We live in a fairly small urban townhouse. There are four of us and only 3 bedrooms, which means my work-from-home office is actually our dining area. And the dining area happens to be part of our open concept living room, kitchen and front entry.
I’m lucky enough that my large workstation with my colour-calibrated monitor (affiliate link) is tucked slightly out of view by a wall that provides some separation from the front entry. However, our main family computer doesn’t have such privacy.
Before we built our wall-mounted fold-down desk, the laptop lived in various different locations: on a bookcase, the kitchen table or any available surface. Then my sister bought a 500 sq. ft. micro-apartment along with a bunch of tiny living furniture that made it possible to live in her apartment with her husband and baby. I fell in LOVE with her wall-mounted fold-down desk.
However, it was way out of our price range and too large for our space, so we decided to build our own.
A Wall-mounted fold-down desk
These instructions are for a general design. They are not a detailed step-by-step guide for building a wall-mounted fold-down desk, so some basic carpentry skills and understanding are required. However, if you’ve ever made something out of wood or used pocket screws, then it’s a very easy project.
- A quarter sheet of 3/4 inch plywood: We used Baltic birch, but any good-two-sides or sanded plywood will work.
- Pocket screws: For clean and invisible connections. Its also better when working with plywood.
- Piano hinge: Ours is 23 inches long, but it will depend on the size of your desk. You need the hinge to fit the width.
- Hydrolic hinge: This was the most expensive part of our desk. However a good hydrolic hinge (affiliate link) is necessary. It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of your laptop.
- Magnetic closure: This is to keep your desk closed when not in use, so make sure it’s strong or use two of them.
This project should be customized to fit your computer and your space. Our cabinet is 19 inches by 24 inches, which is perfect for our tiny space. If you want to make a larger cabinet, simply scale up the design.
- The cabinet: Using three cross braces for the cabinet is not just for convienence (who couldn’t use a bit of extra storage space?) It also makes the cabinet stronger. The sides of our cabinet are 4 inches deep. The height of the side walls are 19 inches and horizontal shelves are 22.5 inches long. The cabinet was put together with 2 pocket screws connecting each sides (for a total of 12 pocket screws). The middle shelf was placed 12.5 inches above the bottom shelf, which worked for our laptop.
- The door: The door is hung to sit just under the top shelf. This was mostly for esthetics. Regardless, it needs to overlap the bottom of the cabinet when open for additional support. It is supported by both the piano hinge and hydrolic hinges. Magnetic closures are used to keep it latched in place when closed. Our door is 16 inches by 28 inches, which provides a 2 inch overhang on the bottom and sides.
- Finishing: We painted the interior of our cabinet white to contrast with the raw plywood sides. Really, it’s up to you. A strap of plywood 2 inches wide and 22.5 inches long holds the laptop in place when the desk is folded. We also drilled a hole in one corner so that an extension cord could be used to charge the laptop.