Built-in desks give you the flexibility to add any number of drawers, shelves, and top space compartments in your home office and help you leverage underutilized space while adding value and style to your home office setup.
Depending on what you want, built-in desk costs can go from a mere $100-$200 to a whopping $10,000+. The cost varies depending on the number of drawers, shelves, additional storage units, design, material, and size. For high-end custom work, like a built-in bookshelf with desk space, shelving, and cabinets, it can cost $150 to $1,200 per linear foot. The most significant expense of built-in desks is typically carpentry labor cost. You can expect to pay $30 to $130 per hour for a carpentry contractor. You can also choose to go the DIY route or buy ready-made (or semi-custom) built-in desk.
Built-in desks are amazing architectural features that really help you create a functional work area that’s visually stunning at the same time. You can include plenty of shelves and/or cabinets and drawers to maximize storage while saving tons of floor space.
Everything from height, depth, and length to the materials and style will be built according to your specifications & requirements.
The main reason why people opt for built-in desks is to seamlessly blend their workstation or work area with the overall design and style of the home. Whatever you can imagine can be built with the right budget and the right contractor.
But what are the best options?
Do you really need to spend so much on built-ins? Are there pre-built options that can accomplish the same purpose? How long will it take to build one?
What about adjustable, sitting and standing desks? Do they have anything in common with a built-in desks? How is a built-in desk better?
Everything you need to know about built-in desks is right here in this post to help you make the best decision for how to proceed.
By the way – before we get started here, if you want to get more great ideas for your home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.
Ok – let’s dive in.
What Are Built-in Desks?
Simply put, built-in desks are fixed into a wall to save floor space while maximizing the working area. They are typically installed into a kitchen, a spare bedroom, dorm room, or under the stairs.
What do you use it for?
These wall-mounted desks are almost always paired up with cabinetry and shelving. These options help in utilizing the vertical wall space while leaving the floor space for other stuff.
You must have seen those built-in bookshelves with desk space in the center. The bookshelves can hold books, file boxes, and office supplies, while the area underneath the desk can be used for PC, trash cans, shredders, cords, or anything that doesn’t require desktop space.
How Built-in desks are different?
Built-in desks do not have front legs as they rely on the wall for support. This is the reason why they seem to be floating in the air. You have plenty of space to swivel around and stretch your legs.
How is it any different from a sitting/standing desk? Built-in desks are fixed to a single wall and cannot be adjusted in any way possible. The height, length, and depth remain the same unless you go for a renovation. Therefore, you must consider your personal needs, specifications, and preferences beforehand. A designer might charge $200 – $500 to design the desk according to your instructions.
All in all, built-in desks are stylish and surprisingly practical. You can set up a visually stunning home office in a nook while having several storage options to hide the ugly stuff. From the bare minimum of a floating shelf to bookshelves and cabinets – you can get as creative as you want.
What are the Best Options?
The design options are infinite with built-in desks. You can go for a DIY floating desk or go all-in with a designer New England secretary-style model made of walnut or cherry.
But does it always have to be custom-built? Not really. With a little bit of patience and skills, you can design and build your own built-in desk! This way, you can cut down on the costs and use that money to personalize the space.
If a pre-built/semi-custom built-in desk does not match the aesthetics of your room, you can go for a custom luxury built-in desk with cubbies and cabinetry.
Custom Built-in Desks ($1,500-$10,000+)
Each custom built-in desk is unique. Design and layout decisions will depend on your taste and needs. You can go for floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with multiple cabinets or just a floating desktop with drawers and cabinets.
The material costs are relatively fixed, but the time it takes to build, finish, and install can significantly bump up the price. Most of the designers will charge you based on the linear footage model. For an 8ft tall setup, the price can fluctuate between $850 – $1100 per linear foot.
A simple open shelving model will cost you a lot less compared to something with glass doors, glass shelves, and cabinetry.
