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Easy DIY Door Desk

Easy DIY Door Desk

First let’s put some perspective on this project. The magazine I work on full-time was purchased by an out-of-state company early this year, so starting in February I began working from home. After nine months, the space looked like this:

It wasn’t pretty. Add to that the fact that the Rock Star stays home and watches Liam during the day; so imagine us both crammed together at a corner desk trying to work at the same time. Of course I did make a point to photograph the space at its messiest, just for the effect.

Something had to be done. Inspired by Young House Love’s DIY desk project as well as this space and this Pinterest image here, I decided the most economical, practical and fun solution for my office space was to DIY a door desk. Now, I don’t own a Kreg Jig like YHL, nor did I want to spend a million dollars on a custom piece of glass; the name of the game was cheap.

I visited our local Habitat Restore and found a perfect hollow door for $5. It measures 24″ x 80″. Most of their doors are $5 unless they’re solid or carved or something. It was painted on one side and was relatively in good condition. I gave it a good sanding with the orbital sander and the Rock Star used his crazy mad puddying skillz to fill in the spaces where the hinges were and a couple of random holes where a hook had been installed. I didn’t bother filling in the doorknob hole you see on the side of the door here because it was going to face the wall anyway.

I forgot to take a picture of the after-puddy shot, but I tell you I cannot tell where those holes are anymore. Next I gave the door a good coat of primer and a few coats of Exterior white paint. I used exterior because one lady at Home Depot told me it was more durable, but a guy at the same store told me the only difference was an anti-mildew compound. Oh well…paint is paint for this purpose.

Now for the fun part. You can set a door desk on just about anything, just measure to make sure the height is comfortable to sit at. Mine supports are just over 26″ (we had to cut 1-3/8″ off the sawhorse legs) and perfect for me (and my chiropractor’s rules for ergonomic workspaces). Google DIY door desk and you can see a multitude of things you can use to support a door desk: bookshelves, file cabinets, saw horses, etc. Since most of my house is very vintage, I wanted this space to be sleek and modern…maybe since it goes so well with the equipment. So I chose to use a lateral file cabinet that I got from my previous work for $5 and “splurged” on black sawhorse-looking legs from IKEA. If IKEA would wake up and put a store in KC, it would have only been $15, but I found a deal with a local company called Blue Box Delivery who does the driving and shopping for you and it only cost me $29.45 (much better than IKEA’s shipping cost). Once I set everything in place and re-hooked up all the equipment, I was pretty happy with the result. (Ignoring the broken window and mess of cords.)

Next step is accessorizing, which I started with spider plants in pickle jars and matte spray-painted mason jars for the pens and paperclips.

But it still needs more work. And the problems I see now are the mess of cords (although the doorknob hole makes for a very good cord drop) and how to hide them. If only we just had two laptops to hook up, but when you factor in a modem, router, two computers, a monitor, telephone, two printers, etc, that’s a lot of cords. I was thinking of hanging fabric from the back, but wondered if that might be a fire hazard…guess it’s time to google some ideas.

This was such an easy project that anyone can do. No sawing, no screwing, no nailing, just some paint and the IKEA legs came with rubber pads on the top which helps hold the desk in place.

How about your home office? What have you done to make it more functional or comfortable? I’d love to hear about it!

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About Erin Shipps

Life in your thirties can sometimes feel like you're stuck between what has happened and what's yet to come -- like being amidship. But I'm forging through with thrifty household decorating, DIY projects, health advice, and just life. When I'm not crafting my local Kansas City magazine VintageKC, I'm busy being a rock star's wife and mommy to the most beautiful 3-year-old. Welcome to our world amid the Shipps.

9 responses »

  1. Girl! Next time you need something from IKEA hit me up! I have shipped stuff back to KC for people before, MUCH cheaper than IKEA’s redic shipping rates.

    • Well I didn’t use IKEA’s shipping, I used a local company and they charged $10 +$2 fuel surcharge, which was way cheaper than having it shipped. I wonder how much it would have been to have someone ship like you…

  2. Cords are such a question mark to me. Blog what you come up with!

  3. I am about to use a long folding table on top of my two file cabinets for a desk. Rich will be using the current desk when he starts working from home more often. Maybe you could take some black leather look fabric and thumbtack it to the back of the door to create a hanging “modesty panel” (they call them) and hide the cords. I have never found anything on the market that looks decent as far as cord organizers. They never hold enough cords either. Good job, Er.

  4. saweet idea for when you need a big work space!! 🙂


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