Constructing Home Office Desks Out of Recycled Goods

Depending on the materials available and the desired look, fashioning home office desks from recycled products can be a fairly straightforward task. Using a hodgepodge of recycled goods, you can create a unique, eye-pleasing of desks, and this project can be very inexpensive. Provided it has an adequate amount of desk space, an area for files and other office staples, there are almost infinite possibilities.

Decide What You Need

The first step towards constructing a recycled home office desk is to decide what it is you need. Ask yourself a few questions before setting out to find the right materials. This will narrow down the possibilities, so you won't have to decide while you're looking for the components. Questions to ask include:

  • How much storage space is needed?
  • Is the desk just for a computer, or is added tabletop space necessary for other things? 
  • Are looks as important as functionality?

Possible Materials: Base

A home office desk consists primarily of a tabletop and legs. Working from the ground up, if you're a handy person, you might wish to fasten recycled table legs to a new desktop, for a more traditional look. Arguably, a better idea is to find 2 used filing cabinets and use them for the base. 2-drawer cabinets may be the perfect height, to provide for leg room under the desktop, once it's in place. The cabinets serve as a foundation, plus they provide a ton of storage space, whether for actual files, paper or other office supplies and tools. If neither looks nor storage is important, sawhorses provide a sturdy albeit rudimentary foundation.


A piece of prefabricated wood, MDF or some other composite material will work perfectly as a desktop. A used door might serve your needs as well. If the door has recessed panels, screw down a piece of used plexi-glass atop it to flatten out the surface. If you go this route, the recesses even provide plenty of space to add textures, knick-knacks or other materials, to give the top of your desk a unique look. If you need more desktop space, position the desk in a corner and add an "L". Virtually any size desktop is possible, provided it is properly supported.

Additional Levels, Racks or Trays

To give your recycled desk a contemporary, functional look, add a level on the desktop for your computer monitor. This can be accomplished any number of ways, from fashioning a small shelf from scrap wood or metal, to using a piece of sturdy, pre-molded plastic. Peruse a scrapyard or recycling center, or keep an eye out around dumpsters outside of furniture or office supply stores. An outdated CD rack can be attached to a desk to hold backup or blank CD-R's and DVD-R's. Using metal or PVC tubing and a flat board make a hanging rack for a CPU, modem or other componant. Get a hold of used tracks from a file cabinet or scrap desk, and build your own keyboard tray that slides out from under the desktop.

Once you decide the kinds of features you want your home office desk to have, building it out of recycled goods allows you to be flexible with the materials and creative with the design. Not only that, but doing it yourself will save a lot of money.