How to Build a Simple School Desk

5 Materials
15 Minutes

Like a lot of you, our kids have been doing school from home. And working at the kitchen table was kind of a disaster. To make things easier, I built a kid-sized school desk in just 15 minutes!

A kitchen table is too tall for a young kid to work at.

My kids are in second grade and kindergarten and their desks at school are way shorter than a kitchen table. At school, they can sit with their feet on the ground and easily reach the desk top. Not so much at a regular table.

Gather your legs and desk top

I did some research and the ideal height for a table or desk at this age is around 20 inches, paired with a seat height of 12 to 16 inches.

The only good online option I found was a school supply website. I wanted something that would still be useful after the kids went back to school, so I wasn’t keen to buy an official school desk.

Instead, I found some really cute 20" high hairpin legs for only $39.

You can make this desk any size you want so the size of the top will vary. I needed mine sized for two kids so I decided to “borrow” the 30" x 60" loose butcher block I was using in my laundry room.

Good options for a desk top would be a scrap of counter, table top, or any other large piece of wood. It doesn't have to be fancy! Just be sure it is sanded free of splinters (ouch).

Position your legs and mark the screw holes

Flip your wood top side down and position the desk legs in each corner. Make sure to line the leg plates parallel to the desk edge and roughly the same distance away for each one.

Eyeballing carefully is fine, no measuring needed.

Then take a marker and scribble a little hole onto the desk top through each leg’s screw hole so you know where to drill your pilot holes.

Mark your drill bit with tape

To ensure you don't drill straight through the desk top, hold a screw up to your drill bit and mark with tape how deep you need to drill the holes.

Drill slowly and when the edge of the tape hits the wood, stop and back your drill out.

Screw in your legs

Once you have all your pilot holes drilled, screw in the legs. 

The legs I bought came with these snap on feet to protect the floor and keep the desk from sliding around. It's a nice feature, but not necessary so don't worry if your legs didn't come with these.


Finally, flip your desk over and enjoy! Step back and admire how handy you are 🙂

This 20 inch school desk height works perfectly with a 15 inch seat height for the typical 5 – 10 year old.

My kids are thrilled to have their own dedicated spot in my office. Having a table that's the right height for kids makes doing any kind of work so much more pleasant.

I hope you give this project a try!

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Brianna at Bloom in the Black
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Thea Thea on May 13, 2020

    The desk is great but I am surprised at your choice of chairs. Aren’t backless chairs going to lead to restlessness? I know I can’t stand them and refuse to sit on them for extended periods.


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