Supplies for Building Computer Desks

Written by dennis hartman
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Supplies for Building Computer Desks
Computer desks range from traditional to modern styles. (computer image by michele goglio from

A computer desk is the centrepiece of most offices and work stations. Besides providing a dedicated space to store computer accessories, the desk should be a comfortable place to work. Computer desks come in a wide range of styles and prices, but you can build your own using some simple techniques and a few basic supplies.

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One of the easiest and least expensive desk designs uses a plywood surface. Plywood is inexpensive, lightweight and durable, making it ideal for simple do-if-yourself desk projects. Plywood is also easy to paint and most hardware or lumber stores will cut it to size based on your specifications.

For a more elegant desk, consider a hardwood surface. Oak and maple planks can produce an attractive surface with a beautiful grain pattern. Pine is another option, combining low cost with an attractive surface (but a softer density, making it easier to dent or scratch).


Micro density fiberboard, or MDF, is another option for a computer desk surface. This inexpensive material is readily available at most larger building supply stores and comes in a variety of regular sizes or can be cut to size. MDF is light and durable. It is also easy to paint and resists warping. While wood might be the best surface material for a traditional desk, a computer desk made from MDF will have a more modern look.


Plastic or metal piping can serve as a computer desk's legs. Pipe fittings screw onto the underside of the desk surface and accept a standard diameter pipe. You can also buy broad feet to form the base of the legs and protect the flooring in your office or living room.

For metal piping, consider using standard fence posts. For a low cost plastic alternative, PVC pipes are readily available and very inexpensive.


Whatever materials you use to build your desk, you will likely want to paint or stain the surface. Use a paint that the manufacturer recommends for the material you used, either plywood, wood or MDF. Apply the paint with a roller, using a larger roller for big areas and a smaller roller for edges and corners.

Consider also adding a top coat of varnish to protect the painted or stained surface from scratches from a monitor stand, mouse or keyboard.


If you wish to add a keyboard tray, cabinets or drawers, purchase prefabricated hardware including hinges, door handles drawer pulls and shelf sliders. Most hardware kits come with screws and other mounting accessories.

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