Talk About an Upgrade: From $30 DIY Wood Desktop to Custom Built-Ins

Buckle up, because we’re going to take a quick little trip in time; back to late 2019 when I shared my $30 DIY wood desktop for my home office. It was an awesome solution for us when I published that post, especially because it cost so little compared to what a custom wood top would have run long enough for a two person office layout.

Budget His and Hers DIY Wood Desktop

This 10-foot-long desktop came together with three 1″x8″x10′ pine boards, wood glue, stain and little else. Once set atop three simple sets of drawers, it totally transformed the room and gave both me and Hassaan a place to work. 

Onward, Upward, Upgrade

Modern Home Office Built-ins with Desk

But it’s been over four years, and our storage needs have grown, as has our family. Two adults who work at home full time, two cats, and two playing kids are usually found in this office, and I had a plan for so much more. Think: fully custom built-ins with room for a—shhh…—hidden printer, all the things that come along with running a design business and my other creative content work, and Hassaan’s gaming, which called for creating an ergonomic workspace at home and some under desk cable management. 

As proud as I was of my DIY, we needed better office storage solutions, so a home office built-ins remodel was in order. I had a space about 14 feet wide and 10 feet tall to plan for, and after some thinking through our specific needs, here’s what I drew up: 

Custom Home Office with Desk Sketch

This custom home office built-ins include closed/hidden storage and some open shelving up top for books and vertical cubbies for a pretty styling moment (my favorite). 

All the Dimensions & Details Behind the Drawing

Home Office Custom Built In Depth

You can’t see it in my drawings, but the idea was to have a full-depth desktop while the cabinetry would be narrower so it didn’t come all the way to the edge. I didn’t want to feel like I was in a cubicle, looking around the “walls” of my workspace to see my officemate (husband), so this is crucial if you’re planning a two desk office layout. I kept the desktop 26 inches deep and the built-ins above it at 12 inches deep. 

Two Desk Home Office Layout

Underneath, similar to what we had going before with the three sets of drawers, I designed three custom-sized units. The two on the ends would need to be 24 inches wide (the cupboards directly above them would also be that width), and the center portion would be 18 inches since I wanted to keep that part visually lighter. 

A Cabinet With a Secret Storage Solution

For anyone who watched my show Problem Spaces, you know I love a good hidden hat trick moment. And while I’m not hiding a Peloton in here (IYKYK), I did cook up a spot to sneak in a printer without it being all bulky, ugly and obvious. Yes, home office designs need certain things, which I consider the eyesores of the space, but a good concealer usually does the trick. Here, I came up with a design for a hidden printer station:

Printer Station with Hidden Storage

How do I hide my office printer?

Secret Home Office Printer Storage

This is the best hack for a hidden printer storage drawer. From the front, it looks just like the other drawers in the built-in, but in reality, the bottom two “drawers” would act as one when you pull it out. There’s a paper drawer on top and then a compartment for the printer to slide into and access when needed. All my carpenters had to do was create a faux Shaker-style front panel and voila, no more eyesore (printer).  

The whole his and hers office makeover project took a few weeks to complete from start to finish. The home office built-ins cost me $8,500 including the crown molding and a red oak desktop. 

The Final Reveal

Here it is!! The height and width of the built-in workspace really makes this room feel so much bigger than before, but beyond that, it just works better for us. The petite sconces offer more task lighting than the one floor lamp we had before, the chandelier has milk glass globes which diffuse light so nicely, and the lighter green paint color throughout feels grounded but happy. 

Pennies for a Fortune Home Office Remodel
Pennies for a Fortune Home Office Reveal
Fariha Nasir His & Hers Office - His
Hassaan’s Side
Fariha Nasir's His & Hers Side - Hers
Fariha’s Side

What are the most ergonomic but good looking office chairs?

The only thing that remains to figure out is the chairs. Finding the right office chairs was a huge struggle because Hassaan wanted ergonomic chairs but let’s be honest…they’re never good looking. He has specific gaming needs for his chair and I just want things to look good. These two roads rarely meet sadly. We found a faux leather chair on Amazon which I loved but eventually we ended up returning them because they didn’t have a neck rest. We’re still using old chairs we had before which I don’t love the look of, but they’ll have to do until we find the perfect chair. The hunt is on… 

His and Hers Custom Home Office Built Ins


Pennies for a Fortune Home Office Remodel Before and After

This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
1 comment
  1. What a beautiful upgrade! Love the change, colors and usefulness. I forwarded to my DD, exactly what she will need in a few years!

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