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Fold-Down Desk

A DIY desk such as this one is perfect for compact spaces like dorm rooms or city home offices.

pull down desk on bookshelf

Photography: NGOC MINH NGO

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2017


This fold-down desk sits snuggly in a modular storage shelving unit. It's quick and easy to make, and we like that it's compact enough for any small space. Whether it's for a dorm room or a home office, this DIY desk is the perfect project to help with productivity.


  • Modular storage unit (Pictured: IKEA "Billy" bookcases, from $59 each,

  • Measuring tape

  • Wool felt

  • Circular saw

  • Multipurpose spray adhesive


  1. Measure the width and height of the opening you want to use for your pulldown desk. Then cut a piece of plywood to those dimensions and paint it to match the shelf before letting it dry completely.

  2. Cut the felt to the dimensions of plywood. You can add a brass-and-leather handle for a cohesive look. Then spray one side of plywood with adhesive, and press the felt onto the surface; let dry.

  3. Remove the shelf and cut down the back edge by 3/4 inch—or have it cut at your local lumberyard.

  4. Align the plywood desk with the shelf. Then screw two desk hinges into the desk and then to the shelf (A).

    pull down desk on bookshelf
  5. Place the shelf and plywood desk in the bookcase. Screw the lid-stay hinges into the shelf and desk (B).

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