Materials: Expedit TV Stand, Bjursta, 5″ corner braces, VESA swivel mounts, Custom Vinyl Subway Art
Description: My apartment has a strange living area layout (almost pentagonal), and, being one to need my separate spaces, I wanted to create a conventional rectangular living room with a functional triangular office space. Ikea to the rescue! Given that my apartment is only 650 sq.ft and has a monstrous bedroom and walk-in closet, I needed multi-functional furniture. The Expedit anchors the living area. From the front, nothing looks amiss – just an Expedit TV shelf with the standard trimmings (and an extra large TV! A Samsung LN42C650).
The first tweak is some functionality+art. Come around the side, and you find that the Expedit is actually a room divider. The large side panel made for a beautiful canvas in the middle of the room that seemed ripe for some custom subway-art, which I designed in Photoshop and ordered from Etsy as a vinyl applique ($60). The text itself is religious in nature and reflects the spirituality I like to have at the center of my life (which fits nicely with its location in my apartment). A little further around the corner and you’ll find my office space where I can read and work away from the gorgeous time-suck of an HDTV armed with Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Video.
The back of the Expedit is rather boring. It’s a giant blank panel of solid particle board – strong enough to bear some weight and definitely in need of some life. Unfortunately, the space behind the Expedit is limited and I wanted both a computer desk and a reading table, but also a way to stash one away if I really wanted extra space. I looked for a drop-leaf table and found a great option right at Ikea – the Bjursta in matching black-brown. By setting the table height right at the bottom of the TV back-panel, the leaf rises to the perfect height for a desk – 30″. At that height, all the mounting screws for the Bjursta are actually screwed into the back panel for the Expedit long shelves. I grabbed two VESA swivel mounts from a local computer shop and drilled keyholes into the back of the TV panel to run wiring (hidden, conveniently, behind the TV) f or two monitors which fit beautifully side-by-side. The wiring emerges through the cable management gap Ikea so graciously built in between the TV and AV shelves. Lighting from above is provided by two Ikea Lagra spotlights attached to the shelves, and wired across the top and side of the Expedit.
Where, though, to put the computer? Originally I had it in one of the shelves facing the living room, but changing CDs (and even hitting the power button) was annoying because I had to walk around to do it. My slimline Gateway Sx2800-01 is only 4″wide and the Bjursta shelf protrudes 5″ from the back of the Expedit. Realizing that it would fit perfectly with a natural conduit for wiring in the swinging arm of the drop-leaf, I bought three 5″ corner braces from Home Depot and screwed them into the bottom of the shelf backing using #10 1 1/4″ wood screws and set my computer on them. The extra inch means I don’t really have to use any sort of restraint system to hold the computer in place AND it forces the drop-leaf to fall at a right angle when let down for a more finished look.
Now, I can easily swivel my chair between the reading desk and the Bjursta/Ikea computer desk, the small office feels double the previous size and fits my needs perfectly. I can drop the leaf and slide even further away from the desk or raise it to work on my dual-screen setup. Oh, and since you’re wondering, the keyboard and mouse live on the other side panel of the Expedit, where I have a small bin attached and the Mohu Leaf HD Antenna powering free basic channels in hi-def. (Sorry, I forgot those photos!)