One day I was looking at my computer and desk thinking, I have had this flimsy desk from Argos, When I bought it back in 2015 odd, it was only £40-45 and it is literally 5 pieces of chipboard with a ultra thin wood effect (not sure if real) veneer.

It has done well over the years, but I’m in the process of saving for a house and it got me thinking about what my study/office/place I can have my computer would look like, I don’t really want to take this bit of chip board with me, and need something a bit more sturdy.

Initially I started looking at pre-done flat pack desks again, also looked into sit/stand desks with motors in ( really keen on this idea but pricing is far to much for the time i spend at my PC at home). I then got down a rabbit hole on Youtube about DIY Desks.

Some of these desks are insane, hand crafted pieces of art instead of being a desk, some were as simple as a top and some legs. I thought I could give DIY crack.

As this desk was going to be for my new house, I also planned to have some sort of server/comms cabinet to allow data ports in every room and to store a small server for a NAS and hosting other services for around the house (I will have some posts on this when I come round to it). This was the light bulb moment, why not combine the two. A desk with a built in rack/cabinet, classic two birds one stone.

Some pre-requisites then to the build/design process;

  • Has to be a usable desk
  • Has to be capable of mounting standard 19″ rack mount kit
  • Has to look decent to get spousal approval
  • Has to be under £200 ( around $260 )

Why not go for what all the guys on Youtube are going with , the Linnmon / Alex Table , this genuinely what I was going to go for, it ticked all the boxes apart from “2. Has to be capable of mounting standard 19″ rack mount kit”

Looking at how its put together though, its just two sets of draws with essentially a table top put on them. This got me thinking, I could do something similar here, and instead of a set of draws I could put a small cabinet there.

15U should be plenty for what I need initially ( there will be a rack diagram to come so show how I plan to use the space ), I found this one for £114 ( about $146-148 ). This gives me £86 ( about $111 ) left in the £200 budget.

I just need a top and some legs for the other side. I haven’t settled on a colour theme yet but here are some options

LINNMON Table top, black-brown £29
EKBACKEN Worktop, concrete effect £50/55*
EKBACKEN Worktop, matt anthracite £50/55*
KARLBY Worktop, walnut £120/150*
PINNARP Worktop, walnut £110/140*

*the two different prices are the different sizes one being a 186×63.5 cm the other 246×63.5 cm
The last two are over budget , so they are out (although, this modular approach to the desk means I can upgrade to the more expensive higher quality one later) the first three though keep me in budget, and now just need to add some legs. The legs I had to ensure could

a) Hold the weight of the table top plus the monitors and some other equipment

b) Be adjustable height so it can be the same height as the top of the cabinet which is 730mm

While being on IKEA’s website looking at the table / kitchen tops I stumbled across these

OLOV Leg, adjustable, black £12

Bargain im in, but these only hold a maximum of 13kg, its not clear if that is per leg if so then distributed load of the 30-40 Kg table / kitchen top between two legs and a cabinet, should be ok.

So if I were to do this, I could also rack mount my computer, would change my case to something like this, this wouldn’t be the server for home this would be my dedicated PC, This way it could be locked in a cabinet away from the kids as well as not being on the floor / carpet so this would be a win win. But what would this look like ?

Introducing one of my favourite tools Sketchup , a 3D modelling software that is through the web browser ( Although I prefer to download the older 2017 Make version that can be installed locally, download here ). This doesn’t have a linux version , nor is it opensource but this works just fine in WINE with no issues as far as I can tell.

I got to work getting all the dimensions of all the pieces and started piecing together this dream desk, and this is what the two options look like ( different size tops )

dreamdesk v1
Dream Desk mock up side by side

Larger desk

smaller desk

Hopefully I will get round to actually putting this together, as i think this would be a really cool project to do. I can even hang some nice cable management on the back to route into the cabinet.