When you need a dedicated office space and don’t have a den or an extra bedroom available, the conventional option is to set up shop in some other room, such as the living room. But sharing a space has its drawbacks. Busy living spaces aren’t always conducive to work. on the flip side, office equipment and file storage aren’t exactly dazzling décor for living spaces. office areas that aren’t well-defined also tend to collect other kinds of paperwork or, worse, general household clutter.
A good option for your new office space just might be a closet. Tucked away in its own discreet nook, a closet office is nicely contained and clearly separated from other activities. The office itself requires no extra living space—all you need is a little room for a chair when you’re working at the desk. perhaps best of all, the office and all of its contents are out of sight (and mind) as soon as you close the closet doors. This office design is simple and easy to build yet provides all of the necessary basics for both tasks and storage in a modern work space.
Tools & Materials:
Work gloves; eye protection; caulk gun; circular saw and straightedge guide; level; drill with bits; hacksaw; wrench; sander; stud finder; hammer; clamps; construction adhesive; Finish nails (1 1/4″, 2″); 3 1/4″ wood screws; 2 1/4″ trimhead screws; 5⁄16″ all-thread rod; hardwood-veneer MDF-core plywood (finishgrade on one side) (1/4″, 3/4″); hanger bolts; coupling nuts; flat washers; hex nuts; hardwood lumber (1 × 1, 1 × 2) 3/4″ particleboard with plastic laminate (on one side) for desktop; Wood glue 11/4″ coarse-thread drywall screws; finishing materials.
Provide electrical service to your office by branching off of an existing circuit. Here, boxes for a light fixture and a wall receptacle were added and wired to a room circuit. Patches for the drywall cut to route the wiring will be hidden by the panel and don’t need a complete finish. Consult an electrician according to your skill and comfort level with wiring.
Prepare the walls for the paneling by removing any baseboard or other moldings. Make sure the wall is smooth and dust free. Locate and mark the wall studs to guide the installation; the panel seams should fall over stud centers.
Finish the good side of the paneling stock as desired. Cut the first panel to length, cutting from the back side with a circular saw to prevent splintering. Apply beads of construction adhesive to the back of the panel, and press the panel against the wall so the side edges are centered over studs.
Adjust the panel so it’s perfectly plumb, then nail it to the wall studs with 1¼” finish nails. Use the nails sparingly; you need only enough to ensure the panel stays flat and the edges are securely and evenly adhered.
Cut and install the remaining panels. Use the straight factory edges for the butted seams. At the inside corners, place the second (perpendicular) panel with its factory edge butted against the first panel. If the seams are tight, you don’t need to hide them with molding.
Plan the bookshelf spacing as desired, then draw level lines onto the walls to represent the bottom edge of each shelf. Cut and install 1 × 1 shelf cleats so their top edges are flush with the level lines. Fasten the cleats with 2¼” trimhead screws driven into wall studs.
Cut the shelves from 3/4″ plywood. The top and middle shelves are L-shaped, 11″ deep along the back wall, with an 18″-long, full-depth leg at one end. The bottom shelf matches the leg dimensions. If desired, drill a hole near the back corner of each shelf for routing power cords.
Draw level lines to represent the top edges of the desktop cleats: these are 1 1/2″ below the desk surface. Tip: Standard desktop height is 29 to 30″ from the floor, while typing surfaces are typically 26 to 27″. Cut and install the 1 × 2 cleats flush with the lines using a 3 1/2″ wood screw driven into each wall stud.
Cut two identical pieces of desktop stock to fit the closet dimensions, with a little bit of wiggle room for getting it in place (be sure to account for the 3/4″ thickness of the 1 × 2 nosing). Glue the pieces together on their bare faces using wood glue and a few 1 1/4″ screws to clamp them together while the glue dries. Make sure the pieces are perfectly flush at their front edges.
Install the desktop. If desired, drill a large hole (1 1/2″-dia. or so) through the desktop for routing cords. Cut, sand, and finish 1 × 2 stock for the decorative nosing. Install the nosing with wood glue and 2″ finish nails, keeping it flush with the desk surface. Set the desktop onto the cleats; its weight will keep it securely in place.