How to Make an Inexpensive Desk

If your budget allots only a smidgen for a desk, don't despair. Here are three ways to make an inexpensive desk.

Convert a rectangular table - perhaps a sofa table or a dining table - into a desk by installing a keyboard tray under the top. You can usually push a two-drawer file cabinet or a roll-around drawer storage unit under the table top to keep the storage close by and the office footprint small.

Buy a rectangular prefabricated table top - sold at home centers - or a sheet of plywood (cut to desktop size; finish the edges with self-stick strips of wood or plastic veneer). Put a file cabinet on each side of the table top and, if you have a computer and want the keyboard at proper height, install a keyboard tray on the underside of the desktop.

Opt for a sawhorse-and-table top (or plywood-topped) desk. Screw the desktop to the tops of the sawhorses, which are placed at opposite ends of the desk.

Things You Will Need

  • Wood Or Plastic Veneer Strips
  • Keyboard Trays
  • Flat Doors
  • Paints
  • Rectangular Wooden Table Tops
  • Rolling Storage Units
  • Tables
  • Two Upright Two-drawer File Cabinets


  • Paint your desk a bright, fun color for a whimsical look or go with black for a high-tech look.
  • Substitute a flat door (you may want to cut it down) for a desktop perched on file cabinets or sawhorses.
  • Look for keyboard trays and roll-around drawer storage units at office supply stores. Roll-around drawer storage units (usually the open-wire styles) also are sold with closet/pantry organizer gear at home centers, and organization/storage speciality stores.