Chunky Leg Desk

diy crate and barrel terra desk plans
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Build your own desk!  This beautiful desk costs about $65 to build in lumber, and it's sturdy and simple.  It's the perfect backdrop or frame for your decor. 

Free step by step plans from

crate and barrel terra desk plans   crate and barrel terra desk plans

crate and barrel terra desk plans


About This Desk

This is a very simple desk, made using 2x6 legs and a 1x top.  The modern styling creates a beautiful frame for your decor and compliments your space.  

This desk can be painted or stained any color.


Why I Built This Desk

I am working on furnishing an airbnb rental, and needed a beautiful desk that is sturdy, good looking, inexpensive and easy to make.  I did not need storage.  I had built the coffee table and end table years ago and always loved the styling.  So I decided to use that same style and build this desk.


More Plans in This Collection

I love this style so much, I made more plans in this collection.  I'll keep adding to it - it is a beautiful style!

How I Build This Desk

This desk was a pretty easy build.  I used a pocket hole jig to make the piece look more professional, with all hidden joints.  The pocket hole jig also made it more sturdy.  If you don't have a pocket hole jig, watch how I made the matching coffee table with just a brad nailer.

First, I build the tabletop surface in the size I wanted.  

Then I used a jigsaw to cut out the corners of the tabletop for the legs to show through.

how to build a desk

Then, I measured and cut the 1x4 side aprons, and drilled 3/4" pocket holes on the ends and facing upward (pictured upside down above).  I attach the 1x4 apron to the underside of the tabletop with 1-1/4" pocket holes.

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Next, I set the legs in place and attached with the predrilled pocket holes from the side aprons into the legs.

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Here's what all four legs in place look like.

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For the back, I repeated those steps to add the back apron with pocket holes.

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Where the back apron meets the side aprons, I drilled one pocket hole in the middle so it didn't cross the two pocket holes drilled in the side apron.  Then I joined the back apron to the side aprons.  I did NOT attach to the legs yet.

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I repeated these steps - but do NOT attach to the legs yet. First, flip over -

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Then level up all the legs using a level.

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Once the legs are level, and the desk is sitting flat on a level surface, attach the front and back aprons to the legs from the inside with a couple more screws.  

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Here's the desk built.  There's still lots of work to be done ...  I sanded the entire desk with 120 grit sandpaper.

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Then I stained with Golden Oak.  

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The stain seemed off and flat and orange.  Also the different wood species took the stain differently.  No problem!

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I applied a watered down white paint over top, rubbing it in.  This mutes the stain color, adds dimension, and helped the different wood tones blend - like adding a flattering filter to the piece.

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Adding a Drawer

You could easily add a drawer to this desk. Here's an example of how you could do that:

Styling the Desk

This desk on it's own is pretty plain.  It needs styling!  Here's some tips:

crate and barrel terra desk plans

  • Upholstered ottoman looks beautiful paired with this desk, but if using as a main desk, opt for a more comfortable chair.
  • A mirror or artwork above is essential - if using artwork, choose the artwork first, then match the rest of the decor with the artwork
  • A beautiful lamp adds interest and functionality
  • Greenery is a must
  • Vases can be used to hold office accessories

Free Plans to Build This Desk

Here's the free plans to build this desk.  If you build, please share, we love seeing your work!



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Chunky Leg Desk

desk dimensions
54" wide x 30" tall x 24" deep (approximately)


Shopping List
  • 1 - 2x6 @ 10 feet long
  • 1 - 1x4 @ 12 feet long (can be cut in half for transport)
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 10 feet long
  • 30 - 1-1/4" pocket hole screws (coarse thread recommended)
Cut List
  • 2 - 1x12 @ 54"
  • 4 - 2x6 @ 29-1/2"
  • 2 - 1x4 @ 19-1/2" - measure and cut to fit
  • 2 - 1x4 @ 51" measure and cut to fit
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Power Sander


Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Sand the entire project well with 120 grit sandpaper
Finish Used
I applied a golden oak stain with a paper towel.
After the stain dried, I added a whitewash layer with white paint watered down and rubbed on.
After the whitewash dried, I applied a clear poly coat to seal the desk.
I did a final 220 grit sanding to smooth out the final finish.