With the acquisition of a new serger over the holidays, I recently needed a different setup in my craft room. The cardboard desk I bought from IKEA six years ago and moved to a new house–not once, but twice–had seen its day. Like many work studios, my room used to be a formal dining room, and it has an open floor plan: an open walkway to a butler’s pantry, another eight-foot-wide walkway to the front hall. I decided I needed to maximize some of the space, and the best way to do that would be with a long, L-shaped craft table with a decent amount of storage.
And here’s where I ran into trouble. I had fallen in love with the Elfa system (available in the U.S. through The Container Store), with its mesh drawers and customizable modular design. The drawer system would be perfect for my notions, tools, and whatever WIP I had going at the moment. The problem? The tabletops available through Elfa weren’t long enough. Putting them in a corner in an L-shaped configuration would leave just about 30″ of workspace on the short side: not really even enough for my chair. I do a lot of paper piecing, so I like having a big work surface where I can do small bits of cutting and pressing. IKEA has some nice long work tabletops, but their drawer systems are made of MDF and don’t have as much storage space, and I preferred the ones that Elfa had to offer.
So I optimized: I bought two Linnmon tabletops from IKEA (one 79″ and one 38″), which were the sizes I needed and were $45 and $8, respectively. Then I bought the drawer unit and table legs during one of the Elfa sales at The Container Store. (I used Elfa legs and not IKEA ones so the table would be level throughout; the legs are the same height as the drawers.) I had to drill new holes in the bottoms of the tabletops to match the Elfa legs, but it was no biggie. The longer Linnmon tabletop needs an extra center leg, so I ended up getting one drawer system and seven legs all together.
IKEA tabletops: $53
Elfa drawers (1) and legs: $181
TOTAL: $234 (+ $15 of discretionary spending for awesome IKEA pendant light)
The biggest challenge was moving the Urbio storage system (also available at The Container Store) from one wall to another. I love my Urbio; it’s an easy and modern setup to store pens and pencils, scissors and rotary cutters, and the other little things we sewists need all the time. It does require some serious drywall screws, though, because it’s meant to hold quite a bit. I used that trick where you make a diagram of the wall holes using wrapping paper, and then drilled the holes through the paper onto the new wall. It worked well.
I moved my pressing cabinet over to where my desk had been, next to the walkway to the butler’s pantry. The space is a lot better now because that doorway isn’t blocked by my desk and chair. I kept my little side table there, and now it’s better used as a storage spot for my iron and starch collection.
The result of all this? A craft room that’s the best possible use of space, with a huge craft table with room for my sewing machine, serger, and cutting/pressing mat, a pressing cabinet for larger fabric, and a cutting table with storage space underneath. IKEA and Elfa may be competitors in the same space, but dang: they make some beautiful music together.