DIY Desk Built-in for Under $50

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A DIY Desk Built-in for Under $50? YES! You’re reading that right. I can’t wait to share this fun project with you guys, I am just so pleased with the results!

A DIY Desk Built-in for Under $50? YES! You’re reading that right. I can’t wait to share this fun project with you guys, I am just so pleased with the results!

I’m sure you’re wondering how we created this DIY Desk Built-in for under $50, and today I’m going to explain it to you! 

Low cost desk builtin tutorial!
Simple, cottage style office for less than $50!
Come see how we made this simple DIY desk builtin
Our desk built-in is finally complete!

I realize that every space is different, so our process for creating this DIY desk built-in is pretty specific to our home and the room we had to work with. I guess my goal in sharing this process with you is mainly to inspire. 

DIY Desk Builtin for under $50!
Our cottage style office is almost finished!
Come see how our custom desk came together!

You might not be able to find the exact desk and you might not even use the same materials, but hopefully this project will give you some ideas if you’re looking to do something similar!

DIY Desk Builtin for under $50!

This whole idea came to me when my parents decided to update their office. They had a desk and file cabinet they would no longer need, so they sent a picture and asked if I was interested. 

I want to create a built in style desk unit in our sunroom!

At first I said no just because I couldn’t think of a place in our home to put them. The more I looked the picture, though, the more I began to realize what a great set it was. Lots of drawer space and storage, clean lines and beautiful cup pulls. 

Out of nowhere I remembered my friend Amanda’s office that she had made over last fall. She created a beautiful built in desk unit and the shelf and corbels above it reminded me of my little reading nook in my sunroom. Here is her office for reference:

My friend Amanda's office at Sincerely Marie, Designs gives me so much inspiration!

And here is the shelf we built in the sunroom:

The DIY shelf we built in our sunroom!

This nook that we had created was the result of a giant orange closet that we tore out after moving into our home. We kept the bottom portion of it and turned it into a seat, and the upper portion we covered in bead board because the plaster was so damaged from demolition. 

Our sunroom before!
When we first tore out the closet, we kept the bottom portion in order to create a bench seat.

Unfortunately the bench just wasn’t used as much as we thought it would be, in fact most of the time it seemed to just gather clutter. Long story short, we decided to tear out the seat and use that space instead for a DIY desk built-in! 

You can read all about those plans here if you’re interested, but I knew right away that my Mom’s desk and file cabinet would work perfectly for this space. Since they gave me these pieces for free, I was lucky enough to save so much money on the desk portion. 

I’m so sorry that I don’t have a source for the desk we used, but let me just encourage you to check out thrift stores and especially garage sales this spring! I see affordable desks ALL the time that are oftentimes less than twenty bucks. 

You could also try Facebook marketplace! I just shared a post last week about my marketplace finds as well as some tips and tricks if you’d like to check it out! 

Once we had the desk and file cabinet in place, they weren’t quite wide enough to fill the entire wall. I asked my husband if he had any scrap wood that we could use to lay on top of the cabinet so that it looked as if it was connected to the desk. 

He ended up finding some 1/2 inch hardwood that would work perfectly. He cut it to size making sure there was a slight 3/4 inch overhang, then attached it with his finish nailer. He finished off the edge with some lattice trim, and followed the same method for the space in between the desk and cabinet to create a couple of shelves.

I wish I had more photos for you, but sadly I don’t. Between my Instagram stories and YouTube footage sometimes I think I took pictures when in reality I never did (FAIL). I’m ashamed to do this…but I went into my Instagram archives and took some screenshots of the desk before I painted it. You can see more of this process in the YouTube video linked above, as well!

All of the raw pine that you see is what my husband added to the desk!

How we created a custom desk builtin

In order to make the desk feel more “built-in” Mike also cut some 1×6’s to use as baseboards. This was the only lumber we purchased for this project!! 

We also ran into a few issues with the heater that’s on the wall behind the desk. Since it sticks out a few inches from the wall, Mike had to rip some wood pieces to fit behind the desk in order to make room for the heater. 

To add some interest, he came up with the idea of creating a little ledge for my brushes and pencils. Genius! It’s little things like this that really make the desk look like a built-in unit. 

Creating a custom desk doesn't have to cost a fortune!
How to create a custom desk builtin for less than fifty bucks!

Once all of the trim was attached, I went to work finishing it all off. I filled all the nail holes with spackling, and caulked every seam. I gave everything a light sanding using 100 grit sand paper, cleaned the entire unit, then I primed everything with my favorite primer and paint brush

Priming our built-in desk unit!

After a few days I decided to paint my desk “Stone Hearth” by Benjamin Moore. At first I stopped at the desk, but then I just felt like I should keep going up the wall with the color. I loved it right away! Just one color really made everything feel cohesive. 

How to create a diy desk built-in

The color is very “greige”…a good mixture between gray and beige. On an overcast day it reads more gray, on a bright and sunny day it’s a bit more beige.

Cottage style office space and desk
Our Cottage style office is almost finished!
Cottage inspired office space

The last thing I wanted to share with you guys is the power strip my husband adhered to the side of my desk using velcro. He fed the wires down behind the desk (hiding them with a wood piece that’s also attached with velcro) so I didn’t have to squeeze through the shelves to get to the outlet! I can charge my phone and lap top now so easily! I thought that was so clever of him and I just had to share 🙂

Power Solution for our builtin desk!
Now we can sneak more cords down behind the builtins if I ever want to plug in a lamp, but the power strip is so handy for charging my phone and computer!

I am so happy with the way this office space came together! I organized all of my paints and craft supplies in the bins above, and I’m still working on filling the drawers with all of my blogging equipment.

Extra drawer space in our diy desk builtin!
Our DIY desk area was so affordable!

I am still playing with the decor and just using what I already have since we are still in quarantine here in Michigan, but for now I’m loving the simplicity. I would also love to get a more comfy office chair eventually, but again I’m using what I have. 

I entitled this post, “DIY desk built-in for under $50” because the paint alone was $35. That along with the wood for the baseboards is what cost the most money.

Affordable DIY Desk Builtin!

I have been painting a lot lately with the extra time we have at home, and I can’t wait to set up an easel and start painting out here more!

I'm still learning but painting is so enjoyable for me!
My painting supplies is all going to stay in the sunroom now!
Some of my landscapes
Affordable DIY Desk Builtin!

I hope this DIY Desk Built-in for under $50 really inspired you today! What do you guys think?

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8 Comments

  1. Wow your new desk area is sooo gorgeous! It will be a great spot for you to work on your beautiful landscape paintings. 😊

  2. Hi Andrea,
    Your built in desk is STUNNING. The color is perfect and I’m so happy that you painted the entire wall for that cohesive look. I can’t wait to see the other side of the sun porch with the built in bookshelves.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful project with us.
    Annie

  3. ANDREA,
    This is such a great idea & has me looking for spaces around my house for possible built in areas! Thanks for the gorgeous photography and beautiful video!
    Warmly,
    Rachel

    1. Aww yay!! Thanks so much for the sweet comment!! It was a labor of love for sure, haha! 🙂 We are so pleased with how it all came together 🙂

  4. I love the way you wrapped the beadboard up onto the ceiling! Really makes it look like a separate space. Very nice.

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