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How to Build a Computer Desk

Updated on April 20, 2015

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a store made computer desk. With just a few supplies, you can build a custom made computer desk that has all the features you want. This is especially useful for people of unusual sizes, those with limited space and people who desire specific features in a computer desk.

Computer Desk
Computer Desk

Design Your Computer Desk

A custom made computer desk can be built to suit personal preferences. There are a number of features that can be added to a computer desk to make it more comfortable and convenient. These include:

  • Monitor Platform
  • Under Monitor Storage Space
  • Keyboard Shelf
  • Cabinets
  • Electrical Outlets

Buy Your Supplies

Buy only high quality 3/4 inch BC grade plywood. It has one finished face which is usually yellow pine. This will give your computer desk a nice polished exterior look. 3/4 inch BC grade plywood comes in 5 feet by 8 feet sheets. Buy two of these sheets or get one of them cut in half so you have two pieces measuring 8 feet by 30 inches and one piece measuring 5 feet by 8 feet. You will also need at least 8 corner brackets, matching screws and strong wood glue. If you want a keyboard shelf you will also need a pair of sturdy extension runners. If you want a cabinet you will also need hinges and a handle for the door.

Building The Computer Desk

Cut the pieces of the computer desk out of the plywood. If one of your sheets has not already been cut in half, do so lengthwise. Take an 8 feet by 30 inch piece and cut in in half so you have two pieces measuring 4 feet by 30 inches. One of these will be the table top of the computer desk. Cut the remaining piece at 30 inches so you have a 30 inch by 30 inch square. This is one of the computer desk side panels. Cut an identical 30 inch square piece from the other 8 feet by 30 inch piece to make the other side panel. Next cut a support beam measuring 2 feet by 45 inches. This allows for the top of the desk to slightly hang over the side panels.

Piecing Together The Computer Desk

Use a corner bracket to attach the support beam at a right angle to one of the side panels. Alight the top edges of the support beam and the side panel. The support beam should be about 9 inches from the far edge of the side panel. Make sure that the finished side of the support beam faces the front and the finished side of the side panel is facing outward. The corner bracket should be on the short side, hidden from view. Attach the other side panel in the same location on the opposite side. Place the finished side of the computer desk top face down on the ground. Do this on a carpeted or padded surface so you don't scratch the finish. Turn the side panels and support beam over and put them on the underside of the table top. Use the remaining corner brackets to secure the side panels and support beam to the computer table top. There should be about 3/4 inch of space from the position of the side panels and the edge of the computer table top. Take care to make sure the corner brackets are hidden from view and the finished sides are all facing outward.

Monitor Platform

Cut a 6 inch by 4 feet piece of plywood for the monitor platform. Also cut a pair of 6 inch square pieces as supports. You can adjust the size of the platform and supports to suit your height, monitor size and personal preferences. The space underneath the monitor platform is additional desk space that can be used for storage. Make the platform height high enough to fit what you need to go under it. Glue the supports to the table top so they are perpendicular and touching the rear edge. Position them about 3 inches from the outside edges of the table top. Make sure the finished sides are facing outward. Drill screws into the supports from the underside of the table top. Glue the monitor shelf across the top of the supports. You can drill screw into the supports from the top for extra strength but you will be able to see them.

Keyboard Shelf

A slide out shelf can be made to tuck they keyboard away when not in use. Cut a keyboard shelf out of plywood measuring 12 inches by 44 inches. This is slightly shorter than the support beam to make allowances for the sliding extension runners. Screw one side of the extension runners into the edges of the keyboard shelf and the other to the insides of the side panels. Position them about 4 inches beneath the table top depending on the size of your keyboard. Make sure that the finished side of the shelf is facing up and that it is flush with the front edge of the table top when closed.

Cabinets

You can build cabinets out of left the leftover plywood. They can be underneath the desk or on top. Simply cut the plywood to fit the size of cabinet you desire and attach the sides with corner brackets on the inside. A shelf in the middle of the cabinet is a nice feature. Make sure to cut it 3/4 inch shorter than the cabinet top or base to allow for the thickness of the plywood. Use hinges to affix a door to the front of the cabinet. Attach a simple doorknob or handle with screws from the inside.

Electrical Outlets

There are always a lot of electrical cords handing off of a computer desk. To clean this up, screw a power strip to the back of the support beam. This keeps the cords tidy and hidden. If you need access to the on/off switch on the power strip, you can attach it beneath the monitor shelf.

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