DIY: Build a Drop- Down Study Desk and Work Station

by on November 10th, 2010
Share Button

In bedrooms, kitchens and dorm rooms space is a premium issue. Having space to study, use a computer, write or read is essential. Being able to fold everything up and utilize the floor space when finished is even better.

Build a fold down desk from a used kitchen cabinet and save hundreds. You will also have a deeper desk than the commercial varieties. They are six inches deep, but your cabinet will be twelve inches deep.

Most of the materials can be obtained inexpensively by watching Craigslist, the local newspaper classified ads or by shopping at your local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Your local DIY store should have a bin for “end pieces” of different types of wood.

This drop- down desk works well in kitchens, dorm rooms, bedrooms and in RV’s. It is inspired by modern-day furniture without the cost.

Precise measurements are not given as the builder can customize the cabinet for his or her needs. Make the cabinet narrower or shorter, the legs longer or shorter and the inside shelves or drawers according to individual needs. Wall cabinets of different sized may certainly be used.

You will need:

· A used kitchen wall cabinet. These usually measure 12″ deep, 30″ tall, and 20″ inches wide. · One 2- foot by 4- foot piece of MDF, ¼” thick · Piece of pegboard · Drill with bits, 2″ hole saw and 1″ hole saw · One 2-foot by 4- foot piece of ½” plywood or solid wood. · Decorative molding, if desired. · Measuring tape and markers · Construction glue · Finishing nails · Hanger for wall- your local DIY center can recommend the perfect hanger for your specific wall and cabinet weight. · Different pieces of ¼” MDF · Paint or stain as desired · Latch to keep the cabinet closed · Folding table hinges- two each · Small drawers, envelopes or folders handmade or purchased

Step One:

Clean, strip and sand the cabinet. Carefully remove the shelves and set aside- reuse them in the new design.

Remove the hardware and set aside. Decide if you want to use this again in the new design. It will save money, but is not necessary. Set the doors aside.

If storing a computer inside the cabinet, place it inside and note where the exhaust fan is. Mark two holes and using the 2″ hole saw, cut a hole directly in line with the fan, on top of the cabinet, and on the opposite side for air circulation and to allow the heat to escape.

Cover the holes on the inside with pegboard or screen.

Step Two:

Measure the front of the cabinet for the new door. If the original cabinet doors are plain, they can be joined to make one piece of wood.

Decide if you want the door to fit inside the cabinet when closed, or to cover the front.

Mount the hinges to the bottom of the cabinet and the new door. Mount the latch at the top, or use two smaller latches at the sides.

Step Three:

Sit down at a favorite desk or table and measure where your hands fall naturally for the best working height. This measurement will be needed for mounting the desk so the cabinet door, when lowered, becomes the desktop.

Step Four:

Measure the distance from the floor to the height to the user’s measurements from step two. Stack items under the cabinets or have a helper or two hold it while the user sits in a chair and places his or her hands on the new desktop.

Lower the cabinet door and measure from the door to the floor for the legs.

Mount the legs to the cabinet face. You can make the legs as a rectangular frame, sort of a “picture frame.” Decorate this frame with decorative molding, stenciling or leave plain. Use the ½” plywood for the legs.

If the leg measurement is longer than the cabinet frame, consider making the legs in two pieces. Use bolts to screw into the ends of the legs mounted to the cabinet face. Keep the ends inside the cabinet, or mount to the side.

Step Five:

Mount the frame to the wall using the proper hangers. Place the computer inside, and measure for shelves, envelopes, folders, etc.

Make custom shelves from the original shelving and the ¼” MDF.

Step Six:

Paint or stain as desired and enjoy your new desk.


· Mount or build a second cabinet to fit in the space underneath. This increases the storage area. · Use fold-up chairs or stools and store them under the cabinet. · If using the “picture frame” style of legs would force the cabinet to be mounted too high for the user, no problem. Cut the legs to the correct desired length. Mount the lower leg frame to the cabinet front and allow the upper legs to swing down. When the cabinet door is raised, the effect looks like a full picture frame.

Your new desk will serve for many years to come. If you don’t want anyone to use your computer or get into your things when you’re not working at the desk, mount a lock on the sides or the top. Most of the time, no one will recognize it as a desk unless they see you open it.

Make one for yourself, friends, family, and more.

Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.

Prev Article: »
Next Article: «

Related Articles