Before and After: This DIY Built-In Proves You Can Fit an Office Anywhere

updated May 29, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

If you work at a computer and didn’t have a desk in your house pre-pandemic, you’ve probably set up a basic home office by now. Stephanie Petrich’s new home office, however, is work-from-home goals.

This area of Stephanie’s home, which is in the main living space, previously featured a cozy chair and lamp. But “after realizing that papers and pens and office supplies kept building up on our kitchen counter, I decided this space would make a perfect place for a built-in desk,” she says. “Making it into a desk would free up counter space and give us a spot for a computer to sit and work at.”

Stephanie estimates that she spent 20 to 30 hours on this project—she has three little kids, so it took a while! With some help from her mom and husband along the way, she cut wood for the shiplapped walls, built the shelves, and handled the installations. “It was hard to get everything measured correctly, and there were things that had to be taken down and redone,” says Stephanie. “I learned to measure twice and cut once!”

If she had the chance to restart, Stephanie says she might opt for a different wood than the pine she used for the desk and shelves. Pine kept the cost of the project lower, but it was also harder to stain and sand and is less durable, she explains. “If I were to do it again, I would pick oak or maple instead, because it’s high quality and overall lasts longer,” Stephanie says.

Still, Stephanie absolutely loves the area now. She says it cost about $200 for the shiplap, wood, stain, and paint (she repurposed the chairs and hairpin leg from other projects), and about $115 for decor items. And while the most eye-popping aspect of the finished project might be that amazing Kelly green wall, for Stephanie, the best part is the functionality. “The desk is long enough to fit three people sitting comfortably, which is perfect for us,” she says. “The shelving also gives more storage options, which I love.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.