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Small & Studious

Wednesday, May 1

So, I have these super awesome friends. They live in Vancouver, which really, is the only non-super awesome thing about them. (No offense to Vancouverites; I'm referring solely to how far Vancouver is from Halifax.) He's a full-time grad student (a battle with which I am allll too familiar) and he works crazy hard and from home. They're moving into a brand new apartment soon and it has a little 4' by 5' closet that they'd like to convert into an office. That way - when he's done working, he can just shut the door and close it all away. 

I'm a huge advocate for having a distinct work/study space that is separate from your living space when you work from home. It lets you compartmentalize your life and get some distance from school/work - because let's face it - when you're a student? There's always something you could be doing. (The fact that my Perma Student Guilt has disappeared is an awesome side effect to my decision.) And you also need to have a life. Even if it's just visual, shutting the workspace away when not in use will definitely help with work/life balance.

My friends contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I had any suggestions for ways to make this very small space work for them. Here are my thoughts:

Although you could go with a pre-existing desk, finding one that is functional AND attractive AND fits the space might be a challenge. Although the dimensions of these closets are different than the one in their apartment, here are a few images where people have managed to make a standalone desk work: 
From Apartment Therapy
By Kelly Rae Roberts
From Domino
From The Blooming Hydrangea
And although a pre-existing desk can look pretty cool, here's my preference: 
From This Old House
A built-in desk. I know, it sounds complicated. But it really doesn't have to be! Plus, this way, you can make it fit the dimensions of your closet AND the dimensions of you. So, it not only looks great, it's functional too! This is a place where you'll likely spend a lot of time - so you want it to be comfortable. AND - it's probably going to be much cheaper than buying a pre-existing desk.
From My Decorated Life
From Real Simple
Original Source Unknown. Found here.
Very basic tutorials for DIYing a built-in closet desk can be found here and here. More detailed instructions here and here. And remember - places like Home Depot will cut wood to size for you, free of charge! So as long as you know what sizes you need when you go in, it makes your job WAY easier! (When I made my headboard in the fall, they cut the sheet of plywood for me. Made it SO much easier.)

Above the desk, I would use floating shelves. Ikea has some great ones or you can DIY them yourself, if you're feeling handy. On the shelves, you can put books (although check the weight load for the shelves - and you can always use brackets for extra support), file boxes, photographs of your mom cheering you on, motivational prints, a framed letter from the Green Bay Packers, you know... whatever motivates you ;)
From Flickr
From Better Homes & Gardens
From Apartment Therapy
By Rossington Architecture
Add in a task lamp (which can even attach to the wall or clip on a shelf, if you're short on desktop space), a chair, and your computer and it's ready-set-study! Or you know, procrastinate on Facebook, check your email 17 times, and maybe read an article. (Was that just me?)


  1. Amazing ideas Vanessa!! Thanks so much for letting us pick your brain. We will keep you posted and send you a pic when we are done :) Oh, and come visit again soon! - Mr and Mrs Theo

    1. Please do!!! Excited to see the new abode :) xoxo

    2. It could be a Packers green and gold theme cloffice!! Just putting it out there... (with apologies in advance to LPT for planting this idea in your head - but it's a cloffice afterall, you can just close the door!).


    3. Bahahaha, HOW DID I NOT THINK OF THAT?!

  2. Wow! Thanks for all of the great ideas, Vanessa. I'm really liking what's going on in the "Original Source Unknown" example. We're looking forward to showing you what we decide to do with the space, including whether or not the 'green and gold' colour scheme was given the go ahead (genius, Kel, genius). Thanks again! -BGP / Mr. Theo

    1. My pleasure! Can't wait to see what you do! Miss you guys! xo


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