DIY: Our Office Desk

ABM office desk (DIY)ABM office desk (DIY) How to build a large desk How to build a large deskThis past January we were finally able to move our "offices" out of Elsie's home and into a studio house. While at Elsie's, our team included four, full-time individuals (including Elsie and me). We all worked at Elsie's dining room table. This setup worked well for us and allowed us to save up enough to move to a "real" office finally!

As we planned to move, our team was also beginning to grow. We added two more full-time employees, and we knew we needed space for everyone to work comfortably. We like keeping our whole team together in one room as we work as much as possible. It really helps with communication and gives us a sense of what everyone is doing to see if anyone needs help with something. And I think we feel like more of a team when we're together. So we ideally wanted a desk that could comfortably sit six people plus all our computers. I also really wanted to try and keep laptop cords organized/stored as they were in use. They can be easy to trip on if you don't plan for them. Elsie also had the idea that the desk could have cubby holes or have two layers, so people could store extra papers, notebooks, or pens without cluttering the top of the desk. 

I thought this desk could easily be a very budget-friendly project if we made it ourselves, and we could more easily have all the features we needed. So, we made it. Here's how:SuppliesSupplies:

-two 3/4" x 48" x 78" OSB subfloor panels
-six 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 48" boards (or three 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 96" boards)
-two 1 1/2" x 5" x 48" boards (or one 1 1/2" x 5" x 96")
-six 1/4ΚΊ x 3/4ΚΊ x 8ΚΊ interior stain-grade pine screen moulding
-box of fifty 2ΚΊ screws (you won't use them all)
-thirty 1/4" steel brads
-power saw
-power drill
-pliers
-hammer
-1 1/2" spade bit
-wood glue
-polyurethane (high gloss), optional
-less than a quart of white paint (I used leftover primer we had around), optional
-paint brushes

This was my first time working with OSB board. I got the idea from Trey's old loft (where he lived before we married and moved in together). His floors were made up of exposed OSB panels, and it was actually sort of pretty. Once I discovered how insanely cheap this material was, I knew it would come in handy with a project someday. :) 

Total cost: $98

This is only the cost of supplies we purchased specifically for this project. This does not include the cost of tools, as we already owned those and use them in many of our wood-based projects.Don ChapmanBefore we jump into how we made this table, I'd like to make a quick note about my dad. As you can see from the photo above, I created this project with my dad, Don Chapman. I love working with my dad on bigger projects for my home or the blog because he's a much more experienced craftsman than myself. So, I get to learn from his expertise as we work on projects together. I also want to inform you that if you plan to create a table like this, similar in size, you will need to work with a partner. Just the sheer weight of some of the materials for this project requires two people. Most projects on ABM can be created by yourself, but not this one. So, get a buddy or call up your dad and spend a Saturday together making this. πŸ™‚Table bodyStep One: Build the table body. We had our OSB panels cut down to the 3/4" x 48" x 78" size; they typically come sized to 3/4" x 48" x 96". We purchased our panels from Lowe's, and because they are so heavy and hard to work with, we had them cut them down to the size we needed to fit our space. It's always a good idea to measure your space when you're planning to build a large table. Older houses or custom spaces often need tables in less than typical sizes, which is one of the benefits of building your own.

Cut the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" boards to become the inside of your table. This is going to make up your cubby holes and also add more stability to your table. Above you see how we designed ours. Once you have the wood cut, screw in place. Add the second layer of the table body and screw into the boards as well. This will create a kind of sandwich over those boards you see above.

Now, if needed, flip the table so the bottom is facing up. We're about to add legs.Make your own legsStep Two: Make your own legs. We created the legs for our table from the 1 1/2" x 5" boards. Cut each of your two boards in half, creating four total pieces. Now draw a straight line from one edge down to the center of the opposite edge. We used a chalk line, but you could just as easily use a pencil. Cut out the legs.

We first attached 2 ft of the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" board to the center of each side of the table. Then we screwed the legs into this board. Attach the legsStep Three: Decide how tall you want your table to be. I highly recommend measuring the chairs you plan to use with the table. You don't want the tops of your thighs smashed up against the bottom of the table. We have adjustable office chairs that we use with this table, so that gave us some wiggle room. We wanted our table to be 25 1/2" off the ground. So, after attaching the legs we measured them and cut off the excess. Add the trimStep Four: As you can see, the edges of our table looked pretty rough. OSB board is made up of lots of wood shavings, so the edges are not smooth like solid wood boards. To add a little more polish to our table, we added moulding. Simply measure the moulding to fit the edges of your table and cut them to size. Add a little wood glue to the edge of the table. Hold the moulding in place, pressed against the wood glue (wipe off any excess you see). Now secure the moulding to the table with brads (they look like tiny nails).

