How to Make a Simple and Affordable DIY Desk!

If there was ever a time for a super simple and affordable DIY desk, it’s NOW my friends! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 7-year-old daughter will be online learning for the first quarter of the new school year. We have the option to reevaluate our decision quarterly and switch to in-person learning when we feel more comfortable with her safety at school. We are now in WEEK 2 of at-home learning and let me tell you, please send help and/or WINE! I love my girl, obviously, but I’m certainly not qualified to be her educator. I’m also learning that my patience level could use some work! They say what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger, so I guess I’ll be coming out of this situation a damn WARRIOR!

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DIY Desk Visualized

Hubby and I decided to make this a POCKET DESK for the added storage functionality! I laid out all the cut wood pieces to really envision the final result! The top portion of this DIY desk was built using Birch Plywood (desktop) and Sande Plywood (desk underside), while the legs were constructed from Pine Board. We chose plywood because it allowed us to create a deep enough desk, without having to join wood pieces. The pine boards gave us great legs!

Simple and Affordable DIY Desk layout and construction.

DIY Desk Construction

We used 2 different types of plywood to reduce our overall cost. We also placed the back of the pocket desk about 0.75″ away from the edge. I love this little added detail, but it certainly isn’t something a 7-year-old would appreciate! We kept each piece of wood in place with wood glue and then further secured them with screws.

Desk top: 1 – 48″ x 20″ birch plywood
Desk underside: 1 – 48″ x 20″ sande plywood
Desk back: 1 – 48″ x 3.5″ pine board
Desk sides: 2 – 18.5″ x 3.5″ pine board
Each desk leg: 2 – 24″x 3.5″ pine board || 2 – 18.5″ x 3.5″ pine board

Stain and Paint

I chose a natural stain to enhance the beautiful grains in the plywood. I’m a huge fan of the wood and white combo and so you’ll notice strategic inclusions of white paint throughout this desk design! I can never say this enough, frog tape is your best friend!

DIY desk stain is a natural finish.
Stain – Minwax Natural Oil-Based Interior Stain
Paint – SW Pure White

We’ve been slowly repainting our interior walls in SW Pure White. This bright white color was so perfect for our DIY pocket desk! The contrast is very striking in all the right ways! As an alternate design to the pocket desk, you could create more of an open look as seen above. I really don’t think you can go wrong with either choice!

Simple and Affordable DIY Desk in 2 tone combo of wood and white paint.

DIY Desk Reveal

I’m beyond OBSESSED with how this DIY pocket desk turned out! Hubby and I are all about subtle details and this desk definitely delivers that! It pairs beautifully with this 2-tone chair! I had to style our latest furniture piece at least once before it made its way into our daughter’s bedroom, never to be seen or heard from again! I’m happy to report that so far it’s still in excellent condition. No visible crayon or pencil marks … yet anyway!

Simple and Affordable DIY Desk fully built and styled.

Ready to learn how much this desk costed us?! Including taxes, we spent $88.38 on materials to create this simple and affordable DIY desk! Looking to build your very own simple and affordable DIY desk, then I hope you consider this option! For a more adventurous project, be sure to check out our Modern DIY Slat Wall!

I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have on this project. Comment below and let me know what form of schooling you chose for your kiddos. This was a very difficult decision for our family but we feel at peace with our choice. There’s no wrong answer here, only choices and solutions that best fit your own family! Until next time friends!

Aminah Chung


10 Replies to “How to Make a Simple and Affordable DIY Desk!”

  1. Thank you for writing this blog post! I saw the video of your hubby putting it together on Instagram and I was in love! We have a 7yo daughter as well and her virtual school starts next week. I gave her my sewing desk for virtual school and I’m on a folding table for now. I have been wanting to make a larger version of this desk for myself. I can’t wait to get started! Thank you!!!

    • Thank you so much for reading Carla! We didn’t have a desk either and this one was so affordable to make. Good luck with the school year and I’m happy to answer any questions!

  2. This is incredible! Well done and good luck this quarter.

    We’re in the same boat. Send wine 😅

  3. Love love love this desk that I cannot wait to copy it 🙂
    I am making this for my teenager and the measurements are of course for an adult standard size desk. Will you please have a look?
    So here they are:
    Desk top 1 – 62 x 25″ Birch wood
    Desk underside 1 – 62 x 25″ Sande Plywood
    Desk back 1 – 62 x 3.5 Pine board
    Desk Sides 2 – 23. 5 x 3.5 (You subtracted 1.5 inches from depth so I did the same – Is that the idea – Totally new to this sorry )
    Two desk legs 4 – 30×3.5 Pine board and 4 – 23.5 x 3.5 pine boards

    • You’re so kind Mariah, thank you so much! I looked over your measurements and the math looks good. Our desk sides were shorter because we recessed the desk back by 0.75″ to create that extra detail in our design. You don’t have to do that for yours but I think it looks cool that way! Now our surface was still a bit rough to the touch so keep that in mind. Sand really well and Good luck!

  4. This desk is so nicely constructed. I love it and it really will serve the purpose. Great job to you both.

  5. This is awesome!!! I’m excited to make one thanks to you. Question – what is the tool he’s using to hold the two wood pieces in place at the corner?

    • I’m so happy to hear that! Bernard was using a 90 degree corner clamp. You can purchase from Amazon or your local home improvement store. Good luck!

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