Monday, May 3, 2010

How-To Construct a Built-In Desk

I've been talking about my home office quite a bit, but that's only because it's THE latest project. Our three bedroom home seemed big enough when we were looking, but after we filled one with a baby and the other with our home entertainment center, we realized there was no room for an office. Our master bedroom has a little enclave where we had setup a long skinny desk found for $10 at a local thrift store, but it wasn't cutting it. Mr How-To and I were literally bumping elbows. So we decided to build a built-in desk in that area. Here's how we did it.

How-To Construct a Built-In Desk

Step 1: Measure the *area you would like to put the desk. Double, triple even quadruple check your measurements so you purchase and cut your wood perfectly the first time. (We had to take a couple extra trips to Lowe's for more wood, blah)

Pieces you'll need:
  • Front and back
  • Two sides
  • Five (or how many you'd like) middle bracers
  • Top to sit on top of the frame
*All that is required (for this type of built-in) are three walls: the back and two sides

Step 2: Construct a frame. We made ours using 2 x 4 boards with five supporting pieces in the center. (our enclave was 8ft long) It looked like this:

top view
Helpful Hint: Now that the project is complete, we wished we would've used a skinnier board than 4 inches across- 2 1/2inches would've been perfect. The 4 inch board makes the desk taller than we wanted.

Step 3: Find the studs in your back and side walls. We tried using a stud finder to no avail. So we used the guess and check method- pounding nails into the wall until we found a stud. Once you find one, the others SHOULD all be 16 inches apart. If you make the holes where the desk will sit, you won't even see them ;)

Step 4: Mark on your boards where the studs are

Step 5: Screw the frame into the studs

Step 6: Paint your top piece. We cut a MDF slab to fit perfectly on top

Step 7: Screw MDF top to the frame

Step 8: Either paint the exposed 2 x 4 or attach a front piece (we just painted our exposed frame)

Voila! We love it. We can both work and play, enjoyably together.

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