DIY Minimalist Desk Ideas

DIY Minimalist Desk Ideas

Creating a space for learning is a crucial part in maximizing educational growth.  In a world that is constantly adding new distractions and ways to interrupt, purposeful curation of the workspace can make the difference between being productive or off task. Whether you are a teacher, tutor, parent or student, you need an effective place to work.

Solely removing the distractions from your current desk area may leave you with a palpable feeling of loss or discomfort; after all, if you are used to things in their current state, any radical change will leave you remembering all your favorite (now missing) distractions. Rather than unleashing a scorched-earth approach on your current desk, why not seize the opportunity to freshen up your workspace? Taking cues from the minimalist and tiny house movements, here are three, inexpensive, DIY desk ideas that can help create a pleasantly simple, clean, and distraction-free workplace.

The Industrial Minimalist Desk


This DIY Wall-mounted Desk uses off-the-shelf black iron pipes and fittings to secure the desk to a wall and support its weight.  The industrial looking piece creates a steam-punky workspace free from unnecessary drawers or cubbies to fill with potentially distracting “stuff.” Keep a cup of essential desk implements on top and keep the rest of the space clutter free (NOTE: some self-discipline required!).

Most big-box hardware stores that carry black iron pipe will not only have a variety of lengths, connectors, and flanges to choose from, but most will also cut pipe to length and thread the ends for you if you provide the measurements you need. While the pictured iteration uses what looks to be a steel under-frame, you could easily make your frame out of more black pipe: simply secure the desktop to the pipe frame using U-brackets. Put those trigonometry skills to the test and try your own design (think of the pipe as grown-up Tinker-Toys) and have fun seeing what you can do! Top the desk with a solid piece of wood, sand it down, give it a durable finish on top, and you have a minimalist workspace that doubles as quite a statement piece.

The Small-But-Sturdy Minimalist Desk


This modern 2×2 desk from Ana White is a simplistic yet chic take on a minimalist desk. The operational beauty of this design is that you need to maintain a clear surface to access 2/3 of the desk’s storage. The desk actually trains you to declutter by making the clutter prohibitively inconvenient! For an added twist, carry the desk outside to get some fresh air while you work!

This basic desk design can be created very inexpensively with materials readily available at your local big-box hardware store. The light materials also make it possible to create the desk entirely with hand-tools if you do not have access to an electric saw or drill (…but stick to the power tools if you have them!). Because it is wood, you can finish the desk with a rustic look (by adding a wood stain of your choice), or a more modern look by adding a sleek, durable, enamel paint finish.

The Transforming Minimalist Desk


This Murphy Desk by Shanty Chic (also featured here on Ryobi Nation) is a great entry into decluttering your workspace. Simply put, if you don’t reduce the clutter, the desk cannot fold back up into its place on the wall. The user is limited to the storage that can fit in the medicine-cabinet-sized wall mount so the nick-knacks and tchotchkes have to go!

All the cuts in this build are square and all the parts are off the shelf from any big-box hardware store making this an extremely DIY-friendly project for a reasonably low cost. If you are looking for adding a workspace but don’t want to permanently give up valuable floor space in your home, a Murphy Desk may do the trick!

For more information about minimalist workspaces and the rationale for trying one, check out this article from Unclutterer. Share your minimalist workspace ideas in the comments below!

About Sheldon S

Sheldon Soper is a ten year veteran of the teaching profession and currently serves as a junior high school teacher in southern New Jersey. His primary focus is building reading, writing, and research skills in his students. He holds two degrees from Rutgers University: a B.A. in History as well as a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. He holds teaching certifications in English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Elementary Education. Sheldon has also worked as a tutor for grades ranging from second through high school in a wide variety of subjects including reading, writing, calculus, chemistry, algebra, and test prep. In addition to his teaching career, Sheldon is also a content writer for a variety of education, technology, and parenting websites.

  1. Matt McCorkle 08/10/2017, 12:32 pm Reply

    Great post! Many people forget that creating an effective study space is more about removing distractions than filling the space with resources.

  2. Hassle Bryant 10/17/2017, 4:23 am Reply

    I am a retired nurse going on 2 years, looking to make extra money and do something worthwhile. This seems to me it is not only gratifying for the students but for the teachers as well. Sounds like a good way to pass the time and possibly do a lot of good.