A DIY nook desk

It’s the final day of “Office Week”…I’m a bit sad to wave goodbye to this unofficial week-long hash session of one of my favorite spaces in a home, but it’s highly likely that the subject will arise again in no more than a week’s time. I just can’t stop analyzing and dreaming when it comes to a space that has SO much potential for productivity and inventiveness. If you’re a creative like me, an office is where it all happens – Designs unfold, ideas are turned into reality and it’s your own personal inspired corner, both physically and mentally. When I sit down to my own tiny desk, I feel like the world is at my fingertips. Cheesy, but true!

Before I get into today’s post featuring a simple do-it-yourself desk, I just had to share this beautiful, beautiful room. Caitlin Wilson’s gorgeous studio/office space was so aptly featured on The Everygirl yesterday, and I’m fairly certain that I repinned every single photo (taken by the hugely talented Courtney Apple). I’ve never seen a better pairing of colors, motifs and, of course, patterns. Words can’t describe my love for this room. I hope it inspires you too! I’m sharing my favorite photos from the feature here, but do yourself a favor and check out the lovely graphics, copy and interview over on TEG too.





Part of me regrets sharing that perfect (seriously, perfect) office space because it’s now impossible not to compare it to what I’m about to share with you. I hope you’ll forgive me for not being a professional designer and stylist…

It all began with an empty corner in our finished basement. It’s about four feet wide and three feet deep – Too small for a built-in bar (John’s bachelorhood dream), too awkward for any kind of upholstered furniture and largely felt out-of-place and wasted as it was. Some records up on the wall, a poster and a smattering of papers and pieces of unused furniture were its occupants for far too long. But that’s all history now…


It was finally time to whip this little corner into shape. The plan? As the title of today’s post reveals, we decided that this would be the perfect place to set up a desk for John. Instead of spending a ton of money on a pre-made desk and struggling to find one that actually fit the nook, we ultimately drew up the plans to build one ourselves using a simple system of supports and precut pieces of wood and melamine. Lucky for us, the snow storm that hit earlier this week was the perfect excuse to stay inside and stain, paint and hammer the afternoon away.


Before the building phase began though, we needed some wood. We hopped over to Lowe’s and picked up several pieces: 1 1x2x6″ piece (which we had chopped into multiple brace pieces by the nice lumber department guys), 2 1x6x4″ pieces of red oak (to eventually serve as shelving above the desk) and 1 16×48″ piece of white melamine (to act as the desktop). All in all, we ended up spending $41 in lumber, although we only used one of the two oak boards, bringing our final total for the desk down to $29.

The first step was sanding. I used a little piece of handheld sandpaper on the smaller 3 inch brace pieces we had cut, while John went to town on the bigger boards using our hand sander – In case it needs explaining though, the melamine desktop didn’t require any sanding since it’s already sealed with a hard white coating.



Once the sanding was out of the way, it was time for painting and staining. We painted all of the tiny brace pieces in the hopes that they would blend into the wall color and disappear. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the EXACT wall color since the previous homeowners didn’t leave it behind, but I was able to find a look-a-like that served our purposes well enough (that multicolored piece in the middle of the photo below is just the stir stick – feel free to ignore it).


As for the oak boards for the shelves, those got a single coat of Minwax “Dark Walnut” stain to bring out the lovely grain. All I did was brush a liberal amount across the top of the boards with a 2 inch bristle brush, and then wiped it off using an old rag. It only took that single coat to achieve the nice, rich color you see below. We then gave them 24 hours to dry completely.



After clearing the area of all the old furniture and paperwork, I got down to business hanging my braces. I placed one long board along the back 29 inches off the floor, which is standard desktop height. After that was screwed into the studs (accounting for the off-center screws in the photo below), I used the same 29 inch height on either side to screw in my side braces.


Once I made sure all was level, it was simply a matter of sliding the melamine desktop in place. As for the oak shelf to go above the desktop, that went in the exact same way with three braces dispersed along the sides and back of the nook.

Time to style everything up! Since this is technically John’s spot, I had to set aside my perfectionist tendencies and cater to his manly, utilitarian ways. As you can imagine, I’d like to see a little more color, a little more pattern and a lot less cord-age, but he’s over the moon about his new desk space so who am I to complain? If the boy is happy, I’m happy…





The desk chair used was actually given an early debut via Instagram last week – It came from our favorite estate shop and cost only $12 thanks to a store closing clearance (if you didn’t hear, apparently they AREN’T closing for good – There are plans to reopen under a new name, so I can breathe again…). I really loved the legs and the white vinyl seat. A quick photo texted to John confirmed that he felt the same way, so I slapped a sold sticker on that bad boy (well, really I just took it up to the register and paid for it).




It’s functional, it’s a place where my sweet hubby can be inspired by cars, music and fly fishing and I’m happy that we were able to make use of once wasted space. Have you ever built your own desk out of a few pieces of lumber and a handful of screws? Or maybe you would have done something different with this unique cut out. Inspire us in the comments section with your thoughts and ideas!


Have a great weekend, everyone.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my “Office Week” giveaway! Two lucky readers will win pieces from See Jane Work and The Green Daisy. Click here for the details, and good luck!

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