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Types of Hidden Desks

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Hidden Desks That Make It Easy to Work From Home

Easily Transform Your Space Into a Home Office By Day, Personal Living Area at Night

Everyone likes to be able to get away from their work at the end of the day and relax. Achieving this separation between work and home can be difficult when your work space and your living space is one and the same. The problem is compounded when there isn't a separate room in the house for work where you can just close the door when you are done. Often times, space constraints demand that a single room and/or piece of furniture needs to do double duty. Storage systems that can quickly convert a space in the home into an office, but be hidden from view outside of work hours are a valuable and viable solution in this situation.

Use simple hidden desks to make your space do double duty so that you can easily work from home, transforming your living area into a home office and back again on demand.


Different Types of Hidden Desks That Make It Easy to Work From Home:

There are four main types of hidden desk systems used in home office furniture design including the pull-out desk, the Murphy desk that pulls down from the wall or cabinet, the pivoting fold away desk and the closet desk. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

1. The Pull-Out Desk With File Drawer

The pull-out desk it essentially a large shelf that pulls out from underneath a cabinet. It is usually part of a larger wall unit or entertainment center. The desk is used in conjuction with a set of drawers below for office supplies and for filing papers. A cabinet above the desk is used for office equipment like computer monitors and printers. On the plus side, this type of desk takes up the least amount of space, and can be incorporated into any room that offers space for the wall unit or cabinet. It should be at least 27 inches wide in order to provide an adequate work surface. The downside of this type of desk is that 27 inches isn't very much of a work surface. The pull-out shelf can't hold a lot of weight, and must be relegated to holding the laptop, keyboard, mouse and other light weight items. Monitors, printers and heavy items must be kept in the cabinet or drawers.

pull-out desk in cabinet of entertainment center
drawer for files below pull-out desk
This pull-out desk was incorporated into an entertainment center that spans the main wall of the client's living room. No need to run to the main office when there's a tight deadline to meet. This small but functional set up allows the owner the flexibility to work from home when needed. The cabinet and drawers can be locked as an extra measure, ensuring sensitive materials stay private. See Project >


2. The Murphy Style Pull Down Desk

A pull down desk functions in a similar manner to a Murphy bed. The work surface is stored vertically inside a cabinet/wall. The back side is hinged just like a folding countertop and secured to the cabinet. To open, just pull down from the top (unhinged) tabletop until it is perpendicular to the floor. A folding leg supports the table in its open position. The advantage of this type of hidden desk is the size. You can easily get a long enough worksurface to provide the 40 inches of legroom needed for human comfort. It supports a decent amount of weight. It is completely invisible when closed and the cabinet can be locked. The disadvantage is that you can't leave any material out on the desk when it is stored in its closed position. If you are naturally neat and tidy, however, that may not be an issue.

Murphy desk as part of a wall bed system folded up
Murphy desk as part of a wall bed system
This project uses pocket doors on the cabinet with the Murphy desk. This ensures that the doors will be completely out of the way when working. This was needed because of the small jog in the wall near the windows. An alternative when the wall surface is completely flat is to use a 180° hinge on a regular cabinet door. See Project >


3. Pivoting Fold Away Desk

A pivoting fold away desk folds out from its credenza to form a penninsula desk when opened. It is usually part of a larger wall unit and makes an efficient total office system with drawers, cabinets and shelving in addition to the desk and credenza. The advantage of this type of desk is that you end up with a large L-shaped work area. Depending on the size of the credenza unit, you may be able to accommodate more than one worker at the desk. Papers and work materials can be left out on the desk even when it is closed away, which could be useful if you are working on a lengthy project. The disadvantage is that you do need a fair amount of open floor space to open and close this type of desk system.

pivoting folding desk with credenza
This bedroom easily converts into a large home office through the use of both a Murphy bed and a pivoting fold away desk. See Project >


4. The Closet Desk

A closet desk is a desk built into a closet. It can be incorporated into either a reach in or a walk in closet space.

Walk In Closets: If you want space to work from home and have a walk in closet, you can set aside a minimum of 40 inches of wall space for a built-in closet desk. If you want a bank of shelves under the desk, you will need more length so that you retain the necessary 40 inches of open leg room to remain comfortable while working. A walk in closet is often a quiet place to work that is free of distractions found elsewhere in the home. If there is a window in the closet, so much the better. That will be the ideal location for your new closet desk, but it is not a requirement to establishing a successful closet office. If your desk is in the corner, you can install an L-shaped countertop to increase the work surface. The "L" or return needs to be a minimum of 15 inches. The advantage of a walk in closet desk is that it is like having a separate room for your home office. You also get to work at a what is a substantial and relatively traditional desk set up. The down side is that closets tend to get messy and this can be distracting to your work. If you have trouble keeping yours neat, consider installing cabinets with glass doors inside the walk in closet to hold all your hanging and folded clothes. It will present a much tidier appearance and requires no effort to maintain.

desk or vanity table in closet
This closet desk is used mainly as a dressing table/vanity for fixing hair and makeup, but the owner finds that it is also a quiet place away from the children where she can use her laptop or conference with work. See Project >

Reach In Closets: A small reach in closet can be transformed into a desk with storage system. If the closet has bifold doors, you won't have to change them. If a larger sliding or other door type is used on the closet, you will probably need to remove the door(s) in order to have enough space for your desk and seating area. You can replace the door later on with bifold doors or a barn door that slides completely open if you have enough wall space. However, this type of closet looks great with no door as well. Remove all closet rods to prepare the space for its new function. The empty alcove where you once had your reach in closet becomes your new office. Install a countertop that stretches all the way across the space to form your work surface. Upper cabinets can be installed where the closet rod once was. Under cabinet LED closet lighting makes perfect task lighting.

Hidden desks are a great way of making a single space perform two functions. Because they remain out of sight when you are "off duty," having a hidden desk system as your home office allows you to keep a mental separation between work and play. The work space is available when you need it, and gone when you don't. This type of home office could be the perfect solution to your own "work from home" needs.