It's been a hot second since I posted on the blog and I am long overdue for a post on the DIY fold down desk in the room I did for my nephew. It is a smallish room that is sometimes shared with his older brother so I needed to maximize the space. A fold down desk was the perfect option. They are simple to build and easy to customize.
I added some shelves above so he could display his special things that had been stuffed in the closet. His love the Yankees so I stenciled their logo to the front of the DIY fold down desk.
It is the perfect spot to do a little homework!
Supplies For DIY Fold Down Desk
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¾" Birch Plywood
I apologize for the small amount of progress shots. I normally take a lot more photos along the way for very detailed tutorials. Sometimes when it's down to the wire with a deadline and it's the last project, I am going to fast to stop after each step. I hope that since this is such an easy project, you will understand it enough to replicate it or make your own version.
Build a simple box with butt joints. I built mine so that it would fit around the 17x23 inch cork board with room for some shelves. I painted it blue since I wanted a two-toned look.
I built a desktop out of ¾" plywood that would fit inside the blue box frame. It can be tricky to get it to fit perfectly inside and allow room for hinges so if you'd rather, you can always make it to fit on the outside. I used an iron to attach the veneer edging to give it a more finished look but this is optional. I also added the banding to the shelf/cubbie pieces.
Using some of the left over ¾" plywood, I cut strips to attach to the blue box frame. You could also use 1x4 boards. I used pocket holes (that I drilled with the Kreg Jig) and pocket screws to attach them to the frame. These are what will get screwed into studs to secure it to the wall. (see photo below)
Using scrap pieces of plywood left over from the desk top, I cut a couple of pieces to create shelves on the side. I added banding to the edges that would show. I stained and polyurethaned them before attaching them with brad nails.
To hide the braces on the back and to act as the back for the shelf area, I used a scrap piece of ⅛ inch plywood left over from the floating shelves, but you could use scrap ¾" plywood from the desktop as well.
Make sure if you are doing an inset door, that you don't have the shelves come all the way to the front of the blue box frame. Allw ¾" for the desktop.
I attached the desktop to the blue box frame using small butt hinges. Once it was on, then I added the gas spring hinges. I thought I would need a magnetic latch to keep it closed, but the gas spring hinges keep it very secure.
I did not put the cork board in until I had screwed it into the wall studs. It was a tight enough fit that I did not need to secure it. If it is loose, you could use poster putty to keep it in place if you don't want to nail or screw it in place.
It is the perfect sized desk for a laptop and easily closes for when it's not needed!
If you missed the full room reveal, you can catch it HERE.
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I am wanting DIY instructions for those shelves. Please let me know how you did those.
I don't have a tutorial for them from this room, but I have made them in the past. You can either build a box that slips over the the braces (like here: https://www.notjustahousewife.net/kitchen-floating-shelves/ ) or you can attached the plywood directly onto the brace like here:https://www.notjustahousewife.net/diy-floating-bathroom-shelves/
I love this idea and will be sharing a link on my website, just fyi! Hope you don't mind. Cynthia at Create With Cynthia
A bit late to comment, but as usual a wonderful build. You do such a great job in all you do. Very talented.
Will you share the lengths of the boards you used in this project? This is perfect for my sons' rooms but I am very, very new to DIY and only have a few tools. I would love to be able to go to a big box store and have them cut me the boards exactly as I need. Thank you.
I sent you an email with the measurements :)
Hi Stacy! Anyway you could shoot me the measurements (and details of the hinges you used) if at all possible?? We're building this for my daughter this week. Hybrid school starts tomorrow, so three days of at home learning and this desk will be a lifesaver with her smaller room! Thanks so much !!!
Beautiful desk! What are the measurements of the pieces of wood you used? Also, with just those two pistons holding the desktop open, are they strong enough to keep the desktop from folding past 90 degrees especially if someone leans on the open desktop?
My nephew put an old, super heavy monitor on it and over time it did sag a bit. Leaning a little should be fine unless you put a lot of weight on it.
What a great space saving idea! I'm featuring this great compact desk idea at the Snickerdoodle party this weekend. Pinned :)
Richella J Parham
Stacy, this is so clever! So useful, and you've made it look good, too. VERY timely with so many people working and schooling at home.
Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!
Hi! Love this desk. Just a question, do you need extra support for the fold down part? It feels like there is no much support but the hinges. Is that enough?
Sarah @ The DIY Mommy
Wow! What a great idea and such a space saver! Looks fantastic too!
Hi Stacy, I am intrigued by your wall desk! I It looks very well made! We have been looking for one for ages, but they are either cheaply made or cost prohibitive. My question: after roughly one year of using it, which parts would you reinforce/change the design thereof to make it more sturdy? The butt hinges look rather flimsy and the plywood joints of the frame share the load with the gas spring hinges, right? Best regards from Switzerland, Kat
The gas spring hinges hold up well for regular wear and weight. My nephew put a desktop computer on his and it started to sag. There are different weight limits for different hinges. If you are just using it for a lap top and writing, these should be fine. If you need it to hold more weight, you would need to get a more expensive hinge that could handle more weight.