How to Build a Recording Studio Desk Under $100

You can easily make an affordable recording studio desk for under $100 by repurposing a used desk. The key is getting your speakers up to ear level, which can be done by building stands for them. Most common desks can be used as a studio desk.

My name is Donovan, and I’m a home studio enthusiast. I’ve spent most of my life writing, recording, and producing music, and I love everything about these pursuits. I know through first-hand experience how to build an affordable recording desk. 

This post will show you how to build a recording studio desk for under $100. I’ll provide you with some tips on sourcing used desks and show you how to make one yourself if you want to do it from scratch. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • Buying a used desk and making slight modifications can be one of the most affordable ways to build a cheap studio desk. 
  • You can also build a studio desk from scratch using lumber from a hardware or home improvement store. 
  • Building speaker stands onto a used desk will transform it into a recording studio desk. 
  • Unless you have construction or carpentry experience, sticking with a basic desk design is the easiest and most affordable route. 

How to Build a Recording Studio Desk Under $100

There are several different ways you can go about building a recording studio desk for under $100. I’ve built several of these over the years, and I think it’s an easy way to save some money while still getting everything you need from a recording desk. 

There isn’t one exact way to build an affordable recording studio. If you have experience with carpentry or construction, you’ll likely be able to create your own design with all of the features you want or need. 

If you don’t have any experience, you can still make a recording studio desk, but I recommend modifying a used desk rather than building one entirely from scratch. This will save you time, effort, and money in the long run. 

It’s also good to know that you don’t technically need a recording studio desk, or at least one marketed as such. Any desk can work, and some people don’t like to use desks at all. Recording studio desks have some nice features, but you can still have a good home studio without one. 

I’ll walk you through several different ways to build an affordable recording studio desk here. Keep in mind that these are more guidelines than exact blueprints. If you are looking for detailed plans, you can look at the section below for some video links that can help. 

Buy a Used Recording Studio Desk

Buying a used recording studio desk can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your hands on an affordable option. These aren’t always available for under $100, but starting your search before building one on your own is a good idea. 

Whenever I want to find used music equipment in my area, I typically start my search with Craigslist or Reverb. Craigslist is a go-to source for almost anything, and there are normally plenty of desks you can use as a recording studio desk here. 

If you want a recording studio desk rather than just a standard desk, you’ll want to look at Reverb. This is the used instrument and equipment source for many people, and I’ve purchased a ton of stuff here over the years. 

There are other websites where you might find a used recording studio desk, and you can always look at garage sales and other in-person locations. But I always recommend conducting an initial search for cheap options before building one on your own. 

Building a Modified Recording Studio Desk

I think the best option for getting an affordable recordings studio desk is to modify a regular used desk into one that suits your needs for a studio desk. You can turn any desk into a capable studio companion with a few simple additions. 

The first step is to find an affordable used desk. Look at the sites I mentioned above or visit any used furniture or resale store in your area. Garage and estate sales are also good places to find a used desk. 

I’ve found several desks for around $20 either on Craigslist or garage sales that I’ve been easily able to repurpose into a recording studio desk. Just find one that you like and fits your space at an affordable price. 

You can also repurpose a desk you already have for recording purposes. This is a free option and is good to explore if you have a desk lying around that you don’t need or use. 

Once you have a used desk, all you really need to do to turn it into a studio desk is make speaker stands. And the easiest way to do this is to attach apple crates or any other stable wooden crate to either side of the desk. 

Apple crates are about the size of a milk crate, except they are made of wood instead of plastic. But you could also use milk crates if you don’t mind the plastic look. But I like to use apple crates because they look better. 

You can simply place the apple crate on either side of the desk, put your speakers on top and then plug everything in. That requires no tools or equipment. But screwing the crate down is ideal because then they won’t slip or fall off. 

You can also make any other modifications to a used desk that you want to. You might want to make a few shelves or a pullout slider that can hold your control surface. Your ability to do so will depend on your skills as a carpenter. 

Build a Recording Studio Desk from Scratch

You can also go the route of building a recording studio desk from scratch. You can use scrap lumber you might have lying around the house or visit your local home improvement store and buy new lumber. 

A basic desk design is essentially a rectangular table. So you just need a good desktop and four legs to hold everything up. 

If you want to go the cheapest route, you’ll need these materials: 

  • Two six-foot lengths of 4×4 lumber (legs)
  • Plywood or particle board desktop (typically comes in 4’x8’ sheets, so will need to be cut)
  • Screws and mounting hardware
  • Screw gun 
  • Any other material you want for shelves, speaker stands, etc. 

This basic desk design is super simple, and you can make it even if you don’t have any skills as a carpenter or woodworker. But you’ll need to use power tools like a screw gun and circular saw to get everything cut to size. 

If you don’t have experience with saws, it’s probably best to go with a used desk rather than building one on your own. 

Follow these steps to build a cheap recording studio desk under $100: 

1. Cut your desktop to the proper size. This will depend on how big of a desk you want, and I recommend going with at least 2 feet by 4 feet. You can use a circular saw or table saw to make these cuts. 

If you use rough plywood or particle board rather than a proper desktop, sand down the edges. You don’t want to get splinters while working. You also might want to consider covering the surface with fabric. 

2. Cut the 4x4s to length for your legs. You’ll want legs at least 3 feet tall, but you can go smaller or larger depending on your needs or preferences. 

3. Attach the legs to the desktop. Using mounting hardware is the best way to make this happen rather than just screwing the legs and desktop together directly. Make sure you have enough brackets to keep the legs from sliding. 

4. Build and attach any other shelves or design elements that you want on your desk. You can attach apple crates for speaker stands, as described in the section above, or do anything else to customize your desk. 

That’s basically all there is to a standard desk design. But again, remember that this is a rough desk and that buying a used desk can be a better, easier, and more affordable option than building one yourself. 

I don’t recommend that most beginners attempt to build their own recording studio desk unless you have basic carpentry skills. It’s just as easy to buy a used one, and you’ll spend less time doing so. 

Recording Studio Desk Plans

Here are a few links to some ideas for recording studio desk plans. These are all more involved than the basic desk I describe above but can be useful for people with more skills. They can also give you an idea of what’s involved with building your own. 

This next one will likely cost more than $100 but uses items you can find from IKEA, which is neat. 

There are also plenty of other plans and blueprints you can find online. Everyone will have a different style or size that works best for their home studio, so it’s good to spend some time looking around for the ideal desk design to match your recording space. 

Remember that most of these plans assume you already have all the tools you’ll need for construction. Those tools are not factored into the cost of the desk. If you need to buy tools, you’re looking at a much more expensive project. 

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty easy to build a recording studio desk for under $100, and you only need some basic materials and carpentry skills to get the job done. But if you want to build a really nice desk, you’ll need the skills and tools to do so. 

I think purchasing a used recording studio desk is better than building your own. There are plenty of used options out there, and you can always modify a regular desk to suit your needs in the studio. 

Have you ever built a recording studio desk or any other furniture items for your studio? Was it easy and affordable? Let me know in the comments below. 

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