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built ins with a desk

Built Ins with a Desk: How to Maximise Your Home Office Space

Over the past couple of years making the most effective use of our home office space has become increasingly important. A great way to maximise the functionality of a home office or study nook is to install a custom built in with a desk.

What is a built in?

A built in refers to a custom or modular built in desk and shelves that is fixed in place rather than separate pieces of furniture that can be moved around and rearranged.

Built ins are great for making use of space that would otherwise go unused or turn into a cluttered storage area like under the staircase or in a wide hallway.

Built ins with desks are also great for making the best use out of a home office as they can be customised to the way you use the space. If your office is a spare room that also gets used as a gym, you might also be interested in this article on home office gym tips

The awesomeness of Custom office furniture

Office built ins can be so much more than bookshelves and a desk my friend. Allow my inner creative nerd to share with you a few ideas I have around my fantasy customised built in desk ideas!

  • Flip down desk extension; Normally I don’t need a lot of desk space, just room for my laptop and a notepad or diary but how awesome would it be to have a flip down, slide out or extendable desk section for when I want to do a craft project or my husband wants the occasional space to set up.
  • Pull out printer trolley or shelf; Many people only use their printer on the rare occasion so it doesn’t need to be taking up space on the desk top or shelves. A custom built in can include a pull out printer shelf where the printer can be plugged in and easily slid out from hiding for use.
  • Slide out keyboard tray; Lots of people make do with a laptop but there are occasions where you’re typing lots and a real keyboard would be nice for ergonomics! Slide out keyboard trays are also good when your built in desk is designed to be narrow, like in a hallway. The slide out tray gives you the option of having more desk space when needed. 
  • Rolling modular components; I love a modular space, even though the idea of built in’s is for the entire structure to be fixed to the wall I think an extra cabinet/ desk section that slots away under the main shelving or desk area would be awesome.
built ins with a desk

Desks with built in Cable management

Cables are my pet hate. At the moment I have two different monitors and 3 laptops… I feel a need to explain that! I have my personal laptop, my work laptop from my employer and also a laptop for a company I do contract work for that requires their own company’s laptop to access their data. Surely I’m not the only one with a ridiculous amount of tech.

This assortment of screens mean HDMI cables, wireless and wired mice, keyboards etc. Then I try to balance the amount of tech I have in my office space with plants so that’s a whole other issue haha!

Cable Management Ideas

  • Having a hole at the back of the desk top to run cables out of sight.
  • A suspended power board basket or having a spot where the power board can be mounted to the desk.
  • Proper cable storage; no drawers of tangled cables. Sectioned drawers, a peg board, cubby holes in a shelf, seperate boxes etc
  • Wall or cupboard mounted monitors so that the  wires are either chased into the wall of run down the back of the build in cabinetry. 

Maximise storage & available space

The biggest advantage of going for a built in with a desk over having a standard office desk and shelving is that it can be made to fit the space. Most office desks are 30 inches deep (76 cm) but if you want to create a study nook in another room you may not want the desk encroaching on the rest of the space.

Built ins with shelves can take advantage of space that’s in an awkward shape like an under stairs study nook. Even when you’re installing a built in for a home office room, the cabinetry or shelving can be run all the way to the ceiling taking advantage of space that would be otherwise unused.

Example Built Ins With Desk

Dual Built in Desk

This dual desk built in is by Wood Master Woodworks. They’ve done a beautiful job of maximising the desk space, defining separate working areas and including plenty of storage with drawers to hide away messy paperwork. The open shelving helps to keep the space feeling large and open as opposed to doored cabinets.

built ins with a desk

DIY Built In

If you’re the handy type then why not try a DIY built in? This simple and elegant set up is a DIY project by Making Nice in the Mid West as featured on A Beautiful Mess. Like many of us, Mandi had to find a space for a home office as she could no longer use a spare bedroom. Her living room was decided as the perfect space, allowing her to multitask and supervise her toddler. Having storage space to hide the clutter was key! Mandi used modular Ikea cabinets to create her DIY built in.

built ins with a desk