DIY Desk In A Dormer

Tell all ya friends and neighbors!

With a cape cod style home, you have dormers that can be wasted space, but not anymore! Follow these step by step instructions to create this DIY built in desk

Confession: This project has been done a hot minute. But ya girl hasn’t had the energy to take photos or even write up a step by step, which I’ve said before, is my least favorite thing to write.

Jokes on me. Shoulda been a travel blogger or something where I can just tell you all the cool things I do.

But unless you’re realllly interested in what it’s like for me to travel to the couch to the fridge and the jammies I wear to do said travel, I doubt my travel blog would go anywhere.

I digress.

I gotta say, I loved having a window seat for storage and we talked about just changing this into a little reading nook, but then per us, just took it up a notch.

Unbeknownst to me when we decided to start this project, we didn’t know our now kindergartener would be needing to do virtual learning at home. Luckily since I have an office space of my own, I don’t have to share it even though it’s a huge mega desk.

navy ikea alex drawers desk with wallpaper

Our playroom (which is where we are making this desk I’m about to show you) sits right outside of this room directly to the left of this photo. So let’s get it poppin’!

  • 2×2
  • 2×8
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Angle finder
  • Drill
  • Countersink drill bit
  • Impact driver
  • Wood plugs or stainable wood filler
  • Stain color of your choice

If you’re like us and starting with an existing structure like a window seat or storage in your dormer, you’ll want to remove that.

For us, we first started by removing the door and trim of our window seat.

Then comes the unfun part of replacing the drywall. It’s not miserable, but the last time we had to do that was when we had our shoulda-been-6-week-but-turned-into-11-month guest bathroom renovation.

As it turned out, since this was a much more surface area, it wasn’t that terrible filling in the drywall here.

It’s the mudding, taping, and painting that was a snooze fest so because I love you so much, I didn’t even take pictures of that.

Or maybe I’m just so cool that I forgot to take photos of that. Whatever. The world will never know.

man using table saw
man using table saw

We actually have a really cool hack to make a 2×2 out of a 2×4 which will be in a post coming soon, but for now, once you have your 2×2, you’re going to want to angle the ends of your side pieces at 45 degrees so they’re not seen much like you do in our world famous RH knockoff dining table.

You’ll of course want to measure your space because it will vary when you’re building a desk of your own, but because I want to be helpful, here’s all the measurements of this simple desk project:

dormer built in desk measurements
  • Desk: 38 3/4″ x 24″ (3 2×8 pieces of wood pocket hole screwed together)
  • Brackets for sides of desk: 22.5″ long with a 45 degree cut on the end
  • Bracket for the back of the desk: 35 1/2″ long
2x2 bracket resting on the ground

As you can see in this picture, this is how it will attach to the wall. It’s also a little easier to see here how we ripped off the edges of the wood.

Using the stain color of your choice, stain your wood and your wood plugs if you’re using them.

man using laser level to hang up 2x2

Using your 2×8 under your wood trim (like our craftsman style trim we installed here), place your 2×2 on the back wall and ensure that it’s level. You’re not actually going to attach the back piece first; you’re only doing this to find out how high to hang the side pieces.

man using level to hang up 2x2

You’ll actually attach your side pieces of 2×2 to the wall first.

man using stud finder to hang up 2x2
man using level to hang up 2x2

Using a level and a stud finder, mark your wall where there are studs. This will help you know where to drive the screws in.

man using level to hang up 2x2

Using a countersink bit, drill a hole where the studs in your wall are. Then drill into the studs with your impact driver.

man using impact driver to hang up 2x2

Once you have your screws drilled into your pre-drilled holes, you can add your wood plugs if you’re using them. If you’re skipping this step, you can just cover the screw heads with stainable wood filler.

You will just need to make sure that you sink the screws deep enough in the wood to cover them.

2x2 wood bracket on the wall
2x2 wood bracket on the wall
2x2 wood bracket on the wall

Repeat on the other side of your wall.

wood brackets in dormer

Now it’s time to add the piece against the back wall of your dormer (or regular wall if you’re not doing this in a dormer).

Congratulate yourself, you’ve just done the hard part of making the supports of the desk!

finding a perfect right angle for wood projects

Even if you’re in a new construction home, there’s a chance that your walls aren’t perfectly 90 degrees. Use an angle finder to double check on the angle of your wall because this will determine the angle at which you’ll need to cut your desk top.

man using table saw
man using table saw cutting wood
table saw cutting wood
man's hands on table saw cutting wood

Then using your table saw, rip down the length of your 2×8. Our desk was 3 2x8s in width so we used pocket hole screws to screw them all together.

Stain it, let it dry, seal it if you want so it’s protected and then just lay it down on top of your existing wall brackets.

DIY built in desk in a dormer

I feel like I say this a lot, but this really was one of the easier projects we’ve done! If you didn’t want to use 2x8s, you could also get creative and use butcher block like we did for the desk in my home office.

2 marble and pink storage books

When it came time to style this desk, I wanted to make it simple but practical. Since this is for a girl who loves pink and also loves to color, I found these really cute marble books that double as storage.

Crayola color magic markers

Also, pro tip: If your kids love markers and you aren’t ready to have them all over everything, the Crayola Wonder Magic Markers are amazing. They only work on special paper, but it’s absolutely worth it. She loves them, although now she’s way more into the real thing but these will be passed down to little bro.

globe on wood desk

The globe was actually passed to us from the one and only Lauren from Blesser House who is a family friend. Char has been begging me to paint this thing, and I probably will, but for now, I like the look of just the plain run of the mill globe.

rainbow wood art

We’ve got a thing for rainbows in this house. Charlotte is obsessed because it’s all the colors and she loves it. I love them because it’s just a small reminder of hope; especially after having experienced infertility and most recently our third pregnancy loss.

globe and rainbow wood art

And not that Char cares, but I just like the way that the rainbow sits over the globe like it’s the hope of the world.

My cheesy side is showing, I’ll put it back and bring back the sarcasm.

tiny toy hanging from the bottom of a clear desk chari

Oh. And just in case you thought that I forgot to remove whatever that is dangling in the photo, you’d be wrong. Charlotte intentionally placed this here and so I kept it because this is her desk after all.

This project hits all the pros for me: easy to build, budget friendly and … oh wait. That’s it! Holla! Plus, my husband did a great job building it while I sat back and took pictures and pretended like I did something more.

It’s hard to believe that in about or week or 2, this working space will have a real kindergartner using this as her computer desk. 5 year olds with their own computers. WUT?!

Char is so excited because now she gets to “work from home like mama” which is cute and I’m okay with that!

pin now make later
Super easy DIY built in desk. Great for kids doing remote learning!

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