DIY Network

How to Make a Desk From Old Cabinets

Re-use old cabinets to add a country-style touch to your kitchen furniture. Learn how to refurbish your old kitchen cabinets with these easy steps.

More in Kitchen

  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Refinish the Fronts and Sides

Homeowners can stretch their remodeling budget by refurbishing and reusing elements of an old kitchen. A couple of old cabinets or a double sink cabinet, for example, will make a good desk if you add a new top, new drawer fronts and hardware, and new false bun feet to disguise the toe-kick at the cabinet bottom (Image 1).

Start by removing the hardware and sawing off the faces of the old drawer fronts, using a table saw to make clean, straight cuts. Pulling off the fronts can damage the drawers, making it more difficult to attach new fronts. If your fronts are still serviceable and only require some sanding and repainting, you can skip this step.

Attach the new fronts with screws from inside the old drawers. Many styles and unfinished or prefinished options are available.

To attach the bun feet, clamp one in each corner and drill pilot holes for screws. A couple of screws into each foot will hold them in place (Image 2).

The backs and sides of kitchen cabinets are not finished, and typically not made with furniture-grade wood. Painting them is a good option. Permanently installing the desk against a wall saves some of this work, and it will help make the desk appear to be built-in. Attach the desk to the wall with long (2-inch minimum) drywall screws. Make sure the screws go into wall studs.

Step 2: Install the Top

For a new top, many options are available. You can have a home center make up a piece of solid surfacing to fit, in any one of dozens of color or faux stone finishes. Or, choose hardwood plywood and do it yourself (cover the exposed edges with strips of solid wood or glue-on edge banding). Fasten the top with screws and L-brackets from below and inside the desk.

Step 3: Paint the Desk, Install Hardware

Repaint the desk in a color to complement the rest of your cabinets, whether they are painted or stained.

When the paint is dry, replace the drawer hardware.



  • Table parts and accessories (Roman Doric column, model: 505C36/color: Maple; Bun foot, model: 462BF/color: Maple) from Classic Designs by Matthew Burak