A step-by-step tutorial on how to build a floating desk for your home office or kids craft room.
After finishing our basement, we had a space that would be wasted if we did not figure out how to use it. The space is at the bottom of our stairs and was more of a long wide hall. We designed it to be a mudroom but the more we thought about it, we wanted it to be a place for our kids. So we decided to add a desk that was permanent and out of the way. And that is why we decided to build a floating desk.
The floating desk has been perfect for our kids because it does not move around and they all three can fit. But let me share how you can make your own floating desk. Or if you want to see how to build a floating bench, see this post.
HOW TO BUILD A FLOATING DESK
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SIDE NOTE: There is a seam where the two boards come together if you do not want the seam you could use plywood or cut the boards sides with a table saw then use a Kreg Jig K5 and wood glue to attach the boards together seamlessly.
STEP 1: FIND THE STUDS
Before you can find the studs on the wall you need to decide on the height of the desk. We decided to have our desk height be 30″ from floor to the top. As a side note: the height of the chairs for our desk is 18″. Plus you can find the exact chairs we used called Furmax Metal Dining chair here.
Next you need to subtract the width of the wood from the desk height, for example, my board is 2″ so my new measurement is 28″. This measurement is where I will be marking each stud on the wall.
Now its time to find the studs on the wall. Using a stud finder, find the studs within the length of the desk area on the wall. When a stud is located, place a mark where the new tabletop measurement hits the middle of each stud.
SIDE NOTE: I recently found a new way to locate a stud by using a magnetic stud finder. By using the magnetic stud finder plus my regular cheap stud finder, I never miss a stud now!
Once the studs are located you need to determine which studs will be used to place a shelf bracket to hold the desktop. We used four shelf brackets for our 7ft desk.
STEP 2: INSTALLING THE SHELF BRACKET
It’s now time to install the heavy-duty shelf brackets onto the wall. Take one of the shelf brackets and place the 8″ side onto the wall where a stud is. Have the top corner of the bracket sit at the marked measurement on the wall.
Then using a small magnetic level, level the bracket and mark the locations of the screw holes on the wall (there will be three).
Remove the bracket and pre-drill a 1/8″ hole into the marked spots.
TIP: You can tell if you hit a stud because the wood will be on the drill bit.
Next place the bracket back on the wall, level it again and attach using the #12×1-1/4″ black wood screws.
SIDE NOTE: A 90-degree drill attachment makes the process easier.
Continue this step until all shelf brackets are attached to the wall.
SIDE NOTE: You can install just the end brackets and complete step 3, then come back and add the other brackets. This is what I did for this floating desk!
STEP 3: ATTACHING THE DESKTOP
Before you can attach the desktop to the brackets you need to finish the wood. So first, sand the boards with a #120 grit sandpaper using an orbital sander. Then make the wood extra smooth by sanding again with #220 grit sandpaper.
SIDE NOTE: If you do not want a seam, you will want to attach the boards together before sanding the wood.
Once you are happy with the smoothness of the boards, wipe the dust off the boards with a dry rag. Then apply the wood stain of your choice, I used English Chestnut by Minwax.
After applying the stain and letting it dry, seal the wood with 100% Tung Oil, see why Tung Oil is my favorite wood finisher in this post.
When the Tung Oil dries, the boards are ready to be placed on the brackets. Take one of the boards and place it on a flat surface against a wall. Then place the other board next to the previously placed board on the flat surface, make sure the ends are flush.
SIDE NOTE: You can use clamps instead of the wall but the wall will be used to push the two boards together.
Take a tie plate and place it about 3″ from an end of the board. The tie plate will be centered between the two boards. Also be mindful of where the shelf brackets will be located on the boards because you do not want a tie plate placed where the shelf bracket will be.
Then using the 3/4″ metal to wood screws, attach the tie plate to one board using four screws. Next push the two boards together, making sure the ends are aligned and the wood is flush with the surface. Then attach the other board to the tie plate using four more 3/4″ screws.
Continue this step until all tie plates are attached.
SIDE NOTE: You can attach just the tie plates to the ends then place the boards onto the shelf brackets. Then finish installing the tie plates because you will know exactly where the other shelf brackets are located.
After the tie plates are installed place the boards onto the shelf brackets, the plates will be facing down. Make sure the boards are centered on the brackets, then attach the boards to the shelf brackets using the 3/4″ screws.
And that’s how easy it is to build a floating desk for any room in your home.
This project cost me less than $60 and took a couple of days to complete because of the wood dry time. The whole assembly process took about 30 minutes.
In hopes to make the process easier to understand, I have also created a video on installing the brackets.
I hope this project will help you find space to have a floating desk in your home office or kids room. It has been perfect for my kids!