DIY Floating Student Desk as seen on HGTV Open Concept

We are so appreciative of all of your support for our pilot, Open Concept! It was such a fun and rewarding opportunity that we are so grateful for. If you missed the premiere and the repeat airings, you can learn more about it and check out all of the before and after picturesย HERE!

Dack and Brooke told us that their kids needed a place to do their school work, and that they were all sharing the same desk. We thought that the family room was the perfect place for the kids desks and we built floating desks so that they would tie in with the room and look like pieces of furniture.

Open-Concept-Student-Desk

Not only were we able to give them their own work space, we added flip-tops allowing them to hide their stuff! This was huge for us because we wanted the work spaces to be part of the room but didn’t want them to become cluttered and eye sores!

AND, we have the free plans for you and the step-by-step tutorial! You can click HERE or the image below to print the FREE Plans!

click-for-desk-plans

ryobi-miter-saw

I started by making my cuts with my miter saw.

Kreg-Jig-K51

Next, I drilled 3/4″ pocket holes, with my Kreg Jig K5, ย into the short sides of the desk.

front-and-sides-of-desk

You can see in this picture where I drilled the pocket holes.

attach-side-pieces-to-front-pieces

I attached the short, side pieces to the long, front pieces. I used wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to attach them. This is the main from for the desk.

Kreg-Rip-Cut

Next, I cut a piece of 3/4″ Purebond Plywood to fit inside the frame. The Rip Cut is a great alternative to a table saw. It is inexpensive, and it doesn’t take up very mush space! You just attach it to your circular saw and the arm has a guide, on the end, allowing you to make precise, straight cuts, every time. I have my plywood propped up on 2×4’s.

attach-desk-bottom-to-side

Refer to the plans for pocket hole placement, on the plywood. Once you drill your 3/4″ pocket holes, you can attach the plywood to the inside of the frame. This is the bottom of the desk.

osborne-corbels

We picked these knotty pine corbels from Osborne Wood Products! The corbels are the bulk of the cost of the desk but, they really “make” the desk ๐Ÿ™‚ You can find them HERE on Amazon.

attach-corbels-to-desk-bottom

Use 3″ Spax screws and wood glue to attach the corbels to the bottom of the desk. You will drill from the inside of the desk into the corbels.

flush-corbel-with-bottom

Make sure the edge of each corbel is flush with the end of the plywood bottom.

attach-corbels-to-desk

I used two screws per corbel.

desk-view-from-top

Here is a view of the top of the desk, at this point…

desk-view-from-bottom

and a view from the bottom! Lookin’ good right ๐Ÿ™‚

top-of-student-desk

Now, measure and cut the two piece for the top of the desk. There should be a 3/4″ over hang on the sides and the front of the desk.

attach-1x4-to-desk-top

I used wood glue and my Airstrike 18 gauge nailer to attach the 1×4 piece to the top of the desk. The 1×4 will be flush with the back of the desk.

cleat-for-desk

Then, I measured and cut the 2×4 pieces to create the cleat. Refer to the plans for the pocket hole placement. You will drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes to each short piece and attach them to the long piece with 2 1/2″ pocket screws and wood glue. The outer pieces should be flush with the edges of the long 2×4 and center the middle piece.

fit-2x4-cleat

Make sure it fits ๐Ÿ˜‰

desk-ready-for-stain

Don’t attach the second top piece until you stain! You don’t want to have to work around the hardware.

flip-top-desk-top

This is what the desk should look like (without hardware).

Time to stain!

Varathane-Dark-Walnut

I applied one coat of Varathane Dark Walnut stain to the entire piece. Just wipe on with a clean cloth, wait five minutes and then blend it with a new clean cloth.Varathane Triple Thick

Once the stain dried, I applied one coat of Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane to the entire piece. Just apply with with a bristle brush. It will look white while it is wet but it will dry clear and smooth. We love this stuff because one coat equals 3 coats and it is silky smooth to the touch!

desk-stained

I added 3 hinges to the top, for the lid, and I used a decorative key hole piece that I had left over from the Campaign Hardware from Liberty Hardware.

find-studs-500x333

To hang them, mark your studs with a stud finder. We like THIS one.

drill-into-studs-500x333-2

Then, use 3″ Spax screws to drill into the 2×4 and then into the stud behind the wall. I like to use my impact driver to drill into 2x material and especially when I’m drilling into studs. You can use a basic drill too. The impact driver just does more of the work for you. Make sure you use a level to keep the desk level on the wall ๐Ÿ™‚

desk-on-wall

Slide the desk over the cleat and brace it to the cleat by drilling 2 1/2″ Spax screws from the bottom of the desk into the 2×4 cleat.

