Putting desktop computer in living room

marie26January 16, 2006

We purchased a new desktop computer and have decided to put it in the living room. Talley Sue had given a link to a desk that had a permanent one with a part that you could roll out underneath it. This seems to be the perfect solution and I am seriously thinking of ordering it without the hutch since the flat screen monitor will sit on top of the desk.

The desk will be on a side wall with windows behind it and facing outwards. I have a sofa table there now which I'll move to the foyer. The bench in the foyer will probably be moved to the deck in the back.

I would like to get another piece of furniture to use for papers that I am working on. I don't want a mess in the living room but putting the computer there fits our lifestyle. What other pieces of furniture besides the desk should I be looking at to help keep things neat? I have a 5-drawer filing cabinet in another room already and only 2 1/2 drawers are filled so I don't need a filing cabinet. I'm just looking for something to hold the papers next to the desk.

I'm still looking for a cabinet(s) for all the books that I have in bins in the garage. In the interim, in this house, I can move these to our bookshelves in the library. It's just that I preferred having these particular "how-to" books separated from the ones in there now.

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We also decided to put our computer in the LR. The LR is the best room in our home, with large windows on three sides and good views. It's just a great room to enjoy. However, our PC is not for work, so there isn't a huge paper problem. After thirteen years of looking at the PC 'out' in the room, and after trying three different computer stations, I finally found one that works for me; it's an armoire with pocket doors (so no flapping doors taking up space).

We also needed a cabinet for the stuff that even collects around a computer that is just for personal enjoyment, and for the art and decorating books that I keep in the LR. So I ordered what I'd call a console, and the company calls a bookcase. It has a one-shelf cabinet on either side and bookshelves in the center. On top I will have a lamp, a plant, and a couple of teasured objects. This particular console/case is 29" high', 62" long, and 14" wide. The company is Stuart David. I've recommended this company so frequently that I should say that I have no affiliation with it whatsoever; I just like their products. They have a very wide selection in varying sizes of cab/bookcase combinations, five types of wood and about twenty finishes to choose from.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 3:53PM
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Sable, their furniture is beautiful but more money than I wish to spend right now. Although I really like the idea of an armoire to hold the computer, I'd rather have it out in the room so that I could watch TV while on the computer. By buying a flat screen monitor, I didn't think it would look too awful on a desk.

The reason I like the desk I had mentioned is because it is small. We plan on moving next year and I will be able to place a smaller desk somewhere more easily.

I also purchased a 3-in-one printer and added a wireless card. This way, I can put the printer in another room, out of the way, so the only thing that will really be out in the open will be the monitor. The computer itself will be on the floor.

I had wanted the 4-in-one printer with the fax machine that came wireless but the salesperson talked me into this brand and model even though it was cheaper. If I decide that I need a fax machine, I can purchase a small one for $100.00.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 5:01PM
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Check out this neat little "bill paying" cabinet -- it might work by a chair -- and it has hidden casters for easy rolling too!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 8:03PM
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"I would like to get another piece of furniture to use for papers that I am working on. I don't want a mess in the living room but putting the computer there fits our lifestyle. What other pieces of furniture besides the desk should I be looking at to help keep things neat?"

I feel like I should weigh in here because I have been posting for weeks about controlling my mess around the computer in the living room. My solution is described on another thread and I am doing this built-for-me desk because I have never had anything other than a cobbled together arrangement. Were I not doing this desk thing as a gift to myself, I would keep my current arrangement of a small crummy table at the correct height for me and just use the boxes as described below.

I bought four Container Store cardboard boxes. I chose one neutral color for four boxes, so I could have some visual calm.

I can pile the boxes on the floor, on shelves, on the surface of my current workspace--together or separately. They serve the purpose of concealing mess very well for an expenditure of about $40.00. The boxes don't serve as files--they are just for current work. Like your situation, my files are in another room. If I were to keep these boxes as a permanent solution , I might put a pretty piece of fabric over the boxes where ever they went. (I have such a fabric over my photo printer now and that is going to stay like that with the new desk.)

Take Talley Sue's original suggestion to me: gather some practice boxes to see what your needs are. Then if you do need a piece of furniture you will know what size/function.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 9:15PM
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Sable, where did you get your computer armoire? I am looking for one but haven't made a final decision. If you could tell me the company or post a link that would be great. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 11:03PM
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I once had an armoire for my computer but didn't like it at all....I had forgotten about the darn CHAIR a person needs when sitting at the computer. It looked silly sitting outside of a closed armoire.....

