DIY Homework Desk
Prior to my entertainment center makeover, I truly wanted a built-in entertainment center, complete with a desk for me to work from. I just couldn’t figure out how to make the proportions work and finally gave up. Fast forward to post entertainment center makeover and a lightbulb went off on another type of desk…
See this empty space? Okay, it’s not totally empty. Once upon a time I banished these types of toys to the upstairs playroom. And then I allowed a play kitchen in my living room and it was all downhill from there.
Back to the empty space…I needed double size that for my own work space (which brought up the proportion issue with where the TV would wind up…super awkward positioning, fyi), but my 10 year old daughter was simultaneously struggling when it came to homework. My 2 year old was beyond a distraction and given the time my older daughter was released from school, there was no way to time toddler naps to accommodate her need for quiet homework time. Unfortunately, my 10 year old is ADD and cannot be trusted to stay on track without supervision, so sending her to a quiet space and/or leaving a
psychotic totally normal 2 year old alone, didn’t exactly provide a valid option…
After months of all of us pulling our hair out (and scribbles all over Avery’s homework from little miss nosey/artsy hands), we knew we had to come up with a space for her to do homework that was secluded, but within my sight…in our too small home…with very limited options. Cue the violins.
One day, that empty space (tot rod parking space) spoke to me. And I subsequently had the good sense to check the scrap pieces of wood we had leftover from our DIY bathroom shelves project. Perfect fit. No way, right?!?!? I don’t EVER get this lucky but okay, ummmm, I’ll take it!
Speaking of the bathroom shelves…that installation method was also the best option here and I just so happened to have leftover pieces of the composite molding for brackets.
And because I’m in progress of a super frugal DIY kitchen makeover (coming soon), I happened to have “invested” in a cheapo miter box kit which worked out to cut my brackets to size.
I did ask my handy dandy step-dad to cut a hole in the corner of the desktop to allow for cords…
I sanded everything down and found this molding, similar to the fluted molding on the existing entertainment center for a few bucks at Lowes.
Check out this perfect fit! The stars were aligned for this project. Fo sho.
I painted the desktop and molding with that magic chalk paint from Annie Sloan to match the existing entertainment center.
We put one bracket on the wall and one on the entertainment center and used a level to check our accuracy (like a million times).
I was afraid to drill into the entertainment center but decided it was worth the risk since it was the end no one could see…errrr….
We used nuts and bolts to attach the bracket to the entertainment center. I was worried about the bolts being dangerous but we keep baskets in that opening and they have not been an issue thus far since the toddler can’t reach that high. I’ll figure something out down the road, I hope…
My concept was for this desktop to be removable so once the brackets were installed, I just wanted the desktop to lay on top (like our bathroom shelves). We purposely made the brackets long enough to prevent the possibility of my daughter leaning on the front and flipping the entire piece.
The only issue here was that while it didn’t flip, it slid…there was too much space from the back of the desktop to the back wall…ugh.
And the brackets (which I foolishly decided not to paint) showed from the front.
I found rosettes at Home Depot to cover the brackets, but was unable to find the exact size to match the entertainment center. Loud sigh. Not perfect but this works and only added $3 total to the project.
As for the sliding factor, the rosettes prevent it from sliding back but it technically could still slide forward.
I plan to build a box at the back of the desk to fill the space which will also hold her supplies and whatnot. And clearly, I still need to refinish that sad little chair.
Stay tuned for those projects but for now, at least the aesthetic portion of this project is complete!
The most important part of this project is that little miss nosy 2 year old can’t fit into this tight space to climb all over and destroy her sister’s homework. The placement also prevents the 10 year old from being distracted by the television since she can’t see it (and could care less to listen to the only thing on… Disney Junior or Sesame Street…BORING!)
This is our compromise and since it cost well under $10 for everything we actually had to purchase, it’s no big deal if we decide to go another route down the road.