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my weekend project

    So we’ve moved a few things around in the house {no surprise there}.

    Among the objects that have been moved is this desk that will now reside in my office.


    We made it a few years ago and it has never been finished {another big surprise}.

    Ryan found an old door {with a terrible laminate orangy-brown finish} and added legs from IKEA. I can’t find the legs online, but here they are attached to another table top.  I think we spent less than $100 on the whole thing.


    But it is ugly.

    So this weekend I am going to see what I can do to make it work for my office.

    I will definitely paint the top.

    And I’m thinking about adding a skirt.

    Like this one:



    or maybe just pleated on the ends like this one:



    Or maybe somewhere in between like this one:



    My only issue with skirting the desk is this: what do you do with the skirt when you sit down to work? I don’t think I would love having fabric draping on my legs every time I sit. Hmmm. Any brilliant ideas?

    102 thoughts on “my weekend project”

    1. If you the tailored version you can have a pleat in the center with what is called a gusset. The gusset is a separate strip of fabric centered behind the pleat that allows your legs to get under the table and still allow the skirt to hang properly.

    2. Can you attach a cable system, like the one ikea sells to the bottom of the desk top? You could then put the fabric on the cool little curtain hangers ikea also conveniently sells. They have two kinds in the pack, clips and ones that sew one. But then you could easily slide the curtain when you are working, and then close it when you are done!

    3. Looking through the photos on flicker…like old home week ;)…I also found this desk that I had in my sunroom that I used tension rods to hang fabric on. I used crates on wheels underneath this desk for storage and easy access so when I used the desk I simply pulled down the front tension rod and placed it out of the way when I sat here and used my laptop, etc. Hope this helps ;)

    4. I’ve had a couple of cloth covered desks. I primarily use file cabinets with fabric and glass. Here’s some photos of my original, larger desk that was open on the side of the file cabinets and closed in the back for leg/privacy panel.
      Also note that I raised the glass with metal rings (napkin rings actually ;) to create a great storage space under the glass to show my journals, calendars, etc.

      Now in my much smaller space I have individual covers for my file cabinets with the glass placed on top. This doesn’t help you as far as your table but you still might find some inspiration.

    5. You could staple the fabric to the underside of the desk (or attach it to 1x2s and mount them) to make a knee hole for your legs. Then you can still have it draped, but with the drape going back in a box or U shape. Like wooden desks, only out of fabric!

    6. We have three tables in our studio, all of which are skirted with osnaburg, which lends a great textural element. I really like having them skirted; however, for us it was out of necessity. We have dozens and dozens of samples and swatches that we needed easily accessible, but not cluttering up the tables. So, this solved the problem perfectly. The skirting has never bothered me or been uncomfortable to sit next to.

    7. Maybe screw a dowel rod to the legs so you can push the fabric back like a curtian when you’re at the desk?

      Curious to see what you come up with! :)


    8. i would paint the top and add glass over it. For the fabric not rubbing your legs, why dont you use dowels or cheap drapery rods bolted to the underside of the table. Hot glue then sew/witcherystitch/hot glue your fabric to form a pocket to slide over the rods. use 2 separate pieces of fabric on the longer sides so you can simply slide the curtains to the sides- as you would open drapes- for when you are using the desk. This will also allow you to pleat fold, gather etc the fabric to your liking. Also, to disguise the gap (if there is one) between your fabric and the side of your door- you can add either a fat ribbon glued to the door sides or use a long, thick piece of your fabric. Or you can add a ruffled top to your fabric to cover the gap.

      cant wait to see!

    9. You could do the softer pleats with an opening hidden in the pleating with can be pushed aside when sitting at your desk. That could work or also I like the thugth of pulling the desk out from the wall and have the skirting on three sides.

      Art by Karena

      I hope you will come and join my Giveaway from Interieurs! It is very special.

    10. Can you just put the skirt on 3 sides? If you have the desk positioned so you are sitting with your back to the wall and the skirt facing the door or rest of the room no one would know that the side you sit on doesn’t have the skirt. Just an idea :)

    11. Though the skirting is lovely, I also like the clean, modern lines of the legs. So, what if you wrapped the desk top in that kind of burlap-y fabric. You can staple-gun it and then you don’t have to worry about too much work, fabric on your legs, or an ugly desk.

    12. I did this with my desk a while back and I did two pieces across the front for more comfort while sitting and easier access to storage underneath. I did the gathered similar to the first and third photos so the two pieces could be layered and hidden very well!

