We Made a Wooden Desk Out of a Door

For awhile now, I’ve been using the smaller portion of a larger, two-piece L-shaped desk that my partner is taking to Texas. We considered simply buying a new desk, since it’s mid-summer and most stores are running back-to-school specials. Especially in our college-town.

But rather than buy a pre-fab desk that we aren’t totally satisfied with, we decided to get a little crafty and build one. Awhile back we were on our way from from a Carnival Cruise back to our home town and we stopped by Ikea for some inspiration. That’s when we saw this desk.

IMG_1686 (1)I liked this desk because it had some qualities that I was looking for:

  • Heavy weight: I wanted the desk top to have some good weight to it, and I wanted a solid, confident surface at which I could work. I wanted the table to reflect how I wanted to feel when I sat at it.
  • Width: I wanted the desk to be wide. Wide enough to set up pictures and organize files, but not so wide that I couldn’t comfortably reach over to the backside of it.
  • Length: I wanted the desk to be long, really long! I wanted to feel like it extended beyond me for miles.
  • Height: I wanted it to be slightly more elevated than a sitting desk, or kitchen table. I wanted to be able to stand at it.
  • Color: I wanted to be able to stain the top with a walnut-like stain.
  • Legs:  I didn’t want the legs to intrude into a lot of the working foot-space of the desk. But the legs needed to be able to support the heavy weight of the working surface of the desk. The Ikea desk was a little bit much in terms of ‘under the hood’ wood work.

The Ikea desk provided good fodder for thought, but we took to Pinterest for some more ‘research.’

The “Research”

Wooden Desk
A well-used wooden desk. I love the french press and the work in-progress. There is a certain warmth to this image. Looks like the desk legs are stilts.
Similar to the other desk, but the wood is warmer.
Similar to the other desk, but the wood gives me a warmer feel. Also very minimal and simple, with clean edges. The legs look like they are a modification of an A-frame, perhaps to include a shelf option in the legs of the table.
Very simple, clean, modern. It's not the warmest stain, but I like the minimalistic styling.
Very simple, clean, modern. It’s not the warmest stain, but I like the minimalistic styling. Hard to tell how the legs were built in this image.
I can see myself sitting at this desk. I like the layout of the desk space, but it's harder to tell how the desk is actually set-up/made.
I can see myself sitting at this desk. I like the layout of the desk space, but it’s harder to tell how the desk is actually set-up/made.

My favorite pinterest wooden desk

Flat-top surface, A-frame legs, stool-height. I love it.
Flat-top surface, A-frame legs, stool-height. I love it.

DIY Wooden Desk

Being the craftsmen that he is, my partner suggested a Lowe’s trip ‘just to see what we would see’ in terms of materials for desks. We wound up leaving with a door made out of Lauan wood, a commercial lumber from Southeast Asia. We stained the desk with a walnut stain and sealed it, and he worked all weekend building sturdy A-frame legs to support the full weight of the desk top.


IMG_1981IMG_1977  IMG_1979

I’m very happy with the quality of the desk and the ambiance it adds to the apartment. I already spend a lot of time at the computer and writing, and this desk is going to make that time significantly more enjoyable.


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  • Wellroundedinvestor

    Man, this is the dream!

    I saw one of my tenants has this type of table where the legs are movable. But I can tell you it’s in the way of chairs though. How do you make the door smooth again? As most door have groves and designs?

    Both mr and I are not very handy. I love to do a lot or things. I have so much left over wood from my previous garage finishing. Which I was going to use to make desks and chairs.

    I’m still hoping to get this fixer upper so I can fix the house up slowly as I can sell off my house to eventually lower the payments or pay if off. The location would cut my travel expense. And I could walk to whole food market. Bike to work in the summer, short bike ride to my other rental for showing or other issues. However the damages could be extensive. I don’t know yet. Until I can send inspector.

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      I’m not all that handy when it comes to the measuring, sawing, drilling, etc that came to getting the legs together for the desk. We knew we wanted to have A frame legs but we were concerned, like you mentioned, that the legs would be in the way the chair, and then ultimately I wouldn’t be able to use the full range of the desk. But I think things worked out alright, because the legs aren’t that wide, and when I’m sitting in the middle of the desk (or standing, since it is standing height), I usually don’t need to move all that much.

