DIY to Try: IKEA Hack - Wooden Desk
I had a desk in my closet, which was so great when I first moved into my apartment. But, I realized that I never liked to actually use the desk in my closet, because it felt so constricting. Instead, I ended up scrapbooking and crafting on my couch, which was not helpful for my back at all.
After I rearranged my room, I finally had the space I wanted for a desk, next to one of my windows. I wanted the desk to fit snugly between the pipe heater and the the bookshelf, and fit with the fall (this half of the wall also kind of goes back farther than the other half of the wall). It's a rather unique size (57"x24"), so I thought the best option would be to build my own desk. Since I already build my own bookcase, I figured this wouldn't be too much difficult.
I looked for the bases of my desk for what felt like years. I knew I wanted storage included with the bases, instead of just legs. Originally, I wanted to buy something vintage, then decided that was too hard to find here and would never happen. So then I looked to my next best friend: IKEA. I had my heart set on these kitchen counter bases. But, when I went to the physical IKEA store (still scarred), I realized that maybe those were too high for what I wanted. So, I found the perfect bases in the showroom, and had my heart set on them. Only to walk gleefully to the warehouse and learn they were sold out. SOLD OUT! How could they? There wasn't even a sign in the showroom!
After frantically wondering what would work, I stumbled upon these bases that were abundantly in stock. They were as wide as I needed them to be, and were actually cheaper than the option I really wanted. So, together in a sketchy cab, the bases and I went home together.
I knew I wanted just a simple wood top for the desk. When I went to Home Depot awhile ago to get wood for my shelves, I also picked up a piece of wood for the top of my desk. I forget exactly what type of wood it was, but the Home Depot man assured me it would work perfectly for it.
Stain (I used this one)
Wood for the desk top (mine measured 57"x24")
Brush for staining
Desk Bases (I bought these from IKEA)
Once you have your piece of wood cut to size, sand it down. I sanded mine, but not as much as I should have. If I wasn't building this right next to my bed, I would have sanded longer and harder. But, my apartment's a little too small for perfect woodworking. I didn't do a good job of sanding the sides though, so I think I'm going to go back and resand those down (and restain, etc.).
Once you've sanded down the top, sides and bottom (you don't want your clothing to snag under the table), stain the wood according to your stain's directions. I stained the top in one day, and the bottom on the next day. I did the edges as I went.as well. I think I only did 1 coat of stain, but I've used this stain before so I knew how dark it could get fast. I would recommend testing your stain out on the bottom of your desk top, which will help you determine how many coats you'll need.
Once all sides are stained to your satisfaction, apply 3-5 coats of your polyurethane by following the directions on your specific can. If any bubbles form, gently sand those down, and then apply another coat. I love this stuff. This took me a couple days to complete, because I ended up putting on 4 coats. You have to let each coat dry long enough, and I only worked on one side at a time.
For your bases, follow the instructions from IKEA. I actually love putting together IKEA stuff, so both bases only took me a couple hours to put together. If you don't like putting together IKEA furniture, you can hire someone from here or here.
Once the top is complete, and your bases built, it's time to assemble! I nailed the two pieces together using 2" nails. I nailed at all four corners, then I put two additional nails on the long side closest to the brick, for extra support. Make sure you nail where your bases will be. The nails aren't perfect, and you can see them, but they're so small, that I don't even notice them. Plus, you can put accessories over the nails too, and no one will be any wiser.
That's it! All in all, this project cost me $200 total ($160 for the bases, and $40 for the wood top). I already had the other supplies on hand, so that helped. For a customized and sturdy desk with storage added, this is such a good deal!
I really love this desk. The bases are actually really heavy (60 lbs each), so my desk is super sturdy, which I needed. The drawers work so well, and I haven't had a problem yet. I love the white and dark stain combo, along with the gold accessories. I can't even tell you how much joy working next to the window brings me!