Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My First Ikea Hack: Skirting Our Desk

Guys, seriously I’m excited, no ecstatic to share this news with you!  I probably should have said “girls” or “ladies” instead of guys, because I’m pretty sure the only guy that reads this is my dad (Hi, Dad), but I’m so giddy right now I’m going to go ahead and use the masculine term just because I’m feeling a little rebellious!  It’s going to be hard for me to wait to reveal this by going through all of the how-to mumbo jumbo, but hopefully you will sit tight with me while I ramble explain what the heck I’m so darn excited about.

In the scheme of things, I should probably not be that excited because the project you are about to witness is not yet completed, but it was such a spur-of-the-moment project that I decided to share it with you spur-of-the-moment, too, because who knows when I will get around to finishing it, and plus, I may need your help.  But stay tuned for the end of the post for that.

So, where do I begin?  Last week, Mr. Converse Sneakers and I headed to our local Ikea to “look around.”  We both know that when we go to look around, we never just look around.  We usually drop about $100 each visit.  Last time we bought our desk there, seen here:


Let me stop for a second and say a little bit more about this desk, since it will be important later on.  I hope all of this explaining is keeping you in agony for what the project was, but hopefully you aren’t let down when I finally get there because it’s probably not even that great.  Anyway, this desk was a swear word to find (insert any swear word you would like, I’m trying to cut back).  Well, this particular desk was not hard to find, but the search leading to us finding that desk was a MAJOR swear word!  We needed a desk that would fit two people (meaning about 70+” long), yet be slim enough to leave a walkway at the end of our bed.  It also had to be cheap.  Mr. CS and I searched on Craigslist day after day to no avail, using all sorts of search terms like “console table”, “table desk”, “sofa table”, and “long desk”.  Then, when we went to Ikea to, yet again, “look around” we found the perfect affordable desk top and amazingly cheap legs (this desk top with these legs) .  We brought it home, set it up, and were satisfied.  Ever since, however, I have thought that the desk brings the room down in star value.  If our room was a 2-star room out of five, the desk brought it down to 1 measly star.  Because our desk is a necessary element in this room, we brainstormed for a while about what to do with it.  A while back, I commented to Mr. Converse Sneakers that I wanted to add fabric to the front of the desk to hide all the gaudiness lurking underneath, but I never got around to it.

Well, my friends, I finally got back to it this weekend!  On our latest trip to Ikea, we lazily picked up a pack of beige linen curtains (found here) to hang above the window.  We were in Ikea-zombie mode where we get so tired from looking around and coming with ideas, that by the end we always grab a few things we were holding back on and don’t really need.  I now know Ikea’s secret to success!

Anyway, when we got home, I had Mr. CS hold the curtains above the desk.  I realized that:

1. The desk with the file cabinet is not centered below the window and it never can be, so the curtains would make this much more obvious.  Plus, it would look funny since the window is not centered on the bed either.

2. Curtains chopped off at desk height are kind of ugly (at least the way I imagine them to look in this room), and since the desk has to be up against the wall to prevent from wobbling (the cheap legs), the curtains would not work cut to floor-length.

3. The curtain color was all wrong for this room.  I thought it was the yellow light making the walls look beige instead of apartment-white, but when I got the curtains home and held them up to the wall, I realized that they are the exact same shade of beige.  See?


This was the opposite of the nice, flanked windows that I wanted.  We wouldn’t even be able to see the curtains.

While Mr. Converse Sneakers was at work on Saturday, I contemplated bringing the curtains back to Ikea.  Instead, I rearranged the room (makes sense, right?  Not to me, either), which I will show later, and decided to repurpose the curtains into something I said I wanted to do a while back: turn them into a skirt for the desk.

I was giddy when I decided to go for it while Mr. CS was at work, and the giddiness has lasted for a few hours since the project was finished (at least finished for today).  I swear, decorating should be listed as some sort of drug because of the high I’m left with when I’m doing it!

I knew I wanted to hang the curtains from a curtain rod instead of velcro because I like the scrunched-up fabric look and the ability to simply push them aside to get at any storage we have under the desk.  When I tried the curtains on the rod and held it under the desk, it looked, well, not so appealing because they have fabric hooks that make the curtain hang much lower from the desk top than we would like (we would like it right against the desk top).


I did not feel up to a bunch of sewing to make these curtains the way I wanted them to, so I almost gave up when I thought about cutting off the fabric hooks, folding over the top of each panel and creating a long hole through which to put the curtain rod.  Then, however, I saw the easiest solution ever!  Maybe everyone knows this and I’m some lame naïve curtain newbie, but I was psyched to learn that I did not have to do any sewing at all to make the panels exactly how I wanted them, I did the opposite.

You see that line of stitching a couple inches down from the top of each curtain?


It creates the perfect width for a rod to fit through the side.  Luckily for me, the stitching running down the curtain panels (seen below) does not go through both sides of the fabric like the one running horizontally does.


So, all I had to do was rip out the stitches on both ends of the long and narrow pocket and I had myself a new way to hang the panels.


Here’s the pocket:



Now that’s what I’m talking about!  After this, I hemmed these bad boys using the hem tape that comes with them and they were ready to be hung.  However, this is the part that has me stumped.

Right now they look like this:




I may have fooled you with my camera, but the curtains are not hung, they are sitting on top of the desk and held in place by the stack of books.  That’s why they look way too short.

Did I fool you?


I knew you were too smart.  Oh, and by the way, I left the fabric hooks on the panels since there was no good reason to take the time to cut each one off.  I’m not exactly the most polished decorator, but I am practical!

So, now I am left sitting at a desk with a curtain rod on top of it and I honestly have no idea what the smartest route would be to hang this sucker under the desk top.  Some people are lucky and have the desk flush between two walls or have a desk with square legs where they can use a tension rod, like this awesome one I found at Holly Mathis Interiors, but our legs are round and too far back and away from the edge to keep the rod at the very front of the desk like we want it.

I’m thinking screws and a drill will be involved, but I don’t know where to find a hook that will lay flat on the desk and dip down to hold the rod.  Any ideas?

I promise to share the final reveal and the new furniture in the bedroom, if you promise to share your ideas if you come up with any!

Have a great day!


  1. Wow,I like the idea of the curtain but I see your dilemma. Is there some way to tie or staple a strap for the rod under the table?
    Your genius finding the rod pocket in the top hem that worked out great!
    Cup hooks screw in straight, they have different sizes that might work if you do not mind screwing into the wood of your desk.
    Good Luck! I will wait to see what you come up with.

  2. P.S. you could use ribbon or shoe strings for the strap.

  3. P.S.S.
    Plain ceiling hooks might work too.


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