Frankendesk and Frankenbedsidetable! (building a custom Ikea desk)

Hi guys! I’m still wired from having built myself a custom work desk. It took my uncle and I about 7 hours because we had to jimmy some parts together, but here it is! I dub it the ‘Frankendesk’ (with Frankenbedside table as a bonus!)

Materials: approximate cost $177 for office desk and bedside table

1 Linnmon table top, birch effect, 47 1/4×23 5/8″ $19.99
1 Expedit shelving unit, birch effect (201.353.00) $39.99
1 Expedit wall shelf, birch effect (302.651.26) $19.99
2 Expedit insert w/ 2 drawers, high gloss white (201.982.17) $25.00
2 Vika Kaj adjustable legs, silver (601.053.01) $15.00
4 L-shaped brackets + corresponding screws, ~$10-15
1 flat plate/bracket, $1-2

1. Build the Expedit shelving units. You’re going to take a 2×2 Expedit shelf and a 1×1 Expedit wall shelf to make a 2×1 shelf. I used this Ikea hack for the idea. You can also purchase an already made 2×1 Ikea shelf but check your local store for availability. The one I live close to only had white or black as options, and I wanted the birch color for my room.


In essence, you build the Expedit as normal, using the same pre-drilled holes and screws, except you use the short sides from the 1×1 on the top and bottom and the long sides from the 2×2 for the sides of your new 2×1 Expedit shelf.

It should look like this when you’re done:


If you follow this method, one shelf will have screws showing on the top, the other shelf will have it on the sides (like this one.) I chose the one with screws on top to form one side of my desk, because the table top covers the screws.


Vika Kaj adjustable legs. With the Expedit 2×1 shelf serving as storage, the desk height is about 32.5 inches.


To secure the table top to the Expedit shelf, you’ll want some L-shaped brackets from your local hardware store. My uncle and I bought a bracket set from Home Depot, but once we got back to build, we still needed one more bracket. Fortunately, the Expedit shelves came with these and we ended up ‘McGyvering’ them to work for us. On the left is the bracket as shipped by Ikea, on the right is where my uncle drilled two holes on the plain side to accommodate some screws.


Right now there are four points of attaching the Linnmon table top to the Expedit shelf: two L-brackets behind the shelf, one L-bracket near the front, and a flat plate/bracket on the outside edge. This is the McGyvered-Ikea bracket with screws we found around the house.


The finished Frankendesk and bonus Frankenbedside table! I bought two Expedit inserts with shelves to create sectional storage. I might buy another drawer insert for the bedside table, but I need to see how I end up using it first. I’m really pleased with this hack and I hope someone else out there can expand upon this idea!

A couple of money-saving tips:
– If you have more space in your room, buy a longer table top and use both Expedit 2×1 shelves as legs for the table (eliminating the need for discrete table legs. The overhang in the back can be dealt with using brackets for stability.) I initially wanted to build my desk this way but we found out that the longer table top would not fit in my room.
– If you don’t mind building a white or black desk, there is already a $29.99 2×1 shelf that is sold, but YMMV re: availability in your area. I like the birch color, so I had to go the 2×2 $39.99 + 1×1 $19.99 route. Granted that still comes out to the same price if you need the two shelves.
– If you don’t want rolling drawers, you can cut up the leftover middle divider from the original 2×2 Expedit to make smaller shelves in your 2×1. If you go to Ikea, they have a spare parts treasure trove and you can dig for extra dowels, screws, etc.

Happy building! I can’t wait to revamp the rest of my room. Let me know in the comments if you end up making a desk like mine 🙂



Add yours →

  1. It is a great and simple idea !
    I am actually doing the same, in order to get 4 blocks of 2×1. Those will be the legs underneath a glass table top that I got for free on craigslist.
    The funny fact here is that the 1×1 expedit never pops up on the canadian or US ikea site. You can have a picture and price on european sites only. When I was hunting expedit in the ikea store in Montreal, I actually found the 1×1 !!
    So, when Kristina is saying ”check your local store for availability”, go in the store as I could still not find it on my national website… but bought it on site !

  2. This works really well – wish I’d seen this before we bought a malm desk! Please could you tell me what the finished dimensions of the 2×1 is please?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: