These easy DIY desk ideas are beginner-friendly, stylish and can be made at a fraction of the cost of higher-end versions. Create your perfect home office!
Working from home, computer work, writing letters, working on assignments, playing games, making arts and crafts…no matter what you need it for, you need a desk in your home.
Building your own desk can not just help you achieve a stylish high-end look for a fraction of the price, but it can make sure you get the configuration or setup that works perfectly for YOU!
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How to build a simple desk
The standard desk height is about 30″ and you want it to be at least 16″ deep to be able to work comfortably.
While the styles of desks can vary and the design can range from very basic to extremely complicated, they all have 2 things in common – 4 legs and a top.
You could also use pre-made hairpin legs and simply attach to a board to make a desk! If you are looking for a little more character, read on below!
The basic steps to build any desk are simple –
- Build the leg frame by joining 4 legs with aprons. Add any shelves if needed. You can also add some character by adding angles and more to the legs.
- Build the top – this could be a simple sheet of plywood or a top built of multiple boards. You can also add in drawers.
- Attach the top to the leg frame. Depending on the design, this could happen either at the end or during the process of building.
- Finish – paint or stain in the color of your choice and be sure to let it dry and outgas before bringing it inside for use.
What is the best wood for building a desk
For the legs, 2×2, 2×4 or larger boards work very well
- They are strong and sturdy and provide much-needed stability to the desks.
- They look great on any desk with their chunkiness.
For the top, you can build it using wider thinner boards or use plywood.
If using plywood, you want to decide if you will be painting or staining. If you are staining, pick plywood with a good quality veneer like oak or birch.
If you will be painting it, you can pick the sanded plywood which is a lot more budget-friendly. It will need a little love to get the top smooth but the price difference is well worth it.
What tools do you need to build a desk
Building a desk like any other woodworking projects needs the basic cutting and joinery tools. Here is the list of basic tools you could use and build almost all of the desks below –
- Miter Saw – to cut boards to length
- Circular Saw – to cut wider boards or to rip plywood.
- Power Drill – to drill holes and add screws.
- Kreg Jig – to make pocket holes. This is my favorite beginner-friendly way to make strong joints. Learn how to use a Kreg Jig here.
- Kreg Rip cut – If using a circular saw to rip plywood, this makes it really easy to get straight repeated accurate cuts
While a table saw or a router isn’t necessarily needed, they are good to have.
DIY desk Ideas
I started out woodworking by building kids’ desks and it helped me figure out the important design and structural details that make desks strong. You can see DIY kid’s desk ideas here.
I have collected DIY desks ideas for you to match every style and experience.
Almost all of them come with build plans so you can start building right away!
Below are a couple of larger desks I have built. You can click over to get the building plans.
1. DIY A-Frame Desk from Anika’s DIY Life
This A-frame desk is my most recent desk build. The slight added angle to the leg completely elevates this design. It needs only 4 basic power tools to build.
I used sanded plywood for the top and the full tutorial shows you how to achieve the smooth finish.
2. DIY Farmhouse Desk from Anika’s DIY Life
I am writing this sitting at this desk. With 3 drawers and 2 shelves, this DIY Farmhouse desk has the perfect amount of storage for everything I need! It is very similar to the A-frame desk but this desk is simpler and uses straight cuts!
Simple DIY desks
Building a desk doesn’t need to be intimidating at all! Like I mentioned above, they can be just 4 legs and a top.
Below are some of the simplest yet cute DIY desks ideas around –
3. Epoxy Resin Desk from Our Crafty Mom
This is a fairly simple desk to build – a top made of 2 boards and pre-made legs screwed into it. The top goes up a notch with the epoxy resin work.
4. DIY Writing Desk from Sawdust Sisters
Hairpin legs are very fashionable and super simple to use to build a desk – just attach it to the top.
I love the addition of a pre-made pencil drawer!
5. Transformable Hairpin Leg Desk from A Beautiful Mess
Simple, yet stylish – but also versatile! Love how you can set this desk up in multiple configurations to suit your needs.
6. DIY Wood and Metal Desk from Handyman’s Daughter
This one is a super simple desk build. The addition of the metallic accents add a great industrial touch.
DIY desks for small spaces
Don’t have space in your home to dedicate to a desk?
There are many ways to achieve a working space – like turning a closet into a desk space, building a murphy desk, or putting those awkward nooks to work!
