Maximize Your Office Space: DIY Desk and a Solution for Unsightly Computer Wires

This summer will go down in the annals of our family history as The Summer of Many House Projects.  (Take my word on this: all things become more official when you capitalize them.)  I hung eight curtain rods, painted four rooms, refurbished three tray tables, built two garage shelving units, fashioned homemade curtain weights, and added several decorative touches like a sleek detergent dispenser.

But I have not yet told you about my favorite project: the computer desk.

In order to design a functional and spacious work center, I purchased an eight-foot pre-cut board, painted it with three coats of high-gloss Cabbage Green, and propped it over two filing cabinets.  This desktop gleams with a refreshing pop of color, and simple decorative accents -- like the shelf, mirror, and lamp -- pull the workspace together.  It finally looks finished.

But I still haven't gotten to the best part yet: what's underneath, or more accurately, what you're not seeing -- and what my children are not yanking -- underneath.

Despite my best efforts to tame the beast of tangled wires, those pesky buggers refuse to comply.  So, I've hid them by building a Computer Wire Modesty Panel.  (Yes, that's an official term.  You know this because it's in capital letters.)

There are three easy steps:

Step One: Measure and gather your materials.  You'll need: 1) a thin plywood sheet that's long enough to cover the width of your desk opening (I snagged mine for just $6 at Lowe's), 2) a swatch of fabric that's long enough to wrap the plywood, with a few inches to spare per side, and 3) the same amount of batting to cushion the fabric and prevent fraying at the edges.

Step Two: Wrap the board with the batting, tug tightly to remove any wrinkles, and staple the batting in place.  (Since my plywood was so thin, I was able to use a regular office stapler.)  Repeat the same process with the fabric itself.

Step Three: Slide that bad boy into place. 

The functionality, of course, is that the board can be quickly removed to access the wires easily.

The beauty, of course, is that those unsightly computer wires are hidden.  Take a moment with me and bask at the sight of such unobtrusive organization: 

It's a foregone conclusion: even computer wires benefit from some modesty.

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  1. Look at creative you! That's absolutely awesome. I love the desk and especially the modesty panel. You rock.

  2. I love this idea! I have 2 awkward shape where desks should go-one in our Living room and one on our dining room for my sewing table. I love the plywood idea because you can make it perfectly fit your room! :-)

  3. It's a win-win solution, really: functional AND easy. I highly recommend it!

  4. The space makes me happy each time I sit down to work, which clearly is a good thing. Glad that you like it!

  5. You need to patent the term, Computer Wire Modesty Panel. Unles I'm behind the times and this is already a term floating around in the office decorating world. Regardless, this is brilliant Robin! Absolutely brilliant. I'm going to make one of those ASAP.

    You certainly were busy this summer. Your nice office space must make doing any work at home a little more "enjoyable".

    Wishing you a lovely evening.

  6. Glad that you like the idea! This summer felt so productive. Plus, it fed into my secret desire to host my own HGTV show...

  7. Mari CoronaOctober 08, 2013

    Great Idea!!!

  8. miathereader.comOctober 08, 2013

    I'm thinking I could use a modesty panel in all kinds of places in my house--behind desks, in certain spaces in my closet, under my bathroom sink---it's like a secret compartment made of plywood! Genius.

  9. This is completely brilliant. And that green color is gorgeous. GORGEOUS.

  10. THANKS! This is the same green color that I painted my oldest daughter's bedroom this summer. Apparently, I'm on a green kick right now. Whether it's clothing accents, house decorations, or anything that can be painted, I'm always gravitating toward this family of green hues.

  11. What a brilliant way to cover those unsightly wires!

  12. Awesome idea Robin. I had a leftover piece of wood from another DIY project - perfect size! You are so clever. I ran into this idea after making your DIY curtain weights. I will keep up with your blog in the future. God bless!

    1. Wow -- thanks so much for this great comment! I'm so glad that this project will work for you. And I LOVE finding leftover pieces that you can repurpose for another project. Jackpot!

      Welcome aboard!

  13. AnonymousJune 12, 2015

    Maybe I'm missing something, but how do you keep the board stable and vertical against the wall? Does it slide in behind the file cabinets or is it attached in some other way.

    1. Yes, it just slides nicely behind the filing cabinets. Since it's close to to the wall, the available space automatically keeps the board propped vertically.

      I imagine that if you're doing a free-standing desk (not against a wall) that you'd need to find some other way to keep the modesty panel upright and stable.

      Hope that helps!


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