Quick and Easy WFH Office for $100

Introduction: Quick and Easy WFH Office for $100

Are you now working from home but don't have a home office? Perhaps you can no longer battle your partner/roommate/child for working space at the kitchen table or you just need to set up a quiet area away from everyone for your many Zoom meetings. While not the prettiest, this desk and stool are surprisingly sturdy. The set can be built in a matter of hours and are designed to be easy for even the least handy person.


I sourced all of my supplies from Home Depot as that is the closest hardware store to me. I would recommend ordering online (I have provided links to the supplies that I used) and using curbside pick up--it saves you the trouble of having to find the right items while also making social distancing easier.

For the desk:

For the stool:

Hardware (for both):


  • drill
  • 3/16-inch drill bit
  • 3/32-inch drill bit (or something close)
  • driver bit
  • tape measure
  • staple gun
  • ruler or straight edge
  • square or some other means of getting a right angle, such a sheet of thick cardstock
  • hammer
  • serrated knife (like a bread knife) or an electric turkey carver
  • pencil
  • marker

Step 1: Mark Your Table Top

With your tape measure, measure the short edge of the MDF. It should be 24 inches although mine was closer to 24.5. Mark the halfway point along this edge.

With your square lined up with your mark (or a square piece of card stock and a ruler) draw a line from the edge of the MDF towards the center. Make a mark on this line 7 inches from the edge of the board.

A few inches above or below your line, make another mark 7 inches away from the edge. Line your ruler or straight edge up along these two marks to draw line parallel to the edge.

Along each line, measure 6 inches from the intersection of the cross hairs and make a mark.

Repeat on the other short edge of the MDF.

Step 2: Mark the Bucket Lids

Tear off the plastic strip from two of the bucket lids. It has a little, ridged tab to grab onto and should tear right off.

Draw a line through the center of the lid. Using your square, make another line perpendicular to your first one. Make sure your lines extend all the way to the edges of the lid.

Step 3: Attach the Lids to the Table Top

Line your lid up with the cross hairs you marked on the table top.

Place a dot roughly in the center of each quadrant. It doesn't need to be exact.

With a 3/32-inch bit, drill a hole on each of your marks. Make sure your hole goes through the plastic of the lid and into the MDF. It's ok if your holes go all the way through the MDF but if you need a perfectly smooth surface to draw or write on, you can place some tape on your drill bit to serve as depth gauge. This short video clearly illustrates this.

In general, it's best to drill a pilot hole any place you will be driving a screw. This prevents your material from splitting and makes it a little easier to drive the screw.

Place a washer on one of the #10 pan head screws and drive it through the hole in the lid and into the MDF. Repeat for the three remaining holes.

Repeat the above process for the second lid.

Step 4: Construct the Table Legs

Peel the plastic strip off of the other two lids.

Turn one of the buckets upside down (without a lid) and place it on the ground. Place one of the remaining two lids (also upside down) on top.

With a 3/16-inch bit, drill four, evenly spaced holes.

Place washers on the ends of four 1-inch machine screws and push them through the holes. They should fit tightly and you might have to gently rotate them or use a screw driver to push them all the way through.

Turn the bucket/lid assembly over and fit four of the enclosed nuts onto the screws. The nuts don't have to be too tight; just tighten them as much as you can comfortably do by hand.

Repeat with another bucket and the last lid.

Step 5: Assemble the Table Legs

Place one of the remaining buckets on the ground. Stack one of the new bucket/lid assemblies on top. Push down on the rim of the top bucket to a snap the lid onto the bucket below. When the lid attaches you will hear a snap and feel the tabs on the lid move. You may have to push down the lid directly. If you are having a hard time, try pulling the tabs out a bit while you push down.

Lift up the top bucket to ensure that the bucket below is properly attached. Go around the lid and push in the tabs to lock the lid in place.

Repeat with the remaining buckets.

Step 6: Finish Assembling the Table

Position your two table legs about 2 feet apart. Lay the MDF with attached lids on top of the legs. Line up the lids with the bucket legs.