According to HomeAdvisor, built-in, closed-door office cabinetry can cost $2,200-$10,900+. Standard cabinet installations cost $50 to $250, but custom built-in cabinets cost $700 per linear foot on average.
And don’t worry, your money won’t go to waste if you decide to move. According to BuilderOnline, built-ins add value to your home and help you sell the house at a higher price.
You can find local custom built-in professionals here:
Ashley Smith pinned this modern built-in desk with shelves look with the brass handles and dark blue-ish grey finish is amazing!
Manaassas_Living pinned this one and it’s a fantastic built-in corner desk.
This is a great example of creating an amazing built-in desk in a small space from Heather J.
If you’re looking for something that’s high-level then this one pinned by Honeybear Lane we found on Pinterest may be a good one to use for inspiration.
How long will it take for my new built-in desk take to build?
It depends on the size, design, and complexity of the project. Here’s a breakdown for each type of built-in desk:
|DIY Built-in Desk||1-2 Weeks|
|Pre-Built Built-in Desk||2-3 Days|
Built-in Desk Dimensions & Options By Career Path
|Freelancer/part-time remote worker/Hobbyist||18”- 28”||24”- 32”|
|Full-time remote worker||28” – 30”||32” – 47”|
|Remote worker with lots of equipment/business owner||30” – 36”||47” – 72”|
How much does a built-in bookcase cost?
One of the things that go with a custom built-in desk is accompanying built-in bookcases.
And I have to say – I LOVE built-ins!
A built-in bookcase can transform any blank wall into an architectural beauty. You can blend the desk between the bookshelves to have space for work and storage in the same place.
The cost of a built-in bookcase ranges from $1,273 and $4,077, with the national average being $2,500. Floor-to-ceiling installs can go up to $5,000 to $14,000. If you have a specific design in your mind, custom bookcases can cost $300 to $1,200 per linear foot. Stock or semi-custom built-in installation ranges from $50 to $250. It really depends on what you want and how big you want it to be.
Suppose you have a 10 feet wall, and you want a high-end custom bookcase with ample storage space (shelves and cabinets) and a built-in desk. According to HomeAdvisor, you are expected to spend somewhere around $150 to $1200 per linear foot.
Another thing to consider is that the material, construction, labor, design & fit, and accessories can affect the overall cost. MDF and sanded plywood with installation cost $40-$150 per linear foot, but furniture-grade plywood and hardwoods can go up to $60-$225 per linear foot. Glass and premium exotic hardwoods like teak, pine, cedar, and oak, the prices go up to $150-$400 per linear foot.
In short, the more “custom” you go, the more it’s going to cost.
DIY Built-in Desks ($150-$250)
Spending $10,000+ on a built-in desk might be too much for your budget, and that’s perfectly ok.
Creating your own built-in desk requires some creative thinking and getting the materials you need to make it awesome! You can use stuff like IKEA cabinets and other assorted items like butcher block wood to create something truly amazing!
CONSDAN Butcher Block Counter Top, USA Grown Hard Maple Solid Hardwood Countertop, Washer/Laundry Countertop, Table Top, Polished, Prefinished with Food-safe Oil, 1.5″ Thickness, 48″ L x 25″ W
- USA Grown Hardwood: Only made from USA grown hard maple solid wood.
- Food-safe Oil: The wood surface is finished with natural food grade oil. The countertops can be used as a cutting surface.
- MULTIPLE SIZES: Available in 1-1/2″ x 3/8″ x 4′-4″ and 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ x 8′-8″
- BREATHABLE: Allows moisture and air to pass freely behind cladding / siding material
HELIFOUNER 24 Pieces Toggle Bolt and Wing Nut for Hanging Heavy Items on Drywall – 1/8 Inch, 3/16Inch, 1/4Inch
- There are three sizes selected for you, includes: 12 pieces 1/8 inch, 8 pieces 3/16 inch, and 4 pieces 1/4 inch. 24 pieces in total. Different sizes and enough quantities can meet your different longtime using.
