A simple and modern DIY floating desk is the perfect solution to create a home office or homeschooling space in any nook in your home. This easy to follow tutorial will show you how!
With the possibility of remote schooling looming, it was time I figured out a desk solution for my kindergartener. My office got a small makeover a few years ago, but in recent months had once again become a dumping ground. I knew the first thing I needed to do was purge all the extra stuff I no longer needed. The upside? I sold almost all of it and it covered the cost of this new makeover!
Home Office Nook Design
My vision for this space was first and foremost that it needed to have a large workspace – a desk that spanned the entire wall length, so that not only could my kindergartener and I work together, but that my 3 year old could also fit in and work on his coloring books or other activities alongside us. Finally, I needed enough floor space that the baby could also play in the same room and I not have to worry about him being “in” everything. That of course meant that everything needed to be up off the ground and mounted to the wall, and then the idea of the floating shelves also became part of the vision.
I would consider myself a very beginner DIYer. You might think that this desk is beyond what you are capable of doing, but trust me, it is incredibly simply! You may need some help during certain points just to physically hold the wood in place and that sort of thing, but other than that, you can do this all by yourself.
This tutorial will work for a wall space 8 feet and under. My back wall is technically 93 inches, so just shy of 8 feet. Because it is a floating desk, I’m not sure that I would go any larger than 8 feet without risking it being too heavy. Smaller is of course, perfectly fine. My desk is very sturdy and secure.
All the supplies are available from the Home Depot. You can order them online and do curbside pickup or have them delivered to your home. Just click on the links and add them to your cart for quick and easy shopping!
- 2 x 2 furring strips (to build the support frame)
- 3/4″ x 2ft white oak plywood (for the desk top)
- 1x 3 select pine (for the desk front)
- 3 inch wood screws (to attach support frame to the studs)
- (2) 2 x 10’s (for the wall shelves)
- 4 boxes of 1.5 inch angle braces (to hang the shelves)
- 2 inch wood screws (to attach angle brackets to shelves)
- Wood filler
- Clear furniture wax or Polycrylic (to protect the desk and shelves)
- Drill with hole saw attachment
- 2 inch white desk grommet (for cable management)
We already owned all these tools, so I have not factored them into the cost of making the desk and shelves. If you plan on doing any sort of DIY projects in the future, these are all tools that you will use time and time again.
- Miter Saw (for all the cuts)
- Kreg Jig (for the pocket holes)
- Stud Finder
- Brad Nailer
How to Make The Floating Desk and Shelves
Build the Floating Desk Support
Mark the studs in the wall using a stud finder. Everything will need to be screwed directly into the studs for the desk and shelves to be secure.
Build the frame to support to desk top. This frame support is very secure once it’s installed directly into the studs, so you don’t need heavy duty brackets or anything like that.
I started by cutting the back and front pieces to size, then each smaller pieces. Since the desk top was going to be 2 feet deep, I made sure that the total depth of the back piece + the small pieces + the front piece equaled 24 inches exactly.
Since I was using 2 x 2 boards, that meant the back piece was 1.5 inches, the front piece was 1.5 inch which left me needing 21 inches for the in-between smaller boards. Each of 21 inch pieces of wood was cut to size and then drilled on both ends to accommodate a pocket hole using my Kreg Jig. You could also pre-drill holes and just screw directly, but the pocket holes are much more secure and create a tighter joint.
Attach the back piece of the wood frame using screws long enough to go through the 2 x2 wood. I used 3 inch screws. Then, start attaching each of the brace pieces, starting with the sides. We didn’t have any studs on the sides to attach to and the desk is still secure. Finally, attach the front piece so that you have a box (alternatively, you can build the frame and then install it on the wall. However, if you’re dealing with a large space like mine, it would be very cumbersome).
Install the Desk Top
Measure the top of the desk and cut the oak plywood. Place the plywood down on top of the floating frame. Secure around the top using brad nails.
Attach the front trim 1 x 3 using brad nails. Then fill any nail holes or seams with wood filler (I used the “natural” color). Be sure to fill the seam where the desk top meets the 1×3.
Drill a hole in the top of the desk for cables. I used a 2 inch hole saw and then inserted a white cable thing so that it looks neat. (You could also do this prior to installing the desktop, but I wanted to be able to put my computer on top and figure it all out first. )
Caulk all the way around the edges of the desk where it meets the wall. Cover the surface of the desk with Frogtape first so that the caulk doesn’t seep into the grain of the wood.
Sand and Stain the Shelves
Sand the 2 x 10 boards smooth. To stain the wood to match the white oak, first apply pre-stain conditioner according to the directions on the can. Then, apply Minwax Golden Oak stain and immediately wipe it off. Finally, apply a coat of Minwax Simply White stain. Once dry, compare it to the white oak plywood and determine if it needs a second coat.
Determine height of shelves and cut the wood to size. Don’t assume that both pieces will be cut exactly the same length. There was 1/8 of an inch difference in the width of my walls between the two shelves.
Attach the Floating Shelves to the Wall
Starting with the top shelf, attach the angle brackets to the walls where they will hit the studs, and one on each side (they probably won’t get a stud on the sides). The screws that come with the shelves are too small, so you will need to use 1.5 inch wood screws.
Place the shelf on the brackets and screw the brackets up into the shelves. You can use the screws that came with the brackets for this part.
Repeat for the bottom shelf.
Seal The Desk and Shelves
Seal both the desk top and shelves with clear furniture wax or matte polycrylic. I chose clear wax because I did not want the color of the oak to be darkened. If this doesn’t bother you, or you chose a different wood or stain to begin with, polycrylic will work great.
Then all that’s left to do is decorate, set up your computer and enjoy!
Simple Home Office Decor
The plan is to keep this space light, bright and uncluttered. Since we have a closet in this room that can store much of what we need, I chose to keep the shelves simple with just some books, my file folders and a basket for miscellaneous supplies. I scan most of the paperwork we need into the computer to keep paper clutter at bay, which also really helps.
The chairs I chose for the space are surprisingly comfortable, despite their metal frame and thin pad. I’ve sat in them for hours and they conform nicely to my body and offer good support. I do have a proper desk chair that I usually use, so the kids will mostly be using this white chairs on the remote-learning days.
The new rug is stunning. It’s a soft baby blue with an off-white cross hatch weave an an almost “honeycomb” detail on it. It’s very soft and adds nice texture to the space.
- Task lamp: IKEA
- Wall clock: CB2 (no longer sold)
- Decorative pieces: HomeGoods
- Wall paint: Sherwin Williams Repose Gray at 50% strength