How to Build a Writing Desk

Building a writing desk can be a fun and rewarding project. Not only will you have a new piece of furniture to enjoy, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you built it yourself! This guide will show you how to build a writing desk from scratch. We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right materials and tools, so you can feel confident in your ability to complete the project. Let’s get started.

Summary: If you’re looking for a desk that can both help you stay organized and look good in your home office, there’s no need to go broke. You can build your very own writing desk using this tutorial from The Simple Homeowner. All you need is some wood, a drill, a saw, screws, and paint. First, measure the width and length of the desk you want, and cut the wood to these dimensions. Next, drill a hole at the center of each board, and screw them together. Finally, paint the desk to match your home decor.

how to build a writing desk

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint (optional)
  • Polyurethane (optional)

Step by Step Guide on How to Build a Writing Desk

1. Measure the Dimensions of Your Desk

The first step is to measure the dimensions of your desk. You’ll need to know the desk’s width, depth, and height so you can purchase the correct amount of materials. Use a tape measure to get the accurate measurements, then use a pencil to mark them on a piece of paper.

2. Cut the Pieces of Wood

Next, you’ll need to cut the pieces of wood that will make up the frame of your desk. You can use a circular saw or a jigsaw to make the cuts. If you’re using a circular saw, be sure to use a guide, so your cuts are straight. To do this, simply clamp a straight piece of wood to the plywood and use it as a guide for your saw.

3. Assemble the Frame

Once the pieces are cut, it’s time to assemble the frame. Begin by attaching the two side pieces to the front piece using wood screws. Then, attach the back piece to the frame. If you’re using power tools, use the appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection.

4. Attach the Legs

Next, you’ll need to attach the legs to the frame. The legs will already be attached if you’re using a pre-made deck. You’ll need to attach the legs yourself if you’re building your own desk.

Cut the Pieces of Wood

5. Add the Shelves

Now it’s time to add the shelves. Cut the pieces to size according to your measurements if you’re using stock lumber. If you’re using reclaimed wood, make sure the boards are roughly the same width and length. Shelves can be as long or short as you want, but we recommend keeping them around 18 inches deep.

Start by attaching the longest boards to the desk frame using screws or nails. Then add the shorter boards to create a rectangular shelf. Repeat this process until you have as many shelves as you want. For a more rustic look, you can leave the shelves unfinished. Otherwise, sand them down and stain or paint them to match the rest of the desk. Let the shelves dry completely before moving on to the next step.

6. Add the Drawers

The next step is to add the drawers. If you’re using a kit, the drawers will come with instructions. Building the desk from scratch, you’ll need to measure and cut the wood for the drawers. Then, add drawer slides so the drawers can open and close smoothly.

7. Attach the Hardware

Next, it’s time to add the hardware. This includes pulls or knobs for the drawers and possibly a lock for the desk. Choose hardware that compliments the style of your desk, and make sure it’s easy to install. If you’re not sure how to install hardware, consult a professional or watch a few YouTube videos for guidance.

8. Add a Lining

If you want to get really fancy, add a lining to the drawers. This can be done with some simple fabric and a hot glue gun. Just line the inside of the drawer with fabric, and then glue it in place. This will add a nice touch to the finished desk.

Assemble the Frame

9. Sand the Desk

Once the desk is built and all the hardware is in place, it’s time to sand it down. This will smooth out any rough edges and give the desk a nice, finished look. Start with coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit. Then, wipe the dust off with a damp cloth and allow the desk to dry completely.

10. Paint the Desk

Now, it’s time to stain or paint the desk. If you decide to stain it, always test the stain on a small, hidden area first to make sure you like the color. Once you’ve decided on the perfect shade, apply the stain evenly with a brush or rag. If you decide to paint the desk, choose a color that compliments the wood. Apply a primer first, then paint the desk with a brush or roller. Let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.

11. Protect the Desk With Polyurethane (Optional)

If you want to protect the desk, you can apply a coat of polyurethane. This will help prolong the desk’s life and keep it looking new for longer. Apply a thin coat of polyurethane to the entire desk, using a brush or a roller. Allow the polyurethane to dry completely before using the desk.

12. Add the Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to add the finishing touches. This includes anything from decorating the desk, to attaching a label or plaque. If you’re giving the desk as a gift, consider adding a special message to the recipient. Finish by attaching the legs to the desk using screws or nails. Once the legs are attached, your writing desk is complete!

13. Enjoy Your New Desk.

Now that your writing desk is complete, you can enjoy it for years to come. Use it as a workspace for writing, a place to display family photos, or a catch-all for bills and other mail. Whatever you use it for, your desk will be a beautiful and functional addition to your home.

You Can Check It Out to Make Cabriole Legs

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Writing Desk?

The cost of building a writing desk will vary depending on the materials you use and the complexity of the design. Expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $500 on this project. If you’re looking for a more simple design, you can find plenty of plans online or in magazines for less than $100. However, if you want a more complicated or customized desk, you’ll likely need to spend closer to $500.

Enjoy Your New Desk

Building a writing desk is a great way to save money and get exactly the desk you want. If you’re not experienced in woodworking, choosing a relatively simple design is important. Many resources available can help you through the process, including books, websites, and even classes.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Writing Desk?

The amount of time it takes to build a writing desk will depend on the complexity of the design and your experience level. The required time can range from a few hours to a few days. If you have never built anything before, it is recommended that you start with a simple design. There are many desk plans available online and in libraries.

Tips and Warnings on How to Build a Writing Desk:


  1. It is important to have a sturdy and well-built desk so that it will last for a long time.
  2. Make sure to measure the area where you will be placing the desk before you start building it.
  3. It is best to use high-quality materials when constructing the desk to look its best.
  4. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully when building the desk to ensure that it turns out correctly.
  5. Make sure to sand the desk down after you finish construction so that it is smooth and ready to use.


  1. Do not skimp on materials when building the desk, as this could cause it to be unstable and break.
  2. Be careful when using power tools to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the materials.
  3. Make sure that the desk is placed in a sturdy and level location so that it does not topple over.
  4. Be sure to sand the desk down thoroughly before using it so that there are no sharp edges.
  5. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when building the desk to avoid any mistakes.

What Makes a Good Writing Desk?

When choosing a writing desk, there are several things to keep in mind. The first is the size of the desk. It should be large enough to fit your computer, printer comfortably, and other materials you need while working. However, it should not be so large that it takes up too much space in your office or home.

The second thing to consider is the height of the desk. You want to be able to sit at the desk and have your arms rest at a 90-degree angle. This will ensure that you are comfortable while working and avoid any strain on your wrists or arms.

Makes a Good Writing Desk

The third thing to consider is the material of the desk. Desks can be made from various materials, including wood, metal, glass, and plastic. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the one that best suits your needs.


So there you have it: a simple, step-by-step guide on how to build a writing desk. It’s not as hard as you might think, and the result is definitely worth the effort. Not only will you have a beautiful piece of furniture to show off, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself. Ready to get started? We can’t wait to see what amazing desks you create.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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