I MUCH prefer a chair to slide UNDER a desk...looks much neater.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 11:17PM
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This is a very interesting thread, because we not only have 1 computer in our living room, but 2! We are firm believers that the kids cannot have computers in their bedrooms...we like to have an idea when they are on it and for how long, and we can see what they are viewing. We chose the living room because we really don't use it for anything else. We use our family room for watching TV. We don't hide our computers...they are sitting out in the open on desks. Mine is a flat top, so it doesn't look cluttered. The kids is a big box, but it's hiding in the corner of the room. I made sure both computers are on the wall that is not visible when someone comes to our door - from the foyer it looks like a regular living room: couch, coffee table, end table, etc. It's not until you get all the way in the room that you realize its real purpose! HA!

I've looked at armoirs for our computers but knew I wouldn't like it for the same reason as redcurls - I like to slide the chair under the desk. We use our computers too much, I guess!


    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 1:37AM
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Sheryl--I know what you mean. Our computers are in the dining room only because we still have one teenager at home. The day he leaves for college is the day we dump the desktops and go wireless notebooks only.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 5:58AM
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Teacats, that was a very interesting site. DH does the bill paying, usually at work, so I think that this particular cabinet wouldn't quite work for me.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 10:27AM
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So many issues here!

Kittiemom, I am also a kittiemom! Anyway, the computer armoire is also from Stuart David. We will have three SD pieces in our home - a tall wide dresser in DH's study, and the armoire and console/bookcase in the LR. The last time I checked, SD had a pathetic website. To get their furniture you have to go to an independent furniture store. There you can look at floor samples, plus go through the SD catalogs. I chose the dresser after seeing a model on the floor. The armoire and console are strictly from the catalog, but I already knew what kind of quality we would be getting (excellent). The store will have a display of the various woods and finishes. I chose alder in a lightly distressed walnut and it is beautiful. They have a huge variety of wood finishes and also some painted ones. If you find a store that carries SD, ask for the Entertainment Center catalog, as that's the one that carries the armoire with pocket doors. They also have a catalog for office furniture and why that one doesn't show our armoire is beyond me. But you could ask for them both, just to see all your options. If you are interested in the style number of our armoire, let me know here, and I'll try to find the catalog number. If you are price-conscious, the armoire was about $2300, and the console was $685. Not cheap, but this is the first time in my life that I'm finally assembling a pretty, well-decorated living room, so I'm going for broke. Literally. But this furniture is built and styled for the long-term.

As to the question of the chair, yes, that is an issue with computer armoires. After 13 years of having an office-type chair on wheels, which tore up the carpets (note plural), I switched to an old French-style armchair that I inherited from my mother. It looks perfect with the armoire. The armoire is always open - after all, I am always on this website - and the chair fits with the keyboard shelf. If we close it, I just turn the chair around and it becomes part of the main seating arrangement. It works for me. I did not mean to imply that computers *should* be hidden in a LR, just that I personally wanted that. We also have a new flat-screen monitor and love it, and it would look fine out on a desk.

I also second Teacat's suggestion of Ballards. They have a good selection of computer stations, desks, etc. They are limited as to finishes, though!

Sorry for the length of this post. Remodeling and decorating our home is my retirement obsession, as the DSs and their wives don't seem too interested in producing grandchildren. So it's fabrics and paint colors, rather than "Bring those babies over!"

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 3:01PM
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This computer Armoire, from Sauder, a company I don't know, hides the chair as well. I'd consider this if it were in darker wood. Maybe I could have it made up. It looks nice and neat closed up, too. I don't know if it's easy to do paperwork on, though. My DD thinks it would be claustrophobic, but it wouldn't bother me.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sauder Armoire closed up.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 3:56PM
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I put the desk that had been sitting in one of the bedrooms into the living room. It is a nice piece of furniture but it is 48" wide and quite deep. The only thing that is good about this desk in the living room is that I can put cheap plastic drawers under it that no one will see. Since I'm moving in a year, should I invest in that other desk which I really like or just wait it out?

When I put the desk in the living room, I put the table that was there on the other wall until I would have time to move it. DH has already started laying things on top of it and likes it there but I don't want anything on that wall. He is the clutter maker in my house, plain and simple. I've gotten my act together but he doesn't see the messes he makes and it's beginning to drive me nuts.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 11:32AM
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This sound so familiar, Marie26. How about an improvised skirt on the table? You probably don't want to made-to-order one if you are moving in a year. But if you cover the table somehow you can shove messes under the skirt. (This is a recipe for disorganization that I lived with for 25 years --once things were under the skirt it was out of mind. Or I had to crawl around on the floor to retrieve things. (I've aged out on that.) However, if DH made the mess, maybe he has to crawl around on the floor to find what he needs. (This doesn't solve the "nothing on that wall" problem but it does provide some visual calm from the mess on top.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 12:27PM
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If you're sure you're moving in a year, don't invest in a desk now that might not work in your new house.

I know ALL about clutter-maker husbands. I also have one who cannot have a clear flat surface for more than 5 minutes.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 5:37AM
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