Hidden Workshop




I recently become a daddy ! That is definitively a good news. The bad news is that I had to quit my hobby workspace to change it into the baby's room. I wanted to keep a personal place to work on my hobby projects (mainly electronics). This place have to be nice viewing because it will not be in a dedicated room of my flat, and it also has to be children proof (espacially for dangerous tools).

My solution is to put (near) all my stuff in a single furniture.

In this instructable, I will show you how to convert a classic furniture into a nice hidden workshop. In other words how to keep compatible geekly life with familly life !

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Step 1: Find an Old and Cheap Furniture

Looking for an old (by good quality) furniture. Nowadays, it is easy to find one for cheap because these 70's style furniture are out of fashion.

I found mine for 40€ (50$). Dimensions are 170cmx128cmx50cm.

Step 2: Make Your Plan

Realize some drawing to organize the redesign of the furniture.

For mine, I wanted a workstation with two computer's screen but also a big enough place for electronic soldering and other various handling task. Because computer's screen take a lot of place, I think about a system to flip up a screen in order to get more space when I don't need two screens. To get a large place, I will have to delete the middle stand of the furniture.

Step 3: Redesign the Furniture

According to your plan, saw, cut and sand your furniture in order to adapt it to your need.

I deleted the last "floor" of the furniture. I cut the middle stand. And I removed the leg to reduce to total height.

Step 4: Paint It

Now, it's time to paint it !

As, most of the furniture are made with laminated wood, you have to use a special paint for the undercoat. For the other layers, you can then use classical paint.

I painted all the outside in white, and I let the inside with it's natural color.

Step 5: Add Decoration

After an undercoat and a white layer, I wanted to add some decoration and details (a tree with bird and cages). The easy way is to use wall stickers. But I don't want to use it because there are very expensive, they don't have a long lifespan, the visual aspect is not very nice and it is quite impossible to find a sticker that perfectly fit the size of your furniture. So instead, I decided to directly paint the decoration.
I started by designing the decoration with a drawing software like Photoshop. I get inspiration from wall stickers website and composed my model with different stickers. Because I am a bad drawer, I use the technique of the video-projector to project to drawing on the furniture. Then, it help me a lot to outline the model. After that, it is very easy the paint it with the appropriate colors.

Step 6: Add Some Details

After painting, I add some hardware details.

  • I washed the handles (CoCa-Cola is good the remove the oxydization)
  • I added some hardware stuff to consolidate the furniture
  • I added a drawer to enlarge the working space.
  • I added a pivoting screen support

Step 7: Cleverly Organise Your Workshop

Maybe the most important step: organize your workspace according to your needs.

For me, I use it for computer programming and DIY electronic projects. I need a computer, some soldering tools, screwdrivers, storage box, USB gadget, measurement equipment and box for electronic components. I had a look on other workshop organization instructables to get inspired. Magnet are wonderful to keep tools organised and accessible. For electronic components, I use storage box and large paper envelope.

A good light is an also important point for a workshop. I used led strip, and to add some fun, I chosen RGB led with a music IR remoter controller:

  • 5meters RGB Led strip: 10$
  • Music IR remoter controller: 6$
  • Power supply (12V/72W) : 10$

Step 8: The Seat

Because I removed the foot of the furniture, the seat is now at a non stand height. So I built my own pouffe seat from the armrest of a old couch. I flipped the armrest and add 4 legs. I then added some wood to consolidate it, and I covered it with textile for a better visual aspect. Because the armrest was hollow, I can tidy some stuff inside.

Step 9: Enjoy It

The total price is about 150$, including the furniture, the paint and additional hardware stuff.

If you like my work, please give me your vote !

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    45 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Wow! That is one awesome workshop!

    So many tools in such little space, I love the seat/couch storage, That's an excellent idea!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    NICE!! , I need to build this for my patio. Thanks and congrats on being a new dad.


    Whoa! This is super awesome and an awesome way for a tiny workshop to unfold into something bigger, perhaps. Great work!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent work. Good use of reclaimed materials, and it looks like a nice efficient workspace. Nice Work!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    to save space inside the furniture when I don't need it. And when I need it, I just have to flip it in face thanks to it's rotary support (check the photos).


    4 years ago

    This is a fantastic transformation! Oh a definite winner :-)
    I see your baby is going to have a wonderful 'Maker Daddy' !
    A question- how bright is the led? Is it bright enough as the only light for a kids study table?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Yes, with a length of 5 meters (separated in 4 parts), the light is good enough. In addition, the controller and the remote allow you to set the luminosity of the leds. However, the important point is that you have to be careful when you select your strip: There is strip with 30leds/meter, 60leds/meter and 120leds/meter. Mine is 60leds/meter.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I bought it on Banggood Chinese website (But you can find equivalent almost anywhere, like DX.com, ebay, etc...

    Here are the details:
    * DC 12V 6A 72W Power Supply Adapter Charger for Led Strip Light (SKU078009) - €7.40
    * 5M RGB Non-Waterproof 300 LED SMD 5050 LED Strip Light DC 12V (SKU127209) - €7.47
    * 20 Key Music IR Remote Controller Sensor For 3528 5050 RGB LED Strip (SKU130816) €4.47


    4 years ago on Step 9

    great idea I build model radio control boats and this would make life easier and also get the bread knife of my back in the kitchen


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea and a good looking solution that fits in well in a home environment. I like this idea- it's a kind of secret Transformer shed!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Do you any more specifics on the original furniture; maybe manufacture and model or dimensioned drawing in a CAD file? I realize you can make it anything you want but it'd be faster not to start from scratch.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry I did not use dimensioned drawing nor CAD file. Only some simple drawing and draft.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have to do the same for my art studio...Thank you for the great idea!!!