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Creating an office out of a small room by utilising built-in furniture, floating shelves and a tidy charging station makes space-saving sense.

Creating a home office - utilise built-in furniture

The word custom always sounds expensive to me, but it doesn't have to be

The word custom always sounds expensive to me, but it doesn’t have to be. Maximising a small space with built-in or custom furniture is a no-brainer. It could be a desk, floating shelves or charging station to use at home in a small bedroom, unused hall cupboard, nook or wardrobe.

Before building, ensure the walls and ceiling are painted or papered ahead of adding a built-in desk and installing any shelves. I painted the wall in Resene SpaceCote Flat in Resene Mine Shaft and the ceiling is papered in Resene Wallpaper Collection 91273.

You will need

Built in desk – instructions


You will need You will need
A close-up of the tools and materials you will need.

Built in desk - Step 1 Step 1
Measure the area where you want the desk and shelves to be, marking the studs and drawing level lines.

Built in desk - Step 2 Step 2
Measure the width and depth of the space and cut the 20mm x 40mm batten to fit across the back and down the sides.

Built in desk - Step 3 Step 3
Install the batten along your level lines. Use a drill bit to pre-drill the holes, then a large wood screw to hold in place.

Built in desk - Step 4 Step 4
Measure and cut the panel for the desktop to length.

Built in desk - Step 5 Step 5
Place this onto your batten and screw down from underneath if desired. You can also use a large hole saw bit and fit a cord tidy, if desired. Cord tidy units are available from most office supply stores.

Built in desk - Step 6 Step 6
Lightly sand and finish desktop with three coats of Resene Aquaclear clear waterborne sealer.

Finished desktopFinished desk

Floating shelves – instructions


Floating shelves - Step 1 Step 1
Using your panel offcuts from the desktop, measure, mark and cut floating shelves. These need to be long enough to span across at least two studs to get secure fixing.

Floating shelves - Step 2 Step 2
Using the measurements of the studs marked earlier, mark the backs of each shelf. You want this to be nice and centre over the thickness of the shelf.

Floating shelves - Step 3 Step 3
Starting first with a small drill bit, drill a hole as deep as you can, then repeat this with a long 10mm drill bit (or the same diameter as your threaded rod). The deeper the rod can go in, the better.

Floating shelves - Step 4 Step 4
Repeat this process on the wall/ studs being sure to only go as deep as the wall is thick. I have put a piece of tape around the drill bit at 90mm as a guide to stop me going too deep.

Floating shelves - Step 5 Step 5
Put a small amount of glue in each hole and press the rods in.

Floating shelves - Step 6 Step 6
Repeat this process with the holes in your shelves, pressing your shelf onto the rods in the wall. You may need to use a block of timber and hammer to hit it in if it is a bit tight.

Floating shelves - Step 7 Step 7
Lightly sand and finish shelves with three coats of Resene Aquaclear clear waterborne sealer.

Finished shelvesFinished shelves

For the charging station and screen lifter – instructions


Charging station and screen lifter - Step 1 Step 1
Drill a hole in the back of the drawers big enough to feed your charging cables through.

Charging station and screen lifter - Step 2 Step 2
Lightly sand the drawers.

Charging station and screen lifter - Step 3 Step 3
Wipe dust off and prime with Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat.

Charging station and screen lifter - Step 4 Step 4
Allow to dry and apply two topcoats of your desired Resene paint colour, allowing paint to dry in between each coat. I used Resene Enamacryl in Resene Atlas.

Charging station and screen lifter - Step 5

Finished charging drawer


Step 5
Place on desk and feed cords through the back hole, plug in devices as required and shut the draw to hide all those messy cords. This doubles as a screen riser.


More Resene colours to try...

Resene Aoraki

Resene Boris

Resene Boost

Project: Nikki Kettle. Photography: Anna Briggs. May 2023.

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Projects from Your Home and Garden
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