First I had to decide where in my apartment the sewing space would be located. I originally wanted it in the corner of the living room because I grew up watching tv while sewing and I wanted to continue that tradition. Well, it turns out we don't have a tv and probably won't get one for a while, and the only tv outlet in the apartment is right where I wanted my sewing table to go. Additionally, I am known as a messy person so we didn't want it sitting in the living room looking messy for guests to see (although quilting is always a great conversation starter for someone in her 20's because it's so unexpected for many people).
Next thought was the bedroom, which is surprisingly large. The debate became whether the desk should face the wall (takes up less space) or face the room (takes up more space). I wanted to face the room because a wall is no fun to stare at while working. So once we had a location, it came time to select a desk.
Last year I used my actual dorm desk as a sewing table. It worked, but it wasn't really big enough at all, and I did many things like cutting and ironing on the floor. I knew that I wanted a really large sewing table this time around, but large desks are expensive! I checked out actual sewing cabinets, which are all awesome because they fold up and look like regular cabinets so you can't even tell they're for sewing, but the tiniest one (and it was quite tiny) was $600, and the one that was in a size range I wanted was over $1000. Next I considered IKEA desks as an inexpensive option. Most of their desks are to small, but they have a "make it yourself" desk option where you choose the table top and legs in a mix and match sort of scenario. However, this would cost around $1000. There was also a great IKEA dining table that folds down small, but it was $200. So I did nothing for a while because I was debating the trade-off between cost and having a wonderful workspace, and trading to figure out how much I was really willing to pay.
Then, inspiration struck. I work right across the street from Stanford's "Surplus Sales" department, where excess stuff is sold to the general public for cheap. I had to go over to drop off about 50 surge protectors for my work, and while I was there decided to shop around. Lo and behold they had tons of desks. I started inquiring about prices and they were CHEAP. The desk that I selected was—get this—a mere $15. This thing is HUGE, has drawers on either side, and little pull-out extensions above each set of drawers to make the workspace even larger. It was bigger and better than anything I had been shopping for, at an absolute fraction of the price. All my life we have had to do cutting on the floor because of lack of table space, but with this sewing table I can actually set up my cutting board on the corner. Additionally, I picked up (for free) a little table-top ironing board last year that fits perfectly on the desk. Photos below. Unfortunately the desk is so close to the wall that I couldn't get a good shot of the other side of it, but imagine a row of drawers on either side, plus a big shallow pull-out in the center for gadgets.
|Set up with my cutting board on one side. The black blob is our video monitor, this desk is also perfect for watching movies from bed. :)|
|All of my fabric stash in one drawer! Its very exciting because I can actually flip through it for colors, whereas before it was in a big bag and impossible to work with.|
|Set up for my current fusible web project. I took away the sewing machine and set up the ironing board!|