How to Build an Office Workstation

Design and construct a custom work space with these step-by-step instructions.

As the need for efficient home offices has risen, so has the desire for comfortable, multipurpose workstations. This project, which takes several days, shows you how to build your own. Keep in mind that cabinet faces and other materials can, and perhaps should, be custom-ordered, but with some woodworking skill and some help, you can build the essentials.

Custom-built workstations will vary greatly from project to project. Use these directions as a general guide in assembling one designed to your needs. And be sure that plenty of electrical outlets and a phone jack are near the area where you want to place it.

Materials and Tools:

tape measure
wood, including ¾-inch plywood
drill dowel jig
wood glue
2½-inch screws
primer and paint
stud finder
4-foot level


1. Measure your space and account for areas such as heating vents.

2. Using your measurements, lay your workstation design down on graph paper. The design should be to scale. Note that in our design, there's extra knee space so that two children can work together, along with a double drawer and wall cabinets.

3. Using a table saw, cut the ¾-inch plywood for the cabinets according to your measurements.

4. To assemble the pieces, measure for the placement of dowel holes, and then use a drill dowel jig to drill holes into the face frame. Once all holes are drilled, pour wood glue into the dowel holes and hammer the dowels into place. Add more glue to the wood-frame pieces.

5. Hammer the frame pieces together, clamp them tight and allow to dry.

6. Glue and nail small wood cleats to the bottom of the sides, apply glue to edge of one side, nail the face frame to one side and repeat for the other side. Glue and nail the bottom shelf into place.

7. Attach ¼-inch plywood to the back of the cabinet. Add corner braces to each corner, and then move on to the drawers. Once the drawers have been assembled, attach the drawer guides to the drawers and inside the cabinets.

8. Once all components have been assembled, fill all the exposed nail holes with spackle, seal all surfaces with a primer, and paint. Wait 18 hours to dry before moving the pieces.

9. Remove any baseboards that might hinder installation of the workstation. After locating the studs with a stud finder, hang the cabinets by screwing into the studs with 2½-inch screws. Be sure the cabinet is level and plumb.

10. Attach the hinges to the doors and hang the doors.

11. Measure for the level of the desktop. For our project, blackboard paint has been applied between the cabinets and the desktop.

12. Set the base unit in place and again make sure it's plumb and level. Secure with 2½-inch screws through the mounting strips. Carefully add the desktop.

13. Touch up paint the paint, install knobs and drawer pulls and reinstalling any baseboards that were removed during installation (to exposed wall areas).

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