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DIY Closet Desk

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Convert a reach-in closet into an efficient office space in a weekend with premade storage cubes and a simple desk assembly.

Closet Desk

Project Overview

Skill Level

Intermediate

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Handsaw and miter box
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Compressor and nail gun, or hammer and nail set
  • Cordless drill and driver bit
  • Countersinking drill bit
  • Level
  • Electronic stud finder
  • Caulking gun
  • Painter’s tape
  • Fine-grit sanding sponge
  • 100-grit, 120-grit, and 150-grit sandpaper

Materials

  • 3/4-in x 49-in x 97-in medium-density fiberboard
  • 4 – 1 x 4 x 8 pine board
  • 1 x 3 x 8 pine board
  • 1 x 2 x 8 pine board
  • #18 x 1-1/4-in brads
  • 1-1/4-in drywall screws
  • 2-in drywall screws
  • ClosetMaid white laminate six-opening storage cubes, #176909
  • White latex adhesive caulk
  • Valspar latex primer
  • Valspar paint, Bistro White, #7006-4

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources

Instructions

To convert a spare closet into a workstation, first remove the closet doors and base trim. Measure the closet width -- our space measured 84 inches wide. If your space is wider or narrower than this dimension, add or subtract the difference to the length of the wall trim (E), the desk supports (G), and the desktop (I) in the instructions below.

Make and Paint the Base

Step 1

Assemble the two laminate storage cubes (you can leave the backs off for this project).

Step 2

Cut the base fronts/backs (A) and base sides (B) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List) so the assembled base frames will match the storage cube dimensions. Assemble the frames with glue and clamps (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Then drill countersunk pilot holes through the fronts into the sides and drive 2-inch drywall screws into the pilot holes.

Step 3

From a 1 x 4 pine board, cut the wall trim (C) to fit your closet size. Then cut the side trim (D) and front trim (E) oversize.

Step 4

Cut the desk sides (F), desk supports (G), cube tops (H), and center top (I) to size. The desk supports also need an angle cut on the ends (Project Diagram, Drawing 3).

Good to Know

When preparing mitered parts like the trim, cut the parts a few extra inches longer than the dimensions in the Cutting List. That lets you cut the parts to an exact fit.

Step 5

Sand all of the parts with 150-grit sandpaper. Then apply a coat of primer and two coats of paint. Sand between coats of paint with a fine-grit sanding sponge.

Trim and Cubes

Step 1

Place the base assemblies in the corners (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) of your closet and locate the wall studs using an electronic stud finder. Drill a pilot hole and drive screws through the bases into the wall studs.

Step 2

Cut a miter at one end of the wall trim (C) and set the trim between the bases at the back (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Mark the location of the miter at the second end of the part and cut to fit; secure to the wall with finish nails.

Good to Know

If you are using a wood moulding for trim, a miter at each corner will be needed. If you are using regular square-edge boards as the trim, you can also cut butt joints in lieu of the miters to simplify the installation.

Step 3

Cut a miter at one end of the side trim (D) and set the trim in position against the miters on the wall trim. Mark where the inside face meets the front face of the base assembly. Repeat for side trim on the other base. For the front trim (E), place the square end against the wall and mark the miter location on the opposite end where the inside face meets the end of the base front (A).

Step 4

Cut miters on the side and front trim leaving a little extra material. Test the fit, and trim as needed for a perfect fit. Then nail the parts in place.

Step 5

Use adhesive to attach the cubes to the assembled bases.

Apply a latex caulk to the top of the base assemblies and place the cubes in position (Project Diagram, Drawing 2) against the side and back walls.

Desk and Top

Step 1

Measure between the tops of the cubes (Project Diagram, Drawing 4) and subtract 1-1/2 inches -- the thickness of the two desk sides (F) -- to determine the final length of the desk supports (G). Cut them to length.

Step 2

Drill pilot holes and drive the screws flush with the surface of the wood (Project Diagram, Drawing 3) to join the desk supports to the desk sides.

Step 3

Secure the desk frame to the cubes and back wall with screws.

Position the desk frame between the cubes with the back edge against the wall and the top edges of the frame even with the tops of the cubes. Drill countersunk pilot holes and drive screws through the desk sides and support into the cube sides and into wall studs.

Step 4

Apply adhesive to the top of one of the cubes and place one of the cube tops (H) in position against the side and back wall of the closet.

Step 5

Measure the distance between the cubes and add 1-1/2 inches to trim the center top to final length. Apply adhesive to the top of the desk frame and position the top against the wall and against the first cube top.

Step 6

Use an adhesive caulk to secure the tops in position.

Apply adhesive to the top of the remaining cube and add the second cube top (H).

Step 7

Closet Desk--Lowe’s Creative Ideas

Fill any nail holes in the base trim with the caulk or wood putty, and caulk any gaps between the trim and wall, cubes and wall, and the finished top and the walls. Touch up any paint as needed to complete your new desk.