What's wrong with this kitchen desk?

marvelousmarvinJune 25, 2013

With wireless laptops and cell phones and all that, do people still put in built-in kitchen desks in the kitchen or is it just obsolete and a waste of space? It seems like you could do all that work that you'd do on a dedicated kitchen desk on the kitchen table instead.

I'm asking because I have a kitchen desk for a rental, and I would have thought that it'd be the focal point of the kitchen because you have an ocean view from that desk.

Instead, whenever I've had to go inside that kitchen, it's obvious nobody ever uses it as a desk. I'll see them putting a big bag of dog food on top of the kitchen desk even though no pets are allowed.

I don't know if the problem is that nobody uses kitchen desks, or that this was a bad kitchen desk so that's why it doesn't get used.

If its the latter, what are the details that separate a useful, good kitchen desk from a bad kitchen desk?

Right now, I'm remodeling another kitchen which had a kitchen desk outside the kitchen triangle. Its on the wall opposite the windows and sink, in between the rest of the cabinetry and the entrance for the kitchen.

I don't know if I should just put in another kitchen desk at that same spot because it seems kind of redundant- there's already a kitchen table nearby the spot for the kitchen desk. and there's a 4th bedroom downstairs that could serve as a real office. Pus, it'd seem like a chair for a desk would squeeze the pathway since its next to the entrance.

But, am I stuck with putting a desk in that space cause the phone jacks, electrical outlets, etc.. are located above and below the desk?

If I don't need to put in another kitchen desk, what should I do with that space instead?

This post was edited by marvelousmarvin on Tue, Jun 25, 13 at 3:59

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I included a desk in my kitchen renovation, and I use it daily. IMO, the desk in your rental needs both more surface area and more storage.

I would make the desk extend the full width of the window and include whatever lower cabinet space will fit. If there's room in a cabinet for a printer, that would be best.

Having the window above the desk seems wonderful to me!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 4:40AM
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Sophie Wheeler

No one uses desks anymore. Between laptops and tablets, anywhere can be a desk. It's just become the dump zone. In a rental, it should be eliminated. It will save you money and give you a better overall design. Looks like that would be a nice spot for a small bistro table.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 7:31AM
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I have a desk in my kitchen, and it gets ZERO use. Of course, to be fair, it's not well-located.

I am planning a desk in the house we're building, but it is not getting prime kitchen territory. Rather, it'll be in the garage entry hallway -- somewhat near the kitchen, but not in the midst of things. Things that matter to me in the desk I'm planning:

- Electrical outlets at the desktop level -- not under the desk, not way over on the wall. The idea being that I can charge my phone or tablet without having to reach underneath or have a long cord dangling.
- Sturdy shelves up above for cookbooks.
- Between the desktop and the shelves, an assortment of cubby-holes and organizers for bills, envelopes, ink pens, stapler, etc. so I can keep the desktop clear.
- 5' in length.

Having said what I do value in a desk, what do I not like about the desk you've pictured?

- I don't care about a view from a desk. If I'm working, I'm not appreciating the view.
- It's too small. It should be the width of the window.
- The chair isn't comfortable and inviting.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:01AM
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My Mom built a desk into her kitchen in 1977, and she still uses it as a desk, even though the breakfast table is 3 feet away.

I had a small desk in my kitchen (until I tore everything out a week ago, to make room for new cabinets). The desk belonged to my grandpa, and is a beautiful piece of furniture, but it's small - I never, ever sat at it, so it became a dump spot. I moved it to a bedroom, and in the new kitchen I've designated a portion of a deep pantry cabinet as "desk" - file drawers, drawers for desk stuff (pens, stamps, stapler, etc), outlets behind a door for chargers, a bulletin board, calendar, and baskets for bills and other pending paperwork. Even if it becomes a dump spot, I can at least close the doors on it.