      Anyways, repurposing old wood is a great idea. We used to have a standing bike rack that we scrapped for the wood, and made a shoe rack out of it.

      We (especially He) has always wanted to get a fixer upper. I hope you get it. Being able to be more flexible with travel and save that way is a fantastic upside to getting the new place. Not to mention being close to the market! If I understood you correctly, you’re planning on moving into the house shortly after selling your current home?

      Early this year and late last year we considered buying a fixer upper. In our college town the real-estate has high turnover because new students are always coming and old students are always leaving. There are also several professional degree programs that bring in older students. We were really interested in a very, very small property that cost about 15k. We ended up not going through with the plans because my partner noticed some foundation problems with the home. So, we left it at that. Not to mention, we reasoned it would be hard to continue our degrees and try to fix up a house. As it turns out, that was the best decision, since he’s going to Texas now.

  • http://www.itpaysdividends.com Thias @ It Pays Dividends

    Turned out great! I’m pretty awful when it comes to DYI (just ask my life) even though I am going to attempt at making a work bench soon. I also want to make an addition that I can add to my current desk to add a stand up feature. My goal when doing stuff is to just make it functional πŸ™‚ Nice job!

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      I’m average at DIY, which is why my partner did most of the work on the desk (I did the stain part).

      I’d be lying if I said all I wanted was function at the end of the day, because I really do have an appreciate for aesthetics. Hence, why I took care of the stain and not building the legs. But I know what you mean. The function must be there for the aesthetic to matter.

      Stand up desks FTW! I love my new stand up desk. I am still looking for a stool, for when I get tired of standing.

  • http://www.engineercents.com/ Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents

    Love the desk! Now to just convince my partner to beef up his carpentry skills…

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      πŸ™‚ sweet treats could sweeten the deal for him

  • http://www.nomorewaffles.com/ No More Waffles

    Mr. MM,

    Even though I prefer lighter colours, I must say: very well done! Clean and good-looking solution, not to mention relatively cheap compared to off-the-shelf desks.

    Now to make sure the (lamp?) cable isn’t visible under the desk so my OCD can settle down. πŸ˜‰

    Best wishes,

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      Thanks, NMW. And doh! You spotted the part I hadn’t gotten to, yet. I’ve since added a couple other items to the desk, all of which need a little cord wrangling. Will get to that in a few days.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.tawcan.com Tawcan

    Oh man that’s really cool and very nice looking. Would love to make something like this one day.

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      Thanks! It was fun to look at pictures and try our hands at making something that was exactly what we wanted.

  • http://www.AdamChudy.com/ Adam @ AdamChudy.com

    Love the DIY mentality. Awesome work. We did something similar for a pantry using an old tv stand.

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      Thanks, Adam! We had a lot of fun putting it together. And that’s neat to hear you made something for your pantry.

  • http://www.brightcents.com/ Chenell Tull

    I love this project! It totally looks better than those store bought ones too. Great idea! πŸ™‚

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      Hey Chenell,
      Thanks! I was really getting sick to my stomach thinking that I would have to settle for another pre-fab desk from Target or Wal-Mart. I wanted something that would last and this was the only real way we thought we could accomplish that without spending a pretty penny.
      Happy almost TGIF!

      • http://www.brightcents.com/ Chenell Tull

        Yes! I hate buying those ones made from particleboard. Makes me feel like I got scammed. I’ll have to remember this next time I’m in the market for a desk. πŸ™‚

        • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

          Pinterest is your friend! πŸ™‚

  • http://www.mynerdylife.com Master Nerd

    Awesome! Looks great too! My dad made a workbench for himself out of a door as he wanted something solid to work on. It’s not very pretty but it does the job.

    • http://www.mrmodernmillennial.com Mr. Modern Millennial

      Haha, thanks! Gotta have functionality or it’s just a pretty piece of wood. πŸ™‚