DIY Coworking Furniture: IKEA, Craigslist, Garage Sales

Furnishing a coworking space like Cohere in Fort Collins can be overwhelming and costly. It doesn’t have to be! I always furnish my coworking spaces with a mix of new, old and found products. This approach eliminates the threat of having a coworking space that reads like a showroom and instead gives your members lots of nooks and crannies to choose from and creates an eclectic vintage-y vibe.

So Alex Hillman doesn’t panic, here is a picture with people in it since all that follow will just be things–this is a post about furniture after all.

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From Draft to Done Blog Group

Before anyone will sit down they want to know where the power is. These wall mountable heavy duty power strips are amazing. They are sturdy and have 8 outlets! Cohere uses one stripper per table.

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In a world where you can drop a grand on a wheely table I always opt for IKEA. Pair this top with these legs to get a table that comfortably seats 2 for $85.99. Wheels make our rooms configurable for events, yoga or plain ole coworking.

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The same goes for chairs. You can spend upwards of $500 or more if you want a fancy label on your chair and ventilation holes for your ass cheeks but we get lots of compliments on this $79.99 model from IKEA. Pro-tip: as cool as the light upholstery looks, avoid it. Denim will stain those chairs.

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If you need larger desks with storage, these are solid though they take FOR. FUCKING. EVER to assemble.

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Assign your most OCD member the joy of this task. $159.99 each.

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For softer seating, we enjoy a sofa at each of our locations. Cohere sports a fancier version of this, which was our most expensive purchase in 2010 at $299. Cothere has its cute little sister below which I picked up at a thrift store for $80. Yes, that’s brown velour and a lobster pillow.

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Cothere’s itty conference room has this sturdy IKEA table. With the legs the whole thing costs $79.00. The chairs are craigslist finds, brand new in some guy’s basement for $15 each. In the background you’ll see our big Apple TV ready flat screen for presentations and impromptu dance parties. It’s on wheels. Always put your tv on wheels.

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The beauty below came out of a garage sale for $25. I sanded, primed, then painted it my signature turquoise with a dark grey racing strip. Black spray paint on the legs took this table from scrappy to fabulous!

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This mid-century laminate table came from an estate sale for $75. I got the chairs reupholstered and re-studded for $175. The zebra print is an IKEA bargain at $39.99 for how large it is.

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We want to see your clever coworking furniture finds. Please share your photos or links in the comments!

DIY Coworking Furniture: Storage Cabinets

This week we’ll talk storage. No matter how minimalist your coworking space, you’re going to need a place to stash a few cleaning supplies, some Kleenex and extra cables. Lucikly, Cothere came with a lovely kitchenette with lots of cabinet space. Unfortunately, I’m the only person who can reach anything in the upper cabinets so it limits the utility of our kitchen storage. See Suzi Struggle.

Suzi

 

Aside from our kitchen cabinets Cothere has ZERO closets or cubbies in which to store anything. I snagged the below cabinet at an estate sale for $7.50!!! No, the decimal is NOT in the wrong place. I neglected to photo the BEFORE version of this cabinet. It was rough. The whole thing was dirty and the top was a mis-sized particle board nightmare. I removed the hardware and the top, sanded everything and painted it this amazing lime color. It took 6 coats. I’m not lying. We found a perfect solid pine top at Lowe’s and only had to put a few coats of clear polyurethane on it with a super fine grit sanding between coats. We used the nail gun to attach it.

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Here’s the breakdown:

  • $7.50 cabinet
  • $15 quart paint
  • $30 pine top
  • Polyurethane from our basement FREE

Total: $52.50

Overall, this little second-hand find was a great deal. It has 4 huge drawers that hold everything from equipment manuals to spare mice(for computers not critters) and headphones. I love it! Have you repurposed furniture at your coworking space? Tell us all about it in the comments!

 

 

DIY Coworking Office Furniture: Whiteboards

Anyone who has met me knows I love a good deal. And by good deal I mean really fucking cheap. I recently vacationed in rural Virginia. I should move there because all the prices were stuck in 1983. $2.00 for a box of organic strawberries? Yes, please!