I've found that properly attaching the table top is the hardest part. Push down on one of the long edges of the table top to get the lid to start snapping on, pushing in the tabs as you go. Make your way around to the short sides, pulling on the tabs as needed. As you get towards the interior of the table top you might need to hammer around the edges of the lid. Use a scrap piece of wood or a thick piece of cardboard to protect the table top from direct hammer blows.

Holding onto the MDF only, lift up the table. If the legs lift up as well, the table is properly assembled.

Step 7: Add Stability

I've found this table to be pretty stable. Occasionally, you might lean on the edge or accidentally knock one of the buckets with your foot. If you need additional stability, fill the bottom two buckets with water. The weight of the water on the bottom will further stabilize the table.

Step 8: Begin Assembling the Stool

Lay one of the wooden discs on the floor. Center the bucket on the disc. Mark four evenly spaced points and drill with a 3/32-inch drill bit. Make sure you drill through the plastic and into the wood. Be careful that you don't drill through the wood and damage your floor.

Put washers on four pan head screws and drive them into the holes. [Note: I did not use washers in the photo but later added them.]

Step 9: Add the Casters

Turn the bucket/wood assembly upside down. Mark roughly where the screws attaching the bucket are. Lay out your casters making sure they avoid the screws already in the wood. Make sure that the casters are all oriented in the same direction.

With a pencil, mark the holes in the plates of the casters. With a 3/16-inch drill bit, drill holes on these marks.

Drive pan head screws into these holes, fixing the casters in place.

Step 10: Upholster the Seat

Lay the second wooden disc on top of the upholstery foam. Draw a circle roughly 1.5 inches larger than the disc. You need to leave enough foam to wrap around the sides of the disc.

Cut your foam with a serrated knife like a bread knife. If you have one, an electric turkey carver works well. It doesn't need to be the cleanest cut. Trim off any particularly ragged parts with scissors.

Lay your fabric down and put the foam and wood on top.

Pull one edge of the fabric tightly over the wood and staple with a staple gun. Pull the fabric on the opposite edge and staple.

Work your way around the circle, pulling and stapling. Push the foam around the edges of the disc and pleat the fabric as you go.

Try to keep the pleats on the bottom of seat. It's ok if they extend around the sides and sometimes you can "massage" the wrinkles out of the sides of the cushion once you're done.

Trim off any excess fabric.

Step 11: Finish Assembling the Stool

Lay the lid on top of the wood. With a 3/32-inch bit, drill four holes.

Put washers on four pan head screws and drive them into the holes. [Note: I did not use washers in the photo but later added them.]

Put the lid on top of the bucket and lock it in place to finish your stool!

You can also use the stool to store small items.

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    2 years ago

    No need for Step 4. Don't need to screw the 'legs' together. Just fill all the buckets with water or sand, and stack them the way they are designed to stack.


    2 years ago

    Very intersting


    2 years ago

    i applaud the ingenuity. however, i feel like you could make this for cheaper and have more legroom if you used 2x4's for the legs. an 8 footer is 3.48 at home depot. a bucket is just under 15 inches tall, and you use two of them, for 30 inches of clearance. if we make a C shape with the same height and shorter legs that are 1.5 feet long, that'd give us 66 inches of wood per leg. if we want to brace the c shape (which we should) then we've got 30 inches left over we can cut into braces. you'd only need two 2x4's and you'd be a LOT more comfortable, leaving you with a savings of 14 bucks. if you bought another 2x4 you could make crossbars to support the weight you might put on the desk and to keep the legs from splaying.

    you might be thinking 'but i dont have a saw'. well there are options for that. the best of which is to buy a hand saw. :P you've still got 3.48 in savings, that's half the cost of a coping saw. if you go in with a list of measurements, home depot will cut the boards to length for you, so the only hard part is the angles which i dont believe they can cut. if you dont want a saw, you can get corner braces, which will raise the cost unfortunately. or you can be a caveman and use the sidewalk as a file to grind the boards to shape. :P

    other cost savings include using plywood instead of mdf. mdf i dont trust, it will sag and it will warp if it gets wet, plywood is stronger. and it's cheaper. a 2x4x.5 sheet of sanded plywood runs 10.97. and the mdf you linked runs 15.47 around here.

    table legs.png

    2 years ago

    Perfect for extra storage too! : )