DIY Floating Desk and Shelves

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!

DIY wall desk for office nook

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.

Wall length DIY floating desk with shelves

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.

Supplies Needed

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!

What you'll need to make this project

Tools Used

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.

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.

Pocket holes create a strong join for the desk support frame

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.

Support frame for floating desk attached to the wall

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).

Floating shelf desk made from 2 x2's and plywood

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.

How the front "face" piece of the floating desk should look

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.

Make a hole for cables completes this modern floating desk

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.

angle brackets screwed into the studs for the floating shelves in the  office nook

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.

Close up of the shelf brackets

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!

Built in floating desk nook that fits multiple kids

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.

Home office desk nook
modern desk chair
DIY homeschool or remote learning desk

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.

Work from home office space with DIY desk and floating shelves

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.

Home office nook

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diy floating desk

DIY Floating Desk and Shelves

Yield: 1 desk and 2 shelves
Active Time: 5 hours
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 5 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $200

A simple and modern DIY floating desk that is a simple and easy to build solution to create a home office or homeschooling space in any nook in your home.

Materials

  • 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
  • Caulk
  • Clear furniture wax
  • Drill with hole saw attachment
  • 2 inch white desk grommet

Tools

  • Miter Saw (for all the cuts)
  • Kreg Jig (for the pocket holes)
  • Stud Finder
  • Brad Nailer
  • Sander

Instructions

How to Make The Floating Desk and Shelves

  1. Mark the studs in the wall. Everything will need to be screwed directly into the studs for the desk and shelves to be secure.
  2. Build the frame to support to desk top. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 the frame is built. (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.)
  5. 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.
  6. 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 1x3.
  7. 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. )
  8. 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.
  9. Sand the 2 x 10 boards smooth. Stain the wood to match the white oak (see this tutorial more info).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Repeat for the bottom shelf.
  14. Seal both the desk top and shelves with clear furniture wax or matte polycrylic.
  15. Then all that's left to do is decorate, set up your computer and enjoy!

Notes

The length of the desk can be shortened to accomodate your individual wall. The only difference will be the length you need to cut your boards and the number of angle brackets you will need to support the shelves.

Allow the stain on the shelves to dry overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours before installing or sealing. The clear furniture wax or polycrylic will also need to dry for 24 hours before placing objects on the desk or shelves.

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