DIY Wood Desk with Metal Legs

Check out how I DIY’d a wood desk with metal legs.  This was a fun, easy and inexpensive project that filled my needs.

Here’s the thing.  I have been sharing an office and desk with my husband for years.  It has worked out but I’m really ready for my own space.  I didn’t want or need to turn an entire room into my office.  So I put my thinking cap on and realized our bedroom is big enough to have a nice desk that would be perfect for me to use when my husband was working from home.  Plus my view would be amazing.

Deciding on the Metal Legs

At first I thought I wanted hair pin legs so I got looking on Amazon.  After seeing them and doing a little more research I decided I wanted something a little heavier.

There are so many options out there.  Here are a few that I love.  Here, Here and Here.  

It took me a little time to decide what ones would work the best for me.  These are the ones I finally picked, let me tell you why. 

metal legs

I loved the lines and shape, how clean and simple they are.  I also loved the lower bar.  My legs are on the short side so I thought a piece of wood going across the bottom would be perfect to rest my feet on and save my back.

Now the Top

I was all over the place with the top of the desk.  I had a little bit of a vision but I loved so many different styles.  Do I create something white and bright for a farmhouse look or stained wood for a more rustic look?  I decided I wanted something a little more modern and elegant.  Let’s say my style was a little farmhouse with some modern elegance.   

After I decided on a style I needed to find the wood that would give me the look I was after.  That is sometimes easier said than done.  I thought about laminating wood and building it from scratch.  Until I found this beautiful butcher block top at Home Depot

shop Home Depot

 This birch butcher block top was the perfect size and would save me so much time and money.  Sometimes it’s cheaper to get a finished project.  

Here is what we came home with.  Everything we needed to make and create a beautiful desk.  

Shop Home Depot

Sand and Stain

The butcher block top was so pretty but still required some sanding.  I also wanted to add some wood for my feet on the bottom.  This required a little more sanding than the butcher block top.  

My favorite sander is my little mouse sander.  It fits in my hand nicely and is so easy to use and inexpensive.  

mouse sander

Because the wood on both the butcher block top and foot rest were decently smooth I used a coarse 80 grit and fine 120 grit sand paper.  You will be able to feel the difference in the wood as you sand.  I’m always running my hands along the wood to see if somewhere needs a little more attention.  

build a desk

There was a definite top and bottom to the butcher block.  I didn’t worry about sanding and finishing what would be the bottom of my desk.  Because the finish was nice anyway and it’s the bottom of the desk, I decided it was fine as is.  

Refinish the DIY Metal Leg Desk

My new favorite finish that I am loving and have used around my home.  It is a three step process but so worth it and not very hard.

How to Stain

These are all available at Home Depot.  Here, Here and Here.  Be sure to follow the directions on the can.  My preference is to use the foam paint brushes to apply the stain and then wipe it off with the blue shop towel.  

apply the stain

My favorite thing about the foam brushes, you can throw them away when you’re done with each step.  Because the butcher block top is a good size and my garage was really warm I worked in a couple sections.  I didn’t want things to get set too much before I started wiping off.  

This Next Step It Is Very Important

Please, please, please make sure you do this step.  It’s not hard but makes a huge difference.  Take a low low low grit sand paper and sand your project between each staining step.  I have a little sanding sponge that is ultra fine grit.  The reason for this step is when you stain your wood the micro wood fibers in the wood stand up.  Making it a little rough.  The fibers are so fine but sanding them off makes a huge difference.

sand your project

I was able to get the sanding and staining done in one afternoon and evening.  It wasn’t a lot of work just took some time letting it dry between each step.

working is steps

I was loving the white wash stain and was tempted to leave it after this but decided to stick with the plan.  You can see here how I’m working in stages.  I  applied about half before I started wiping off.  

The Final Stain Step

The white wash is set and I’m ready to add the special walnut stain.  There was some interesting instructions that I hadn’t realized before.  On the can of the special walnut stain it said to apply the satin against the grain and wipe off with the grain.  WHAT … who knew.  

applying the stain

The reason for this is just a guess but it must go on better in all the wood grooves.  I honestly have no definite idea why.

wipe off the stain

After I got it all wiped off I took a lot of time to check and makes sure the edges and top looked evenly covered.  Removing any drips that may have happened.

You can see how much softer the special walnut stain looks with the white wash applied first.  

Putting it all Together

The top and foot rest are dry and ready for the legs.  We picked up some lag bolts at Home Depot to attach the metal legs.  Yes the legs came with some screws but most of the time what comes isn’t good enough for the project.

We couldn’t get black lag bolts so we purchased silver and I gave them a quick shot of black spray paint.

lag bolts

Putting them in this piece of sturdy cardboard was the best idea ever.  I was able to get them all sprayed in about a minute.  Make sure your bolts are shorter than the depth of the metal legs and butcher block.  You would be heart broken if they poked through the top of the desk.  

I took the time to figure out the metal leg placement.  Then I marked where the bolts were going to go.  Pre drilling the holes makes tightening the bolts so much easier.

bolting the legs

adding the metal legs

This desk is was one of the easiest furniture projects I’ve done.  I have learned that things always take twice as long as I expect but this wasn’t one of those projects.  Because we decided to use the butcher block it was so easy and quick.  

Wood Desk with Metal Legs


This desk cost less than $200 and looks amazing.

DIY Desk

It is a great size and will fill my needs perfectly.  I still have all my files and ugly papers in the office.  This is just a quiet space for me to think and enjoy my beautiful view.  

DIY Desk

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I am passionate about cultivating home. Whether you like DIY, design, decor or organization I want to help you cultivate the best home for you. One space and step at a time. Small simple to maintain changes with big results.