7. Desk in a Closet from Houseful of Handmade
This is perfect for when you don’t have space for a desk in a room. Turn a simple closet into a functional workspace by adding a floating desk and shelves on top. I think a pegboard will also look good in there!
8. DIY Fold Down Desk from Not Just a Housewife
No space for a desk? Put it on the wall! This simple fold down desk makes a great spot to get some work done. The built-in organizer and bulletin board holds all the important things you need.
9. DIY Murphy Desk from A Turtles Life
Another great option for small spaces! This fold-down Murphy desk is larger and works well in any space.
10. World Map Desk from Pillar Box Blue
Let’s talk about those awkward nooks. Just add a little table to fit in there!
Adding character to a simple table is easy with this world map desk!
11. Floating Desk with Hidden Storage from DIY Huntress
This floating desk can be built into any nook! And I love that hidden storage!
Simple Stylish DIY desks
Here are some examples of desks of every style – modern, industrial, farmhouse, etc. These look great and are easy to build!
12. DIY Waterfall Desk from Dans Le Lakehouse
This waterfall desk is simple and a great addition to a modern home office.
13. DIY Chippendale Desk from Rain on a Hot Tin Roof
This is one of my favorites – so chic and pretty! And surprisingly easy to build!
14. DIY Industrial Computer Desk from Handyman’s Daughter
This desk features a deep desktop and shelves for storage with easy access. This desk is easy to build with the metal accents as a great way to hold the desk together.
15. Minimal Modern Desk from Papers N Stitch
A little more than simple but a true minimalist desk – this plywood desk has a good amount of storage as well!
16. DIY Farmhouse Desk from The Creative Mom
This farmhouse desk will fit in with the decor in any room with its simple lines, perfect amount of storage and neutral paint scheme.
17. DIY Workbench Inspired Desk from Jaime Costiglio
This industrial-inspired desk has plenty of workspace and it’s solid as a rock!
18. DIY Desk From 2X4s from A Turtles Life
This is a great desk idea made using 2x4s. The addition of the inverted V on the sides and back add a farmhouse touch!
DIY desks with drawers
Organizing a desk is so much easier if you have drawers on the desk.
Are you intimidated by building drawers? I used to be too. But just a little patience and focus can help you make drawers in no time! I have a full guide to building drawers for beginners!
Now here are desks with drawers that are simple and easy to build!
19. Small Computer Desk from Sawdust Sisters
This desk is perfect for small spaces and has a hidden drawer for storing away desktop clutter.
20. DIY Modern Desk from Average But Inspired
This easy to make modern desk has hidden compartments, can you guess where?
21. 3 Compartment Desk from Shades of Blue Interiors
This desk is not just stylish, it has the perfect hidden vanity inside!
22. DIY Desk Under $100 from Handmade Haven
Can you say farmhouse glam? The finish and hardware on this desk look great in this space.
23. Industrial Wall Mounted Desk from Houseful of Handmade
This one might be small in size, but it’s big on rustic industrial style.
24. DIY Vanity Desk from Handmade Haven
This is a simple desk with drawers and straight legs made from 2x2s. The stenciled top and gold paint make is chic!
25. “Floating” Broken Leg Epoxy Resin Desk from Woodshop Diaries
This desk is a simple design but with a twist! The epoxy legs make it look like its floating! There is also a hidden drawer!
26. Modern Desk with Monitor Stand from ToolBox Divas
Having your monitor at eye level is key in helping keep your neck and back from hurting, this desk has the solution built right in. Plus I love the angled pre-made legs!
27. Vanity Desk with Deep Drawers from Jaime Costiglio
Deep drawers for better function and cute colorful drawer pulls make this vanity desk and tween or teen dream.
28. Built-in U Shaped Desk from Charleston Crafted
When you need to fill an awkward nook, this u-shaped design is the perfect solution. It gives you tons of workspace and storage!
29. DIY Storage Desk from Woodshop Diaries
A more classic design. This can look a little intimidating to build but it really isn’t! The tutorial and plans are very detailed!
30. House Frame Kids Desk from Handmade Haven
I had to include this! I think its the cutest desk and every kid’s dream come true! What could you create at this desk made to look like a house?
SO, what do you think of all these desk ideas?
Which one will you pick to build?
Don’t want to build? Check out these 20 stylish and affordable desks to buy!
More projects to make your desk space better –
- DIY footrest under desk
- DIY laptop stand
- DIY corkboard
- DIY acrylic and wood pencil holder
- DIY phone and photo holder