Family Room Art Desk

We are an art family. My wife does photography and I draw, paint, sculpt, solder, sew, etc. And in the winter, especially, we enjoy doing craft projects together in our free time. If there is something creative to try, you can bet we have the art supplies for it. We have an entire bedroom dedicated as an art studio (I’ll post about that room soon), but we can never have too much space to store our supplies or work on our projects. So of course I couldn’t resist turning one wall of our family room into a funky and inspiring art desk.

For the wall storage, we used cabinets and cubby bin units from IKEA. I think the bins are supposed to be for kids’ rooms but I love using them to store small art supplies. It’s so useful to be able to grab a bin full of paints or pens and take it wherever. The cabinets are actually the same ones I used in my reading nook, but in this case I decided to leave the natural pine wood unstained. I added a geometric design to the cabinet doors with strips of colorful washi tape. I simply measured to find the center of the cabinets, and eyeballed it from there, being careful to lay the washi tape down in long, straight lines. Wrapping around the corners seemed to help the tape stick. I love the idea of using washi tape to create patterns or murals on walls or furniture. You can easily peel it off later when you want to switch things up.

For the base of the desk, we placed a laminate countertop, cut to the length of our wall, on top of two grey IKEA drawer units. This is an easy way to make a custom storage desk to perfectly fit your space. I made the faux sherpa covers for our desk chairs because our cat was spending all his time sleeping on the chairs and shedding lots of cat hair onto the black fabric. I thought I’d use a soft, fluffy fabric to make the chairs into cat beds with covers that I could take off and throw in the washing machine. Perfect solution, no? Alas, cats will be cats, and Chester has never once gotten back onto the chairs since I covered them. And it has been two years! But the fabric is soft and cozy for humans to sit on too, so it was still a worthwhile project.

After the desk was in place, I decided that I wanted a chalkboard backsplash. Rather than using chalkboard paint on my wall, I found some handy-dandy chalkboard wallpaper on Amazon. Not only can you draw on this stuff with chalkboard pens and wipe clean with water, but it’s also magnetic! The wallpaper has a sticky backing, but these types of things never stick well to our textured walls, so I nailed it in place as well. The black color blends in nicely with our dark gray wall paint.

I used a can of gold spray paint to give a pretty finish to some basic plastic alphabet magnets (political message optional). Make sure to use very lightweight magnets on chalkboard wallpaper, or they won’t stay up. I also used the gold spray paint on two of these pegboards. They make a great place to hang art and calendars and store notebooks. FYI, while spray painting anything, really, make sure to choose a spot in your yard where the sprinkler won’t turn on and ruin your project. Not that I would ever make such a silly mistake!

Art desk complete! Time to go make some art 🙂

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