Secrets to an Efficient Kitchen Desk You Will Actually Use
Perhaps you’re like us, and you don’t have an actual office in your home. We don’t have the need for a full separate office- but we did need a dedicated space to work for small amounts of time, while still being centrally located with the children. I know kitchen desks are supposedly “outdated”, but for us it was exactly what we wanted!
Here is our why: a lot of homework for our older kids needs to be done on a computer now, and we don’t allow them (yet) to have their iPads etc. in their own rooms behind closed doors. So we keep our desktop in a central location- the kitchen! I also blog at the desk during the day and I want the kids to be playing around me where I can see them- like right here in our kitchen/living room. Other times I’ll work on my blog after the kids are asleep and I like that I can also be around my husband and (sort of) watch his shows with him. Jose is a Realtor and will do some quick weekend work at the desk too… and we pay bills here, etc. All this to say- it is well used, but also ideal for being situated in our main living areas.
When we planned this kitchen workspace, I was so inspired by Monika Hibbs’ kitchen desk (picture above!). I had to talk myself out of that beautiful open shelving though. It just isn’t practical since we don’t have an actual home office. We have lots of ugly officey things that need to be hidden away behind cabinets, sadly. So cabinetry it was!
Here is the before.
The only nice part of this photo is my daughter’s sweet note she wrote me hanging up there. It was messy, cords constantly everywhere, and the kids would climb onto the countertop to reach their own things. Sometimes while I was trying to work. 🙄 Who wants to sit and work at a desk like this?
First things first: Assess what kind of storage you need. Boxes, file holders, paper sorters, all of these are good. Every single item at your kitchen desk should have a dedicated place where it lives. Then figure out what items don’t need to be kept at the kitchen desk. For me, the first thing I did was move the craft supplies to a new location where the kids could reach it. Then I went to Target!
These magazine file holders are great. They come in a few different colors. The first file holder I dedicated just for the kids. Each child has their own folder for me to hold their longterm information that comes home from school: paperwork sent home in the beginning of the school year, class info, etc. In the other magazine file holder are folders for Jose and I: paperwork involving home, insurance etc. I love these holders because they keep the folders upright and make everything so much cleaner looking!
The matching boxes next to them contain a few items that we don’t need too often but still want easy access to at this desk.
On the right side of the cabinet I keep that fabulous paper holder I found at Target- extra computer paper in the top and lined paper for homework in the bottom.
The plastic basket on the bottom left keeps what a person without babies would keep in a desk drawer. Camille is only 2 and she loves to explore all our drawers, so we keep scissors, tape, envelopes etc. in the basket and the desk drawer sits empty for now. Childproofin, baby! The basket on the right holds computer items: extra cords, chargers, USB pieces, etc.
If your fridge isn’t magnetic I would suggest adding a small bulletin board near the desk to keep invites etc. off the counters. Speaking of clutter building up….
This is our landing pad with slots for mail located in our mudroom. It helps us keep all the mail and paper clutter from piling up. If I you don’t have a dedicated spot like this, put up a letter bin next to your desk to keep my mail and all paperwork that floats in and out of the house in one spot. This person has four:
(These exact letter bins I linked below.)
I finally broke down and bought a planner. I need both electronic and written down items for me to stay on track.
This is how the kitchen workspace sits in our layout. When planning this space I was worried if someone was going into the fridge while someone else was sitting at the desk it would be obnoxious, but it has been a non-issue. The doors don’t open close enough to the person at the desk to matter.
You do want to be sure your kitchen desk is not within the cook’s triangle (sink/oven/fridge).
My West Elm chair (linked below) has been a gem! It was fairly affordable too. I wanted something upholstered so it would be comfortable for long term desk sitting, but I needed it to be dark because… kids in a kitchen. This chair was perfect but it was the same height as the desk so it didn’t slide under. We hired my friend who is a woodworker to take an inch off the bottom of each leg. She said it was super easy and took her all of 5 minutes. So, I guess if you have the tools, it’s easy! I didn’t want to do it myself because I knew I would end up with a wobbly chair!
Our whole family appreciates sitting here now that it is well organized and pretty to look at. And if you need a kitchen desk… then who is to say it is outdated?
Sources below. Scroll through and click on the photo to see the item!