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Materials: MALM Dressing Table, Cabinet Hinges, MDF, 35mm drill bit, Wood Filler

I wanted to submit a project of mine which consisted of converting a $150 MALM dressing table into a desk.

I looked for a long time to find an elegant slim-line desk that would fit my small apartment, but couldn’t seem to find anything that I liked that would also store away my modem, keyboard and mouse, etc. Plus all desks seem to give you a good 3ft.+ of depth and I just wanted something slim to hold my monitor and speaker system, i didn’t need a large work area…the only desk Ikea had like that was the BESTA BURS, and it was far too long (and pricey at $300)

I also had a pretty small budget, and anything I did find seemed too expensive, even if i got the malm occasional table it only came in a nasty red colour and it was $80 for the top and two legs, three pieces of wood!

I decided to adapt the drawer on the dressing table to be a hidden keyboard tray with a fold down front. This required a couple of hefty cabinet 180 degree hinges (so that the weight of my arms when typing didnt break it off), a 35mm drill bit to make the holes for it, some finishing nails, and a custom cut piece of mdf (Home depot cut it for free) that matched the birch tone of the rest of the desk to use as the ‘drawer’ bottom (the original drawer bottom was cheap 1/8″ thin bendy fibreboard that wouldn’t support much). I also bought a putty pencil to fill in the visible dowel/screw holes.

First I nailed in my new piece of wood to be used as the drawer bottom, and measured out where the holes would need to go so that the drawer front could flip up and down without hitting anything

Next I drilled the holes for the hinges (hint: measure 5x, drill once) because when the drawer is up and down, the way it seems to fit changes drastically, and it has to be able to screw into the other piece in both positions too!

I filled the long slit meant for the original drawer base and dowel/screw holes with wood filler in a matching tone.

After putting the rest of the desk together and screwing on the drawer front, I had a nice thin attractive desk with a hidden pull out keyboard tray 🙂

Hopefully this will help inspire other space-challenged people who were looking for a nice (inexpensive!) small desk.

p.s. I also added some furniture feet to the desk bottom (large tack-like things that were cheap at Home Depot) to give it a bit extra height so I could fit a JONAS file cabinet/drawer unit on casters underneath, I can pull it out easily if I ever need a bit of extra writing space.

Now that I’ve moved I created a second desk like this for my boyfriend as well for our home office.

~ April, Mississauga, ON