DIY Bookcase Turned Desk

bookcase desk
I really tried hard to come up with some cool new word for this project. It seems like everyone is able to coin a clever term for things by blending 2 words together.
Like “Clofice” (closet turned office) And “Brunch” And…ummm…”Brangelina“??
So, please allow me to introduce you to…The “Bookdesk“!!
Errr…ummm…the “Deskase“??
Ok, so I guess there really isn’t a cute word for this project.
But it is still one of my favorite ones I have ever done!

I had been trying to figure out some way to add a desk into my son’s room but frankly, I couldn’t see how to squeeze one more piece of furniture into that space.
And then, it came to me!
There had to be a way to combine a work space with his existing bookcase.
bookcase before
Out came the shelves and everything got a lovely coat (or 2 or 3) of white paint and then back it went into the room.
I know what you are thinking.
Ummm…that looks NOTHING like a desk, right?
I wondered if it would be possible to just simply attach a board to an existing shelf creating a “desk” coming straight out from the bookcase.
First I measured the width of the bookcase. Then I measured the depth of the bookcase.
I got a rough estimate of a typical desk depth as well and added that to the depth of the bookcase.
Does that make sense? You’ll see how it all comes together in the end.
I purchased a fairly thin unfinished piece of oak from Lowes and had them cut it to size.
bookcase turned desk
Then I purchased 2 table legs (plus the brackets for attaching them) and painted them to match the chair.
Once I had the “desk” painted, we simply attached the legs and then attached the entire thing to the shelf using wood glue. You could also use brackets or hinges but I was wanting to make it all look as seamless as possible as well as avoid the risk of splitting the oak.
desk legs
Now, this is IMPORTANT!! Learn from my mistake!
I forgot to allow for the 2 inches that the existing shelf (which was a non-adjustable one!) would add to the height of the desk. Which meant, when we went to attach it, the legs were too short. Lesson learned! We solved this problem by adding “blocks” to the desk portion and then the brackets for the legs to those blocks. And in the end, I ended up liking that they made the table look more substantial.
I also added a bit of trim to the edges to soften them and give it a more finished look.
Then it was done!
And here is our bookcase turned desk turned Bookcase/desk.
bookcase desk
Small paint cans are the perfect place to store pens, pencils or in the case of the one on the left…
your essential top secret Spy Gear!
I also had Lowes cut to size this piece of plexi-glass so Ian could put postcards and photos underneath while also protecting the surface of the desk.
My boy was almost as thrilled with the results as I was!
And when he tried it out for the first time, he gave me that, “thanks for understanding that I wanted a desk even though I never mentioned it to you mom” look that just melted my heart.
Thanks so much for joining me today at the Fence,

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  1. Oh my goodness, this is such an AMAZING idea! How smart too!

  2. Now that’s a clever idea. I would have never thought of doing that. Your little guy must love it. It really did come out awesome.

  3. That “Deskase” (-haha!) is seriously brilliant!! You did an amazing job and I love the details like the pictures mod podged at the top. I’m filing this idea away so I don’t forget it!!

  4. Such a great job! I have had a Ikea Billy floating around the house for awhile now…this would be the perfect revamp for it! It is now hanging in the guest room WITH a desk…why not combine the two!!

  5. What a great idea! Looks fantastic and is so functional! I just read that Vanessa won the $100 giveaway over at ValSoCal! You lucky girl!

  6. Hi Vanessa,

    What a great space saving idea!

    I love the glass top and the opportunity it allows for displaying photos and postcards!

    Good thinking!

    All the Best,

  7. This is so cute! and such a smart idea to use what you already have.


  9. Awesome bookcase/desk.

  10. Such a creative idea! Functional and beautiful!

  11. Your posts don’t appear straight away on my Google reader. They seem to appear a qhile after you’ve posted – like a few hours. Weird!!

    This is such a sweet project. I LOVE the matching poles to support the ‘desk’ bit. He’s a lucky boy!!


  12. What a great idea!!!

  13. GENIOUS !! I love this … truly !! You guys are always chalk full of creativity … I would never have thought to do this. It’s the perfect addition to this cute, cute room. And, I’m so going to borrow the idea of using the paint cans to store items. Thanks for the inspiration !!

  14. Wow what a neat idea!! Looks great so when u painted that bookshelf did you primer it with kilz? I have trouble when I paint something like that even when I sand it that the paint comes off!!

  15. That is so cute and such a great space saving idea! I love everything about it, but especially the plexiglass, which I didn’t know you could have cut to size. So excited to know that!

  16. That is so amazing and such a great idea!! I love it! Love the red too and his room is just adorable. :)

  17. Congrats, on your win sweeetness!! Love this idea.

  18. What a great DIY project. It is so practical and still so cute.

  19. What a great idea Vanessa, I love it! Martina

  20. I love this idea, and you did a great job on it. I can’t tell you how much I wish that I had your skill.

    His room is really great!

    And I’ve been a longtime blog friend of Miss Leslie the Homemaker. Good choice.

  21. GREAT job on the It turned out really great and what a practical idea!And a free chair too…perfect!

    I will pop over and check out Leslie’s blog too! xo Diana

  22. This is such a cute (and functional) idea!! I love it! So creative!!

  23. Heather you did an amazing job on this project, love the modgepodge theme, hubby has been working on the railroad(CSX) for about 35 years now.
    I spoted the train immediately,and adding the plexi glass ,just makes this bookesk,brilliant.The chair is perfect too!
    Come see me on Loblolly!
    Hey I’m having my first giveaway June 15th!
    Sure hope you can join us(HappierThanAPigInMud),we are having a cookalong with the Pillsbury Doughboy and I’m giving away a Pillsbury cookbook and a doughboy.

  24. Oh, my goodness what a great idea! It is wonderful how you put everything together to create such a neat desk! Lucky boy you have there and I’m sure he thinks so too!


  25. You did a marvelous job. What a cute idea. The red chair and bedding goes all together so well. I’m sure your son loves it.

  26. You know I love this project. Thanks for stopping by and sharing at my Swing into Spring party.

  27. Seriously creative!!!
    I Love this idea. Your “deskase” turned out darling!

  28. Great transformation!

  29. Wow! The combo desk-bookcase is awesome! Can I just make a suggestion? I think the bookcase needs to be anchored to the wall for safety reasons. I immediately thought of how a little person could crawl on the desk and have the bookcase fall forward on them. I’m not trying to be negative, but I saw several serious accidents as a Pediatric nurse, with large furniture tipping over on children. Love his bedroom, by the way! The curtains behind his bed are so cool! ~ Jo

  30. Thank you everyone for your very sweet comments about my project! It was so fun to do and my boy is loving it. I wanted you all to know that I agree 100% with Jo’s comment above that all large furniture (especially bookcases) should be anchored to the wall for safety purposes. The one in my son’s room actually already is anchored to the wall but the bracket isn’t visible in the photos. You just never know do you? And while some accidents are unavoidable, we do our best to prevent the ones within our control. Thanks again for your advice Jo! :-)

  31. Hi Vanessa, This is such a cute and creative idea and I bet your little guy loves his new desk. Thanks for joining my party this week and sharing this great project.

  32. It’s been a while since you did this project. I think this would be a great solution to my space and $$ problem. Wonder how the desk has held out? Is your son still using it. Anything you would do differently.


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