A built-in desk can be an expensive project unless you have an easy built-in desk DIY like this one. All you need are some kitchen cabinets and a few pieces of wood to create an entire wall of built-ins. Here’s a great step-by-step tutorial.
I know you are going to be surprised at this, but I have brilliant ideas every day.
I’m always thinking of them. The challenge is that 97.25% of them don’t work out. But every now and then—once in a blue moon an idea comes along that actually works. Like this idea for a built-in desk. And then? I totally amaze even myself.
This built-in desk project is even easier and simpler and looks better than I could have ever imagined.
A successful project.
A successful story.
A successful built-in desk masterpiece.
One of the 2.75% ideas that worked out.
how we made a built in desk for the craft room
Here’s the before of the craft room.
In its glory day, it was a tanning bed room. People from all over the county would come to the beauty shop for a cut and curl and a tan. It’s a small room that measures only 6 feet wide by 11.4 feet deep.
It could be a closet.
But I had bigger visions. I knew that it would be perfect for a craft room.
How much does it cost to do built-ins?
Custom built ins can be very expensive and average $500-$1000 per linear foot. The cost of built ins is determined by the materials used, the amount of decorative molding and the size and scope of the project. In addition, finding a qualified carpenter with the vision to build it to your specifications can also be challenging.
Do built-ins add value?
Yes. Typically, built ins in the kitchen, living room or closet add additional value to the home. Built ins add storage, create additional space in a room and add character and personality to the home.
How much space do you need to build a desk?
A free-standing desk is normally 30 to 60 feet wide and 20 to 30 inches deep. The knee space under the desk should be between 20 to 26 inches high. For this project, I simply used the entire length of the wall. The key with this project is making sure the width between the desks for seating and the knee space was similar to that of a free standing desk.
What wood would I use to build a built-in desk?
For this project we used MDF or multi-density fiberboard for the top and basic kitchen cabinets for the base. You could also use plywood for the top if you were planning on painting the built in desk or a nicer quality wood like oak or walnut if you were going to stain the project after you were finished building it.
Step 1: Remove the linoleum or existing flooring if needed
This step is only necessary if you are replacing the flooring. We started the project by pulling up the existing black and white linoleum.
(total aside: I love black and white linoleum….just not some linoleum that is pulling away from the wall and oddly smells like a tanning bed).
Next, we pulled off the baseboards and primed the floor.
(total aside number 2: the pronoun “we” is a little misleading….I was the supervisor).
Step 2: lay down new flooring
Next, we laid down peel and stick tile in a diagonal pattern.
(total aside number 3: peel and stick is a great option on a budget leaving plenty of $$ left over for a brilliant idea)
(total aside number 4: a “total aside” is so much better than just an “aside.”)
Step 3: Install base cabinets
For this project, I wanted a built in desk area, but to hire a carpenter is so expensive and this is a budget craft room. The room is so narrow that there is only a 15″ clearance on either side of the door and cabinets that you buy off the shelf typically have a 24″ depth. Enter brilliant idea number 1,345,678. We bought four upper cabinets off the shelf at the home improvement store.
These cabinets measure 30″ high x 18″ wide x 12″ deep.
Four cabinets fit perfectly along the wall with a 21″ space between each one. These cabinets created three desk areas with plenty of storage. Just make sure when you install them the doors are going the right way.
Step 4: Add top
We made sure all the cabinets were level, shimmed them where needed and attached them to the wall.
Then we simply added a 1″ piece of MDF that was cut to 14″ wide for the desktop. This allowed a little overhang and made it look like a custom built-in.
To finish the project, all we have left to do is add trim moldings to the bottom and add a piece of super thin plywood to the sides to cover the press board and then caulk and paint the built-ins.
Step 5: Paint the built in desk
After we add the moldings to the craft room cabinets, we’ll prime and paint the entire built-in desk.
If we were planning on staining the project instead, we’d have chosen wood like oak or walnut to construct the top and add additional pieces to cover the sides of the cabinets.
The entire project took a couple of weekends to complete.
It really was so much easier using pre-built cabinets instead of constructing entirely new cabinet bases.
Thank goodness for brilliant ideas.
Or never at all.
But this one was finished before I knew it.
Good thing “we” are so handy. 🙂