If you lack a dedicated spot for paying bills and stashing loose stuff, a good desk is a must. And you can make one yourself with basic materials. To simplify construction, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva came up with a compact, drawer-free design. The desktop, made of plywood topped with acrylic sheeting, stands on turned legs. "Choose legs at least 29 inches tall for a comfortable working height," says Tom. To make the free-floating hutch, he simply used a small cabinet laid on its side and repurposed the door to create shelves. A cubby tucked under the desktop holds a basket for yet more storage. See how to make it yourself on the following pages. No guarantees, but it should make tackling paperwork more inviting.

Hutch: ClosetMaid 3-Shelf 12-inch Wood Laminate Storage cabinet. Table legs: Waddell 29-inch-long by 2¼-inch-diameter country pine traditional wood table leg from Paint: Valspar's Cliveden Pasture. Paint, lumber, and above-mentioned stock parts available at Lowes.

Download the cut list to build a desk with storage hutch.

Ask TOH users about Furniture

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • straightedge guide
    • drill
    • brad nailer
      Brad nailer

    Shopping List

    1. ½-inch plywood to make the desktop, back, sides, and cubby.
    Get a 4x8-foot sheet.

    2. 1x3 to make the apron.
    Get a 3-foot piece.

    3. 1x2 to make the cleats.
    Get two 8-foot boards.

    4. ¾-inch molding to trim the hutch.
    Get two 6-foot lengths.

    5. 1-inch molding to trim the desktop's front and sides.
    Get two 6-foot lengths.

    6. 29-inch legs.
    Get four.

    7. Acrylic sheeting.
    Get a piece you can cut to 27 by 48 inches.

    8. Small cabinet to make into a hutch.
    We used a ClosetMaid 3-Shelf 12-inch Wood Laminate Storage cabinet with door from Lowe's.9. ¼x5 lumber to make mail-slot dividers for the hutch.
    Get at least 4 feet.

    10. Hardboard.
    Get a piece the size of the back of the cabinet; you'll attach it to the hutch in place of the cabinet's back, which isn't designed to take paint.

    11. 1-inch brad nails

    12. 1 -inch brad nails

    13. 1-inch screws

    14. 2-inch screws