How To Build A Desk – Desk with Drawers, Standing Desk (2021)

How To Build A Desk

A simple, functional desk can be made by anyone with minimal furniture crafting skills. There are many reasons why people would want to build a desk for their home. Whether you need an extra desk in your house, or you’re looking to build something custom that will match the style of your living room seamlessly, there’s no better time than now to get started with these DIY projects!

There are many types of desks on the market like computer desk, floating desk, farmhouse desk, modern desk,…

In this blog post, Focal Upright will go through how to build a desk including a simple desk, standing, and a desk with drawers, and how it’s done so you can make sure that the one you create is exactly what you were envisioning.

How To Build A Simple Desk?

How To Build A Simple Desk

The standard desk height is approximately 30 inches. To be able to work comfortably, you need it to be 16 inches deep.

Although the designs of desks are varied and can be very simple or highly complex, there are two things they have in common: 4 legs and a top.

Pre-made hairpin legs can be used to create a desk. Attach them to a board. For a bit more personality, continue reading!

It is easy to make a desk.

Join 4 legs together with an apron to create the leg frame. If necessary, add shelves. Add angles to the legs for some personality.

The top can be made of either a single sheet of plywood or multiple boards. You can also add drawers.

Attach the top to your leg frame. This can be done at the beginning of the end, depending on your design.

Finish – Paint or stain the final coat of paint. Before bringing it in for use, be sure to let it dry completely.

How to build a desk with drawers?

Tools Used:

  • Accu-Cut- Kreg tool
  • Corner Clamps- Kreg
  • K4 Pocket Hole Jig- Kreg
  • Cabinet Hardware Jig- Kreg
  • Drawer Slide Jig- Kreg
  • HVLP Sprayer
  • Spray Booth Tent
  • 18V Router
  • Pull/Flush Cut Saw
  • Miter Saw Stand
  • Flip Top Tool Stand
  • Power Drill – to drill holes and add screws.


  • 18” Drawer Slides
  • ¾” Birch Edge Banding
  • Z-clip Top Fasteners
  • Cove Molding
  • 1 sheet 3/4” Plywood panel


  • Make DIY Desk Legs

The first step was to cut the legs of the DIY desk to the right size. Next, I used my stop block on my miter stand to make repeatable cuts.

To keep the legs in the order I used layout marks and marked the bottom of each leg for a taper. The taper will be applied to the inside of each leg’s two sides.

I used a simple tool to cut the tapers. The cut line is marked by the edge. However, it’s essential to pay attention to which taper was cut first. If I cut this side first, I would remove the layout line for my second cut. Before making the first cut, always think about the second.

After clamping the DIY desk leg down and running it through, I turned it over and did another pass for the opposite face.

Finally, I completed the leg tapers on both legs using my layout lines as guidance.

To reorder the legs, I returned to the workbench and used the reference lines. This is how the tapers will appear when assembled.

  • Create Side Panels for Your Desk

You have two options when it comes to building a desk: a solid or floating side panel. I chose a solid side with faux floating panels. The plywood panel is held between two pairs of 2×2 legs on the sides of my desk. First, I cut the plywood to length and then used my K4 Jig to add pocket holes around the edges of each panel.

Next is the assembly process, I assembled the side panels. I set up two legs, ensuring that the tapers were correctly oriented for the outside facing down. To support the panel, I used two tiny scraps of 3/4″ to hold it in place. This will create a smooth surface for the slides of drawer later.

Simply attach the panel to the legs with a tiny amount of glue and 1-1/2 inch pocket screws. The screws will not move if the parts are tightly clamped.

The side’s outside has a panel and faux frame look. To fit between the legs, I cut a 1×2 top and bottom trim. Next, I attached them using glue and brad nails.

I wanted the desk with drawers to look nice, so I used cove molding on the panels inside. To fit the molding, I used a miter to cut one end of the trim. Then, I attached it to the panel and marked the mark for the second cut. Continue this process all the way around to the panel.

