Intro: Floating Storage Desk
After getting some inspiration from this desk online, I decided to try to replicate the process myself. The original desk at that site uses a 1 foot deep model, which I find to be far too narrow for the kind of work that I do (writing, graphic design, some occasional audio work, etc.), so I went with a desk that is 16" deep. This allows me sufficient room have my computer monitor, keyboard, and plenty of space to rest my wrists. The desk itself is 4 feet wide, which gives me a significant amount more space for extra things that I could never have while working before (see photo of my old desk, if you dare), such as a graphics pad, books, beverages, and other ordinary items that a desk should logically be able to have on it.
Suffice to say I was about fed up. I also live in a relatively small cabin in Fairbanks, AK, so utilizing my minimal amount of space as best as I can was a must. Thus, the floating option. In my opinion, the wall mounted desk makes this room appear more open despite the fact that this new desk is significantly larger than the old one. I also have a lot of random stuff that I use with my computer that was sort of piled up around the old desk and on top of my computer tower, so the fact that this desk has a sizable amount of storage space is a plus as well.
TL;DR: I needed a new desk because my old one was tiny. Also a self-deprecating detour to discuss my slobish habits of leaving things on the floor.
Moving on to more important things: The construction itself is incredibly basic. You need the following components.
- (2) 4' long x 16" piece of wood (I used oak) - thickness can vary. You could also rip down a piece of plywood to keep this on the cheap.
- (2) 16" lengths of 2x6 for side pieces.
- (2 or 3) L-brackets, 10" variety.
- Stain (I used it to get a consistent coloring between the 2x6 and the desktop wood)
- Drill with a couple of drill bits
- (4) 1/4" screws
- (12) 2" screws
- Stud-finder (applicable for some, but as you can tell my whole wall is a stud)
Step 1: Stain (if You Want To)
I chose to stain because the colors of the 2x6 and the oak that I got were incredibly far off from one another. You can do this step if you want. Be sure to paint the stain, let it settle for 10-15 minutes, then wipe away the excess with a rag. This will significantly help your drying time and help with consistency in the actual stain color. I let mine sit outside for about two hours and finished the construction when the stain was still a little tacky, but that's because I was being incredibly impatient. You should probably just wait until its done drying.
Step 2: Mount Top Piece to Wall
Before we mount the top piece there are a few things you should do. First, figure out some prime real estate on a wall in your house. Take a lot of time with this, please. It really isn't worth it to pick a spot at random and then realize that it looks off because you've placed it in a weird spot.
I chose a spot that was between a window and a small TV-stand. The full measurement between the two was 64 inches, and the desk itself is 48 inches, so I assumed there needs to be 16 inches of buffer on the desk. I split that buffer between the two sides, and put the left side of the desk 8 inches away from the window. If you're working with a wall that has studs, find your studs and figure out where they lie within the 48 inches of your desk.
You should also take into account the height of the desk. Average desk height is between 30 and 32 inches. Many people will find that 32 inches is too tall. I am about 6 foot, and 32 inches feels perfect for me. Also, keep in mind that the bottom of the desk is going to be 6 inches lower than the top of the desk, so provide ample room for you to cross your legs, etc. You know your own sitting habits better than I do.
Once you've picked your wall space, screw the L bracket into the top piece. This part is unfortunately poorly documented. If you found studs earlier, place the brackets at that place in the top piece. Imagine that you're hanging a shelf. You will want to us the short 1/2" screws to drill up into the top piece itself, and then set it on the wall.
For my desk (since my walls are log, and I can support the desk wherever) I put the braces at either end. If you are considering putting your braces at the very end, keep in mind that you will have to add the side pieces in the next step, and thus you need to provide at least 2 inches from the edge for the L-bracket (see photo)
By the end of this step what you should have is essentially a simple shelf. Make sure that it is level from multiple angles (I had to shim my L-brackets to get the desk to come out from the wall at a right angle), and then set the screws.
Step 3: Construct Bottom Section
When constructing the bottom section, drilling a few pilot holes can be beneficial. I did two screws into each board, two inches in from either end. After drilling the pilot holes I connected the two pieces of 2x6 to the bottom piece, creating a U-shaped piece. The photo below is snagged from the Maggi's original project page over at Designsponge, for lack of photo of my own process.
Step 4: Drill Pilot Holes in Top Piece.
At this point, since the top piece is set on the wall and the bottom piece is assembled, we just need to put them together. At this stage, drilling some pilot holes some designated spots on the top piece and side pieces can be really beneficial, especially if you're working by yourself. Holding up the bottom piece and tossing a screw into the side piece can lead to some complications, and things might not be as snug as you want them to be. With some pilot holes the bottom piece will be sure to fit exactly how you want it to.
I found that towards the end it was easier to use a screwdriver to get the last few cranks on the screws to get them to set deeper into the wood and pull the bottom piece up as tightly as possible.
At this point everything should settle into place perfectly, assuming that your pilot holes lined up properly.
Step 5: Use It?
Put some stuff on it, get some work done, or whatever.
Again, all credit is due for the original design to Maggi's floating desk on designsponge. Looking at her tutorial provides a good abbreivated version of what I have written here, but I figured I would post this so that the design is available through instructables, and I could also clarify some areas that I felt Maggi's instructions were a little vague on.