I do all my work at the kitchen table.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:37AM
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I had a very long desk in my old kitchen (7' long) literally adjacent to the kitchen table. It was just a dumping ground for paperwork, mail, kids' projects/homework, etc., etc. When I was meeting with various kitchen designers last year, the general feedback I received is that desks in kitchens are becoming obsolete (or not the norm anymore). Thus, I'm changing that run into an 8.5' run of cabinetry with a beverage frig, waste center, and lots of storage (it's next to the family room so will be used instead of running to the kitchen for drinks/snacks/etc.). The uppers on the end each have an outlet inside to charge phones/etc.

To be fair, I also have a den right next to the family room, so I will be hopefully better organizing that space to keep all the clutter that used to be on the kitchen desk!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:24AM
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First, most people are moving away from them in kitchens because they don't tend to be good work spaces and do tend to be dump zones that collect clutter. Technology allows us to work anywhere, so most folks work in more open or comfortable spaces. I would consider a built-in desk a possible benefit in a child's room, a study or designated office space/library, but not in a kitchen. And then it would need at least one file drawer and shallow drawers that can be opened without moving the chair.

To answer your question about what is wrong with this one if you are going to have one, the desk is and lacks anywhere to put paper or files. Functionally, it's a pencil drawer and a junk drawer blocked by a chair. But the other biggie is that it is totally uninviting. The folding metal chair doesn't make you want to sit unless you have to, but that can easily be changed. Besides small and stuck in a corner, the desk is too short and chops the window. It's off center, off balance and doesn't support the window, so it is visually uncomfortable. I realize it was put in with good intentions, but it wouldn't work for me at all. It would annoy me that it was blocking the view.

I'd probably put a bistro table there so I could sit and enjoy the space and view many ways. Or a reading chair. Your tenants will have more options and better use of the space if you take the "desk" out. It's hard to say about the other kitchen without seeing it, but if you don't have a desk, I don't think I would put one in.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:51AM
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I like the idea of a small table instead of a desk, or extending the counters.

And install a power outlet that includes the USB power port.

They are FABULOUS.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:32AM
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Get rid of the desk and extend the cabinets/counter top to the corner.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:49AM
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For right-handed people, that desk is in the corner. They'd be bumping their elbow on the wall if they tried to write something. If the desk were centered under the window, or ran the entire width of the window, there'd be more space and a greater chance the desk would be used as a desk. I think its psychological--people don't like to be stuck in a corner, especially when their dominant hand is trapped against the wall.

There's also no real storage there and the outlet is not convenient.

Or maybe the people you are renting to just don't want a desk in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:45AM
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I have a small (not built in) desk in my kitchen that has been used for notepads, phone, phone directory, cell phone charging, a place to set my open cookbook, and unfortunately clutter. I am in a small house and had little counter space. I never used it as a sit-down work space.
With the remodel, though, I will be using a short counter by the frig for the above, and see no need (wouldn't have room anyway) for a desk.

I remember a desk in my parent's house (built 1967) again the spot for the phone, phone book, cookbooks etc; but don't recall ever seeing it used for anything other than a landing spot.

I would get rid of that desk entirely.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 12:06PM
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Get rid of the desk. Even though it has a view, it looks like a place you're sent for detention. Go sit in the corner until you've written "I will not..." 100 times. :)

Holly and others are right, with wifi, any place can be a desk. I have a desk and computer in my office that I use infrequently. Currently I'm at my laptop on my kitchen/dining table looking into the house and through the living room window (open plan). My table is cluttered as a result, but I only have myself to answer to and it's evolved into a satellite office. My friends say my house is uncluttered, so the hurry-up-and-hide-things just before they come over seems to be working.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Lol linelle....yes, ditch the desk, especially if this is a weekly summer rental...no one on vacation is sitting and writing bills, etc..it's too small to serve any real purpose.....and the folding chair isn't helping either. Don't see a corner of the kitchen as a cozy, quiet place for a reading nook, so I say cute bistro set...maybe even counter height. Or you could put a long ledge and barstools (counter height) for extra seating if there is already a kitchen table in there.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:47PM
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I also thought it was a detention corner. The only thing going for it is the view. It puts your back to everything else. It's also small.