The molding was secured with pin nails and glue. I then went back to fill in the nail holes using wood putty.

To hide the pockets on the left panel, I needed to glue small sections of wood dowels in the holes. After the glue had set, I used a hammer to tap the dowels into place. Finally, I pulled the dowels flush with a pull saw.

  • Attach DIY Desk Legs and Side Panels

Attach DIY Desk Legs and Side Panels

Then I cut the plywood to the required length using my table saw. Finally, I drilled pocket holes along the edges. I secured the back with clamps and attached it using pocket screws.

The front stretcher for the DIY desk has been cut to the same length. It also has pocket holes for assembly. The front stretcher was attached with pocket screws.

From my plywood sheet, I cut the pieces for the box that will hold the drawers. I used a 1×4 piece of solid wood edge banding to clean up the edges of the plywood box. The strips were cut to length and use glue to attach the edge banding. The glue is held in place with painter’s tape. Once the glue has dried, I cut the long strips with my pull saw.

Next, I cut the panels to the correct length using the table saw. A notch was needed for the front stretcher on the vertical panel. To mark the cut, I used a 1×2 for the layout. You can make this cut with a bandsaw, a jigsaw, or a handsaw.

After cutting, the face will be rough and can be re-sharpened with a chisel.

The panels were assembled first, and then I attached them to the back of the desk. I attached the panels first to the sides, then to the top stretcher.

This determines the squareness at the front of my box. Then I worked my way around to the rest of it.

A desk with drawers needs a position to put them, so I made a couple of dividers that would allow me to create the drawer openings. These are cut to the correct size and attached using pocket screws.

I then began painting with semi-gloss white enamel and applied it using a HVLP sprayer.

  • Create the DIY Desk Topper

To make my top glue-up, I began with rough lumber. Then I took it through the milling process. You don’t need these machines to make your wood dimensions. Or, you can buy the wood already cut at any of the many lumber dealers available online and brick-and-mortar.

The boards were all measured to the correct size, but I left some extra length so that the top could be glued. To make sure that the top was secure, I used plenty of wood glue. The top was clamped within one inch of its life. More clamps are better.

Next, I removed the top of the DIY desk from the clamps. I removed any glue from the joints, then began sanding. It’s a great way of knowing when you are ready to move on to the next grit. You’re done when the lines disappear.

Next, I applied a chamfer to the underside and sides of my top for the DIY desk. I used my compact router to make multiple passes until I got the chamfer I desired.

After finishing the sanding, I applied an oil-based polyurethane coat. To withstand the abuse of a six-year-old girl, I used three coats. It’s incredible; how about that cherry?

  • Make Desk Drawers

Make Desk Drawers

A desk with drawers is so versatile. Let’s now build the drawers. You can find a full post and video about How to Make Drawers In 6 Easy Steps here. Kreg’s new corner clamps are great for aligning drawers.

The bottoms were attached to the drawer boxes, just as I showed in the post. To give the drawers a cleaner look, I applied veneered edge bands to the tops. Each drawer will have an inset false drawer front. The fronts were cut from 1×4.

  • Install the DIY Desk drawers

Because the drawers have a false front, full extension drawer slides must be set back 3/4″ To position the slides, I used 1×4 and a spacer for support. Each slide comes predrilled and has screws attached to it.

I used a biscuit jointer to cut slots in the sides, back, and front of the drawers before installing them. To attach the top of the desk to it, I am using z-clips.

The clips slide into the slots and are screwed to the top.

I used 1/4″ plywood to lift the bottom drawer off the slide. Next, I removed the drawer and slide and attached them to the box.

I measured the location where the slides should hit the drawer; then, I drew an outline across the drawer’s side.

I predrilled the holes and attached the slides to the line, ensuring they were flush with my front.

Two holes were made in each drawer’s front to mount the false fronts. They were a few inches away from the sides.