That’s it!!! A basic floating shelf that we modified to create the perfect floating student desk WITH storage!

Student-Storage-Desk-DIY Open-Concept-Student-Desk DIY-Student-Floating-desk HGTV-Student-Desk

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes shot for ya’ ๐Ÿ™‚

DIY-Floating-Student-Desk DIY-Student-Desk

We were so honored to build these desks for Reece and Riley! Please make sure to tune in tonight at 11 PM EST! You will see us design, build and install these desks and a WHOLE LOT MORE!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

~Ashley and Whitney

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  • mcervas

    Plans for measurements of side pieces that say 34 1/2 are not corrected….,

  • Angela Robertson

    How sturdy is this? I would like to put one up in my daughters’ room, but I cannot guarantee that my toddler will not hang from it or climb on it. Do the corbels add enough support?

    • The corbels do not add support. The cleat is attached the the studs behind the wall. If you can make the desk wide enough to drill into two studs it will hold hundreds of pounds ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Angela Robertson

        Awesome. Mine will probably end up being around 4′ long, so I should be able to find a couple studs. Thanks!

      • Angela Robertson

        A couple more questions. Did you stain the inside of the desk? And does it matter if the pocket holes on the plywood are on the inside of the desk or on the underside?

  • Esme Brown

    Hey there! I have a questions about the plans I’m a little confused on the sides of the desk and the cleat sides. On the cut list the desk sides seems to be long 34.5″ when it should only be around 15″ from the wall. And then the wall mount and wall mount sides, the measurements seem weird. E & F are both out of 2×4’s? And shouldn’t there be 3 wall mount sides and only 1 wall mount? I could totally be understanding it wrong, but just wanted to make sure?

    • Hey there, you are so right. So sorry about that. There should only be one long wall mount piece and the desk sides should not be that long. Only 13 1/4″. Those are typos and I will fix them ASAP. Thank you!

      • Esme Brown

        Thanks! I thought I was crazy, but glad I’m not! I’m excited to build it!! love all your stuff!

        • Thank you!! Send us the finished shots :)))

  • Mandi

    Where did the desk chairs come from?

    • Sarah Hogan Haubert

      I saw similar ones (if not these ones) at ikea.

  • Heather

    We love the show. I follow you on all social media. We are in the process of building this desk (with little modification) but we do not know what kind of hinge. Home Depot was not helpful. I would love to post an after for you !! And thanks so much for the inspiration I can not wait to do more!!

    • Thank you Heather! I just used some decorative hinges that I found at Home Depot. I believe they are Everbuilt brand. They have 3 holes for screws on each side and I used 3 of them. Hope this helps and can’t wait to see!

      • Heather

        Thanks for fast response !!

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  • Kelsey Jardine

    You girls inspire me so much. I loved Open Concept and I’m hoping you get a show! I’ve been following you for years and I think you have great style. I do have a question for you tho. What color stain did you use on the round table you made for the pilot of OC? Loved the color and I’m guessing it’s Early American? Thanks and good luck!!

    • Thank you so much! It was actually Wheat that I distressed a ton but Early American is super close!

  • Sarah Baker

    Just finished watching Open Concept…it immediately gave me the urge to clean, organize, and build! (Not necessarily in that order). However, with Hurricane Joaquin making his presence known, looks like I’ll be dream building for the next few days. I’m just wondering, do you have plans already to build the locker system you put in place for Reece & Riley? I have 3 step kiddos and I’ve been hunting for a great entryway piece to help with staying organized for school and I love the look of that one!! I just finished building the boys their bunk beds and I found the plans to build the baby her day bed, so it’s the perfect time to start planning another project!!

    Also, if HGTV doesn’t pick up your show, I’m boycotting! LOL!! Loved it!!!

  • Tammy

    Just finished watching your show…LOVE IT!

  • Terry McMullen

    Love your new show! Hope it continues! I have SO enjoyed following your blog and all your projects! Love this desk idea!

  • Tara Hayes Carrasco

    Love this! Would it be cheaper to cut the corbels yourself with a jigsaw?

  • Rebecca

    We are in the midst of remodeling and updating my son’s room and we will definitely be putting in this desk. Do you have a source for the barn light and the desk chairs? Love them and they would complete the industrial/rustic look we’re doing.

    • Rebecca

      I loved the show by the way and hope to see more episodes in the future. Y’all are just too cute.

  • I love furniture that “floats” it makes my small space seem larger.