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You are currently viewing Compact Space Saving Desk Plans

Lately I’ve been digging into past projects on HNYDT to see how far I’ve come or…uh…regressed. One of my favorite projects to date was this compact space saving desk, inspired by a pottery barn desk that’s been discontinued. I look at that desk and say yeah, I got that right. You’re the man. But when I look at the project guide, it really left me wanting more. I know, I’m literally the worst.

So I dug back into the ol’ project files and put together some SketchUp plans for my favorite compact space saving desk. Well, it’s my only compact space saving desk…so there’s not much competition…but still my favorite. Anyway, I hope this inspires you or helps you build the little desk of your dreams. It also works perfect for a children’s desk, if you’ve got some of those bumming around!

If you plan on doing the build, be sure to check out the guide from 2012 to see most of the steps in action, but follow the SketchUp plans here because they’re updated and much more thorough. Listen. Just grab some coffee, flip back and forth between the two posts, follow me on twitter or facebook and give me a shout out. We’ll compare man mugs and see who has the better POG collection. It’ll be super great. One time when my parents’ house was being built when I was like…8…I was temporarily living at my Nana’s. She used to try and make friends for me by YELLING at boys who would pass by because I had none in the area. DO YOU WANT TO BE MY GRANDSON’S FRIEND?

That wasn’t super great.

You’re going to need a few things before you get started:
+ Kreg Jig
+ 1-1/4″ Pocket Screws
+ 2″ Pocket Screws
+ 1/2″ Brad Nails (to attach drawer bottom)
+ (2) 14″ Bottom Mount Drawer Slides (see 2012 guide for install pics)
+ Wood Glue
+ Framers Square (optional)
+ Miter Saw/Circular Saw
+ Tape Measure
+ Sanding Paper/Power sander
+ Power drill

2 – 1x4x8 (Frame)
1 – 1x3x8 (Drawer)
4 – 2x2x30 (Legs)
1/8″ Plywood (Drawer Bottom 14-1/8 X 14-1/4)
1/2″ Pine (Tabletop 30 X 18)

Desk-top Layout

The desk-top is an 18 X 30 piece of 1/2″ wood. This was the pre-joined stuff they sell at your local big box store, which was then cut to size with a circular saw. You can certainly join your own 1/2″ stock to size, but that takes an inordinate amount of clamps and glue, which I didn’t have at the time. ANYWAY, check out my overly difficult farmhouse table build to see how to join things if you want to go that route. Joining things isn’t hard. The farmhouse table build kindof is. You’re getting me off track!

Main 1×4 Layout

Cut the following from your 1×4’s:

+ (2) 13″ (side)
+ (2) 5″ (front)
+ (2) 14-1/2″ (middle)
+ (4) 4″ pieces @ 45° (leg supports) see plan below
+ (1) 15″ (drawer face)
+ (1) 25″ (back)

Please set your Kreg Jig to the 3/4″ marking, because our material is 3/4″ thick. As always, refer to the Kreg QSG if you forget. I do it more often than I’d like to admit! But we’re bros now. We shared bro stories and EVERYTHING!

OK! So your two 13″ pieces will be glued and screwed 1″ off of the edge of the desk-top. Pre-drill 2″ off of the ends and 6-1/2″ in the center. Glue, clamp and screw into the table top.

Same deal for the back piece. Set it 1″ off of the back edge of the desk-top. Pre-drill 2″ off of each end and 5-1/4″ in between. That’s a total of (5) screws. Math. So good.

OH! And not pictured here are the (2) 5″ baby pieces. Pre-drill two pilot holes into each of those and glue/scew them into the desk-top, the same way as pictured above. What, do I have to spoon feed you EVERYTHING?! You big baby.

Leg Layout & Installation

Cut your 2×2 legs to 30″ each. That’s (4) legs at 30″.

Your legs will be 1″ off of each side of the desk-top. Your 1×4’s will be flush with the legs.

Since we’re the best at making desks ever, we’re going to make these fancy 45° pieces. (4) of them, in fact. Each 4″ in length from our 1×4 stock. Then we’re going to pre-drill with our Kreg Jig two screws per side. Try this out on a mitered scrap piece before you do it on your good one. Finally, pre-drill the 2″ pilot holes to attach the legs. If you decide not to pre-drill, your wood will crack. And we’re not into crack here at HNYDT. Stick with the program pal. And don’t forget to glue all your joints!

Drawer Layout & Installation

Pre-drill 2″ off of each edge and 7-1/4″ in the center. Repeat this for the (2) middle pieces. Glue and screw the middle supports into the desk-top with 1-1/4″ pocket screws.

Cut the following from your 1×3 stock to create the drawer:
+ (2) 13-3/8″ (sides)
+ (1) 14-1/4″ (back)
+ (1) 14-1/8″ X 14-1/4″ piece from 1/8″ plywood (bottom)

When laying out and attaching the 1×3 drawer sides to the front of the drawer 1×4, be sure to leave 3/8″ on each side. This will ensure your drawer is sitting in the center of the two middle pieces.

Set your drawer sides 1/4″ up from the bottom of the drawer face. This will allow enough room for the 1/8″ plywood drawer bottom and drawer sliding hardware to fit nicely.

Construct the drawer by screwing your pre-cut side pieces into the back and face of the drawer. Use 1-1/4″ pocket screws about 5/8″ off of the top and bottom of the 1×3’s. Don’t forget to glue!

Flip your drawer over and glue and nail your 14-1/8″ X 14-1/4″ piece of 1/8″ ply with 1/2″ brads to create the bottom of the drawer. Follow the directions on the 14″ bottom mount drawer slides. They’re pretty straight forward if you take your time and line up the slides correctly. Don’t be afraid! You got this.

If you’re interested in painting your desk, definitely use my homemade chalk paint guide (not to be confused with chalkboard paint). It’s super cheap and super easy. Chalk paint is phenomenal. Just like you.

And that, my friend, is how you build a compact space saving desk! How am I doing here? Do you like my shiny new plans? How about the platform bed plans? I feel like I’m always the only one talking around here. It’s super weird! Don’t be such a creeper! Hit me up on twitter @hnydt or my facebook page. We can compare notes!


One stay at home dad (to be) conquers DIY and Diapers

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Robin Hutchinson

    I made this desk for my dining room. I made it a bit smaller. And I had some issues with the drawer slides. Leaving 3/8″ wasn’t enough. And I used hanger bolts for fastening the legs on. Thanks for sharing the plan! I learned a lot!!

    1. Rick

      Good call on the hanger bolts! Sorry the 3/8″ wasn’t enough, some slides seem to differ in the amount of space they take up. Hope it wasn’t too much of a pain to straighten out! Hope the desk is serving you well!

  2. Gary Michaels

    This is great. One question: unless I completely missed it (?), I don’t see how the legs are fastened in.

    1. Rick

      Thanks Gary! Yes seven pictures down shows predrilling and screwing through the mitered corner pieces and into the legs. You can also use bolts, washers and nuts if you plan on removing the legs.

      1. Gary Michaels

        Got it. I guess I missed the clearly marked 2″ screws and the text. Thanks for being gracious and not pointing out that I just wasn’t paying attention. Then again, I’m old…


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