I like the bistro table idea if you think there needs to be a place to sit to enjoy the view. Otherwise, examine the space and decide what best use would be (nothing, cabinet, table, etc).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 2:49PM
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There's no way I'd ever use that desk...and I use a desk. It's too small, too uncomfortable-looking, and not functional--has no place for files etc. I'd say that a comfortable built-in window seat with drawers underneath and adjacent bookshelves, or a bistro table (per other suggestions) would get much more use. It's hard to suggest what else to put there without seeing the rest of the place though.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 6:09PM
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I am in the minority. I work from home almost all of the time. And I put a full day in front of the computer. Even though I have a laptop, I like to sit at a desk when working because it hurts my shoulders, neck, and back to sit other places. Hubby gets to work from home one day per week. When we are home or at our beach house, my husband & I fight over who gets the desk to work at (we don't really fight, he always gets the desk). I have to work at the kitchen counter or the sofa or the bed or whatever.

My real concern here is the big bag of dog food in a rental with no pets allowed.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 7:06PM
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I ditched our desk in our kitchen with our reno - but built in a pull out work space in our caves - one for each of us...
When not in use - it disappears and no clutter zone..

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 7:48PM
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As others have already said, laptops and tablets and wireless internet have made a dedicated desk spot obsolete. What has taken it's place is the message or command center. This typically is an area outside the kitchen work triangle that has good storage where stuff can be hidden away from view as well as location for phone and answering machine (if still used) and a charging station for all the electronic devices we are dependent on. We typically also keep our keys, note pads, pens/pencils, measuring tape, etc. in this area. I don't see this as a spot requiring seating, instead in my remodel I opted for an 18" deep base which allows for still good storage in the lower cabinets. Having cubbies for mail or each family member, perhaps even a bulletin board for all the miscellaneous forms that require attention.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:30PM
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I can see myself sitting there with a cup of coffee and my recipe books and making up my grocery list. What a great spot.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:42PM
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What exactly is a message or command center?

I googled up images of 'command center kitchen', and it seemed like there were a lot of images of desks in those too. It seems like the only difference is that these 'command centers' will also have some calendars on the wall and more shelving/storage surrounding the desk.

I guess I don't understand why kitchen desks are obsolete, but a command center with a desk in it wouldn't be obsolete too. After all, it seems like iPhone and iPad would store your calendar, notes, lists, etc..

This post was edited by marvelousmarvin on Thu, Jun 27, 13 at 2:58

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:41AM
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No, most Message/Command Centers do not have a desk....they're usually one of two things:

(1) Upper cabinet + Base cabinet + counter (sometimes there's no upper cabinet or the upper cab has no doors)

-- or --

(2) Tall cabinet that can be closed to hide clutter when company comes

Originally, my Message/Command Center was going to be #1, but b/c of mistakes made by my KD, it didn't fit. My Message Centered devolved into a "Message Center Niche"...turns out it works just fine! The only thing I really miss is a place to store directories/phone books (like school directories) - but I put them in the pantry.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Yup. For some people it's just a drawer with a place for chargers, pencils and a notepad. Calendar or message board optional.

This post was edited by lascatx on Thu, Jun 27, 13 at 11:56

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Kemper Command Zone type cabinets

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:15PM
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The PO put in a kitchen desk that I use all the time. Similar to angela12345, DH uses the separate office for his computer and files and I use the kitchen desk for my PC and files. Yes, we both have laptops but need/want bigger monitors and real keyboards for most use. I love looking out my kitchen windows while I'm at my desk.

However, in a *rental*, I agree that this desk is probably not useful. More storage in a cab /shelving below the window would prolly be more appreciated by renters. If there's not otherwise a table, a bistro table with that view sounds wonderful!


    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:19PM
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