Do you have a small desk nook or alcove?

needinfo1August 11, 2014

We are in the midst of a remodeling decision. We have an inaccessible 30" deep, 9' long bedroom closet whose wall we were thinking about opening up so we could more easily access the closet. Now we had a different idea and are contemplating opening up part of the wall for full access to closet space and building a divider wall to separate off the other end of the closet. This space we'd also open up and make a built-in desk niche/nook/alcove. One narrow end of the closet has a small window, so if we did this, the desk area would have a window on the side of it and wouldn't feel so closed in. The configuration would be that the nook would be tucked in the corner of the room with a 30" deep wall on the other side separating it from the closet space. I'd probably build in a desk that is about 24" deep.

My question is how wide is your built-in nook? And, is the width you have adequate? If we do this, the largest width I think we could get (and still have adequate closet space) would be 40" to 44".

We are looking for a space where we could use a laptop and be able to spread out just a little if we needed to access paperwork while using the laptop. With a built-in we'd probably just have a single drawer built across the width of the desk top.

Thanks for the help.

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Sophie Wheeler

No one ever has enough closet space to give up any for a desk. Unless they work from home. Then a nook won't cut it. Desks are obsolete. Everyone uses laptops or tablets and whatever horizontal surface that's nearby.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:44AM
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Think very carefully about this space - will you really use it? Where do you use your laptops currently? Does your current area have the space to spread out paperwork - and storage area for supplies etc?

I have a large walk in closet and I thought I'd make the section near the window my private computer space - put in electrical outlets and extra lighting etc. Never used it, not once. I'm more comfortable in a larger space in the family room. Even the idea of working at a desk in my closet felt depressing. The concept looked good on paper when we were building.

With a laptop you can go anywhere in the house - why pick a small space in a closet unless you feel good working in a tight spot surrounded by clothes.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:01AM
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I have a desk nook in my kitchen, 42" wide. It's adequate because it has to be but if I could have more desk surface (48" - 54") it would be better and easier to use. Would the one you are considering be in your master bedroom? I agree with Skypathway that you need to think carefully about your intended use. But also consider if you really want that task area in your bedroom - I would not.

I don't believe desks are obsolete. In this supposedly paperless world there's still a lot of paper we have to store and access - even more if you still have kids at home. My niece just bought 2 desks for her kids to have in their bedrooms because they need the surface area for school work and want to be able to leave it undisturbed and not move it from the table at meal time. We do have the luxury of moving to different surfaces with laptops or tablets, but desks still serve a purpose for many.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:30AM
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When we redid our family room last year (no kids at home) I bought a secretary for one corner since DH works from home sometimes so he wouldn't have to go down to his office in the basement. We also needed a place to store bills, medical info, etc.. DH uses it as a desk once in awhile, but if he's really working he spreads out on the DR table. The secretary is just too small.

Will you really go up to a bedroom to work on the computer? Dh hardly ever uses his basement office.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:43AM
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needinfo- yes. In our new home, my pocket office is about 5 feet wide with cabinets and shelves on one side. I have a tablet, an i-device, a desktop computer and a netbook that are used for different purposes. This is their charging area and home, as well as my scheduling area. My work related materials and reference books pertinent to my interests go in here. We designed the space because I had a similar space in a previous home, and I found it very useful and convenient. Here is a picture of it in process. The desk area will be custom glass facing the window. Best of everything in your project.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Thanks all. I guess I should have added in background info on our situation. We are recently retired, empty nesters who live in a 100 year old house, and, as we all know, there is never enough closet space in older houses. That is why I initially wanted to try to open up this inaccessible closet space. Then, we had the window dilemma, and using the double door type opening we want there will still be some dead space on each end of the closet. (I do think I've figured out a way to make it usable and accessible in a reach-in closet though.)

