Custom Office Desk Setup and Organization | IKEA Alex Desk Dupe
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I’m grateful to have extra space in my home to design a workspace for myself. I wanted an office space that inspired my creativity, where everything had its place and fitted my aesthetic. My workspace has served many purposes over the past couple of years. I used to work from home during COVID, film my hair and makeup content there, and now I have moved to creating bullet journal content, doing nails, and running my small business there. Regarding journaling, planning, and general office use, my desk was a significant pain point regarding my office space. I used to have a big old brown desk in my home office, and I was not too fond of it. However, my aesthetic is modern, bright, and clean, and I did not have that with my old desk. I love a space that is organized and zoned out.
I had my heart set on an IKEA desk. I believe it was the LAGKAPTEN / ALEX Desk, but That particular desk is always sold out or on back order, and I wanted a new desk urgently, so I had to improvise.I searched around for months trying to find a desk similar to the one I wanted from IKEA, but I needed help finding the same desk I wanted for a reasonable price. Finally, after hours and hours of searching, my husband suggested I check out Michael’s and see if they sold desks. I knew that Michael's carried various organization pieces for crafts and storage, but I didn't expect to find everything I needed to make a custom desk. Michael’s sells individual parts to create a custom desk setup. I got all the pieces to make what I call my IKEA desk dupe, and it came out better than I expected. You can find all the links for everything I purchased to create my desk in this blog. You can also check out My Custom Desk video on my Youtube Channel if you'd like to watch the process of me setting up and organizing my desk. I will be making an updated video in the future because I made that video in 2021 and have since made more changes to my space.
Pieces I purchased for my Custom Desk Setup
Modular Tabletop (1) https://www.michaels.com/modular-tabl...
Modular Half Cube (2) https://www.michaels.com/wood-storage...
Modular Mobile Chest (2) https://www.michaels.com/modular-mobi...
My husband was kind enough to assemble the entire desk for me and what's nice about these pieces is that they connect, which made the setup process much more straightforward. I like to think I’m handy, but I’m not.
The entire desk setup cost $210, which was right in the range I wanted. However, the Modular Mobile Chests were shorter than the drawers from IKEA, so I added Half Cubes on either side to increase height. Michaels also has additional cubes that you can add to your desk.
Once my husband put my new desk together, it was time for me to clear out my old desk. I started by taking everything out to see what all I had. I already had a few drawer organizers from amazon in my old desk that I just transferred over to the new one with all the supplies already stored in them. I like to create categories for my drawers and group items together, like pens, pencils, paint, electronics, notebooks, etc. Categorizing helped me see how I wanted things organized in my drawers and the functionality of my desk because I can see what I have, everything has a home, and it makes cleaning up so much easier.
Next, I created labels for my drawers. Labeling your drawers is an optional step and doesn't have to be super fancy, but I wanted the whole experience of knowing what was in each of my drawers. What’s also nice about these drawers is that I can easily switch their placement because they do not screw into the unit. So, even though my drawers are labeled, if I wanted to swap them (which I have), I can easily do so to have some items more conveniently placed without having to take everything out of each drawer and move them to a different one. At the time, I didn't have a Cricut, so a friend of mine made my labels for me, which was very helpful. Of course, you can always go on Etsy or ask a friend like I did to get your custom labels if you’d like. Now that I have my Cricut, if I want to change my labels, I can easily do so, and I have labeled tons of other things all over my house. I don’t remember the exact font she used then, but I will add it if I do.
The hardest part was mapping out the layout for my drawers and deciding how to place everything to where it made sense for me and what I use often. I like keeping my most used items in the top drawers and my less used ones at the bottom. I got a large set of drawer organizers from amazon in all different shapes and sizes to store my other stationery items. Drawer organizers make your drawers look nicer and more put together while also being extremely useful regarding how your drawers function. No more mess and clutter, just hanging out. You can see what you have and have things separated instead of one big pile of stuff in your drawer. It also helps you use your items because it is easy to forget things you have when you can't see them. Finally, it makes your articles more inviting to use when you see them laid out and organized nicely.