- Our toggle bolts are made of zinc plated steel, uniform coating, strong adhesion and long service life, meanwhile, smooth surface because of using advanced automate production process to ensure processing accuracy, which make the product appearance is exquisite.
Ansoon Zinc Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors with Screws Kit, 25 Heavy Duty Metal Wall Anchors and 25#8 x 1-1/4” Screws – 50 Pieces All Together
- Anchors pre-drills precise hole in types of drywall ,no hole preparation required, made of durable zinc , easily removed.
- Deep thread design provides strong engagement , locks into many sizes of drywall 3/8”, 1/2” or 5/8” gypsum wallboard.
You might need some help from friends and family in woodworking and painting, but it can make for a lot of fun to do a project like this together.
Of course you should always make sure you’re wearing the appropriate protective gear while working on this stuff.
- Can be placed anywhere in the room because the back is finished
Kaboon 60 x 24 inch Wood Table Top Solid One Piece Desktop Only, Rectangular Tabletop, Laminate Wood Countertop, Double Desks, L-Desk Home and Office(59.1″ x 23.62″,Light Oak)
- WIDE APPLICATION: This top of table can be combined with different base according to your needs, such as metal table legs, wooden table legs, cabinets, sit to stand height adjustable desk frame, etc. This modern and simple tabletop is designed for multi-purpose. It can be used as a computer desk, kitchen dining table, coffee table, L-shaped workstation desk, wood standing desk, double desk, vanity table, gaming table, wall mounted desk, etc. Enjoy your DIY experience!
- ELEGANT APPEARANCE: Bold and realistic designs, 5 colors and surface textures complement any home space or commercial use: woodgrains, marble, cloth nature, and more. Use this unique desktop surface and your imagination to create a chic and comfortable space.
- Gorilla Wood Glue Ultimate formula is 100% waterproof and incredibly strong, but still easily cleans up with water.
- It is great for outdoor applications where temperatures or moisture might be a concern, as well as interior projects that could benefit from the extended working time and high strength.
120 To 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper for Wood Furniture Finishing, Metal Sanding and Automotive Polishing, Dry or Wet Sanding, 9 x 3.6 Inch, 36-Sheet
- MEETS ALL YOUR NEED – Including 3 sheets of each grit: 120/220/320/400/600/800/1000/1200/1500/2000/2500/3000, total 36 sheets.
- PREMIUM QUALITY – Made of waterproof silicon carbide, electro coated ensures the grit distributed homogeneously, good for wet and dry sanding.
Pre-built/Semi-Custom Built-in Desks ($250-$1,500)
If both DIY and custom luxury built-in desks are not your cup of tea, pre-built/semi-custom built should be on your list. These range from small floating desks to mid-tier designer-looking built-in desks like the MASH LAX series wall-mounted desk.
What is the Mid-Tier Built-in Desk?
Mid-tire built-in desks are affordable and aesthetically pleasing. You do not get any custom-made built-in desks or cabinetry in this price range, but the storage space will be enough to store office files and basic equipment.
What is the MASH LAX series wall-mounted desk?
The Mash Lax Wall-Mounted Desk looks like the Novogratz Computer Desk but without the legs. It has a solid English walnut construction with a natural oil finish. It has the looks, the functionality, and the necessary storage – what’s not to love?
- Finished in rich Espresso laminate
- Mounts easily at any Height with prepacks innovative metal rail hanging system
- Brushed brass finished knobs; wire management with plastic grommet
- The drawer rolls smoothly on metal drawer glides; hardware is included for mounting to wooden wall studs
Floating Desk,Wall Mounted Desk Folding Wall Desk Floating Computer Desk with Storage Shelves for Small Space Bedroom Space Saving
- The bedroom desk is made of plywood board, which is environmentally friendly and does not contain formaldehyde. The load capacity of the wall mount floating desk is up to 40KG.
- The floating wall desk can be used as a computer desk when expanded and a cabinet when folded. Wall mounted and fold up design for compact space, it offers an ideal space-saving solution for those who want to store essential items and keep the room clean.
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