How to Build a Home Office

Introduction: How to Build a Home Office

About: We are a Detroit, MI architecture firm focusing on adaptive reuse and the revitalization of existing buildings and spaces into new uses.

This guide will show you how to take 300 dollars in materials and 5 hours of time to create a home office for a variety of room sizes.

Please keep in mind you will need to modify your workspace to fit within the space you have. It is our hope that this guide is fun and a strong impetus for you to look at things in a different way than you might normally, and that is through the lens of adaptive reuse and critical misuse. This guide 'misuses' hollow core door slabs, not as doors, but desks, shelves, and structure. The doors are an effective material because they are cheap, lightweight, yet strong.

Adaptive reuse and critical misuse both center around the idea of use and more specifically the idea of use in a way that is other than originally intended. The second key element of these two terms is the word use. For us, use, is just as important a factor in design. Many times people
theorize or speculate without ever doing, producing, or implementing the ideas, and that is fine, but for us beyond the ideais the actual implementation of use.

Through the adapting and reusing of an under used available space at home and by critically misusing hollow core door slabs we were able to generate a great work space with multiple long term benefits. We were able to save $20,000.00 a year, create more time with family, reduced our commute to almost nothing, and this was all done for less than $300.00 and completed
in less than 5 hours.

We hope you enjoy.

From the offices of Metropolitan Architecture Practice

Teacher Notes

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

Step 1: Anatomy of a Hollow Core Door Slab

Knowing how hollow cores are constructed is important to completing this project.
Hollow core doors are constructed with a wood frame on its edges and a cardboard honeycomb
filling the inside. This is then covered up with thin sheet of veneer on the front and back.

It is important to remember when cutting through a door, the cardboard core will be exposed.

The side that shows the inside of the door should always be hidden or facing a wall so this side is never seen when the office is completed.

Step 2: Materials, Tools, and Pieces

A (2) 2x6
B (2) 2x6
C (2) 2x6
D (2) hollow core door cut to size
E (3) 2x6, w/ (2) 45 degree cuts)
F (3) full size hollow core doors (may be cut to
fit room dimensions)
G (1) hollow core door cut to size
H (3) hollow core door w/ cut out
J (4) 5 x 5 steel angles with screw holes
K (7) 3 x 3 steel angles with screw holes
L (4) hollow core doors cut to size
(length may be cut to fit room dimensions)

See the image for illustrations of pieces

A total of (10) 2-6x 6-8 hollow core doors are used.

Other supplies: fine thread 6x1 drywall screws,
coarse thread 2 1/2 drywall screws, drywall
hangers if necessary, zip ties, wood
glue, polyurethane (for finishing), 8 track lighting
w/ plug

All dimensions shown as maximum values. Work surfaces should be finished with 2 coats minimum of polyurethane.

For best result, pre-drill all screw holes.

Tools required:
Circular Saw or Scroll Saw
Tape Measure
Paint Brush or Roller

Step 3: Initial Support Members

Screw (1) C piece and (2) A pieces into wall.

The top edge of pieces A and C should 2-4 above the floor.

The pieces should be screwed into the wall studs or into drywall hangers for proper support.

Screws should be no further than 32 apart.

The side of each piece that is 5 1/2 wide is the side to be screwed into the wall.

See the plan on the next page.

Use coarse thread 2 1/2 drywall screws for all steps except step 4 and step 10.

The image to the right shows the first3 pieces mounted to the walls.

The dotted lines on the first image represents the left side wall. This will be true of all images in the following steps.

Step 4: Plan View of Initial Support Members

Notice the dimension range on the left and right sides. The right side may only vary be 6 and the left side may only vary by 1-0. Changing the range on either will determine how much room each desk will have.

Step 5: Tabletop Supports

Screw in piece 2E into base of wall and then screw piece 2B into piece 2E and piece A that was mounted to wall in step 1.

Repeat this exact step above making sure there is 2- 0� from the center of piece 1B to the other piece 1B.

On the right side wall repeat the top step using piece 3C instead of piece 3B.

The 45 degree cuts on the piece E should be parallel with the wall on the bottom and piece B or C on the top.

See the plan on the next step.

Notice the dimension range on the left and right sides as well as the top and bottom. The right
side can only vary be 6 on the top and bottom and the left side by 1-0. Changing the range
on either will determine how much room each desk will have.

The top of pieces B and C must align with the tops of pieces A.

Step 6: Plan View of Tabletop Supports

Step 7: Main Tabletops

Pre-drill holes and screw (2) F pieces into support pieces below. Both F pieces should be screwed in at the corners as shown.

The lower diagram shows that 2F requires a minimum of 3/4" area on support piece B for end support of 2F.

See plan in next step.

