Geek Office In The Closet

June 29, 2011

Space is running out in our house. We're looking to clean out one of our bed rooms. Amanda had her craft room and I had my office. I read an article recently from Elijah Manor, a developer I follow on twitter, about how he moved his office into his closet. I got a little inspired. I probably have A.D.D. and being in a smaller space would probably do me some good.

I moved into the closet and used a spare plank and some shelves I had for a desk. This worked, but the desk was shaky and wasn't a comfortable height. I decided that I really needed to build a desk into my wall to really utilize the space. I did little bit of research and found out I could do all of this at a fairly low price.

The Support Frame

The first step of my project was clear out the closet and setup a frame for the top of the desk to be placed on. I'm paranoid when it comes to weight. I cut three pieces of white pine. One for the back and two for the sides. I screwed them into studs with two inch dry wall screws. The sides didn't have two studs to sink into. I had to improvise a little with wall anchors. I cut two pieces for the corners for additional support. I have no idea if this actually helps, but I didn't think it could hurt.

The Desk Top

My next step was the desk top. I needed a very odd sized piece of wood. My desired size was 28" deep and 59" wide. I have a table saw to cut to fit, but I would have had to bought a piece of wood larger than what I could get home. I wanted plywood, but it was a little unrealistic and I would have a lot of waste. They came in 8' by 4' slabs or 5' by 3'. Instead I bought a 14" by 72" and a 8" by 72" and joined them together with some cabinet hardware and wood glue. I save about twenty dollars by doing this. Holes were drilled in the corners for cables. I sanded the heck out of them and sealed the wood with an aerosol sealant.

The Desktop Cover

I didn't want a wood style desk top. I had seen several do it yourself shows where the hosts covered ply wood with a linoleum style cover. I haven't been able to figure out what they use, but I did find something that I thought would be acceptable. I used Con-Tact Creative Covering to cover my desk top. I applied the covering like a giant vinyl sticker. I experimented with a method to accommodate the drill holes, but it didn't work well. After the covering was fully applied, I melted down the bubbles with matches and a candle lighter. Really wish I had a butane torch for this. I ended up melting the stuff a bunch of times because I couldn't control the flame well. Overall the result was acceptable, but I wish I had spent more time looking for a more heavy duty covering. I believe I purchased the lightweight version of the contact covering.

More Support and Cable Management

I used 90 degree corner braces to help spread out the weight and secure the top to the frame. I spread out about eight of these through frame on the wall. I purchased some large hooks to help with the power cables and found a bunch of smaller ones that I used for monitor cables.

The Final Result

I'm very satisfied with the final result. The total cost was around $50. I run three monitors (currently a 20" wide, 19" and 17" square). This can add up on pounds fast, but the desk doesn't flex much. I had to run an extension cord to my power strip. I had to verify that the cable could handle the amps for the powerstrip. I keep my tower on the floor on top of some scrap wood to help with ventilation. It's a custom setup that puts out a lot of heat. I've been working out this setup for about two months now and I'm very happy with it.

©2020 Daniel Worthy

Opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions of my employer.