Brads can be hard to work with since they are so small. It's easy to smash your fingers with a hammer as you work with brads. One way to avoid this is to hold the brad in place with a pair of pliers. That way if you miss, you will smash the pliers and not your fingers!Add cord holesStep Five: Add holes for cords. We knew that multiple laptops would be at this table daily. This meant multiple power cords. To keep our work area looking cleaner, and to better store the cords safely so people weren't tripping over them all the time, we decided to add two large holes toward the center of our table. This allows us to keep all our cords centered and away from the edges of the table (we have an outlet built into the floor below the table where everything plugs in).

To do this we simply used a 1 1/2" spade to create the holes. Measure in from the edge of the table on both ends so that your holes match up with the bottom holes (on the other side of the table).

Step Six: Paint the trim. We wanted to add just a little color to our table. So I painted the moulding with primer, to match our white office chairs and contrast with the black walls in the room.

Step Seven: Seal with an additional coat of polyurethane. This is totally optional, as OSB panels come pretreated. But we found a few spots where the wood shavings felt less than smooth. So we added a couple of additional coats of polyurethane (high gloss) to help smooth the table top more.ABM office desk (DIY)   ABM office desk (DIY)  How to build a large desk  I am happy to report that we've all been working at the desk for about three months now, and we love it! Perhaps our team will outgrow it one day (we're getting close). But in the meantime, I think of this as our Camelot round table. Although it's not round. And that was probably a REALLY dorky thing to admit. Can we still be friends? Okay, I'm gonna stop typing before this gets weird. Thanks for letting me share our office table with you! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman and Don Chapman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes and Emma Chapman. Photos edited using Stella and Piper from the Signature Collection and Imogen from the Folk Collection. Our office chairs are from Ebay. The over sized wall calendar is from Crate & Barrel.

  • This looks amazing!!!! I wish I could build something like this !!! So jealous !!
    MY BLOG: littlebeautybloge.blogspot.com
    Elizabeth x

  • I LOVE the table. Great job! I love those office chairs and was trying to find them on amazon to no avail. Would you mind posting the link? Thanks!

  • Oh, I’ve been waiting so long for this DIY! I absolutely LOVE your office, and this desk is the best part πŸ™‚ I so want to make a smaller version for myself and my boyfriend, and place it by our window. I really like working side by side like that, sort of doing each our thing, but together πŸ™‚ The extra table layer is so clever! Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

    xo
    Camilla

  • I LOVE THIS!! This is beautiful! I love the wood/white mix. Gorgeous, and so creative!

    Nicky
    zeeblikesit.blogspot.com
    xx

  • I absolutely love this desk! So cool to see your vision/needs in a desk turn into a reality! You and your Dad did a beautiful job. Just awesome!

  • Anything handmade is the greatest! I am in the middle of designing my own desk. Brilliant work! Given me some ideas πŸ™‚

    ollieburton.blogspot.co.uk

  • That desk is so awesome! I really love the look of the OSB panels. When I’m moving in with my boyfriend I’m definitely going to build a similar one! Thank you for the inspiration. πŸ™‚

  • Love the idea of the layers!! Very practical! I was thinking what I could do with my desk since it has no drawers, so I may now look into this πŸ™‚

    Veronica @ abunchofradness.com

  • Hi,random question here: I have OSB panels but instead of leaving them natural like yours, I’d like to paint them black, they’re being used as a countertop, the cabinets are white. So what do you recommend? Thank you for any guidance you can provide

  • I love that big wall calendar! Is that a DIY you can share in a blog post with us?

  • i LOVE this table design! thank you so much for sharing the tutorial πŸ™‚
    xo jac
    thesunshinedistrict.blogspot.com

  • You know, we didn’t paint our OSB and this was my first project using this material. So, I don’t know. You might check at your local lumber yard, just ask them. Usually they have some helpful tips. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

    -Emma

  • This desk is so different and cool. I absolutely love it! The texture is so unique, and it’s not one people play around with very often. It’s so beautiful with the contrast of the feminine tulips! Also, that calendar is amazing. I definitely wouldn’t forget what day it was if that was hanging in my office! As always, awesome job ladies!

    -Emily St. John
    msmelange.com

  • Love, love, love the double decker work space! I wish the conference table at my office had that because it gets ridiculously crowded. Great project.

  • I really like this table!!! It seems super easy for me and my hubby to do and I love that you can have a nice wood look to it then adding the white (or a pop of color) with trim work and legs just makes it pop. Awesome job guys! I just love coming to this blog and see what creative and fun things you guys come up with next, you keep me on my toes πŸ˜‰

    ilene

  • This is amazing! I have always dreamed of having a large work space like this that friends and I could all hang out and work on our own projects together. Thank you for the inspiring DIY!

