DIY Murphy Desk
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
If you think you can't fit a workspace into your tiny apartment, think again! My friend Jes came to me with her small space problem and I was determined to fix it for her. She complained her tiny bachelor apartment was too small to fit a proper workspace and her “couch office” made her unproductive (obvi). With small spaces, you need to think smart + maximize every inch of your home, which is why a DIY Murphy Desk was the perfect solution for her home! The desk can be against with the wall to save space or propped up when ever she is ready to work! The project was a smashing success and I’m excited to share the steps with you.
(1) 36” X 17” (Desk)
(1) 36” X 3” (Back Base Board)
(1) 30” X 3” (Under Frame)
(2) 14” X 1” (Vertical Frame Pieces)
(4) 14” X 1” (L Bracket)
(2) 17.5” X 1” (L Bracket) *Cut at 45 degree angle
(2) 10” X 1” (under desk stoppers)
Step 1: HOW BIG?
First step is to decide how big you want your murphy desk to be. I’ve measured my friends space and decided the appropriate length will be 36” X 20 - where 3” will act as a base + small shelf that stays connected to the wall.
Step 2: ALL ABOUT DA BASE
Let’s cut the base. This piece will be fastened to your wall and is the piece you will attach your murphy desk to. Cut this off the top of your desk pine shop wood. (3”). You can have your local hardware store cut this for you or if you’re not confident to do this yourself, you can ask a friend or parent to to do this for you at home. We are going to be measuring 3” off the top of the board and cutting this across using the circular saw. ** As you can see i’ve set up a guide board to make sure my line is cut perfectly straight. Make sure you use safety and wear protective glasses!
Step 3: FRAME IT
Time to create your frame. The frame is the part you will fasten to your wall and will help to keep your whole desk stabilized. Using your 1X4X3 piece - you’re going to need to cut this into threes.
One piece is going to be 30”, leaving the second two pieces to be 12”.
Once these are cut, we are going to fasten them together to create a U shape. Using your pre-drill, create your hole then use wood screws to Fasten together. Watch the video for full instructions.
Step 4: FRAME + BASE = LOVE
Now we are going to fasten our base piece to our frame. Same thing again, pre-drill so you don’t split your wood then drill together.
Step 5: KEEP IT SAFE
For extra stability, I’ve added these small metal L brackets which help with weight. I’m using two on each side.
Step 6: BRACKETS HOLD YOU UP
Now, that you have your base and frame ready, it’s time to make our L brackets.
Taking your 1X2X4 pieces of pine, you will need to cut 6 pieces. Four pieces will need to be 14” long and two will be 17.5”. Once all 6 are cut, you will need to form a triangle using one 17.5” piece and two 14” pieces. Using your pencil, Mark where the 17.5” piece overlaps on the 14” pieces. This is what you will need to cut off. Using your mitre box, cut at a clean 45 degree angle. This will allow your piece to make a perfect triangle shape!
One you have all your pieces, repeat your process. Pre-drill and put together with wood screws.
Step 7: ATTACH YOUR BRACKETS
I ran into a hiccup during my build process where I realized that I needed to create a 1” gap of space so that my L brackets didn’t hit the hinges when closing down. My solution was to add two 10”X 1” pieces of wood that the L brackets will sit on. It was a blessing in disguise because the two pieces were able to act as a brace and made the desk more secure and strong.
Step 8: IT ALL HINGES ON THIS MOMENT
It’s time to add all the hinges. You’ll need to attach two hinges on each L bracket, which will attach to your frame (please refer to video) and three hinges that will be used to attach your desktop to your base.
Step 9: HANG IT UP!
You might need to get a friend to help with this part. If you don’t have secure studs where your desk needs to be attached, be sure to use wall plugs for extra support.
There you have it! Your very own DIY Murphy Desk that is customized to your space and perfect for small spaces. Now, you are probably asking… why can’t I just go buy one instead? I thought the same thing as well. I went on a massive hunt for my friend but nothing out there was what she wanted. It was either too small, too big or the L bracket sat directly in the middle and made it awkward to sit at. I wanted Jes to have the best option for her space, so I custom built it! As a final touch, I gave the piece a nice stain to match her decor.
All in all, the desk works great, looks great and my friend is happy!