Ikea Desk Tutorial

I’ve been wanting a new desk for a while. Our previous desk we purchased a few years ago from a big chain office store and it was made of particle board.

It looked something like this. But no hutch on top and drawers on both sides. It had been falling apart pretty much since we got it. The decision was made to replace it when the drawers couldn’t be opened and the top started pulling off.

I’ve also been wanting a different desk setup. The lack of leg space would drive me crazy. I felt scrunched. And I wanted the drawers to be more organized and efficient.

So I looked and looked. I knew what I wanted. Something like this.

Link did not work. :/

We had actually talked about a sawhorse desk before buying the current desk, and I was still interested. We weren’t big DIY-ers at the time though. A lot has changed.

I wanted a big work space. Open legs. And no drawers. For me, drawers = junk. I would rather organize and store. In a pretty way. Or out of sight. Is that better? Yes, it is.

I looked on Craiglist and didn’t have any luck. Too much of what I already had. But then we took a trip to Ikea, and there it was. I remember seeing this desk before, and loving the options.

LINNMON/FINNVARD Table IKEA You can choose a flat or tilted table top, which is good for writing, painting or drawing, by adjusting the trestle.

So we moved on it. I was sick of broken drawers that led to disorganization. Sick of black particle board. I wanted clean lines and function.

ikea desk pm

We bought the white sawhorse legs at Ikea (the legs are Finnvard) for $30 each. And the huge pine butcher block top (different from the one pictured above obviously) was $60 at Ikea on sale. Got that? $120. Bam. Note: The most similar top currently sold at Ikea is the Gerta which is beech and $80 regularly priced.

So the hubs assembled the legs and I headed to the garage to work on the top. I’m not a fan of light wood, and knew that a lovely dark stain would look great paired with the white legs.

photo 4 (17)photo 2 (16)I used a heavy grit (80) sanding block to remove all the seal on the butcher block and then went over it with a 220 grit sponge to make it smooth like butta. I used wood conditioner first to help the stain go on evenly since pine is a soft wood.

photo 5 (15)After this I applied one good coat of the walnut stain with a chip brush. I let it sit for about 5 minutes and wiped off with a paper towel. I always get a little nervous at first, and as soon as I take that first swipe I am so pleased with the gorgeous wood I am looking at. Sigh.

photo 3 (7) photo 4 (15) photo 4 (16)I used two coats of a wipe-on polyurethane (“poly”) the next day. It was my first time using this and I. Loved. It. I learned about poly. This may seem obvious, but polyurethane is good to seal wood because it gives an additional amber look to the wood. Which is why you DON’T use it over paint- hence the use of PolyCrylic. When I don’t use furniture wax, I use PolyCrylic over painted pieces and I have also over wood, but loved the poly. It goes on so smooth and rich.

photo 5 (7)Since I painted the office this past week while I was in Arkansas, I was finally able to clean up the room and assemble the desk!

Here it is! photo 1 (36)See those pegs? They allow you to adjust the height of the desk, you can even tilt it like a drafting table! Awesome, right?!

photo 4 (32)Like I said, I love this desk because it is so simple. So I wanted to keep the stuff on top to a minimum. We have my Anatomy Katie human body model (a gift from my hubs when we were just friends), a jar with event tickets, our pencil box, and of course, a photo of us. Aw. photo 3 (33) I love the dark wood and clean white lines. What a beautiful contrast.

The shelves on the legs allow for (minimal) storage. Like a clean file box.

photo 4 (31)It makes me sing. She neeeeeds wide open spaceeeees. photo 5 (29)I got my task lamp from Ikea too. They lowered the price- it was $30 I believe? Remember here I said I wanted one?photo 1 (35)If you follow me on Instagram (check out the sidebar), you’ve seen the paint color of the office. What do you think? I plan to do a post about the paint soon. It was an adventure. Of course. photo 2 (34)So what do you think of my desk? I. Love. It. Seriously. Do you see all that open space? It’s just in time for me to study for boards. And then hopefully it will be a more pleasant space.

Do you love Ikea like we do? Are you a simple desk person like me? Or do you prefer lots of drawers?

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30 thoughts on “Ikea Desk Tutorial

  1. Hi. I was wondering tell me what the desktop height would be at the highest peg setting. Could this work as a standing desk? Thanks!!!

  2. Love the colour and looks of the top. I’ve got the legs myself as well and have a problem now with fixing the top to the legs. How did you connected the top to the legs?javascript:HighlanderComments.cancelExternalWindow();

  3. Hi! I really like what you did and am looking to do something similar. How did you attach the trestles to the butcher block?


  4. Hello

    Could I ask how stable this table is? I had the same idea as you had, but the seller tricked me to choosing 4 normal legs instead..Now my table is really unstable, and it doesn’t stand still when I push it.. I will build a new one using the Finnvards, just wanted to ask you how stable you think they are.

  5. I love your dark wood tops with painted bottom pieces. This table is lovely and your handmade bathroom vanity is incredible. I can’t tell which color scheme I like the best, the white or the farmhouse blue. Thanks for your ideas and blog they are very informative and inspirational.

  6. How did you attach the top to the sawhorses? We bought the top and seahorses from IKEA and the directions are so vague. It is an art table for a young teen and we need the top attached. Any help would be appreciated! TIA

  7. Hey! loved it! trying to build it now.. but i cant seem to find the proper table top… they are all 3cm thick and yours looks thicker (like I like it) would the TORNLIDEN
    Table top, pine veneer work? but is so cheap scares me.. or should I go with the GERTON Table top, beech? but its only 3cm of thick .. how thick is your table top? :( thank you!!

  8. I’m making a similar desk, got the Finnvard trestle legs from Ikea and my own solid wood table top. How did you attach the top to the legs? Did you use clamps or did you drill screws into the top?

    • Thanks for stopping by! We actually didn’t attach the top to the legs. The top was heavy enough that it didn’t move around. There was hardware included but since we don’t have children we didn’t feel the need to attach it. Hope that helps!

  9. What are the dimensions of the desktop? When you applied the stain, did you do the bottom? If you did do the bottom of the desk, did you wait for the stain to dry, then flipped it over and applied the stain? Looks great btw!

    • Chris, thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately I can’t give you the dimensions because we don’t have the desk any longer. I can tell you that I did not stain the bottom of it. If you wanted to though, I would do one side at a time completely- meaning wood conditioner, stain, and sealant and let it dry/cure for a few days and then flip it. I would be concerned that it you didn’t the stain would be uneven wherever it was touched. Hope that helps!

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