Built-in desks give you the flexibility to add any number of drawers, shelves, and top space compartments in your home office and help you leverage underutilized space while adding value and style to your home office setup.
Depending on what you want, built-in desk costs can go from a mere $100-$200 to a whopping $10,000+. The cost varies depending on the number of drawers, shelves, additional storage units, design, material, and size. For high-end custom work, like a built-in bookshelf with desk space, shelving, and cabinets, it can cost $150 to $1,200 per linear foot. The most significant expense of built-in desks is typically carpentry labor cost. You can expect to pay $30 to $130 per hour for a carpentry contractor. You can also choose to go the DIY route or buy ready-made (or semi-custom) built-in desk.
Built-in desks are amazing architectural features that really help you create a functional work area that’s visually stunning at the same time. You can include plenty of shelves and/or cabinets and drawers to maximize storage while saving tons of floor space.
Everything from height, depth, and length to the materials and style will be built according to your specifications & requirements.
The main reason why people opt for built-in desks is to seamlessly blend their workstation or work area with the overall design and style of the home. Whatever you can imagine can be built with the right budget and the right contractor.
But what are the best options?
Do you really need to spend so much on built-ins? Are there pre-built options that can accomplish the same purpose? How long will it take to build one?
What about adjustable, sitting and standing desks? Do they have anything in common with a built-in desks? How is a built-in desk better?
Everything you need to know about built-in desks is right here in this post to help you make the best decision for how to proceed.
By the way – before we get too far along here, if you want to connect with other homeowners, DIYers, and builders and get more great ideas for your home to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Remodel Reality here.
What Are Built-in Desks?
Simply put, built-in desks are fixed into a wall to save floor space while maximizing the working area. They are typically installed into a kitchen, a spare bedroom, dorm room, or under the stairs.
What do you use it for?
These wall-mounted desks are almost always paired up with cabinetry and shelving. These options help in utilizing the vertical wall space while leaving the floor space for other stuff.
You must have seen those built-in bookshelves with desk space in the center. The bookshelves can hold books, file boxes, and office supplies, while the area underneath the desk can be used for PC, trash cans, shredders, cords, or anything that doesn’t require desktop space.
How Built-in desks are different?
Built-in desks do not have front legs as they rely on the wall for support. This is the reason why they seem to be floating in the air. You have plenty of space to swivel around and stretch your legs.
How is it any different from a sitting/standing desk? Built-in desks are fixed to a single wall and cannot be adjusted in any way possible. The height, length, and depth remain the same unless you go for a renovation. Therefore, you must consider your personal needs, specifications, and preferences beforehand. A designer might charge $200 – $500 to design the desk according to your instructions.
All in all, built-in desks are stylish and surprisingly practical. You can set up a visually stunning home office in a nook while having several storage options to hide the ugly stuff. From the bare minimum of a floating shelf to bookshelves and cabinets – you can get as creative as you want.
What are the Best Options?
The design options are infinite with built-in desks. You can go for a DIY floating desk or go all-in with a designer New England secretary-style model made of walnut or cherry.
But does it always have to be custom-built? Not really. With a little bit of patience and skills, you can design and build your own built-in desk! This way, you can cut down on the costs and use that money to personalize the space.
If not, the best option is to buy a pre-built/semi-custom built-in desk. Most of them are easy to install and cost a small percentage of a custom-built desk.
If a pre-built/semi-custom built-in desk does not match the aesthetics of your room, you can go for a custom luxury built-in desk with cubbies and cabinetry.
Custom Built-in Desks ($1,500-$10,000+)
Each custom built-in desk is unique. Design and layout decisions will depend on your taste and needs. You can go for floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with multiple cabinets or just a floating desktop with drawers and cabinets.
The material costs are relatively fixed, but the time it takes to build, finish, and install can significantly bump up the price. Most of the designers will charge you based on the linear footage model. For an 8ft tall setup, the price can fluctuate between $850 – $1100 per linear foot.
A simple open shelving model will cost you a lot less compared to something with glass doors, glass shelves, and cabinetry.
According to HomeAdvisor, built-in, closed-door office cabinetry can cost $2,200-$10,900+. Standard cabinet installations cost $50 to $250, but custom built-in cabinets cost $700 per linear foot on average.
And don’t worry, your money won’t go to waste if you decide to move. According to BuilderOnline, built-ins add value to your home and help you sell the house at a higher price.
How long will it take for my new built-in desk take to build?
It depends on the size, design, and complexity of the project. Here’s a breakdown for each type of built-in desk:
|DIY Built-in Desk||1-2 Weeks|
|Pre-Built Built-in Desk||2-3 Days|
Built-in Desk Dimensions & Options By Career Path
|Freelancer/part-time remote worker/Hobbyist||18”- 28”||24”- 32”|
|Full-time remote worker||28” – 30”||32” – 47”|
|Remote worker with lots of equipment/business owner||30” – 36”||47” – 72”|
How much does a built-in bookcase cost?
One of the things that go with a custom built-in desk is accompanying built-in bookcases.
And I have to say – I LOVE built-ins!
A built-in bookcase can transform any blank wall into an architectural beauty. You can blend the desk between the bookshelves to have space for work and storage in the same place.
The cost of a built-in bookcase ranges from $1,273 and $4,077, with the national average being $2,500. Floor-to-ceiling installs can go up to $5,000 to $14,000. If you have a specific design in your mind, custom bookcases can cost $300 to $1,200 per linear foot. Stock or semi-custom built-in installation ranges from $50 to $250. It really depends on what you want and how big you want it to be.
Suppose you have a 10 feet wall, and you want a high-end custom bookcase with ample storage space (shelves and cabinets) and a built-in desk. According to HomeAdvisor, you are expected to spend somewhere around $150 to $1200 per linear foot.
Another thing to consider is that the material, construction, labor, design & fit, and accessories can affect the overall cost. MDF and sanded plywood with installation cost $40-$150 per linear foot, but furniture-grade plywood and hardwoods can go up to $60-$225 per linear foot. Glass and premium exotic hardwoods like teak, pine, cedar, and oak, the prices go up to $150-$400 per linear foot.
In short, the more “custom” you go, the more it’s going to cost.
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