  • Hey all! Love the desk. And am happy to see that you all hate power cord pile ups as much as I do.

    IMPORTANT NOTE RE: OSB: Some brands of the material are treated/made with formaldehyde. If this is the brand you choose to work with, please make sure to paint with a sealant to protect from off-gassing. (Like Safecoat. It needs to be designed for the purpose of limiting emissions.) While the type of formaldehyde used in OSB is not the worst– anyone with compromised immune systems should not come into daily contact with it. Health first!

  • Looks like it was crafted beautifully, not to mention sturdy. I love the second layer in between. Very cool and practical πŸ™‚

    That’s the one thing I dislike about my desk. It’s filled with computer but there’s not much space for just writing and crafting. I may have to look into something like this soon. Nicely done!

    Lots of Luck,

    Laurali Star

    http://www.thesecretsurprisinista.com

  • Oh my gosh, you guys. I am obsessed with this idea right now. I want to modify your plans for a coffee-table-sized version! Then I can store books and remotes and… gummy bears and stuff πŸ˜‰ … in the underneath layer.

  • Why OSB is so cheap? Well itΒ΄s made of wood shavings and ridiculous amounts of highly toxic glue. ThatΒ΄s why. Looks very nice though!

  • I love the idea of this. Makes me wonder if adding a layer to an IKEA desk would be possible? I have a fairly large desk, but it would be amazing with storage space right below the work-surface. Your desk turned out beautifully by the way! ^_^

    http://stainsofpaint.blogspot.com/

  • I love this table! I’ve been wanting to make a larger dining room table and have pinned a few “farmhouse” tables but this blows them out of the water!

  • I have a desk in the middle of the room too…I see you all have a hole for the laptop wires, but once it goes down the hole how do you actually get it to the outlet at the wall? I’m afraid I will trip if I leave it there!

  • Absolutely love this table! I’m in the market for a dining table and my fiance is a big table top gamer so he keeps linking me to pics of incredibly overpriced ‘gaming’ tables with cubbies and such. He would love this design. πŸ˜‰

  • As I expected your desk is neat and tidy – move over to my work desk and it looks like a bomb has hit it. I am pretty cluttered in my organisational skills!!

  • I wish I had one like that at my office. It’s really annoying having somebody sit behind you and one in front of you. You always have to turn your back to one of them… This is a ‘friendly’ alternative! Great idea!
    Jill

  • faaantastic! I love the cubby holes, reminds me of elementary school desks <3

  • I love this table, Emma! It’s perfect when sharing and collaborating on creative ideas/projects and when needing to meet as a team. I have to ask, how do you all write your posts in this type of environment? I tend to like it pretty quiet, with some music going when I blog to help me focus. I’m curious when you have this set-up how you’re able to focus when it actually comes to the writing process?
    Cheers from LA,
    http://allthatglittersla.com/

  • I loooooooooove this table. My husband and I are moving soon and I would love for him to make a table similar to this for our new home! Thanks for sharing!!

  • I absolutely love the idea of each seat having a personal shelf under the table! That is so handy..and I’m sure it keeps the clutter away!

    I can’t wait to have my own place and DIY my own table one day! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • This is insanely cool I can’t believe it. I wish we could see a video (if only it were as easy as it looked to create a blog tutorial video, I dream about being able to), someday right! πŸ™‚ wonderful work, beautiful pictures.

    Zoe | http://toastytalk.com

  • so cool! what a good idea to make it yourself to get all the features you need πŸ™‚ it looks absolutely amazing! i love big desks for multiple people in offices, definitely going to keep this in mind once i have room for an office of my own πŸ™‚
    xo, cheyenne

  • Look guys, I am following your blog for quite some time now. And I pulled a lot of inspiration from your work and ideas and I have to say, you’re doing a great job here! So please don’t stop and keep surprising me, I much appreciate ABM. Truly yours, Martin.

  • I totally love this desk! First of all, it is so beautiful β™₯ and also, it looks so handy with that extra shelf underneath πŸ™‚

  • I went to both Home Depot and Lowes right away to start this project! So inspiring! However, both places had print on either side of their plywood. Did you run into this issue at all? From what I have heard, it would not be a good idea to sand off the print?

