I love my home, but it has a few narrow rooms that are difficult to work with. When I decided to turn one long narrow room into a den with a family computer desk station, I faced a major challenge in finding affordable desks. I gave up on buying them, and made my own instead!
DIY Family Computer Desk Station on a Budget
I started out with an inspiration picture and a plan. I wanted to create four desks, but there was no way I could pay to purchase four of these desks that I loved from Pottery Barn Kids!
So, what parts of this desk could I create myself? The red sets of drawers with the cute retro drawer pulls. Here’s how I did it (using almost completely recycled materials!)
Step 1: Scour the internet for inexpensive drawer pedestals or file cabinets. FAIL! They were still too expensive. Check cabinet makers to see how expensive they would be to build. FAIL! Still too expensive.
Just as I was about to give up, I found one more cabinet store to try. No drawers for sale, but guess what?? The owners next door wanted to get rid of some unfinished drawer pedestals they wouldn’t need! What??? They sold me four for $25 each! (I almost did a happy dance right there in the store!)
Three coats of paint (1 primer, two red), a huge mess in the garage, and lots of sore muscles later . . . . . I turned boring into beautiful! (This is before the garage makeover. It’s much more organized in there now!)
The sides of these pedestals are laminate, so I used BIN Primer by Zinsser, under my regular paint.
Step 2: Find an inexpensive desk top. Solution? I went to my local Habitat for Humanity Restore and purchased two used tall, narrow closet doors. (8′ x 2′ — Hollow doors)
I painted the doors a honey yellow–hoping to match my inspiration desktop, but it was another FAIL! It looked more like a desk for Ronald McDonald than the school-room look I was going for.
Step 3: Repaint doors, and then touch up the drawers because paint splatters when you pound on the lid!
Step 4: Since the desk top needs to be flat, top the doors with plexiglass. (Sorry–no inexpensive solution for that one!) The fun thing about using the plexiglass on top is that you can change the desk top any time you want by rolling out some wrapping paper between the door and the plexiglass. Instant new look! I slid some penmanship letter strips under the plexiglass so that the girls had a quick reference as they were learning to write.
Step 5: Put it all together! Be sure to let your kiddos “help!” (I can’t believe how much the kids have grown since then!) If you need extra stability, you can purchase table legs at any hardware store. We found that they really just got in the way, and ended up removing the front leg. If you’d rather skip them, as long as you’re not putting huge loads on the table, you won’t need them. (You could also put your pedestals at each end instead.)
Step 6: Add some fancy drawer pulls! Rubbed brass hardware is pretty pricey. I ordered the cheapest drawer pulls in the style I wanted and then turned them into rubbed brass with this tutorial. (I know–you probably would have done this as step 5, but I wanted the desks done! I didn’t want to wait until I figured out what to do with the handles.)
Final step? Since I still wasn’t a huge fan of the door color, and I was going for a school house look, I added yardsticks across the front of the desks. As an added bonus, the kids always have a ruler handy when they are doing their math homework!
So, what do you think? Will you tackle making your own computer desk? Next time you see some short file cabinets at a garage sale, snag them and get to work on a fun DIY desk!
*Because this desk is for computers and homework, we also purchased some keyboard trays online and attached one below each desk. Don’t let the fancy computer monitors fool you. The kids’ computers are all hand-me-downs. The only expense was the flat-screen monitors.
If you are a before and after fan, here’s the den before:
Remember those giant monitors? Once you put one of those on a desk, there’s not much room for anything else!
. . . and here’s the den after:
Check out the other projects from the room: The images are linked. (These projects are from my first days of blogging. I hope my photography skills have improved since then!)
Have you seen my favorite building project?
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you’ll stick around and browse!