    13. I like the velcro idea for keeping the skirt out of your way when you’re using the desk. That way, you don’t lose the look you’re after with the skirting and yet you don’t have the skirt in the way when you’re sitting at the desk. Great idea! BTW, love all the pics!

    14. I really like the table too. I was thinking that you could just paint it white or gray and add large nailheads along the edge, or you could go out on a limb and do a stiff, pleated, tailored mini skirt (like 6 inches) with a linen material around the edge. That’s about all I’ve got. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    15. Pick up a tension rod to use between the 2 table legs. When in use push each side back like a curtain, when not sitting down slide both sides closed. (use velco if your concerned about anyone seeing under the table). Note to eliminate any fabric brushing your legs make tiebacks to wrap around the table legs. Can’t wait to see picks of finished product

    16. Awwww very nice project. I like the skirted idea but instead of having the same length for the whole front side, why don’t you hem the fabric in the center third only and leave the sides long. That way if you want to stash some bins or a trashcan below the table, they will be hidden from a front view. Oh and I just though of this: apply some velcro to the table in the center section and sew the other part of the velcro to the fabric so you have the option to add that “panel” back on the table at a later time.

    17. I’m actually in the process of doing this on a table/desk os my own. What i’m doing is having a contrasting fabric lining the front part of the skirt. I’ll put cup hooks on the front corners and attach a loop the back bottom corner of the front ( where I will “split” the fabric in front where my legs will go). Then I can take the front opening, flip the fabric skirt over and hook it on the corners of the sk when I am working and unhook it, let it fall and fully cover the front when I’m not at the desk. Don’t know if they makes any sense at all–hard to put it in words. Will poat a photo when I do it.

    18. Love all the great ideas for the skirt! Here’s another option for the top. Mod Podge with a pretty gift wrap paper. I did this with a hollow core door destined for the trash and placed it in a closet for a concealed home office in our guest room.
      Good Luck. Can’t wait to see what you decide but I know it’ll be fabulous!

    19. I would put the skirt around the sides as you did on the others but in the front leave about 3 feet in the middle and inset the fabric as far in as your knees go. Not sure if that makes sense but basically it would allow you to still have the hidden storage space and a place to sit down.

    20. I would make the skirt so the front had two panels that overlapped in the center and were gathered a bit to disguise the fact that there were two panels in front. Place the overlap where you normally would push your chair in and the two side drapes should stay at the outside of your chair allowing you free movement of your legs without having the fabric in your lap.

      Can’t wait to see the final product!

    21. How fun!! I don’t know if my idea is “brilliant” …but I’d just attach the skirt to a rod( cafe rod style) underneath. Then just slide it over when you sit down to work and slide the skirt back when your done. Hugs

    22. Hi! I like that old table. I actually like the gathered skirt on #1. And since I’m always cold I wouldn’t mind having the fabric draping my legs. You could do like everyone suggested above and put in a slit for your legs to fit through or some kind of a rod to allow you to move the sides away so you can put your legs in. That’s what I thought when I first read your post.

      Have fun with your new office! Wish I had one LOL

    23. I love the table legs. What about covering the top with a nice snake-skin texture or the table skirt I do love over at Grant Gibson’s blog is one of my faves.
      Happy weekend.

    24. My second thought, after most of the commenters shamelessly stole the first one right out of my head, was something like a soft Roman shade. You could attach small buttons (or decorative knob/somethingerother) at intervals along the front, with a small loop halfway up the back of the fabric. When you want to use the desk, roll up the skirt and put the loop over the button. Alternatively, you could put teacup hooks under the desk and do the same thing. Good luck!

    25. huh – I don’t think its ugly at all. In fact, I think the legs are pretty great. I’m more of an airy kind of girl, though.

      good luck!

    26. I like the idea of pulling back the opening flaps — sort of like the “doors” on a tee-pee. And depending on how big of an opening you want for your knees, you could unlatch a portion of the skirt on top, them pull back the flaps. BTW — have to thank you for all your ideas. I recently dug out all my IKEA curtains and “emilyized” my house — made a pleated skirt for my desk (but only on 3 sides since it’s not against a wall) used your gathering tape idea and put up curtains in the guest bedroom (only I left the tabs on the curtains and let them flop over — cute) and made several pillows and a teddy bear from the great linen fabric. I love your ideas — and know you will solve this challenge wonderfully. Thanks for the time you invest in us.

    27. I love the legs and think they will look awesome with the top painted. But, if you really want the skirt, I love the velcro idea above. Of course, if it was sitting in the middle of the room (facing the incoming doorway a la presidential style), then you could skirt 3 sides and leave the sitting side free.