Next, I made the holes for the drawer hardware on the drawer fronts. I placed the drawer fronts according to my preferred playing card spacing method and then screwed the drawer pulls holes into a box.

This will hold the drawer in place and can be used to secure the drawer from the inside using the holes you drilled earlier.

Now, remove the screws from the back and drill through the drawer box to install your drawer pulls.

This desk is unique because it has the correct details.

How To Build A Standing Desk?

Step 1: Choose the best location for your desk. Pick a space that suits your needs, both in terms of space and lighting, so you don’t have to move it once it’s built.

Step 2: Get your tools ready. You will usually only need a few Allen key or Phillips bits to use your impact driver or cordless screwdriver.

Step 3: Before you pay for the base, make sure to read the instructions. After the base arrives, take out all packaging and verify that all parts are included. Then, arrange the pieces for assembly.

Step 4: To ensure that your desktop doesn’t scratch, place it face-down on a smooth surface. This will save you time and help your back.

Step 5: Begin assembling the legs by attaching crossbars and feet to the legs.

Step 6: After the legs have been assembled, place them on top of your desktop. Align the crossbars with pre-drilled holes at the bottom of the top. If the top does not have pre-drilled holes, you will need them to drill before attaching it. We recommend using a Drill bit with a depth stop. So you don’t accidentally cut through your top.

Step 7: Attach any crossbars or cord tray supports to the desktop. Attach the power control unit.

Step 8: Align the handset with the holes in the desktop’s edge. If you have a custom top, you will need to measure them and drill them.

Step 9: The drill may be too important to keep, but it may still be necessary to install a keyboard tray. Make sure you read the instructions for installing a keyboard tray if you have one.

Step 10: The control unit will accept the handset, leg motor cables, and power supply. Cable guides can be used to organize the cords.

Once you are done, flip your desk over and plug in the power supply. Then, get to work!

See also DIY Desk under $50:

Tips and Strategies how to build a desk

– Be sure the space where you plan on working is clear of clutter. Keep moving large objects like couches or furniture away from the workspace before starting the project. This will allow you plenty of room without having to step over a couch every other second.

– Measure how tall you want your desk to be before cutting any wood down. This will make sure that the desk is of the desired height for you and won’t leave big gaps between it and the ground like if you just guessed how long to cut it at first.

– You’ll need to sand down all surfaces of the wood and make sure they’re clean before you start assembling.

– Be mindful of how finished your desk’s top will be when measuring how to cut the plywood panels as well. If it will have a more exposed edge, then you’ll need less material than if it were going to be completely covered by another top.

– Keep all of your basic tools and materials handy as you work to avoid having to go back for anything later on in the project.

Read more:


Is it more expensive to buy or make desks?

You can build a desk from scratch. Building A standing desk is cheaper than buying one professionally made. You can have more space options and include shelves or drawers if you wish.

What type of wood would you choose for desks?

Rosewood, cedar, maple, cedar, and elm are all good options. These are the best woods to use for easy DIY desk ideas. You can also make the desktop from less expensive materials such as MDF, MDO,…

Is Pine Good for desks?

Pine Wood is Good for Furniture

Pine is very different from oak. It is also an excellent choice for furniture. It depends on the purpose. Although it may not last as long as oak is strong and resistant to shock, pine furniture can still be used, especially if you prefer rustic or country designs.

Is Pinewood more durable than plywood?

Plywood is much stronger than solid wood. Particularly in terms of stiffness. A shelf made of solid wood will sag more than one made of plywood with the same dimensions.

Which wood is the most expensive?

African Blackwood

It is one of the most difficult and dense woods in the world, and it is mainly used to make musical instruments. Because it can be difficult to use hand- or machine-tools, and its trees are almost extinct, it is the most expensive wood on the planet.


That’s our blog post on how to make desks. We hope you found it helpful! Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s make your own desk by yourself- and remember to share photos of what you create with us when you’re done so we can feature them in future posts! Let us know if there are any questions or comments below.


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