Kitchen Desks: Are They Really a Thing of the Past?


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Do you think of kitchen desks as a thing of the past? Has technology changed things so much that only old folks use them?

If you are old enough to remember a time before computers ruled our lives, then you remember those nooks in your kitchen that were set up as a kind of home office work station, or a place where your phone was actually plugged into the wall where you could sit, have your conversation, and take notes on things as needed.

Kids could do homework there, and you could write checks to pay your bills in that same space.

But if you ever watch home improvement shows or do any tours of new construction, in most instances you’ll see that the kitchen desk area is missing from modern homes.

So are kitchen desk areas really a product of a bygone era?

Yes, kitchen desks are considered outdated by many homeowners and interior designers. The trend of including a kitchen desk in homes started in the 1980s to 2000s when it was popular for homeowners to perform daily financial and organizational tasks in the kitchen.

However, with the rise of home office spaces and the shift in the purpose of kitchens from isolated private spaces to a more sociable modern kitchen, kitchen desks are now seen as unnecessary and a source of disorganization and clutter. Additionally, the need for an actual home office space to work and the use of technology have also decreased the use of kitchen desks.

Kitchen desks are quite outdated in modern homes. But is that necessarily a bad thing?

What do you do if you have an old kitchen desk space?

How can you repurpose it?

Do kitchen desks belong in modern homes? In this article, we’ll cover why kitchen desks were developed in the first place, the pros & cons of a kitchen desk area, and what to do if you’ve already got one that you want to repurpose into something more modern.

By the way – before we get too far along here, if you want to connect with other homeowners and builders and get more great ideas for your home to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Remodel Reality here.

The History Of Kitchen Desks

When kitchen desks first became popular in the late 19th century, they were used for writing letters or doing any kind of administrative work that needed to be done outside of an office environment. Their popularity grew over time as more and more people found ways to use them in their homes.

How were Kitchen Desks Used In The Past

In the past, kitchen desks were primarily used for practical purposes – as an efficient way to organize paperwork, store items such as bills and documents, pay bills, or even write down family recipes. On top of this, they provided extra workspace to do any kind of chore from sewing to repair work.

Why Were Kitchen Desks Popular

Kitchen desks offered convenience since many households did not have access to separate office spaces or libraries where all the paperwork had to be put away accordingly; thus having a desk within the comfort of one’s own home made it easier for family members to get tasks done quickly and effectively. In addition, these desks created an airy atmosphere which was perfect for gathering around with friends or family during meals or special occasions.

Why Are Kitchen Desks Now Seen As Outdated?

The advent of technology has decreased most people’s need for physical paperwork storage, meaning that kitchen desks are no longer necessary when it comes to organizing day-to-day tasks. Furthermore, modern households now often opt for integrated workspaces due to their minimalist aesthetic appeal – meaning that bulky pieces of furniture such as kitchen desks tend not always fit into today’s home decor trends very easily.

Thus while once seen as a useful piece of furniture offering functionality combined with style and charm, kitchen desks have sadly become redundant with changing times leaving us wondering if they are indeed outdated

Why Modern Homes Don’t Need Kitchen Desks

Kitchen desks have been a popular feature in homes for decades, however, now they can hardly be seen in modern homes. It begs the question – why don’t today’s homes need them? Let’s take a closer look at why modern homes may not need kitchen desks.

Advancements In Technology

The biggest reason that kitchen desks are no longer seen in modern homes is due to the advancements in technology. From powerful computers to laptops and tablets, all tasks such as paperwork organizing and filing can be done digitally now, making kitchen desks redundant and extinct from modern households.

Popularity Of Home Office Spaces

These days more and more people are opting to have their own home office space where they can set up their personal equipment such as computers and printers away from other family members. As such these private offices become better suited for studying or working rather than kitchens which are mainly used for social gatherings with family and friends or hosting guests. Thus bulky furniture like kitchen desks tend to occupy valuable floor space without contributing much towards entertaining family members or guests – making them an unnecessary piece of furniture inside one’s home in the 21st century.

Shift In The Purpose Of Kitchens

It is also important to note that the purpose of today’s kitchens has drastically changed from years past; going from being primarily used for chores like food preparation, washing dishes etc. to becoming the hub of social gatherings with family and friends where minimal surface areas are needed for different activities comfortably.

This shift in focus has meant that kitchen desks are wasted space or simply disrupt the minimalist aesthetic appeal which many strive for when designing their homes, leaving them looking like an eyesore rather than elegant addition to any room.

