Designing Your Desk
First you need to decide where the desk will stand, and measure carefully in order to select file cabinets and a top which will fit and work well together. This kind of desk works best against a wall, unless you choose to connect the cabinets and top piece with brackets or screws. The cabinets have to be the same height and able to support the weight of the top piece. The top works best if it is heavy enough not to slide around, but not too heavy for the cabinet supports. Check at your hardware store for brackets or other hardware that can help keep the desk top firmly on the cabinets.
Choosing cabinets & desk top
File cabinets come in many sizes and finishes, from hi-tech-looking silver to warm-toned wood and wood veneer. You can find them in stores like IKEA, Home Depot and West Elm among others, at reasonable prices ($125 to 300). You don't really need office-type files--which can be very heavy and also expensive. Take your measurements and go window shopping on the web, then go to a store to see how the style you like actually looks; you can still buy them online if you wish. Before you purchase files, go shopping for the top piece. You want to be sure they look good together and will fit well. You may want to buy a holder for your computer keyboard, which can be attached to the underside of the desk top.
Creating your desk
Once you have chosen both file cabinets and a top, purchase everything you need. Make sure to ask about ways to connect the two if you feel it is important. Place the file cabinets so there one-third of the top piece rests on each outer side, and one-third is between the cabinets. This will create good balance. If you are putting anything heavy on the desk, make sure it is positioned over one of the cabinets so the top does not tip. If you can put the desk in a corner, this can help with stability. Attach the keyboard holder (if needed), add your files, papers and laptop and you are ready to work. If you need a lot of space, you can use three or four file cabinets and add another top piece, which works particularly well in corner spaces.