The half cubes were the perfect place to store my paint, which I also keep in a drawer organizer so I can easily pull the whole thing off the shelf instead of having to dig through and move to paint around to find the colors I need when I’m ready to paint. Keeping your supplies organized increases productivity because it reduces wasted time having to search for the things you need when you're ready to use them. I hate when I feel inspired to do something and can’t find the things I want to use. It instantly kills my inspiration. Of course, it's nice to have your items look aesthetically pleasing and organized, but you also want them to be functional, not just for looks. My mission is to show gratitude for my things by keeping things simple, cute, and aesthetically pleasing. Keeping it simple means not overcomplicating things or having an abundance of stuff I don't use. Keeping it cute and aesthetically pleasing means having things that are beautiful to me that I want to use. My family knows I love stationery, so someone is always finding something they think I’d use or wish to have, but I don't take it or keep it if it isn’t cute to me or it doesn't match my aesthetic because if I take it to have it, I don’t end up using it and it becomes clutter. Everything in and on my desk serves a purpose. I aim to declutter often so that I don’t have a bunch of things I don’t use, taking up space where helpful something can go.
It is crucial to declutter if you are trying to organize any space in your home, not just a desk. If it doesn’t serve you, LET IT GO! Get rid of any and everything old, expired, doesn’t spark joy, things you know you won’t use, unnecessary items, whatever. Just get rid of anything that is simply taking up space. Office supplies are bound to get jumbled at some point, and we tend to hold onto things that we really don’t need or use anymore, so it's good to just clear space for valuable items and makes them readily available.
Like I said earlier, I like to keep things I use most often on the top shelves of my desk. I recommend ranking your supplies in order of importance, so you can control what you need and use most in the most accessible area. My top drawers contain all my basic office supplies like pens, pencils, erasers, sticky notes, rulers, tape, scissors, and binder clips. Next in line are my micron pens, highlighters, markers, and other office supplies I primarily use in my bullet journal. On the other side, I keep my other art supplies, papers, and electronics like chargers, tripods, cameras, etc. You can set up and organize your items in whatever way serves you best. Everyone's space is different, we all use and create other things, and we each have our way of how we want those things stored and displayed.
I like to keep any books you want and often use on display. It's hard to use something if you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind. You might forget about it or be less likely to use it if you don't see it. I like to keep whatever book I’m reading at the time, my bullet journal, and my regular journal out on my desk because I use them daily. I have them in a magazine holder from amazon, so I can quickly pull them out when I’m ready to use them. I also keep a few of my favorite pens on my desk. All the products I use again match my aesthetic, so everything looks nice, and it makes me happy to see them and use them. Having miss match items is not cute to me. Some things will not match my aesthetic, like all my different paint and markers, but that's why I keep my markers in a drawer, so they look cohesive, and I organize my paint by color so it still looks orderly, and I don't just randomly have them placed since they stay on an open shelf.
The top of my desk has gone through the most changes. I have added and taken away quite a few items from it. My current setup includes various items. I have an acrylic memo board that I love to use to jot down everything I want to accomplish during the week. I mainly use the Echo dot for music and reminders, all the journals and notebooks I use, my desktop, keyboard, and trackpad. I also keep a few extra items for decor and aesthetic purposes that allow me to express myself in my own space, even when I’m not using it. Your space tells a lot about you.
The finishing touches were adding artwork to my space and getting a new office chair. I also had a white rug, but one of my cats decided to use it as a litter box one day, so I got rid of it and never replaced it. The carpet was cute, but my chair got caught on it too many times, and I always wanted to find a new one. My chair is from Walmart, and at one point, it was also on amazon, but it has been unavailable on both websites for months. I will link it if it becomes available again, but I can show you similar options now.
I have a letter board on my desk for inspirational quotes and a few pieces of artwork above my desk. I also keep a few plants on my desk (fake ones) because I like greenery. Adding extra accessories completed the area.
I now have a different desk next to my original desk, making an L-shape, where I house my Cricut. My second desk is where I store my art supplies and vinyl. I also keep journals and other stationery items on the additional shelf.
Overall, I am pleased with my desk, and the fact that I could pick and choose what I wanted to include in my desk made it even more special for me. It was not an expensive investment, but it greatly impacted my space and how I work. Sometimes you have to get creative, which paid off well this time. I love my area and am proud to use my desk daily. Before, I hated sitting at my desk, and now it's hard for me to get away from it.
You can check out and purchase all the items I have and use them in my desk/office space. I do receive a commission for any products purchased through this link. https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.account.AEMNDEVH36KTS443P4X6ZZRRYTHQ/RRFSE3R070QG?ref=idea_lv_lole_&type=explore