rollout in a base cabinet or sitting in a tower cabinet at about waist height. Not many of us want to waste precious and uncluttered desktop space with a cumbersome printer, especially if not used daily. Trash cans are another commonly “hidden” office necessity and are most practical in a small pullout drawer, or behind a small door in a base cabinet. Filing cabinet drawers usually need a minimum of 12” height and can consume a lot of base cabinet storage.

All said and done, there are very few “rules” that need to be followed when designing and building a custom built-in desk cabinet. As long as it creates a workflow that serves your purposes and is a place to comfortably and happily work from, it’s a great space to make completely unique to the design tastes and needs of you and your family.

We're sharing our very best built in desk tips on the blog over at ChristopherScottCabinetry.com—you've never been so excited about drawer measurements in your life!

Project Details:
Cabinet Paint: Stormy Monday by Benjamin Moore (Brushed High Gloss)
Desk Top Finish: Clear Coat Plain Sawn White Oak
Floors: Plain Sawn White Oak
Cabinetry Design: CS Cabinetry

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