15-Minute Hanging Desk




About: I'm a student at Iowa State University and I run College Info Geek, one of the web's biggest college blogs. Sometimes I get crazy ideas involving trips to Home Depot.

So, last May I was just hanging out at home while I waited for my internship start date to come around. I had about two weeks of downtime after school had ended and was living with my mom, meaning I no longer had access to the ridiculously large desk I had been using in my dorm.

Using my little high school desk for the whole summer was out of the question, so I decided to build a new one. Since I had a loft bed, I got the crazy idea to build a desk that would hang from said bed instead of resting on the floor. Surprisingly, it actually worked - and worked well! It was also super easy and quick to build.

Here are steps I took to build it. You can also view the original tutorial at my blog.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.


Ok, so this step may take a little longer than 15 minutes (what with traffic and lines at the cash register), but it's obviously necessary unless you already have everything laying around. Here's what you'll need to get this hanging desk started:

- One 4ft x 2ft x 1in (or thicker) piece of hardboard (HDF) - not particle board
- Four sections of 4ft-long chain. I prefer Tenso chain, because its double-loop link design makes it really strong. It's also super cheap. Whatever you get, make sure it's rated to at least 150 pounds (the Tenso I bought is rated at 244).
- Rope. Any kind will do, though I'd personally avoid super thick rope. It won't be bearing any weight anyway.
- S-hooks, spring links, or a combination of both. You need 8 in total. I'm using a combination because Home Depot didn't have 8 of either in stock at the time.

- A drill with a large drill bit. If you have a Forstner bit it'll be easier, but I got by with a standard twisted bit (college kids gotta make due)

That's it! In the next step we'll start the build process. You might notice that the picture of the board here already has holes in it; I forgot to snap a pic of it beforehand. Anyway, moving on...

Step 2: Drill the Holes and Hang the Desk

First step is to drill a hole in each corner of the wood. These holes need to be big enough for your chain to fit through - that's why I recommended the Forstner drill bit in the last step. I didn't have one, so I actually drilled four holes in each corner and then used the side of the drill to "saw" the middle part away in order to create on big hole. It looks dumb, but it worked :)

Once you have the holes drilled, thread a strand of chain through each one and use a spring link to secure it. You could also simply attach the chain to something bigger than the hole on the other side, but I chose to just loop it around and link it.

Now that all four chains are attached to the board, it's time to hang the desk off of the loft bed. Protip: it's way easier to do this is you take the mattress off the bed first. My attempt to sidestep this requirement didn't turn out so well.

You're basically doing the same thing with the bed that you did with the board; pull the chain over a board and then connect it to form a loop. If found it easiest to attach the side closest to the wall first, but this step should be pretty easy no matter how you do it.

Don't worry too much about the desk being level while you're hanging it. The nice thing about chain is that it has links! Once the desk is hung, it's really easy to change which link you're hooking into in order to adjust the height.

Step 3: Prevent the Desk From Swinging

Since this desk doesn't rest on the ground, you need a way to prevent it from swinging. This is what your rope is for!

Drill two holes near the back of the desk; each one should be right next to one of the bed posts. Then use a strand of rope to tie the desk to each bed post. Pull the rope as tight as you can. Once this is done, this hanging desk will be as stable as any freestanding desk.

Step 4: The Final Touches!

You're done! Told you it was easy.

If you're like me and have a dual monitor setup, it might be worth your time to build a simple monitor shelf out of scrap wood and put it on the desk. That way, you'll be able to slide your keyboard underneath it when you need a nice, empty workspace.

For those skeptical about the desk's strength, take a look a the second photo - that's 75+ pounds resting up there. You probably don't want to do using this desk as a step stool or anything, but it'll have no problem holding up your stuff.

That's it! Once again, you can view the original tutorial at my blog if you like.

Furniture Challenge

Participated in the
Furniture Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest

    11 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm, perhaps use two (or one if its hinged to the frame) closet rod along the longest face and run the hanging 'stuff' down through the holes around the rod and up the hole again? Could be fun, decorative.

    Could also, just run cable down, through the left hold, across the bottom, up through the right hole to the top through a pulley? Even more more fun.

    OH oh. If you used the cable in the back and in the front, hooking each to a pulley and running the back cable again through the front pully, you can just raise it. The structure itself should keep it from tipping/tilting.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i like the your idea, but i don't like the chain wrapped around the desk to hold it. I wonder if you could find a metal piece, shaped like a T that would come up from the bottom and hook the chain to it. I wonder if you've seen swings from a few years back that use that system.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yep - if you scroll down and look at dimtick's comment, I addressed that. It would probably be better, but I was just kinda lazy when I was shopping for materials.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't built this yet, but I'm curious about your opinion on an idea i have for your design...
    Do you think it would be possible to, instead of using rope to secure the desk to ONE support, to install hinges on TWO supports? this way, the desk could be raised to hide it away..... just a thought, I might give it a try one of these years.......

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, for sure. Actually, you could easily modify this one-support design so that the desk could be pulled up and hidden.

    Instead of using chain to hang it, you'd probably need to use rope or steel cable. Instead of looping the cables and attaching them to themselves at the top, I'd make them extra long and route them up and through to the back. Attach a series of strong hooks to the bed posts, and you'd be able to "link" the cables to them and get your desired height.

    Then, replace the rope with another set of "hooks" - two attached to the back of the desk and point downward, and set of upward pointing hooks that they could "lock into" so the desk wouldn't swing.

    It'd be a little more complicated this way, but I think it would work.

    Player 1

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes. So now I could knock my monitors over by kneeing the bottom of the table. Actually, I think it would look cool if you suspend it to the floor too to prevent it from going up. But I rele like the idea of a hanging desk, gonna make one, with it chained up and down. :)

    1 reply
    thomasfrank09Player 1

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Funny story - I actually spent a lot of time kneeing the desk and seeing how far I could tilt it when I got bored. Trust me, it takes a lot to knee this thing enough to knock over a monitor.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    very simple.
    rather than looping the chain, I think it may work better if you use eye screws.
    to keep the desk from swinging around and your expensive monitors crashing to the ground, you may want to add l-brackets to secure the desk to the bed frame legs.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment!

    I actually covered both of those points in this tutorial. In Step 2, I mention that you could use something to keep the chain from coming back out of the holes instead of looping it - I just didn't have eye bolts on hand when I was building it.

    As for preventing the desk from swinging, that's the entire purpose of Step 3 :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Not a bad idea. I have a double wide loft bed with a crappy overkill over built desk made of unpainted plywood. I need something nicer like what you made. i cannot have legs hanging down because of the boxes I store there so Hanging is the way to go I think. Thanks.