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How to Build a Countertop Desk

Andrea Hermitt

Building a countertop desk is a project that can be done in less than a day, but the results will look like you worked much harder. With the right parts, these simple instructions and some elbow grease, your countertop desk can last you for years and look like it was made by a professional.

And because you are making it yourself, you can match the materials to your decor. Choose a base that offers the look you want, from country to streamlined, and then choose from among hundreds of countertop options to find just the one that's right for you and your home.

  1. Decide where you want to put your countertop desk. Your desk will be easier to make if you don’t need to cut the countertop, so keep the standard sizes in mind: 4 ft., 6 ft., 8 ft. and 10 ft. Ready-made countertops also come in corner pieces, so you could put your desk in a corner if desired.

  2. Decide on the support system for your countertop desk. You have 3 standard choices. The first is to place the desk on top of file cabinets. This gives your desk instant drawers. Kitchen base cabinets are also a good option, since they are made for countertops and can hide items like printers, computer towers and office supplies. For a more streamlined desk, you can use screw-in table legs.

  3. Measure the area where the desk will go so that you know exactly what you need when you get to the store. If your desk will be long, your support of choice will need to be at both ends and in the middle. If you are using cabinets, for instance, you will need at least 3 for a long expanse of countertop. Purchase your materials.

  4. Assemble your desk. If you chose kitchen cabinets or file cabinets, put your bases in place and put the countertop on top. Adjust the base and countertop until they are in the right position for you. If you are using table legs, turn the counter over and screw the leg brackets into each corner of the countertop, plus more in the middle if necessary. Then screw the legs into the brackets.

  5. Add the finishing touches to your countertop desk. When your counter is in place, use a hole saw to make a hole or a few holes in the countertop for electrical cords. Secure the countertop to the wall with L brackets underneath to prevent movement and provide extra stability.