How to Make a Desk With Storage Cubbies
How to use stock materials and a cabinet to build a nifty workstation
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 HardwareAndTools.com.
Paint: Valspar's Cliveden Pasture.
Paint, lumber, and above-mentioned stock parts available at Lowes.
Overview for Making a Desk with a Storage Hutch
Half-inch plywood is plenty sturdy for our desktop, which is 27 by 48 inches. If you want a wider or deeper desk, opt for ¾-inch plywood, or affix stringers to the underside of the desktop to prevent sagging.
You can use the cut list below or download the cut list to build a desk with storage hutch here.
Acrylic tabletop: 1 @ 27 by 48 inches. Cut on your line, rather than beside it, to the outside for a slightly easier fit within the molding.
½-inch plywood desktop: 1 @ 27 by 48 inches
½-inch plywood back: 1 @ 7 ¾ by 41 ½inches*
½-inch plywood sides: 2 @ 7 ¾ by 20 ½ inches*
*Measurement may vary with leg style. To determine the height of the back and sides, measure the square post portion at the top of the leg.
½-inch plywood cubby sides: 2 @ 7 ¾ by 12 inches
½-inch plywood cubby top and bottom: 2 @ 12 by 13 inches
1x3 apron: 1 @ 27 ½ inches
1x2 cleat: 1 @ 41 ½ inches
1x2 cleat: 2 @ 20 ½ inches
1x2 cleat: 1 @ 27 ½ inches
1x2 cleat: 6 @ 6 ½ inches
1x2 cleat: 2 @ 1 ¾ inches
1x2 strip: 1 @ 14 inches
Hutch shelves: 2 cut to size between the vertical dividers and depth of the hutch
¼x5 vertical dividers: 3 @ desired height; make them at least 4 ¼ inches tall to accommodate a standard envelope. Cut to the depth of the cabinet.
Hardboard: 1 cut to the height and width of the cabinet.