Asked on Mar 18, 2016

Help! I don't know what to do with my built in kitchen desk

Jessica Morency
by Jessica Morency
I don't know where to start, so I thought I would ask for some advice. Even though It's awkwardly right next to the refrigerator, I love sitting in this space to get work done. When you look at the kitchen this space really draws attention and definitely needs an upgrade. I'd like to cover up one of the outlets and phone jack, possibly with some fabric or bulletin board. I also think the cabinets and drawers need different knobs but Idk what color to go with. Any suggestions would be helpful. I'm a new homeowner and hate decor decision making!
  32 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 18, 2016
    Changing the knobs would be a good start. Personally against the color wood I would choose brushed nickel.. To hide the phone jack you could either simply put a basket in the corner or make a memo board.
  • Flavia Andrews Flavia Andrews on Mar 18, 2016
    Jessica, this is a gorgeous space! I don't think painting the cabinets would be necessary, as you probably want to keep the transition seamless from kitchen to home office. I agree, you can cover those outlets with a bulletin board. I would make a long rectangle from left to right, leaving out only the last outlet and the light switches. So, the bulletin board could be exact the same length as the drawer (maybe centered with it as much as possible) - If you want to spruce up the cabinets, maybe a change of knobs would do it without disrupting the whole kitchen design. I think this place has great potential! What a great nook, Enjoy! I was thinking, maybe you can remove the top doors to take away the 'kitcheny look' and just leave open shelving with books? Is that something you would like to do to give it a more 'office like' look?
  • Jld4963834 Jld4963834 on Mar 18, 2016
    Love this space. I would change the knobs to add some contrast, maybe oil rubbed bronze color. I think the glass cabinet would be a great place to display a combination of your favorite decor & some interesting service pieces, tying the kitchen/work space theme together. To cover the phone jack & outlet(s) I might do a custom bulletin board by choosing a cool rectangular frame, cutting cork to fit and then covering the cork in fabric. That will bring some color and contrast to the space and you can add a lot of character with the fabric you choose. Good luck!
  • Barb Wirey Grigsby Barb Wirey Grigsby on Mar 18, 2016
    If not using it as a desk area, turn it into a coffeehouse effect, with different coffee
  • Suzette Hanner Kallas Suzette Hanner Kallas on Mar 18, 2016
    Make it a wine bar! The open area under the desk would be a great place for a wine rack(s)! Under the top cabinets, you can buy the hardware that holds wine glasses! So many things you could do!
  • Sandra Allen Sandra Allen on Mar 18, 2016
    As a cook, I would love a place for my cookbooks and recipes. Can you do that or use it as a mini desk? Do you craft? How about a small space for supplies and a project or two on the top. You can sit and do laptop work or homework. I agree with the knobs are essential. If you don't want to change the colors much, how about a chalkboard in the centers of the drawers and cupboards? Or just a faux paint affect like sponges, or even pretty contact paper would give it a bit of "personality". I hope these all help. You are lucky to have this little spot. Here is a link to google when I put in "how to decorate mini kitchen desks"...
  • Linda Linda on Mar 18, 2016
    I agree with others, I love this space! Agree with Barb too about turning into a coffee space. Unless you don't drink coffee, in which case turn in into your own favorite cafe/bakery shop. I love baking, so I'd use it to store all my baking supplies. I'd decorate the back wall to cover the outlets, using my favorite tins and tools. What I wouldn't do to have this exact space!
  • Alys Alys on Mar 18, 2016
    A couple of thoughts for your charming desk. One is to install a narrow shelf that runs the length of the first three outlets, mounting it just below. You can add a few decorative pieces there to hide the outlets, but still leaving them available for your laptop or other small item you might plug in there. Another idea is to create a charging station for your various phones and tablets. You can charge up to four devices with the current set up. Just slide your phones into the open cubbies above. Tablets, if you have them, could sit on the shelf. If you never plan to use the phone outlet, you can remove the cover entirely, and replace it with a cover that matches your paint. Here's a link to Renu. They have twenty designer colors:
  • Irene Irene on Mar 18, 2016
    She said she loves sitting at it and getting work done, so changing its function into a coffee bar or something else would not be the answer. I might doctor up the wall plates, but I like it the way it is. It's lovely.
