Building a Kitchen Counter Height Desk {Lowe’s Creator Idea}

counter-height-kitchen-desk-tutorial

Where do you drop all your mail, papers, reminder notes, kid’s school notes, business cards, etcetera, etcetera…etcetera? If you answered the kitchen counter, I’m sure you are among many including myself who dropped everything on the counter. And then it piled up there until someone filed the papers and threw away the reminders of events past.

(As a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blogger I was tasked with creating a “drop zone” for my June project. And I was provided with a gift card to purchase the supplies.)

I was determined to keep our countertops clean in our new kitchen. Which meant I had to create a space that would hold it all and act as our drop zone! The idea of a kitchen desk seemed like the perfect spot. However, I didn’t want a regular height desk. I wanted a desk that was counter height so I could stand and write a note, file papers, put away the mail then dash off to complete my next DIY project. This handy girl really doesn’t have the time to sit still ;-).

When I stumbled across a desk marked down to $35 at our local Habitat ReStore, it seemed like it had potential. A quick check of the drawers proved that the desk was still in perfect working order.

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I was talking to my friend Holly about my idea of the countertop height desk and she pulled four table legs out of her garage and gifted them to me! And, I had a heavily loved craft table that a neighbor gave away. I thought it would make the perfect top for the desk.

Here’s how I put them all together to make a cottage-style counter-height kitchen desk:

Materials:

  • Kitchen desk
  • Table top (or Plywood or your material of choice)
  • Legs (1 table and 3 furniture feet)
  • Circular saw
  • Level
  • Ruler
  • Kreg Jig
  • 3″ wood screws
  • Drill with screwdriver bits
  • Scrap 1×4″ board
  • Clamps
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Stain
  • Optional: new drawer hardware
  • (*Maybe a hack saw for stubbon screws)

If you don’t have a great friend who can gift you table legs, check your local Lowe’s Home Improvement center. They have a great assortment of legs and cabinet hardware!

knobs_legs_from_lowes

Instructions:

Start by removing all the desk drawers. Usually there is a small lever on the side that needs to be pressed down on both sides before you can remove the drawers.

press_lever_release_drawers

Remove the end panel from the seated side. Look for interior screws holding it on and try to release it by unscrewing them. If they won’t budge, use a hacksaw to cut through the stubborn screws to remove the side of the desk.

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Once the side is off, cut the 1″ x 4″ board to the same depth as your desk. Attach the board with screws to the underside of the drawer. This will be the support for the table leg.

add_support_under_drawer

On the side with the drawers, remove the toe kick with a pry bar. Cut off the bottom of the side panels with a circular saw. (I like to mark my cuts with a piece of painter’s tape. It helps keep the wood from splintering.)

cut_off_base_of_drawers

Flip the deck upside down. Measure your desk height and your table leg height. Your goal is to create a desk that is 36″ tall. Trim any excess off the table leg first (from the top of the leg). Then measure the height of your desk with the table table leg propped on it. Figure out how tall to cut the remaining three legs to create an even height.

measure_cut_little_legs

Cut the legs with a miter saw. (Use a stop block to make sure all three small legs are the same height.)

cut_legs_on_miter_saw

Attach the longest leg to the 1″ x 4″ support with Kreg joinery (you can view my tutorial on using a Kreg Jig here.) Attach the smaller legs by driving the 3″ wood screws through the bottom of the drawer cabinet into the legs.

attach_legs_to_desk

This is how the desk should look after the legs are attached. A little Frankensteinish…but no worries.

desk_with_legs_added

Sand, prime and paint the desk and drawers.

sand_prime_paint

I highly recommend using a cabinet grade paint (Sherwin Williams ProClassic or Benjamin Moore Advance) and coat the desk with two layers of paint.

painted_kitchen_desk

Before setting a desk top on the desk, secure the desk to the wall by driving a few screws into the back and side of the desk (preferably into wall studs.)

Place the desk top onto the desk. You can use an old table top and follow my instructions for cutting and finishing it, or order countertop material that matches the rest of your kitchen. Caulk, glue or screw the top down.

finished_kitchen_desk

Add drawer knobs onto the desk.

add_knobs

The top drawer on the right is for menus and miscellaneous papers, etc. (It will surely become the junk drawer). The middle drawer is Pretty Handsome Guy’s mail and the bottom drawer holds my mail.

close_up_desk_drawers_side

I fit the left top drawer with some organizational dividers from The Container Store.