If you’re starting a coworking space you’re probably really turned on by furniture from Turnstone and Poppin’ and the like. Their wheelie furniture in fun colors is enough to make a bootstrapping coworking catalyst ball up protectively around her fashionably green nest egg. This is why I DIY or DIKEA for almost everything at Cohere and Cothere.

Most recently, I re-purposed some clear boards from our 1st space that have been sitting in storage as we didn’t have enough wall space at Cohere to hang them.

  • Materials:
  • 1/8″ clear Lexan in 4’x8′ sheets $104 each
  • 1 quart interior latex paint in flat or eggshell sheen $0-15 depending on what you have laying around
  • Paintbrush-Captain Obvious here. Seriously? You don’t own a paintbrush? $5
  • Green frog tape. DO NOT use blue tape. That shit does not work. $6
  • Measuring tape
  • Dry erase marker
  • Windex and paper towels
  • Command Adhesive picture hanging velcro strips. A set of 4 for each board $8

Start with a 4’x8′ sheet of 1/8″ clear Lexan. We got ours from a wholesaler in Denver. If you can, have them cut it to your size needs. We cut most of our sheets in half for 4’x4′ clear boards but did make one smaller one 4’x2′ for our entry way wayfinding sign.

If you have to cut your boards, put masking tape in a straight line and cut through that so you don’t shatter your edges with a circular saw.

Don’t try to paint your clear boards on top of plastic. Turns out this renders them invisible as seen below.

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I wanted a 4″ strip of turquoise on the top and bottom of my boards for visual interest and so they wouldn’t be invisible on the wall, like Wonder Woman’s plane. Start by marking where 4″ is at frequent intervals with your dry erase marker. Use your green tape to make a straight line. Fold tape over the edges and run your fingernail down the to be painted tape edge to seal it completely.

It usually takes 3-4 coats to achieve desired opacity.

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Mount to wall with Command Adhesives. Hint: use a level or a measuring tape and a friend to complete this. Lexan boards never shadow or stain and can be cleaned with Windex and paper towels.

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Here’s a bonus shot of our entry way board in Old Town. I painted the entire back of this one with the exception of a racing stripe because it’s mounted on brick. This little DIY board in our entry way has changed our lives. No more people wandering around lost across our various levels. Low tech and brilliant.

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Grand total for two DIY 4’x4′ clear boards (assuming you have to buy every single thing) is $130. The more you make the more the cost goes down since a quart of paint would cover all of them and you only have to buy the brush and tape once etc etc etc. Compared to this, it’s a real bargain! Plus you get to customize the colors to match your logo or whatever.

We also have our logo on a piece of clear Lexan at Cohere Old Town. It’s snappy looking and easy to do.

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Mark Your Calendars! NoCo Mini Maker Faire Happening October 5th

NoCo Mini Maker Faire

Calling all DIY, tinker, artisan, crafty, builder types!!!

It was recently announced that Fort Collins will host its very own Maker Faire–an event created by Make Magazine that celebrates the quickly disappearing skill of making things with our hands.

Massive, international Maker Faires happen annually in Big Cities, but there’s no reason that Fort Collins, a city rife with creativity and people who like to DIY, can’t get in on the action.

To that end, a team of intrepid volunteers is planning the first-ever NoCo Mini Maker Faire, which will take place at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology in Loveland on October 5th.

The Maker Faire is intended to be live a giant show-and-tell for all ages. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. And more often than not, there’s a lot of interactive making and learning that happens during the Faire itself!

Interested in showing, telling, or learning at this event? The NoCo Mini Maker Faire team has issued an official Call for Makers, which will remain open until August 1, 2013 (that’s only a few weeks away!!).

The organizers are looking for three main types of Maker booths:

  • Show and Tell – show us what you do and tell us how to do it
  • Make and Take – create a demonstration where attendees can make something to take home
  • Show and Sell – show us what you do and sell a kit or finished product

Maker booths may be from creative individuals, hobbyist groups, school projects, commercial organizations, labs and businesses, community groups and more.  Makers and Maker organizations that do not sell a product are provided with free booths.

See ideas from past Maker Faires and access the Google Doc sign up sheet here. We hope to see some of you super creative Coherians showing off your talents in October! Even if you don’t want to make anything, be sure to get out there and support your local Makers!

Image: maltman23

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