A desk is usually the central piece of furniture in an office. Most modern desks are made to house a computer and its peripheral devices, but desks are available in a variety of styles, from the very simple to those that offer large amounts of storage and make a bold impression. Building your own office desk will likely save money over buying one, and will allow you to customize the desk based on your specific needs.
Planning Your Desk
Since an office desk is a functional piece of furniture, its design should reflect its intended uses. If your desk will be used primarily for a computer, then design enclosures and shelves for the computer's various components, including the CPU, monitor, speakers, printer, and keyboard and mouse. Depending on the size of the room, add storage to your desk. This can include spaces to store additional computer components like a modem or router, CDs and DVDs, and external drives. Storage for general office supplies can also be useful.
Measure the room where the desk will sit, or measure an existing desk if your new desk will serve as a replacement. Also take measurements of your computer and other items you plan to store in the desk. Another important measurement is the height of your desk chair. Measure from the floor to the level at which your arms rest when seated. This is how much space should be allowed below the desk so that you can work comfortably. Visiting a furniture gallery or looking at pictures of desks may help with design ideas.
Wood is the best material for a homemade office desk. A plywood desk can offer an inexpensive solution, but woods such as pine or oak will make a much more beautiful, durable desk. Choose lumber that is free from blemishes and has an attractive grain pattern.
Building Your Desk
When building your desk, construct the base first. Then add the desk surface, shelves and drawers, and finish the wood if desired. This is the best way to get a sturdy base and build a desk that can support weight. To attach the joints, use wood glue and small nails. Fill the nail holes with nail hole filler and sand them smooth before finishing. In lieu of nails, you may wish to use dovetailed joints or tongue-and-groove methods.
Leave space for air to flow into any enclosures on your desk that will eventually contain computer components, which can heat up quickly in an enclosed space. Also cut holes for routing cables to and from these devices. Use a lightweight material such as wood paneling, or even heavy cardboard, to create the backing of your desk to give it a finished appearance.
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