How to Make Your Own Adjustable DIY Desk

Updated: Jun. 09, 2023

This customized DIY desk provides comfort whether you prefer sitting or standing.


Finding yourself in need of a work-from-home space lately? Follow our step-by-step instructions and learn how to make a sturdy, adjustable desk that can accommodate you whether you prefer to stand or sit while working.

Tools Required

  • 1-1/14" spade bit
  • 1/8" pre-drill bit
  • 3/8" pre-drill bit
  • Air compressor
  • air nailer
  • Drill
  • Impact driver
  • Mallet
  • mitre saw
  • Philips bit
  • Sandpaper
  • scraper
  • Table saw
  • Tape measure
  • wood fill

Materials Required

  • 1-1/4-in. 18-gauge brad nails
  • 1-1/4" exterior wood screws
  • 2 - 1x2 x 8 ft. pine boards
  • 2 - 1x4 x 8 ft. pine board
  • 3/8-in. dowel
  • 4 - 2x4 x 8ft. spruce boards
  • 5 - 1x6 x 8 ft. pine board
  • 6 - 1x6 x 6 ft. pine boards
  • Wood glue

Note: Pine lumber (1x) was used for everything except the base, inner legs and crosspiece. For those, we used 2×4 spruce.

  • Pro tip: Be sure to buy extra lumber so you’re not running back to the hardware store in the middle of the project.

Project step-by-step (17)

Step 1

Build the Inner Legs

  • Cut two 2x4s to 27-1/2-in.

Marty Dyck

Step 2

Build the Boxes For the Legs to Slide Into

  • Cut four 1×6 (6 ft.) to 25-in. for the outside of the boxes.
  • Cut two more 1×6 to 25-in.
  • Cut four strips for the inside of the box to 1-3/4-in.
  • Glue, pin nail, and clamp each box
  • Let that dry overnight

Marty Dyck

Marty Dyck

Step 3

Build the Desk Top

  • Cut three 1×6 (8 ft.) to 48-in.
  • Glue each edge and clamp five 48-in. planks edge to edge (use a mallet to hammer lightly to make them as even as possible)
  • Let everything dry overnight
  • The next day, remove the top clamps and run each edge through a table saw to get a cleaner, more uniform edge

Marty Dyck

Marty Dyck

Step 4

Check the Fit By Putting the 2×4 Legs Into the Box.

Marty Dyck

Step 5

Add the Edging to Your Desktop:

  • Cut two 1×2 to 27-3/4-in.
  • Cut two 1×2 to 48-in.
  • Glue, pin-nail and clamp 1x2s to each edge, leaving a slight lip underneath.
  • Let that dry for the day

Marty Dyck

Marty Dyck

Step 6

Build the Legs

  • Cut two base planks out of 2×4 to 28-1/2-in.
    • I ended up cutting 1-1/2-in. off the boxes due to the base adding to the height. The legs are now 23-1/2 in.

Marty Dyck

Step 7

Attach the Boxes to the Base

  • Measure 17-in. to the far side of the box from the closest edge of the base.
    • The middle was 14-1/4-in. and then you add the other half of the box (i.e., 17-in.)
  • Flip those upside down and glue them, pre-drill with a 1/8-in. bit
  • Use four 2-in. screws to secure the box to the base.

Marty Dyck

Marty Dyck

Step 8

Prepare for the Pegs

  • Drill large holes for the pegs using a 1-1/4-in. spade bit
  • Holes should be located 2-1/2-in. and 6-1/2-in. from the TOP  of the leg box
  • Use the same spade bit to drill two holes 2-1/2-in. and 6-1/2-in. from the BOTTOM of the 2×4 inner leg

Make the Pegs

  • Cut four pieces at 3-1/2-in. each. from the 3/8-in. dowel
  • Clamp them and drilled a 3/8-in. hole in each
  • Put a dab of glue into the small hole
  • Slide four pre-cut to 3-1/2-in. dowel pieces into each existing hole

Marty Dyck

Step 9

Moment of Truth

Check if everything is even and fits together!

Marty Dyck

Step 10

Add Some Support to the Desktop

  • Using the left over drop-off cuts from the 2×4 legs, cut a 50-degree angle on four pieces
  • Cut the other edges at 45 degrees
  • You should end up with a “Y” pattern for extra support

Marty Dyck

Step 11

Attach the Supports

  • Screw the bottom of each brace into the leg using one 2-in. screw per side
  • Pre-drilling with the 1/8 bit

Marty Dyck

Marty Dyck

Step 12

Add Some Extra Support

  • Add a 1×8-in. brace to tie it all in
  • Use four 1-1/4-in. screws to secure the brace

Marty Dyck

Step 13

Secure the Desktop

  • Find the center of the top and make sure the top of the Y brace lines up
  • Use 1-1/4-in. screws in the two angled predrilled holes
  • Use 2-in. screws for the other predrilled holes
  • Use wood fill to cover up the screw heads and to clean it up a bit

Marty Dyck

Step 14

Add a Brace Across the Top of the Box Legs for Extra Support

  • Cut a 2×4 at 41-3/4-in.
  • Attach it with 2-in. screws from the inside of the top of the box and toenailed from underneath

Marty Dyck

Step 15

Put It All Together

  • Sand edges to avoid slivers

Marty Dyck

Step 16

Enjoy the Finished Product!

Marty Dyck

Step 17

Construction Pro Tips

Marty is a professional woodworker and the owner of Good From Wood, a custom woodworking shop located in Stillwater, Minnesota. Specializing in unique, vintage barn doors, custom skateboards and other innovative wood products, Marty hopes to always build the piece that everyone talks about. Click the links below to learn more about Marty.