WHAT FURNITURE DO YOU NEED?
The costliest option is hiring a carpenter to install a built-in, custom workstation with a desktop, shelving and closed storage.
Flynn suggests a cheaper alternative: Buy two kitchen cabinets from a big-box home improvement store, and two pre-fab bookcases. Assemble the cabinets, then the bookcases and stack them directly on top of the base cabinets. Mount them to the wall and add some basic molding to the front edges, creating “the look of custom built-ins, but for only a few hundred bucks.”
To save even more, he suggests plundering the rest of your home in search of old furniture. “I recently took one hot mess of a bonus room, which was used for checking e-mail, working on art projects and keeping kids’ artwork and files stored, then turned it into a colorful, designer-caliber multipurpose space using 100 percent leftover pieces from other rooms,” he says.
He placed two old dressers next to each other, using their surfaces as a place to collect mail and pending paperwork. He outfitted the dresser drawers with a hanging file system, then brought in an old table and chairs from a child’s playroom.
“You can make just about anything work together, as long as disparate pieces are united with the proper color story. In my case, I gathered white, brown, gray and blue pieces, then set them all against a fire-engine-red backdrop.”
Another option: If space is limited, Mathison suggests searching estate sales (or your own attic) for one large piece of furniture like a wooden secretary, which has a desktop and a mix of open and closed storage. Refinish it with several coats of glossy paint and, if necessary, drill holes in the back for power cords.
HOW DO YOU MAKE IT WORK?