DIY Built-In Desk with Butcher Block Countertop
Hello and welcome! Today I'm going to show you how we created an 8' long built-in desk in my redesigned home office. I'm giving this once bland catch-all space a jungle-y boho makeover, and I am loving how it's all coming together! Go check out my last post for all the before photos, design details, mood board and more.
One of the first projects we took on in the office is a DIY built-in desk. When I started planning my office, I knew I wanted a desk large enough to have a computer workstation and a drafting & crafting area as well. I also knew that the one wall that butts up to the closet would be the perfect size wall for this new desk.
Once I decided I wanted a desk along that wall, I started searching for desks that would meet my requirements. When nothing seemed right, I started researching built-in desks. I came across this post from Hydrangea Treehouse which served as my jumping off point to create a built-in desk.
Here's how we did it.
- 8' birch butcher block countertop (this is the one we used)
- 2x4 wood for supports
- 4" construction screws
- Tung Oil (I used this one)
- Hole saw drill bit
- IKEA Alex drawer unit
How to Build a Desk with Butcher Block Countertop
1. Cut your support boards to size.
Because the 8' countertop is so long and heavy, we wanted one long support board in the back to be screwed in to 4 studs, and a shorter board on the side wall to be screwed into 2 studs.
2. Find & mark your studs.
Like many of our projects, what seemed like an easy task (locating studs for the wall supports) turned out to be quite difficult. Our house is over 100 years old and finding studs in these old plaster & lathe walls is harder than it seems. We ended up drilling a bunch of tiny holes until we were sure we hit a stud, then we marked them.
3. Assemble the IKEA Alex drawer unit & dry fit the desktop.
Since the drawer unit will be the "legs" on one side of the desk, at this point we set the countertop on top of the drawer unit, got it level, and marked the bottom of the desktop onto the wall. With the studs already marked, we lined up our support boards with the line we had drawn under the desktop and screwed them into the studs using 4" construction screws.
4. Cut holes for cords.
This part was fun because we had never used a hole saw drill bit before. Since the desktop is so long, I decided to cut 2 holes on either end for cords. We marked where the holes would be, attached our hole saw drill bit to our drill, and cut out the holes. Easy!
5. Seal the countertop.
I love the color of birch, so I knew I didn't want to stain it. I wanted to find a product that would bring out the richness of the wood while also protecting it. After quite a lot of research, I decided to use Tung Oil. I oiled each side of the countertop twice, waiting 24 hours in between coats. The waiting was the hardest part of the whole process! (I took advantage of the in-between time to paint the room. Check out the delicious color I chose in the after pics!) Tung Oil does not require a topcoat, but you can add that for extra protection. I chose not to.
6. Put it all together!
Once the oil was completely dry on both sides, it was time to put it all together! With the boards screwed to the studs and the drawer unit in place, we simply set the desktop on top. And that's it! I now have a beautiful new super-roomy desktop with lots of built-in storage thanks to the drawer unit. And I love it!
It really was that simple! Here's how it looks now.
I am absolutely loving how my office is coming together! We're not far from a full room reveal, so keep your eyes on this space!
Let me know your questions or comments about the desk in the comments below.