Buy or Build: 15 Desks We Love

With each passing year, more and more people work from home at least part of the time. Technology makes telecommuting easier than ever— so the home office is more essential than ever. Even those who don’t work remotely need a space where they can comfortably conduct the business of the home. And no piece of office furniture is more important than the desk. No matter what your design preference, you can always buy a desk to suit your needs. But there are nearly as many DIY desk ideas to choose from if you want to build your own desk. Whether you want a computer desk, writing desk, standing desk, or a desk that rolls into the closet while you sleep, finding the perfect set up is easier than ever. Take a look at these great examples, and see what suits your style.

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  1. TLD Desk


    Featuring a solid oak frame and oak veneer top, the TLD Desk from CB2 includes a generous work surface and a top ledge for supporting hanging organizers.


  2. Koloro Desk


    This innovative desk was designed by the Japanese firm Torafu Architects. Named Koloro (an Esperanto word for "color"), the desk is designed like a doll's house with window cutouts, mini shelves, and pendant lighting. Torafu describes it as a place to "nest" at ease.

  3. Posh Pipe Desk


    Inspired by mid-century modernism, this desk design is centered around galvanized pipe fittings, which not only help the desk stand up, but also provide decorative appeal. For more pipe projects, check out 10 DIY Pipe-Fitting Projects (No Plumbing Required).

  4. Floating


    If you’re short on space, a minimalist design like this floating desk might be the perfect fit. It is a simple box design, which creates a shelf for storage under the workspace. It’s mounted to the wall studs with L-brackets and wood screws. Pull up a chair when you need it, put it away when you don’t -- this desk is unobtrusive and beautiful all at once.

  5. Hairpin Legs


    Hairpin legs are currently a huge trend in furniture design. You can order a set of legs online, and attach them to whatever top you desire. This DIY workspace for a jeweler was made with a piece of pine, cut at the hardware store, some stain, and 4 hairpin legs. So simple to make -- for right around $100.

  6. Shipping Pallet Desk

    By adding a set of sturdy, colorful table legs (from budget-friendly IKEA), a shipping pallet becomes a functional desk with excellent storage capacity built right in. Find out how it's made in 5 Things to Do With...Shipping Pallets.

  7. Sawhorse Desk


    A sawhorse desk is one of the simplest DIY projects to make. Easy to disassemble and move once it is made, the pieces can also be repurposed for other things, should your needs or space change. Stain it or paint it. Use a pre-made project board for the top, or even repurpose a door. There are a zillion permutations - one of which will certainly fit your needs and budget.

  8. Aviator Wing Desk


    Whether at home or in the hanger, The Aviator Wing Desk from Restoration Hardware takes work to new heights with its angular shape and aluminum patchwork exterior, both touches inspired by World War II fighter planes. For more flight-inspired design, don't miss Aviation Aesthetics: Second Flights for Salvaged Aircraft

    Restoration Hardware

  9. Glass Work Box


    Compact and oh-so-modern—this Work Box Desk from Tonelli Design is made of 15mm thick glass and ideally suited for computers with its pull-out keypad shelf.  A caster-elevated support on one side makes for easy maneuvering, should the need arise.  

    Tonelli Design

  10. Home Office


    Offices and workspaces are ubiquitous in today’s homes. Here are ten awe-inspiring work tops that will surely get your creative juices flowing and kick your productivity into overdrive. First up is this clever, easy-to-do IKEA 'hack'—a simple four-legged table turned decorative desk. 


  11. Recycled Door


    This computer desk is made from a few pine boards, some newel posts, and a repurposed door. Topped with a piece of custom cut glass to fit, it will seat two at the work surface, and accommodate all the technical gear on a large shelf underneath. What a wonderful way to bring old and new elements together.

  12. K Workstation


    Seemingly made from a single piece of laminated bamboo plywood, the curvaceous K Workstation by MisoSoup Design maximizes storage by making use of available wall space—ingenious if you don’t have a whole lot of room to spare.


  13. Cubicles for Kids


    Ready-to-assemble cubbies and a project board are all that are required to make this storage-heavy kid’s desk. It’s the perfect height for a grade school student, and the cubicles can be repurposed in closets, basements, garages, or pantries once the desk is outgrown.

  14. Retractable Hood Workspace

    Looking for a bit of privacy? Sophie Kirkpatrick came up with a retractable hood on her Duplex Workstation that allows you to determine just how much open space is desirable. Still in prototype, this ash veneered desk looks like a happy pod of production when the hood is up.

  15. Knu Desk

    The Knu Desk fits into places that many desks can't. The top is of FSC-certified wood and available in six eco-friendly veneer choices, while the legs are custom-made using tubular steel and powder-coated with an aluminum finish.

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