I worked at home a lot, so our smallest bedroom is an office, and I still use that space a lot. My husband typically works with his laptop at a desk/table in the living room. He is the one who is asking for a desk nook so he'll have room to spread out paperwork (and not have it visible all of the time if he wants to walk away from it). The desk nook would be in a guest bedroom that we don't use at all because we hardly ever have overnight guests. All of your comments have been immensely helpful, and I now am starting to wonder whether he would actually ever go up to that second floor space and shut himself away when we have a large, open first floor.

I think maybe the solution I should suggest is that I give up my habit of stationing myself in the office and turn it over to him. I can sit at any table in the first floor with a laptop instead of upstairs in the office.

Thanks for all the help.

And, yes, we are not a completely paperless world and often have printed documents we want to reference while using the computer.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:59AM
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i also have a desk/nook in the kitchen area which i plan to use a lot but i don't think i'd use one much in the bedroom unless i was short on space
or thought i would need to provide a very quiet place for study or something of that nature
i have a friend who is back in school who actually is using a portion of her walk in closet for a study area/desk
she has a small home and two boys, 9 and 11 to contend with...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:57AM
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I would not say desks are obsolete. Where to put the printer, the file cabinets, all the bills and other various papers? We will have a desk area in the kitchen, and I will have a writing desk in the craft room because I just started my masters and I need a place to put all my school stuff. I probably wouldn't use a desk in the bedroom much, however, because it is so cut off from the life of the house.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:52PM
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We are planning on a built in desk in the hallway that goes to our guest bedrooms. My husband and I have a laptop and neither of us work from home so we don't need an actual room to be used as an office. Our desk will hold our printer/scanner/copier, and also we also will have the paper shredder nearby as well.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:33PM
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We have a nook in our home that I use as a home office. I really like having a desktop and a place for our printer, files, etc. This room also functions as our den. Our old desk was too wide for the nook but it was broken in the move anyway, so I had to purchase a new desk. Our nook is 46.5" wide. Most desks are 48" or wider, so the field was small. I finally found a desk at Target. It isn't the sturdiest, but I like the looks, the functionality and since it wasn't pricey, I won't feel badly about replacing it in the future. Here is a pic.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:04AM
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Pictures are so helpful! Thanks much for taking the time to post this.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:57AM
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I have an extra closet in the bedroom (3) to be exact. So I turned one into a makeup area and I love it! The desk is nothing to brag about, but fits just fine. I am sure there are those that would not use it but. many ladies have said how much they would like their own space to sit down and do their makeup.
Plus if you and hubby need to get ready at the same time you will have your own (man room) er I meant to say girl space!
Good Luck,

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:58AM
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We have a small nook like that in our (now) guest room. When it was our son's bedroom, we had a built-in desk there, flanked by bookcases. DS used to complain that he needed more desk space to spread out. When he moved on to his own place, we took out the desk and put in this entertainment area instead. This room also acts as my study, and I felt the same way. I have a large roll-top desk on another wall in there that gives me more room to spread my things out on.
Here's the nook with the EC as it is now. I can't find the pic I had with the desk in there, sorry:

When we had this home built I was very excited about a nook in our kitchen with a built-in desk there. Within six months, I was using the long eating bar in the kitchen instead. And, my desk there became a clutter magnet for me and for my DH and kids. When we had the kitchen redone seven years ago, the first thing to go was the desk. I still tend to use the (new) eating bar in there or my big roll-top desk . I love being able to store my laptop, files, etc. out of sight in my roll-top, though.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:08PM
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I have a Great Room which is on the main level, and a Family Room upstairs, which is where the TV is, also the computer, although I do use my ipad more frequently. The FR happens to have a closet, which was floor to ceiling shelves, so with a little juggling of shelves, made it an 'office'. There was enough room for the PC, printer, etc. I found one of those canvas basket stackable thingies at the right height, and placed it beneath the lowest 'desk ' height shelf, where the PC sits. I took the door off the closet, and can leave the chair pulled out instead of pushing it all the way under the 'desk' shelf. Have a small bulletin board, a wall lamp on each side wall, and have wall decorations. It's compact, but serves the purpose I need it for. A full-on room used for an office would be a waste of a room for me since I don't need an office, but do need guest rooms.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:24PM
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