Computer Desk From Old Dresser




About: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric bikes that I've built, and an electric scooter pushed by a soc...

I made this computer desk from an old dresser picked up at a flea market.  I didn't take a photo of the dresser before I refinished it, but sanding, staining, and a few coats of varnish were the first steps.

I removed the center drawer and mounted a keyboard slide where the drawer once was.  To make it fit required that I cut the keyboard slide in half. make it about a half-inch narrower, and splice it back together (using wood underneath as a reinforcement).

Next I gutted the two bottom drawers on the right-hand side and used the old drawer fronts to make a hinged door.  This is where the computer goes.  I also cut some vent holes in the bottom of this area and in the back for ventilation.

In the top drawer on the right-hand side I installed a panel to hold a mouse pad.  When not in use, the mouse stores at the back of this drawer and the drawer can be closed.

This makes for a pretty compact computer desk, and when the keyboard is retracted and the mouse drawer is closed, it doesn't blatantly scream "computer desk" at you!   Overall, if you're reasonably handy with woodworking it is not a difficult project.

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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    this is a really nice build though i believe it was always a desk /vanity not really a dresser do to the gap for feets in the middle, you should look into making the keyboard drawer match though

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Vanity may be a better term than dresser. I tried various ways to keep the drawer front for the center drawer, but couldn't come up with a way to keep it yet keep it out of the way when the keyboard was in use. I tried hinging it on the bottom, but it got in the way of my knees. I thought about sawing it in two and hinging it on each side, but it would get in the way of the two top side drawers. I finally decided to just remove it. Thanks for your comment.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you still have the drawer front, you could put the hinge on the bottom and have the keyboard shelf slide out over the top of it. Use magnets to keep it closed, or those kitchen cabinet clips if you're worried about magnets around the computer. It may be a bit tricky with the bottom facing, but you should be able to work something out similar to what you did on the right side drawers.

    By the way that's not an old desk, it WAS an antique - a rather nice one, at that...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, putting a hinge on the drawer front at the bottom was my original plan, but unfortunately it didn't give enough clearance for my legs when I did that. I thought about raising the entire thing off the floor, but decided it would look out-of-porportion. So, I eventually just removed the drawer front. I sort of doubt that this is an antique in the technical sense of the word -- figure this was made sometime in the '50's, which makes it younger than me! It is old, but not what I would consider a priceless antique. Plus, the original mirror and frame were missing from this vanity. Thank you for your comment.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I saw above you mentioned you'd lost the front, but there is a certain type of hinge you needed to keep it out of the way, you see them sometimes on piano benches, where it's' designed to only let it rise so far, or in your case drop so far. They also use them on some of the standing desks, where a panel folds down to create more of a desktop. it has the normal hinge but also a piece that attaches to the inside sides of what it normally encloses when closed. can also be created with (usually) braided steel cable with eye splices. something similar to


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice project. I did something similar (adapted an old desk to work better as a computer desk), and even though yours looks WAY better than mine, I wanted to share a couple of things.

    My keyboard drawer was like yours, and it's a large piece of plastic with metal slider rails and bearings attached to it. I completely did away with the plastic shelf and cut a piece of plywood to fit the keyboard, and mounted the rails to that plywood shelf. If you do this, I'll bet you can at least use a portion of the center drawer front (cut down so it's as wide as it was before, and just a few centimeters high) and fasten it to the keyboard slider wood, for a very nice look.

    Second, I imagine the bay on the right with the hinged front is for the CPU. If so, I'd cut out the back of it completely (or at least drill a lot of holes) so that the CPU gets enough air for cooling. My old P4 system would bake itself in an enclosed space like that (although, I bet it would be a lot quieter!). I did this for my entertainment center I built - all the ones I saw in the store were pretty much closed in the back, and I really didn't see how that was good for the circuits).


    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I drilled a series of 1 inch holes in the bottom of the bay, and took the back out entirely to provide plenty of ventilation. I considered mounting the drawer front on the keyboard tray, but it was in the way. Seems like ever possible mounting of this drawer front just got in my way. I finally solved the problem of the drawer front when it disappeared during a move to another town!

    If I had it to do over again, I think I would have replaced the plastic slider with plywood as you did. It would have been much easier to adjust the width of a piece of plywood than the plastic keyboard holder. Thanks for your comments!