  • Love it!! I was going to suggest making the wall part a cork board (or chalk board), might be difficult to cut all around the switch plates, but you could do it. Or You could take a thin piece of molding and lay it underneath all of those (basically dividing the top and bottom) and then attach your cork board under it. stencil or paint the edging of the cork in a cool color. check hobby lobby for some colorful knobs (or check out Etsy) I would also paint the very back of the inside glass cabinet a brighter color to add some pop. Or, you could line it with wall paper or material. (refer to pics) and do the complete inside of the cubbies too!
  • CK CK on Mar 18, 2016
    If I were designing this space it would be a simple matter of a few pretty accessories placed on the desk but still allow enough space for you to sit and do your work. You're right: different knobs will give a new look too! It's really anybody's game with those. Go to the store and find what truly grabs your attention. Make sure they'll fit the existing holes. As for the outlet covers....if you have the wall paint, paint over them. They'll become much less noticeable. If that idea doesn't appeal to you, you could get some foam board to fit the space, paint it a pretty color of your choice or cover with fabric. Make holes for the outlets and insert the foam board into the space under the cabinets. The prettiness of the foam board will draw attention away from the outlets ;-) I mean, after all we all know we need them, but we don't have to accentuate them ;-)
  • Teresa Teresa on Mar 18, 2016
    Knobs are like jewelry for you outfit they can change a simple style or dress it to go out. Color can also change things find the best color to dress up a pin board if you frame it then you can change it anytime. Small Desk can also use a new counter that you can't afford for the whole kitchen that way it can bring up the kitchen then disappointing the whole kitchen. hope this helps. Teresa
  • Desiree' Desiree' on Mar 18, 2016
    The built in cabinet is very beautiful and I would leave it but spice it up with office small ideas like the cork board as someone mentioned or make it more like a happy station or something that you love that can bring smile to your face every morning. ;-)
  • KatAych KatAych on Mar 18, 2016
    I would do a different "backsplash" in this area - something colorful to make it stand out and use a coordinating color in the recesses of the drawer, cabinet fronts, and rope trim. You could put fabric or paper on the desktop and use a clear deskpad on top, as well. A
  • Cindi Cindi on Mar 18, 2016
    I would love to have a desk like this in my kitchen, but no room. I'd leave it, but if you want a change, add some color/bling, backsplash, knobs, etc. If you don't want it at all, that would be a good space for a pantry. It seems to go with your cabinets though, and looks very nice as it is, so personally, I'd leave it as it is. It's a great place to do bills, make notes, store most used cookbooks, and you could dress it up with some color with a plant, knicknacks, etc.
  • Carol Carol on Mar 19, 2016
    Kitchen desks are wonderful! I had one once and found it so useful. For yours, I think new pulls/knobs in a darker color would improve the look a lot. Try to pick a color similar to the 'antiquing' (darker) color in your cabs. From what I am seeing in the pic, perhaps oil-rubbed bronze would look nice. If possible, a new darker counter surface would offer a nice contrast. Changing those two things will make that corner pop! Enjoy your lovely desk.... it will become the heart of your home and help keep you organized.
  • Valerie Valerie on Mar 19, 2016
    I would add a fabric board at the back in a fabric that you really love. I would also cover my chair in the same fabric. If you have the board cut to measure, don't forget to cut out holes to cater for the plug points. Another possibility is to get a piece of fairly thick glass cut to cover the top, and then have your favourite photographs, quotes etc under the glass. You could also use a piece of fabric in a plain colour that co-ordinates with the feature fabric on the bulletin fabric.
  • Mickey Baron Mickey Baron on Mar 19, 2016
    Shop for a small, hanging, charging center, for iPods, Cell ph. etc. Hang it to hide the outlet, plus they're useful. Find a chalkboard also that might fit under. Hobby Lobby has some unique drawer pulls. What a fun space.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Mar 19, 2016
    You have an electrical outlet right there. Why not put a couple of shelves underneath and use this for a small appliance station? Mixing bowls etc. could be in the cabinet above.
  • DonnaBerlanda DonnaBerlanda on Mar 19, 2016
    I have the same set-up in my kitchen! (mine is flipped - 'fridge on the right -which makes the ice/water dispenser really handy when I am hard at work and don't want to get up, but I wish I could get it to dispense coffee!) I bought a sheet of cork and used that for the "back splash", then edged it in some thin, leftover trim from the cabinet installation. It was easy to make cutouts in the cork to go around my phone/internet jack, outlet and switch plate. I use pushpins to tack up my blogging schedule, and other work-related notes. My desktop is marble like the counter tops and island, and I had the marble cutter make a hole in the back of the desk top to drop the cords from the laptop, so I could plug them in to the outlet under the desk. I kept all the knobs and pulls the same as the rest of the kitchen so it looks cohesive. I'd post a photo of my workspace, but it's a little messy right now.
  • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Mar 19, 2016
    I have a desk in my kitchen as well. I used peel and stick wallpaper on the wall to dress up the area and add a pop of color.
  • Barb Barb on Mar 19, 2016
    I wouldn't go to the expense of removing outlets. Frame out a fabric covered board and hang it over the outlets you won't need. Not sure what your kitchen colors are but black hardware would bring out the darker stain in the rope trim.
  • Ann Ann on Mar 19, 2016
    I see no problem with the knobs. But when I feel such restlessness, I know I need a walk! or some activity to be more in touch with Nature.
  • Betsy Wilson Betsy Wilson on Mar 19, 2016
    Hang small plates over the outlets, remove as needed.
  • Neva Dew Neva Dew on Mar 19, 2016
    I just saw somewhere here on Hometalk a post about putting up a custom, printed-from-a-photo, back splash covering at a wet bar area. At the outlets they used the cutouts of the mural to cover the plates so they are basically hidden, but still usable. Adding a graphic of some sort would give some "punch" to the area and set it apart from the kitchen work area a bit.
  • Janet Beerman Janet Beerman on Mar 19, 2016
    I have the same situation. Propped an oil painting in front of the backsplash. It gets attention and hides the outlets.
  • Susie Susie on Mar 19, 2016
    I like Barb's idea of a fabric board, but you can attach ribbons on the diagonal so you can slip photos in them. As far as your knobs. It is amazing how new knobs can change the decor! But it can be costly, especially if you have those knobs on all the cabinets in the kitchen!
  • Tris Smith Tris Smith on Mar 19, 2016
    You can change knobs easy. You can paint outlets to match the back splash. Add a small planter or vase with some greenery. Cut cardboard to fit the back wall of the glass cabinet and cover with fabric or wrapping paper to make it pop.
  • Carolyn Joerg Carolyn Joerg on Mar 19, 2016
    I have a similar desk area in my kitchen, with outlets above the desk. I added a plant and fun accessories to take the eye away from the wall. I would add knobs that compliment the space surrounding the desk. I also noticed the desktop is different than the counter top. You might want to consider replacing it with a dark stained wood top. I used General Finishes gel stain, very easy to use and durable.
  • Ellen Beener Ellen Beener on Mar 19, 2016
    Ellen Beener, Spring Hill Florida I took down mine above the desk cabinets. I made a family art gallery with the extra wall space I created.. I don't like my refrigerator al covered with drawings, photos or memos . I also painted the wall space with an accent color then added one high shelf for decorative collections.
  • Susi Susi on Mar 19, 2016
    I'd first find a fabric you love that coordinates with the colors of your kitchen.,. Measure the space from the bottom of the (underside of) cabinet to the top of the countertop; then measure it's width. Buy a couple swing arm curtain rods, just make sure the length of them is sufficient to meet snugly when they're closed after they're installed. If you can't find swing-arms that are long enough to meet and still cover your outlets, you could also just buy a regular decorative curtain rod and it's mounting hardware. They come in lots of appealing colors now so you could likely find one that coordinates with your kitchen. Using the fabric you buy, cut a long rectangle that is two inches wider and two inches longer than the space between your cabinet and countertop. If you're using swing arm rods, cut your fabric VERTICALLY carefully in half from the shortest end. If you opt for the decorative single rod, keep the fabric in one piece. You can hem it up on a machine super-fast, sew rod pockets on it's long top end, that accommodates your new curtain rod(s). After mounting the curtain rod hardware onto the wall space where your outlets are, then put the new curtain you've made on the rod and hang it. Voila, problem solved. As for new hardware, you can choose a coordinating color from the fabric you buy to make the curtain and simply paint them with chalk paint OR visit Ebay or Restoration Hardware or ( <---I've bought gorgeous hardware here !) to choose new hardware. I'd stick with a neutral or black or metallic ( copper !) but it's up to you. It'll be neat, tidy and easy, will hide the outlets but will allow easy access to them. I think this would work far better than having to move a bulletin board or chalkboard every time you need the outlets. You can opt for lace trims on your curtain or thick bouillon fringe ( very French!) or no trim at all, all up to you. Let me know how you make out....Best Regards, Susi ( P.S.--if you don't sew, you can use Iron-On fusible tape to make the hems & rod-pocket with just an iron )