From An End Table To A Desk?

2 Materials
4 Days

Desks can be fashioned from all sorts of things, from doors, too...well, end tables. I found this really unique piece in Goodwill and turned it into a charming secretary. Find out how!

In my last post I showed you the cute desk chair I had just finished. When a friend saw it, she asked if there was a desk to go with it because she thought it might sell better as a set. I replied, “I’ll work on it.”

I headed straight to Goodwill to find something to flip. JACKPOT. I found this really unusual end table. I had never seen anything like it. It was solid wood and only $8.55, including tax! That’s what we call a ‘no brainer’.  The next stop was another Goodwill for something I could use for legs. No luck. Stop 3, Habitat for Humanity Restore. SCORE! A kitchen table top for $3! (I found the price tag later that said $2, but I am not going to quibble.) Unbelievable!

The design vision was to turn the end table into a secretary that would match the chair that started all of this. I also wanted the piece to be super practical for today, with hidden spaces for chargers and power strips, while keeping the style whimsical. The final thing that determined the design was the material I had at hand, namely a table top.

I know that most people are not going to go to the trouble of doing this. But in case you want to know the steps, here they are. You can also watch a video of the project. 

The Process

  • Remove all the hardware.
  • Spray paint hardware.
  • Decide on the desired height.
  • Make a pattern for the leg design.
  • Cut legs from desk top. 
  • Attach legs with Kreg screws and glue.

  • Add a cleat to the inside of the desk to hold the desk top.
  • Cut pieces for the desk top.
  • Cut the lid that folds down to form the desk.
  • Make two corbels to hold the folding section.
  • Prime and paint everything.
  • Distress by sanding, if desired.

Attach desk lid with hinges.

Attach corbels with hinges.

Reattach remaining hardware.

Line compartments with pretty paper.

The Result

This desk is compact but perfect for today’s living. It works in any room and would be ideal in a small dormer or alcove. As a bonus, thanks to hidden compartments, lots of debris can hide away inside, even while it is open.

You may never do this exact project, but maybe it will open your eyes to possibilities in your own home. If you need a guidance, just reach out to me!

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


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4 of 28 comments
  • Mary Russell
    Mary Russell
    on Oct 15, 2020

    That's very inventive.I have thought about making one with two drawers in the lower portion,having them on good strong metal drawer glides,and using them ,pulled out,to support the desk portion.

  • Suzie
    on Nov 11, 2020

    Nice piece of work. In the UK these were known as secretary boxes. You kept your papers, ink and such in there, moved it to the kitchen table when you had paperwork to do and stored it somewhere out of the way when you didn't. They were aimed at people who didn't have space for a permanent desk.

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