Styling a secretary desk is my idea of fun, but I’ve never owned one…until now. For a few years now, I’ve been staring at this corner and wondering if a secretary desk would fit here and make sense. It made sense in my head, but sometimes I am confident a piece of furniture will work based on a vision I have, and other times I need to try out what seems like a good idea. I definitely needed to try this out, given it’s location, and I’m so glad I did because this really is the secretary desk of my dreams.
My original design plan for the formal living room did not include a desk here, but like every other space in our home, the design has evolved in keeping with the evolution and refinement of my taste. And thank goodness we haven’t been able to execute that original design plan yet because I love the direction this secretary desk is taking our living room.
The Beauty and Function of a Secretary Desk
I’m fully enjoying the functionality of this piece already, though I haven’t begun to organize the drawers or the little cubbies inside the drop down portion yet. It’s just so nice to have a little spot on the first floor to sit and get some work done, read my Bible, or plan out the week.
The past few years, my office has been up in the fourth bedroom tucked away in a corner, which I never minded, but I work best when I can be in the mix of whatever’s going on in our home. This little spot is perfect for 30-minute chunks of writing, editing photos, and other various tasks, while still being able to hop up and make a meal, answer a homeschool question, or tend to the animals.
When this piece came up on Facebook Marketplace, I immediately knew it was the one. It was within my budget and has everything I love in a piece of furniture…patina, decorative carving, lots of storage, the perfect wood tone, simple lines, and even a place to display some of my collected treasures. Oh, and it had a life with a lovely family long before I existed. That’s the best part; it’s a desk with a story.
Just look at the carving and the wooden escutcheons (keyhole covers). So much character.
The sliders that hold the drop down portion of the desk are equally as charming.
I also love the rounded corners on the glass doors of this desk. Every other secretary desk I had been looking at had more ornate, traditional doors, which are beautiful in their own right, but this style is my favorite and fits our Cape Cod cottage-style home.
Styling the Shelves
I couldn’t get my hands on these shelves fast enough when I brought this secretary desk home. I raided my bins of decor in the garage and had so much fun styling treasures I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
Part of the reason I’ve had so many collected things stored away is because our 1989 home had no shelves or built-ins to display things on when we moved in. We are literally adding character and depth to every wall little by little each year. There are no plans for built-in shelves in the front living room, so I took this one opportunity to display what I could on the secretary desk shelves…and I love it.
When styling a secretary desk, it’s important to focus on the balance of scale, as well as color, and texture. You want all three of those elements evenly distributed among the shelves. You can see in the above photo that I’ve repeated the color blue on the top and bottom shelves, made sure there was something metallic on all three shelves, and spread out the light and dark décor so that it feels balanced.
Old books are always a good idea for styling a secretary desk because they make sense and are visually interesting. Plus, you can usually find several for a good price at thrift and antique stores. Adding in small-scale art and treasures you’ve collected from travels will help create the collected look we all crave in our homes. Oh, and don’t forget a vintage globe…every secretary desk needs one of those.
So that’s the grand tour of the secretary desk of my dreams. I feel so blessed to have this little work spot in my home now that is also a moment of beauty. Even though we haven’t touched the front living room yet (hence the missing baseboards), this desk has warmed up the whole space, and I can’t wait to keep building off of that.
Okay, now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear in the comments below if you have a favorite piece of furniture in your home. Is it antique? Does it have a story? Tell me everything in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by the blog!