  • Love this desk! So simple, but there’s something about it that I just love πŸ™‚ Maybe I’ll even try to create something similar but on a smaller scale for a personal desk, seeing as I’m currently working on the floor in my apartment πŸ™‚

  • Looks fantastic! But,… the cords underneath?! Killing it for me. If you attach the power strip to the underbelly of your table, you’ll only have the one plug that gives it juice hanging down rather than all those cords. Just my $.02 πŸ™‚ Great blog, thanks for giving me a few minutes of creative thinking during my number crunching day.

  • This desk is wonderful! I love the little cubbies that you made in them, it’s perfect. I couldn’t definitely use a cool and functional desk like this, but on a much smaller scale.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • I would love a dining room table like this and then stash napkins, placemats and such in the cubbies. Also, a smaller stand up version of this would be PERFECT for a scrap table!

  • I LOVE this desk. I also love those white chairs!

    You guys should totally do a day-in-the-life post, like BTS pics of everyone in action throughout a typical day. I LOVE BTS stuff.

    (And I think I just went over my daily quota of the word “love” in one tiny blog comment)

  • I can’t imagine any table working as well for an inspiring group of people like you guys. It turned out great.

    Vintagehoneybee.blogspot.com

  • What a fabulous home for your computers! Love the desk und the fact that you did it yourselves. I dream to have an office like yours. If only I had the space. One day. For sure. πŸ™‚

    Lilly

  • I love your desk!! I think when I finally get my scrap room, I will copy into a bit smaller version for my craft table! Love, love, love the cubbies for things like pens and notebooks to not clutter up the desktop. My girls will also love working at it with their crafts! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Your design is brilliant!

    I have see similar desk from pro-furniture stores but it cost expensive, something like $1,000 and up and your is only $100!

    I always want one like this for years. Your DIY opened up a reality.

    Weeks ago, I designed (Sketchup only, no real material, yet) my own (5-drawer) flat drawer with my existing trestle table legs attached to sides of it. I will re-design it as (4-drawer) flat drawer and add one of the double-top on the flat-drawer top.

    Soon I will have my own flat drawer AND your DIY Our Office Desk (top only) combined.

    This is simply brilliant!

    Thank you!

  • Your design is brilliant!

    I have see similar desk from pro-furniture stores but it cost expensive, something like $1,000 and up and your is only $100!

    I always want one like this for years. Your DIY opened up a reality.

    Weeks ago, I designed (Sketchup only, no real material, yet) my own (5-drawer) flat drawer with my existing trestle table legs attached to sides of it. I will re-design it as (4-drawer) flat drawer and add one of the double-top on the flat-drawer top.

    Soon I will have my own flat drawer AND your DIY Our Office Desk (top only) combined.

    This is simply brilliant!

    Thank you!

  • Love this! The double layer is such a good idea. My boyfriend’s parents recently found some really awesome old doors (late 1800s! LAYERS of paint peeling off, so much character) so we made some desks from them and put a sheet of plexiglas on the top of each and I love them so much. Can put inspiring quotes, to-do lists, calendars, and other fun small things things under the plexi and in the divets of the wood. They’re really long too so computer on one end and plenty of crafting room on the other! Maybe consider some plexi. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!

  • I love that you think of it like a Camelot Round Table, because that’s what I was thinking too! This was a terrific DIY – the outcome is fabulous. You guys thought of so many details!

  • This is amazing! Can you do a table similar to this but the bottom level has enough room for a book shelf?!

  • Your wood floors look great! Do you mind sharing what you used to clean/restore them? I’ve got some dry, tired old floors that need refreshing. I’ve looked around online and have seen suggestions for Restore-a-Finish, Murphy’s Oil, and Danish/Teak/Tung oils, all of which seem like good suggestions. I’d just love to hear what worked for you guys. Thanks!

  • Your design is brilliant!

    I have see similar desk from pro-furniture stores but it cost expensive, something like $1,000 and up and your is only $100!

    I always want one like this for years. Your DIY opened up a reality.

    Weeks ago, I designed (Sketchup only, no real material, yet) my own (5-drawer) flat drawer with my existing trestle table legs attached to sides of it. I will re-design it as 5-drawer flat drawer and add one of the double-top on the flat-drawer top.

    Soon I will have my own flat drawer AND your DIY Our Office Desk (top only) combined.

    This is simply brilliant!

    Thank you!

  • Love it! Is the top of the desk rough? I love the look (and cost) but would be bummed if I snagged my shirt on it πŸ˜‰ I’m assuming that’s why you used the polyurethane?

  • Congratulations on the new office! The table looks amazing! It’s so inspiring to see how you’ve grown your company and still maintained the same spirit of ABM that we’ve all fallen in love with!

  • Love this desk! My husband and I are looking at ideas for our home office at the place we’ll be living in a few months. We totally like to work near each other (doing different things) and this is a great idea!