    28. It looks like your legs are perfectly positioned to be used as tie-back anchors. So, make the front skirt with a slit down the middle, then when you want to sit, tie the sides back (like you would with curtains) to the legs with rustic ribbon. If you add ruffles down the middle slit, all the prettier.

    29. What about adding a little loop of fabric along the seam hitting the ground on the inside? You can then screw a very small hook into the bottom of the desk and then hang it up when you sit down.

      I know this sounds cumbersome but I’m also the gal with my tower under my desk. I do a lot of crawling I guess!

      PS: Love this post and the “abstract” art in the second inspiration pic! Looks like I have a weekend project myself now!

    30. I really do love the skirt look, but was wondering the same thing regarding functionality…maybe with a softer material it wouldn’t be so itchy or uncomfortable on your legs? Can’t wait to see pics of your wknd project. Have fun and good luck!

    31. What about putting some shoe boxes or older side tables with doors to cover the side you sit on. That way you can make the skirt on 3 sides and on the side ou sit on, organization. Wht about just simple magnets that hold the fabric on the side you sit on that can easy be moved when you are sitting and quickly reattatched when you are done with you space.
      Something like this underneath and you can either attatch a rod to two of these or have this define the space for your legs.

    32. If you went with the 3rd picture you could measure off the space you would want your chair to go and cut slits the width of that section. It would be easy to hide with the pleats & folds. Also you could put a couple of rubber hooks under the desk, so when you go to sit down you could roll up the skirt and use the hooks to keep it out of your way…

    33. I love the skirt idea, just think of how much you can hide under it when you have a client come over, LOL! Just add a seam where your legs would go, then it won’t bother you. =) I can’t wait to see the finished project.

    34. I didn’t read through the first 32 comments so this has probably been mentioned, but you could overlap on the center so that when you sit you could slide your legs in-between the two ‘curtains’. Overlapping it would still give the illusion and not have an open area in between. Would probably work best on the 3rd style. IMO :)

    35. I would attach the skirt to the table with velcro…put a seam (opening) in the center, and just pull back the necessary space when you want to sit, kind of like a curtain or shutter. If the whole skirt is pleated, you’d never see the ‘split’. Or you could make a panel that is 18″ wide (give or take), also attached with velcro, that can be removed. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well; it works really well in my head though! ;) Feel free to contact me if you want better explaination!

    36. I’m impressed you can finish that in a weekend! {and with 4 little ones!} looking forward to seeing the finished result…{what about box pleats?, doesn’t solve the leg problem but could look pretty cool}

    37. Use a contrasting fabric on the reverse side of that panel, have a slit down the center, and when you are using the desk you can “flip” back each side of the panel from the center, and attaching it via velcro, button, or hook (maybe embellished with some cute rosettes). This would leave a somewhat triangular shape for your chair and legs and add a bit of interest, as well. (I can so-o-o picture this in my mind, but cannot find a picture to link to!)

    38. add a strip of velcro to the front of the table where you’ll sit and you could just remove the skirt on the front when you need to use the computer!

    39. An idea…to make an ‘A’ opening in the front on the long side, adding a wide ruffle to the hem just to that opening. Then your chair could slide in without interrupting the fabric, but you still get the skirt look and some hidden storage.

    40. Why not slide the casing at the top of the desk skirt through a skinny drapery rod of some kind on the back side where you sit – make an opening where your legs go (like drapes) and slide it open for sitting. :)

    41. I dont usually put my legs under my desk because my heels are too high and I like to cross my legs. So my legs really just don’t fit under my desk. I sit back a little farther and turn my legs to the side. But also when I’m more relaxed I usually curl my legs up in my chair. See how you sit, your legs might not go as far under the skirt as you think!

    42. You could wrap the fabric around the legs and towards the back, so the legs are covered, but there’s an opening for you to sit in. I guess I’d have to play around with it and see how it looks – not sure if that would look funny or not?? But if you want to have a chair there permanently, you’d have to come up with something like that so that the chair isn’t always dragging in the fabric around it while it’s pushed in…..pretty sure that would look funny…..

    43. Ha seems like everyone has the same idea. I like it as is but I like the skirt too, oh the decisions you’ll have to make. The only thing I can add is I think I’d do panels with a little Velcro to attach them you could always pull them off when you’re really moving around that desk :)

    44. This has nothing to do with the skirt, :-) but where did you get your wallpaper in that room and what is it called? I’m looking for something for our master bedroom, and that’s a lot like what I had in mind. I love it!