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But, wait until you see what I did to the wall above the desk!

close_up_desk_planks

Now we’re talking organized! Each of us has a magazine file to fill!

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The tutorial to build that wall hutch is HERE! And the special distressed board treatment on the side of the desk? You guessed it…another tutorial to come!

pretty-handy-girl-kitchen-desk-tutorial

What do you think? Is this a project you could take on? Does your kitchen need a drop zone? Or a kitchen command center, as I like to call this corner.

You can find loads of other creative storage ideas at Lowe’s Creative Ideas:

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Disclosure: As a #LowesCreator, I was provided with a Lowe’s gift card to purchase supplies for this post. I was not told what to write. All ideas and words are my own.

Comments

  1. This is lovely. I so want a command center in my house. The junk drawer is not a safe place for bills!

  2. Genius! A lot of the time I wish I was as clever as you – this is one of those times.

  3. Great project! Can’t wait to see the follow-up tutorials.

  4. Chris N says:

    This looks great. I have a built-in desk in my kitchen, but it is such a mess. I’m going to use yours as an inspiration to get organized.
    Are those cork floors in your kitchen? How do you like them so far?

  5. Amazing!!! How I SO need a drop space like this! LOVE it!!

  6. How wonderful! I like the name “command center”. It sounds so organized, which I could use a little of! Cheers.

  7. Donna Duffy says:

    great job! I have a small desk and keep thinking I really want to paint it white, all you bloggers have me thinking all kinds of stuff lately. Love it all keep up good work

  8. Your project turned out amazing!!

    xo, Tanya

  9. Super clever idea to use the underside of the top of the table. The wood looks absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite things to do is add multiple coats of polyurethane, there’s something cathartic about it.

  10. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! SOOO cool! I am working on a creative brand collaboration project with Looksi Square and Shutterfly and I’ve taken on a Photo Storage Cabinet. I had the idea of doing a color painted wood frame with stained side panels, top and shelves- I haven’t seen too many examples of furniture like this and your piece is pretty close to the concept as far as the finish goes! It looks GREAT , and I can’t wait to see the tutorial on how you achieved the side boards!
    I’d LOVE for you to check out my sneak peak post on my project- the final post will go up June 17th!
    http://www.thebunchblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/shutterly-and-looksi-photo-storage-and.html
    Best,
    Tracie Gulit- the bunch

  11. Hi! I am a new reader and found you through the summer tour. I LOVE your command center! A little more advanced than I am capable of though :(

    I was wondering if you are going to do a tutorial on the horizontal wall treatment behind the desk, that I LOVE also and think it makes the perfect backdrop for the desk.

    Thank you ,
    Netty in Cali

  12. Deb Cazzetta says:

    The whole project is amazing. How did you do the angle boards on the side of the desk? I love the aged and differing colors. This is a look I would love to have on my island. Please tell us your secret!!!!!

  13. At first I didn’t like the short spindle legs, but painted !! They came out lovely! I’m all in with everyone on your side panel treatment as well. You have just too many cool things in one post for me to comment on. And I want your circular saw………I need to try that blue tape trick too! Thanks PHG..

  14. You blow me away Handy Girl!! THis is frikin awesome! I love counter height desks because I am more comfortable standing than sitting (thanks to sciatica). Will try to find a way to make my own.

  15. Amazing! I like the detail with small legs … I love these creative ideas

  16. What a great remake and love the colours!

  17. Marti Giffen says:

    This is awesome! I absolutely love everything you’ve done!

  18. Love the idea and will try it……but absolutely love the floor. What is it?

  19. Hi! What is the color that you used on this desk? Thank you!

  20. Does it not drive you crazy having to work with the power plugs behind the leg of your new desk?
    Love the project though!

    • Allie, actually I had our electrician install a plug on top of the desk so I can plug the phone and anything else into it. The other plug under the desk rarely gets used since there is a plug literally behind the wall in the living room for plugging the vacuum into. And, per our need to meet new code, we added several new outlets in the kitchen. I have more outlets than I will ever need.

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  1. [...] Building a Kitchen Counter Height Desk {Lowe’s Creator Idea} [...]

  2. [...] can “play” with their ideas before they go live to the public. Well, this little kitchen desk and hutch (kitchen command center) was my sandbox before I ordered our kitchen cabinets. It was my [...]

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