Jenni Ingram
Jenni Ingram
  • Hometalker
  • Wexford, PA

How to Build a Large Built-in Desk for Under $75

6 Materials
4 Hours

The basement in our new house is half finished space, half storage - which means the kids have claimed this as their official playroom ... and then requested a big desk: one for play-dough and crafts now, and a homework station as they get older.

The only problem with a big desk along a 14' wall is that supplies for a desk this large are EXPENSIVE!!

Then I had an idea for a built-in desk from repurposed hollow doors and filing cabinets from my local recycle/home supply store!!!

Read on to see what I created....
how to build a large built in desk for under 75
I found some file cabinets and hollow core doors for next to nothing. You can also check yard sales and thrift stores, especially for the filing cabinets. We are going to paint them so who cares if they don't match in color and style ... and if they aren't all the same exact height, I've got a solution for that too!

My first step was to space out my cabinets evenly along the wall. 
how to build a large built in desk for under 75
I measured the space between the cabinets and cut the doors. I made these the depth of the filing cabinets. 
how to build a large built in desk for under 75
I wanted the seams of the doors to be resting on top of the cabinets so it would have proper support. I didn't feel the need to screw the top down to the bases, but you certainly could at this point if necessary.  Here the seam is very visible, however once everything is stained, I didn't notice the seams at all.  You could also place a small piece of wood trim here as a desk divider.  
how to build a large built in desk for under 75
If your file cabinets are different heights like mine were, my blog has a workaround to keep the desk level. I then used a bead of wood glue and screws, attach a 1x3 to the underside of the desk top - this made a trim piece and hid the shims (which made the cabinets equal heights.)

It also gave it a nice finished look.
how to build a large built in desk for under 75
Once the desk is all built, it was time to make it pretty!!  I chose to use a dark wood stain - I love the dark wood top, and this dark stain makes everything look fancier than it actually is! I applied it with a sponge. I also painted the bases black. My blog post has links to these paint & stain products.
how to build a large built in desk for under 75
Now each kid gets their own cork board to decorate/hang art as they please.  I still need to find 3 matching chairs, but for now they use chairs we already had.  They love the space!! And let me tell you, it will never be this clean again.  

You can also find me on Facebook @rootsandwingsfurniture -- sharing painting tips and DIY inspiration and doing Facebook lives of my project!s!!!

Of course, can also click on the blog link below to see more photos and a few extra tips for this project....

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Jenni Ingram

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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