Step 8: Main Tabletops Plan View

Step 9: Assemble Projecting Workareas

Attach piece G to D using bracket K and 1 screws. Make sure brackets K are attached at the edges as shown to ensure the screws go into the structural portion of the door.

Attach piece F to D as described above.

Step 10: Attaching the Projecting Workareas to the Office

Attach with 2 1/2 screws the newly formed component from step 4 comprised of pieces D and G into middle support piece B

The edge of piece G should line up with the edge of piece B.

Attach with 2 1/2 screws the newly formed component from step 4 comprised of pieces D and F into middle support piece C and A.

See the plan on the next page.

Step 11: Attaching the Projecting Workareas to the Office Plan View

Step 12: Support for Upper Shelving

Align edge and screw in piece H into one side wall and the other piece H into the other side wall.

The side of the middle H piece is to line up with the edges of both piece G and B. See photo detail below. The middle H is screwed in from underneath through piece B below. Use (2) 2-1/2 screws.

The short side of each H piece should be up against the back wall.

The middle piece H is a little tricky and may need to be temporarily supported until the top cross pieces are in place.

2-1/2 screws are to be used in this step.

Step 13: Support for Upper Shelving Plan View

Step 14: Locate and Attach Wall Brackets Part 1

Place (2) L pieces on H pieces as shown.

Step 15: Locate and Attach Wall Brackets Part 2

With the shelves L in place(from previous step), hold brackets J in place to support the bottom of the shelf L, Mark the bracket locations. Remove shelves and secure brackets to wall.

Wall brackets J should be screwed into the wall @ wall studs or use drywall hangers to attach to wall.

Step 16: Locate and Attach Wall Brackets Part 2

Plan and Section Views

Step 17: Attach Top Pieces

The remaining (2) L pieces are to be glued or screwed to the top of the (3) H pieces.

Step 18: Attaching Brackets for Track Lighting

Screw one bracket K into front face of piece L. Screw second bracket K into front face of piece L in the middle of the entire office. Screw third bracket K into front face of piece L. Brackets K should be spaced
to evenly support the track light.

When using K brackets, use fine thread 1 drywall screws.

Step 19: Attach Track Light to Brackets

Attach 8 long track light to brackets K with zip ties. The zip ties wrap AROUND the track and through the holes of the bracket K as shown in the photo on the next step.

Step 20: Attach Track Light to Brackets Photo Detail

Step 21: Plug the Light In

If you have a ceiling mounted light fixture in the room you can buy an adapter to allow you to plug the track light into the fixture.

Step 22: Completed Office Image

Step 23: Completed Office Image

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Rope & String Speed Challenge

      Rope & String Speed Challenge
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest

    15 Discussions


    3 years ago

    hey its amazing, but i would say garden rooms are also great place for home office. Check out beautifully crafted garden


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice and detailed 'ible. Nice to see CAD work on one every now and again. Great idea, has me thinking of other ways to critically misuse other items.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, very late to this one - but nice 'ible!! Might modify this for an extra room we have...will post here if we do!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very good, I see a Dell and a what? L


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    They're all Dell? I have them at work, I've seen people accidentally block the intakes with paper and they go "vroooooooom" - "why is it doing that?".... Not a Dell specific problem, but my question was just general interest. L


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Fan working harder because of constricted air maybe?

    I tend to stay away from dells , they seem to overheat and break alot


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     We have never had a problem with the dells overheating or breaking. Some of our computers are almost 5 years old now and we've had no problems.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I've never had problems with dell Computers for overheating but The dells at my school Are always broken . 

    Dell laptops are the culprit for overheating . My one gets hot quickly


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Dell fans are usually a little 'cheaper', resulting in more noise and stuff like that. For some reason they run ALOT faster then normal fans on the same 12v, but they also sound like jet engines when they do that. There was a dell line of laptops that had a major heating fault in the whole build. There was no way to fix it, unless you took it out the darned case. Cant remember what line of products it was.. I have a bunch of them in the attic, get them for free all the time there that bad.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes it's the fan going flat-out because some fool blocked the intake.



    10 years ago on Introduction

    What beautiful office space and an amazingly detailed and clear instructable! I am at the beginning stages of converting an extra bedroom into an office for the SO and me. Your plan is by far the least expensive and one of the most attractive end results, which now makes this instructable the clear winner over any other plans we've seen. If you are willing to have some painted surfaces in your office, you could save quite a bit of money by using some doors that are labeled "paint grade." These are made from several sheets of veneer, joined with finger laps. They look terrible in their pre-painted state, but once painted, they're as attractive as any other painted door. Thanks again.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    any structural issues regarding using hollow core doors, do the desks bow under weight?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    We have been using the office for about 6 months and we have had no bowing. If supported as described the door slabs should hold up quite well. Currently we have a couple computers, lots of large books and various office supplies. Even when pushing down on the desks with force, there is minimal to no bowing.