DIY Network

How To Create a Basement Home Office

A built-in desk and storage shelves make this basement an organized space.

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Step 1: Prepare the Space

Clear out the space for the new home office. Use a hammer and prybar to gently remove the baseboards from the desk area. Measure the space and sketch out a design for the desk and any storage units.

Step 2: Cut and Attach the Ledgers

Cut ledgers from 1" x 2" lumber. These ledgers will provide the main support for the desk and shelves. Most desk surfaces are 32 inches up from the floor, so measure up 31 inches (to allow for the thickness of the desktop) and attach the ledgers to the wall by driving screws through the ledgers into the studs. Make sure the ledgers are level, or the entire desk will be crooked. Also attach ledgers to the wall to support the storage shelves. Always wear safety glasses and use caution when using a power saw, power drill or any other power tool.

Step 3: Build the Storage Areas

To build the storage areas under the desk, first build two rectangular boxes from 2x4s to serve as the bases for the units. Cut a piece of 2" x 4" lumber to fit snugly across the inside of each rectangle and secure with screws for added support. Position the rectangular bases and use screws to attach them to the wall studs. Cut plywood to fit and attach it to the tops of the rectangles with screws.

Step 4: Create Supports for the Desktop

Carefully measure the distance from the floor to the top of the ledger strips and cut two pieces of plywood to that length. Fit one piece of plywood alongside the storage base, flush with the front of the base, and attach it with screws. Repeat with the other piece. These panels will close off the sides of the storage areas and will support the desktop.

Step 5: Build the False Fronts

Use plywood and 1" x 2" lumber to build a false front for each of the desk storage areas. Attach these to the storage areas to give the piece a more finished look.

Step 6: Create the Desktop

Cut the plywood for the desktop to size and position it. Check the desktop for level and attach it to the ledgers with a finish nailer. If the desk will be very large or support heavy items, choose a thicker plywood for the desktop. Laminate countertop material and even vintage doors also can make excellent desktops.

Step 7: Attach the Desktop

Cut melamine slatboard to size and use screws to attach it to the wall studs over the desk. Use slatboard hangers to install plywood shelves to hold office supplies and other items. For a cleaner cut, apply tape to the front of the slatboard to protect the melamine finish. Use a straight edge and utility blade to score through the tape and the board's finish, then cut along the scored line with a circular saw.

Step 8: Build the Shelves

Cut and fit plywood shelves into the tall shelving unit. Use 2x4s to create front supports for the irregular-shaped shelves, which will hold computer printers and other equipment.