This Smart Trick Will Help You Turn a Wooden Dining Table into a WFH Desk — Without Ruining It

updated Sep 25, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Over the past few months, my kitchen table has seen more action than ever. It’s now the spot where I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Before COVID-19, I maybe ate one meal at home per day, so this is a major ramp up. It’s also become my de facto work space. I tried carving out a little desk nook in my bedroom, but I kept going back to my kitchen table with my computer. I prefer soaking up the natural light that’s ever-present in my dining area, gazing at the potted plants I have displayed on my windowsill, and, maybe most importantly, being in close proximity to my coffee maker.

A few months ago, I upgraded to a new table that better fit my design aesthetic and space but quickly became worried about its wood finish losing its luster. When you’re sitting somewhere for hours on end each day—and frequently wiping down that surface—your table is bound to see a bit of wear and tear.

If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation and want to keep your table looking pristine for as long as possible, I have the design hack for you: a cut glass tabletop! This extra protective surface won’t set you back a ton of money, and they’re fairly easy to find or have made if need be.

Credit: Sarah Lyon

I was trying to come up with the best solution myself a few weeks ago when I happened to spot a glass cutting listed on Facebook Marketplace. I was ecstatic, because the piece was free and also had a 40-inch diameter that would fit my table perfectly. I contacted the seller within minutes of him posting the listing, and he was kind enough to deliver the piece to my apartment, which proved to be super helpful. Cut glass pieces can be heavy to transport, so keep that in mind if you find something secondhand in your area or work with a fabricator to make a custom cover.

While the glass isn’t Pinterest-worthy from every single angle (the way the light hits it can distort its appearance a bit, and thicker glass almost always has a green cast to its edges), it’s certainly the most practical solution for me. I’m all for aesthetics and often guilty of choosing the pretty over the practical, but I knew that function was absolutely key for using my kitchen table several times a day — and keeping it in good shape.

Wiping down the glass is easy; I don’t have to worry about creating any permanent stains on the wood, and should guests eventually come over, I can always throw a fun tablecloth on top to spruce up its overall look (or even carefully remove and store the glass top in another room while entertaining). Even if you’re not trying to use your dining table as a WFH desk, but you maybe bought something with a higher maintenance finish than you bargained for, this design trick is one you can use.

If you’re worried about your new protective glass top slipping or scratching your table’s original surface, you can also add rubber bumper pads in between the two tabletops to prevent movement. Thus far, I’ve managed without them, but I might buy a set just to have them on hand in case I notice any slippage. For now though, I have a sturdy, totally custom workspace that meets my everyday needs, and I don’t have to be anxious about my table getting ruined. What could be better?

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Design Hack Will Help You Turn a Wooden Dining Table into a WFH Desk—Without Ruining It