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I have a spare bedroom which I'm converting to a home office. It's been stripped out and I'm about to start painting it. I'm looking ahead slightly to the next (I think!) step which is fitting a desk system.

I'm a software developer by trade, and I have a lot of PC's. I also need space for electronics and other physical building, space for drawing - I need a lot of desk space in short. On top of this, the room is pretty small 2.5m x 3.5m ish.

I have a plan for this which involves a single desk which runs around 3 walls of the room, with an T shape part in the middle of the longest side:

Office Layout Potentially subject to some change, I could live without the second seat and turning it into a simpler C shape

I am already under the assumption that a modular desk system would be expensive, and difficult to fit precisely into the space, so my current plan is to use kitchen worktop.

I was intending to use kitchen units to support the ends of the runs / the corners. The shelf space will likely be handy anyway. I was also thinking of using wall brackets to prevent bowing in between.

I know I'm hardly the first person to do this, but I've never tried using worktop as desk before, and I have several questions:

1) Laminate or real wood? I much prefer the appearance of real wood, but is it hard wearing enough to use for this?

2) Height. My kitchen top is noticably higher than my current desk. Is there anything I can do to cut that down if I use kitchen units to hold the corner weight? Can I remove the feet instead of using kickboards?

3) Carpet. Do I carpet the room then put this on top, or fit all this and carpet around the units?

I have many more other questions relating to the task itself, i.e. one of the walls has a radiator on, one of the walls is just a party etc. but I'll save all those for future questions.

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    Not directly related to your questions, but in my opinion this looks like a very tight fit... you have planned for a lot of furniture in a very small room. I think it will be a tight squeeze to even sit down in one of those chairs, and you will not be able to move at all once you're seated. Only you know how much desk space you really need but if this were my room I would keep the desk to a single L shape and then add a bookcase for some light storage. – Hank Sep 28 '15 at 3:33
  • You're quite right, it is an extremely tight fit - believe it or not that's not even the box room in this house! I think I might lose the T part as it's not really adding much usable space, and I'll keep the second chair out of the room most of the time. That should, hopefully, allow me to actually breathe in there.. – Octopoid Sep 28 '15 at 8:31
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To answer your questions in reverse order: 3) Install your floor coverings first. It will go faster and easier if you have no obstacles to work around. You can always cover the new floor with tarps if you need to paint, drywall, etc. in the future. 2) If you need to lower the height of the cabinets ,as you noted, the toe-kick can be sawed off so as to decrease the cabinets height by (+/-) 3 inches. If you need the height lowered further you will have to modify the cabinet carcass (think auto body chopping). 1) Laminate or wood? Completely discretionary. Whatever appeals to you. Laminate will take more abuse and more scratch resistant. Wood, on the other hand, is pure and elemental. Sealed with the right product wood will endure years before it needs to be re-sealed.

  • Thanks :) just to double check, with the carpet - you don't think there's any chance of having problems getting the units properly level if they're sat on top? – Octopoid Sep 27 '15 at 21:43
  • It shouldn't be a problem, but if you think the carpet will add to the cabinet height it can be cut out from under the cabinet base. I assumed the carpeting was being installed over padding and kicked onto tackles strips which would make installing it after much more labor intensive. If it is a glue down it would be a bit easier. – ojait Sep 27 '15 at 22:09
  • Yeah, underlay and carpet stretched onto tackless strips. As long as it won't make leveling the worktop hard I think I'll do that - the difference between carpeting either a basically square room or some sort of fractal nightmare is just too much to ignore! – Octopoid Sep 27 '15 at 22:16
  • This is spot on. I did a similar (but smaller) project in an existing room. We wanted 28 inch counter height, so cutting down cheap cabinets worked well. If you go with the peninsula you show, you probably want some legs at the end. For cheap, water pipes with flanges at the end(s) are hard to beat. Your local supply store will cut the pipes to length and thread them-they are cheap compared to everything else you are doing. – Ross Millikan Sep 28 '15 at 5:05
  • I agree, 1/2" or 3/4" steel pipe threaded into floor flanges on the underside of a countertop make sturdy support legs. I would also suggest either threading the appropriate sized fitting (pipe cap) on the opposite end of the pipe leg. – ojait Sep 28 '15 at 14:33
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Note that nearly all kitchen systems typically also sell desk-height systems as many kitchens are now built with desk/work areas. So if you go the kitchen route, you may want to look into that option.

As for the work surface, sure, wood or laminate are both fine. And both used widely for this purpose. It really comes down to personal preference as to what you want.

  • I did not know that! Not having to modify them could be very handy indeed, as there will probably be half a dozen units. I'll look into desk height units, thanks :) – Octopoid Sep 27 '15 at 22:11

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