Since virtually all of the reasons a kitchen desk existed in the first place are now being addressed by the home office. We don’t need a place to mount a landline phone on the wall any more. We don’t need a place to store a phone book. In many instances, the home office space has provided the needed storage for the things a kitchen desk was once used for.

Kitchen desks no longer fit into today’s interior design trends leaving them viewed more like cluttered eyesores rather than elegant additions. So we can clearly see why most modern households don’t need kitchen desks. So what do we do with that space if we’ve already got one?

Pros & Cons of Kitchen Desks

The kitchen desk has been a staple in many homes for decades, but with the rise of technology and the need for more efficient storage solutions, some people are questioning whether or not kitchen desks are still relevant.

Pros Cons
1. Provides additional workspace for tasks such as writing grocery lists, meal planning, and organizing recipes. 1. Often takes up valuable kitchen space that could be used for other purposes.
2. Provides a designated space for important items like mail, office supplies, and other items that would otherwise clutter other spaces in the home. 2. Often becomes cluttered and neglected, becoming an eyesore in the kitchen.
3. Can be integrated into the overall design of the kitchen, blending seamlessly into the space. 3. Becomes outdated as the purpose and use of kitchens changes over time.
4. Can serve as a landing station for important items like keys, wallets & purses, phone chargers, and other daily essentials. 4. Often too small and cramped to accommodate modern technology and work materials like laptops, keyboards, cameras, and books.
5. Can provide extra storage, with the option to add drawers, shelves, or cabinets for organization. 5. Not often used for its intended purpose, leading to the question of whether it is a necessary feature in modern homes.

Repurposing Kitchen Desks

Kitchen desks may be outdated in terms of a functional space, but this does not mean that the space still can’t be useful.

In fact there are many creative and useful ways of repurposing kitchen desks so that you can still make use of section of your kitchen so it doesn’t feel like wasted space. Let’s examine some of the various ways that one can repurpose a kitchen desk.

Overview Of The Various Ways To Repurpose A Kitchen Desk

Firstly, it is possible to get rid of the desk functionality altogether and simply use the base cabinet for storage or even just as additional countertop space. Or you could convert your kitchen desk into something more modern such as:

  • A beverage & wine bar
  • Drop Zone or mudroom with built-in cabinets
  • Cookbook & recipe library
  • Extend your countertops and cabinetry

Beverage & Wine Bar

If you are an entertainer at heart, then why not convert your kitchen desk into a stylish beverage bar? You can fit bottles, glasses, and other items needed to serve drinks while providing yourself with extra storage options. You can add a wine refrigerator or a wine rack to this space to make it even more functional. This way you don’t have to worry about finding room in the fridge for all those bottles.

Drop Zone or Mudroom with Built-In Cabinets

Entryway storage is now what has replaced the kitchen office space as the most functional use of this space.

This is great option if you need a spot to store keys or charge your devices if your kitchen desk is close to the door. Using this space could help keep track of clutter while also creating an eye catching feature in your home, and with a little creativity can create a really cool space.

Similar to the idea of a landing station, a drop zone in your home is a place where you can store backpacks, umbrellas, rain coats, and more. You can also mount a calendar so you can keep your family up to date on upcoming events, store mail, hang keys, etc.

You could also easily put this area to work as a mudroom with a bench seating area – perfect for storing shoes, backpacks and umbrellas quickly and conveniently resulting in functional yet beautiful additions inside one’s home.

Cookbook & Recipe Library

A cookbook library is an ideal way to store all those recipes without taking up too much space – perfect for those who love cooking! You can set up shelves within a small alcove of the existing base cabinet for easy access but make sure that any cookbooks stored in here are easily reachable by both adults and children alike – given their tendency towards heavier objects like cookbooks, which should always be stored safely!

Extend your Countertops And Cabinetry

Another great option is to extend the countertop further than what was originally provided by adding on additional cabinets at each side – allowing for extra workspace in your kitchen. Alternatively, install additional desk drawers or cabinets which would provide plenty of additional storage space in addition to making food preparation easier by having everything right at arm’s length.

Next Steps

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Rob Orr

Me and my family have lived through a nightmare of a remodeling project gone wrong, making countless mistakes including placing trust in the wrong hands. Despite these setbacks, we took matters into our own hands for many aspects of the remodel, ensuring quality workmanship guided by expert advice. Through my personal experiences, I've created My mission is not only to share the pitfalls we encountered but also the successes we achieved by combining our efforts with trusted professionals. By sharing both the highs and lows of our journey, I aim to help others navigate their own remodeling projects with greater confidence, ensuring they benefit from our lessons learned.

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