Integrating a desk into your kitchen isn’t just about finding the space for it. It’s also about finding a way to make it look more stylish and interesting. Most of the kitchen desks I see are basically thrown together out of a file drawer, pencil drawer and other similar standard desk-height cabinets to achieve a 30-inch counter height, with a few wall cabinets slapped up on the wall above. Often they just look underdeveloped in comparison with the rest of the kitchen. But here are a few kitchen desks that stand out of the crowd — and how yours can, too:
1. Add a chalkboard backsplash. Do something different like a chalkboard or corkboard. It’s different looking and functional. I love that this desk also has open shelves above for visual interest. Not every inch can be all about function all of the time. That’s no fun!
2. Choose an accent cabinet color and accent tile. The rest of this white kitchen has classic white subway tile with charcoal grout. The kitchen needed some color and variation to break up the white, black and brown. The tiles here are reclaimed, and it’s often hard to find a place to use a few vintage tiles, but the small surface area behind a kitchen desk is a great option. Mix in a mismatched chair and cabinet hardware and you have something that works with the rest of the kitchen but doesn’t “match” it.
There’s no need for everyday needs to ruin the look; a wireless printer is set up remotely in an adjacent hutch cabinet to the left.
I’m not sure if this backsplash is tile or wallpaper, but it looks terrific. I love how it plays off the rug. A mismatched chair, open shelves for cookbooks and a ledge with baskets help make this kitchen desk look layered and interesting.
This client couldn’t decide between four favorite tile patterns, so we framed a board of each she can change out with the seasons. Decorative art tile can be expensive, so using a small amount in a desk area is a great way to get it somewhere without having to break the bank using it everywhere.
3. Integrate the desk in front of a window. Putting your kitchen desk in front of a wall of windows is a wonderful way to bring in natural light and also have that much-needed nerve center called a kitchen desk.
A kitchen desk in front of a window can be a light-filled spot to look up recipes, check email and do homework. If you can carve out enough storage elsewhere in the kitchen, resist the temptation to delete a window for a wall cabinet. I love the furniture details on the columns and cabinetry.
4. Flank the desk with open shelves or built-ins. Built-in shelves are a great way to softy transition a kitchen desk into the family room or sitting room.
5. Go for furniture details. Feet, legs, columns, or toekick valances are great ways to make your desk area stand out. I imagine this kitchen desk off a side entrance to the house: a perfect spot to drop the day’s bags, paperwork and groceries. There’s a spot for everything and it looks like organization heaven.
6. Have the desk moonlight as a baking center. If you don’t want to sacrifice a whole section of your kitchen for a desk that you might use a few times a week, let it do double-duty as a baking center, bar or serving station. All you have to do is drop the counter down 6″ from the standard counter height of 36″ to 30″ and voila, you have the perfect height for both baking and writing.
7. Carve out a niche for a message center. if you don’t have a lot of room for a large kitchen desk, opt for a smaller counter-height message center that allows you to perch or sit if you need to. A few open shelves and a spot to plug in phones, a laptop and a printer and you’ve got what you need.
8. Go wireless. If you don’t have room for a desk, let your island do double duty and carve out a drawer to stash that laptop when you don’t need it. With wireless printers and everything else these days, this is a great option.
9. Carve out a spot in the mudroom. If you’re lucky enough to have another spot in your home to house the desk, then go for it. Make that mudroom beautiful and more like a family studio: a place to wrap gifts, cut flowers from the garden, work on homework or check email — it can be a hub for all sorts of activity.