built-in desk

How to Build a Built-In Desk – Step-by-Step Tutorial

Built-In Desk - Beautiful and Easy Build

I wanted a work area in my front room so I decided to add a built-in desk. It turned out beautiful and it adds so much character to the room. This is an easy build and I know you can do it. Here is the step-by-step tutorial on how to do this. 

Materials Needed for this Built-In Desk

butcher block
pre-made cabinets
pocket hole jig
paintable caulk
silicone caulk
caulk gun
dap plastic wood filler
1/4 inch plywood
brad nailer
brad nails
wood glue

The Space Before

built-in desk

Step 1 - Cut the Extra Wood Off of the Kitchen Cabinet

The base for the desk is a kitchen cabinet that I cut off the bottom to make it a desk height. 

When you buy a kitchen cabinet it comes with wood on the bottom for extra height. I’m taking it off. 

I used a jigsaw to cut it off. 

Next, I figured out where I wanted the cabinet and attached it to the studs in the wall. 

built-in desk

Step 2 - Attach the Butcher Block

I am going to attach the butcher block to the cabinet and the wall. 

Also, I will attach it to the cabinet and there will be mdf 1X4s attached to the wall holding it in place. 

First, I attached the butcher block to the cabinet. I drilled right through the cabinet to do this. 

built-in desk

Then, I added the 1X4s for support. I screwed the 1X4s into the studs on the wall right under the butcher block. I also put a 1X4 under the butcher block and drilled it into the cabinet. 


For the front of the desk 1X4 I used pocket holes to screw it into the butcher block. 

I also attached it to the cabinet as well on the inside of the drawer part. 

built-in desk

Step 3 - Add More Cabinets

I wanted a lot of storage! You could just finish there and caulk, paint and prime, however, I added to it. 

For the first cabinet, I attached it to the studs in the wall and to the butcher block beneath it. 

built-in desk

After that, I added the second cabinet. I made sure to screw the back of it into the studs before I moved onto another. 

built-in desk

Then I added the third cabinet. Again, screwing the back of the cabinet into the studs. 

more cabinet

This is where we are at so far! It is so exciting! 

built-in desk

Step 4 - Make the Cabinets Seamless

I used dap plastic wood filler for all of the cracks in between the cabinets. This product expands after you put it on so it really seals the cracks. Once it is dried you can sand it down. 

I also added 1/4 inch sanded plywood to the end of the cabinets to cover the cracks in between the cabinets. To do this, I used wood glue and brad nails. 


Step 5 - Add Some Character

For some character, I added crown moulding to the top and some trim work to the side. I did this with wood glue and brad nails. 

built-in desk

Step 6 - Prepare to Paint

You will need to caulk around your trim work and take off the doors to prepare do paint. 

Also, remember to use painters tape around the cabinets. I used my paint sprayer so I covered all of the walls and floor around the area. 

Keep all the hardware together in a ziploc bag so you don’t loose any of it. 


Step 7 - Prime, Paint and Clear Caulk

The next step is to prime and paint everything! I used my paint sprayer, but you can just use a roller or brush. Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams is the paint I used for this project. 

I also used clear silicone to seal the desk to the wall and the cabinet. 

After the paint was dry, I added the hardware. 

built-in desk
built-in desk

Here is the Space After

built-in desk
antique mirror hack

Guys, it seems like a lot of work but this is very doable! I would love to see your built-in desks that you have built, please message them to me on Instagram. It is so exciting to have a place where I can work. Remember you can do anything you out your mind to! If you would like how I did the antique mirror hack in the above photo, here is that link. Also, I hope you guys have a great day!

If you love it, you can pin it

built-in desk
Scroll to Top