Step-by-Step directions how we made this DIY Desk from an old, salvaged door.
When we were building our home 12 years ago, Terry and I found a great salvage store that had all sorts of old doors, windows, mantels and the like. We purchased 2 dressers that we re-purposed into bathroom sinks, as well as 2 doors. We intended to use one of the doors for my pantry and the other as a swinging door between our kitchen and dining room. We refinished the pantry door and it is one of my favorite things about our home with its original glass that has wee bubbles and waves in it, but the swinging door never quite made it to its intended use and has resided in our attic for the past 12 years. Little did we know at the time that this noble old door would find it’s way into my office as and transform into a wonderful DIY desk!
From time to time I’ve pondered what to do with ‘the door in the attic’. At one point I thought it’d make a great table for outside, but it has recessed panels so would need a glass top and I was afraid of water getting under the glass, so that thought never came to fruition.
Recently it became painfully obvious that the desk I have been using for the past 12 years was really too small. Not only was the top surface on the small side, but I’m a tall gal and I had a hard time sitting at the desk with my long legs. I looked around at many local stores and online sites and finally decided I probably needed to build my own desk to get the height I wanted. Did someone say ‘build my own’? A DIY desk? Music to my ears! Bring on the DIY Door Desk.
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The lonely ‘door in the attic’ came into my mind again and I figured I could get some great legs made that would have some cool character. I contacted several ironwork shops in my area, but the cost to get a frame built was pretty steep. Finally, I stumbled upon an adjustable height desk frame at Ikea, the BEKANT Underframe for table top. It’s slightly more utilitarian than I originally hoped for, but the $109 price tag instantly made the ‘utilitarian look’ really quite attractive. DIY desk here we come!
I also wanted a sliding keyboard tray on the underside of my DIY desk. After doing much research, I decided on the Rockler 12″ Keyboard Slide. In searching for reviews on the product, I came across Yellow Brick Home’s experience with it, which confirmed my intent to go ahead and get it. You can’t beat the price, $34.99; but more than that, it’s incredibly sturdy, you can determine how wide you want your tray and you can paint the wood for the tray any color you like.
So I had my door, I had my frame and I had my keyboard tray…time for me to get busy! Or rather, time for Terry to get busy…with a wee help from Flora! You guessed it….DIY desk, here we come!
From Door to DIY Desk!
- The door was solid wood. It was 7 feet tall land 3 feet wide. Given the space in my office, I needed to trim it down a wee bit but needed to work with the panels in the door. The area outside of the panel on the bottom of the door was longer than at the top, so we cut it so that both the bottom and top at had 3.5″ outside of each panel. At 36″ it’s pretty wide, but there was really no way to cut anything off the sides so we just worked with that.
- Then we positioned the underframe on the door. It was that kismet thing again because the frame perfectly fit the raised areas of the door so that we did not need to build up any of the recessed panels. Worse come to worse, we would’ve attached some wood to the recessed areas to build them up to the non-recessed height so that the frame would attach. Holy cow…just realized the view you’re getting of our workbench. I’d love to say that it is a rare occurrence for it to be so messy, but then I’d be lying and that’s a bad thing!
- Figuring out where to attach the sliding keyboard tray was a little wrinkle. In the perfect world, it would have recessed farther back, but we were constrained by the frame as to where we could attach it. But truthfully, after working with it for the past month+, I’m perfectly fine with it. This next photo shows us looking at different options in the placement of the keyboard tray. Do figure that out before you attach your frame. We figured if we needed to we could’ve moved the frame a little off-center to accommodate the keyboard tray, but in the end, we didn’t need to.
- Once we figured out the placement of the frame and the keyboard tray, it was time to attach the BEKANT frame to the bottom of the door. This frame is very sturdy. You can see how you adjust the height of the table…the bottom half of the legs slide out. Terry’s marking where the frame goes in this picture. We actually moved the whole shebang inside the house for the rest of the project as the finished desk would not have fit through the doors otherwise.
- Once it was inside and we had the frame attached, it was time to attach the sliding keyboard tray. I had purchased a piece of pine that was 15″ wide so Terry only needed to cut down the length to 27″ which is what we decided would be ‘optimal’ for my keyboard and mouse pad. I spray painted the whole thing a glossy black. I had initially thought I wanted a real color but decided to stay neutral-ish and to make the keyboard less prominent.
We get many of our building supplies at Home Depot. They have a wonderful program by which you can order here online and then pick-up at your nearest store within hours or at your convenience. In addition to building materials, they have an extensive selection of power tools and an excellent rental program if buying is not an option for you.
- You can see in this picture right above how the brackets for the keyboard needed to be placed taking into consideration the frame.
The Finished Product…My DIY Desk!
I ordered a piece of glass, 1/4″ thick to cover my DIY desk and to make an even writing surface.
I have SOOOOO much more room on my new DIY desk. Like almost twice as much as I had with my wee person desk. My office is slowly evolving to become what I want it to be. I’m still really loving my Roadside Rescued Storage and it’s completely filling the need I had for it to be convenient storage.
Since I have posted this, I have added an update to my desk with these DIY Rifle Paper Desk Accessories!
Next up…think I need some curtains for my windows. I had curtains up for like ever, but I when I took them down this spring to have the windows washed, I realized how much brighter and lighter my office was without them and I just couldn’t bear to put them back up. But, I think I need to do something. And while I love my ghost chair, think I need to get a REAL office chair, with wheels and everything.
I also think I’m going to try my hand at reupholstering my comfy office chair. It’s a very important chair…
Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this DIY Desk post in the future.
If you liked this project, you might also be interested in another furniture project, building a console table. Let me know what you think!
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