    45. The rod could also be attached to the underside of the desk, if it seems like attaching it to the legs would be too much of a pain.

    46. What about putting the skirt on a curtain rod, and essentially making a pair of curtains you can just push apart when you sit down? I know it’s a lot more work than just making a skirt, but here’s what I’d do. I’d make skirt pieces for the sides that wrap around to a couple inches past the legs. I’d mount a bar between the legs on the front, and make a pair of curtains, and hang them from rings or hooks so they move really easily. And then I’d make a short valance, just to cover the curtain rod but not long enough to be annoying when you sit down, around all three sides (or four if you’re skirting the back too). It would give it a tailored, finished look that I think I’d actually prefer to the examples you give above, all of which remind me a little of sinks with makeshift skirts.

    47. The first thought is making the skirt somehow removable but, that would drive me nuts always taking it on and off or drawing to the side like a curtain. Yesp, would drive me nuts!

      Can you attach something (velcro or other fastener) to the back of the skirt and underside of the table so that when you need it down you can just give a little tug?

    48. you could always bustle it with a couple hooks and loops. hooks on the table and loops on the back side of the fabric. or my honey’s “go-to” fix – velcro! i used to laugh at him about it, but it has prooved useful on more than one occasion. but i’m sure whatever you come up with will look wonderful.

    49. Ooo, my favorite is the first skirt. Having it drape over your legs might not be too bad. It would be like a nice cozy blanket while you work ;) afterall, fall is here and winter is upon us.

    50. love everyone’s ideas. what if you tapered it? like those dresses that are short in the front and long in the back? I remember when I was little I wanted my wedding dress to look like that. thank God I grew out of that! but then you might have fabric always ticking your legs…

    51. I think putting a pleat right where you would sit, with a slit in the middle would be SUPER cute! Put loops on the corner so you can open the fold and button the corners up while you are working

    52. LOVE the skirt idea! I’d just put it on 3 sides as well. :) Or maybe just wrap it only a little around the back side of your desk where you will be sitting. :)

    53. I would just leave the material out of the middle part, when you have the chair under the desk it would still look nice and when you’re working the material would not be in your way! :)

        1. I like the legs showing, too. Except…if you tend to stash stuff under there (as I would), then I would go with the skirt with a slit or two for your legs. The skirt would also soften the room a little and make it feminine.

    54. Maybe cut a slit or two in the fabric (and hem it) where you normally pull your chair in. Plus, when you want to slide your chair under your desk (when you aren’t sitting there, it won’t pull the fabric all funny.

    55. Make a rod pocket and place the curtain under the table on a tension rod. Then, you can just push back the curtain when you sit down. : )

    56. Depending on where you are planning to use it in the room you may need to skirt only three sides. Good luck we want to see the finished product. I love you blog and all your cute ideas you are so creative.

    57. Hey :) I have one of those white-legged wooden-topped tables in my craft room (that everyone had in their first house!). I used small screw-in eye hooks right under the table top edge, then threaded string through to create a “rod” for the skirt. I used old curtain panels for the skirt, just hemmed to the bottom to length. The curtains are the kind with a pocket (not tabs), which hid the string. My table is up against a wall – I used 4 curtain panels – one for each end, two across the long front. I imagine you could use wire for a cleaner look (and to hold their tension better than the string I rigged up!). But I love the functionality – when I sit down to sew, I slide the curtain/skirt to the side and slide it back when finished.

    58. Years ago I skirted a pedestal sink. I used velcro tape (hot glue) on the sink and the other side sewn on the pleats. Worked perfectly to remove to launder and such. I think you could do the same with the table and remove the pleating when you sit–replace when you are done!

      Have fun

      1. I used the same idea for my sewing machine table, but have found that staples holding the velcro onto the table work better than hot glue. The frequent pulling off of the skirt also pulled the hot-glued velcro off. Staples hold better. Good luck!

    59. I would say maybe some sort of tension rod or one of those little curtain rods for like cafe curtains and you can attach it to the legs and the bottom of the desk in the middle. Make two curtains that meet in the middle, then the skirt could easily be moved to either side to allow room for your legs.

    60. If you can figure out how to attach a curtain rod between the legs, you could slide the fabric over so that it doesn’t drape on your legs. Obviously you would need the fabric split in the middle on the front and it probably would not work with the pleated version. You could use a tension rod but it would have to be really tight I think to not fall down on you.

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