Build a Whiteboard Desk in 30 minutes for under $20!


Matt Grocki, a friend and colleague of mine (and a kick ass content strategist if you need one), showed me his whiteboard desk a few months ago. I was immediately smitten. As a UX designer and avid sketcher, the idea of sketching right next to the keyboard was too awesome to ignore, not to mention never needing Post-It notes on my monitors again. So, I set out to build my own whiteboard desk, and I’m now sharing with you how to create this awesomeness of your own.

First, here’s a photo of my desk:

Whiteboard Desk

As you can see, total coverage of the desk surface with sweet writing space. Having a desk like this is wicked cool, and allows for a few awesome things:

  • Sketching ideas takes seconds, while staying seated at the desk. No getting up and down to review things on the computer and go back to sketch on the wall.
  • Notes from phone conversations are written down directly on the desk, no need for sticky notes, random Evernote posts or other means of recording text.
  • To-do lists can be made and quickly revised, right in front of your face, all day long.

There’s a bunch that’s made awesome with the desk, I can’t recommend highly enough that you make one of your own.

So, let’s look at the specifics. Building your own desk is crazy easy, cheap and will take you inside of an hour. Materials-wise, you need the following:

Boom. That’s it. Hit your local hardware store and you can have these things back to your house in minutes, for less than $20.

Assembly is easy: measure your desk, and cut the board the the same size rectangle as the top of your desk. I’d recommend a jigsaw with a super fine blade, to avoid ripping the panel board up. You can also cut them with a box cutter, but bring plenty of blades and patience. Once you’ve got the board cut, simply lay on top of your desk and put mounting squares or tape on each corner, between the board and your desk, to secure it to your desk.

That’s it! It’s that easy to completely revolutionize your working environment.

A few more notes about the whiteboard desk that are worth mentioning:

  • Standard whiteboard markers are too thick to be effective in this kind of space. I’d recommend fine point markers. I really love the Expo Fine Point Markers, and have also found success with The Board Dudes Ultra Fine Point Markers as well (they’re VERY fine point, good for detail work or writing). For erasing, just a cotton cloth will do.
  • Writing on the desk whiteboard has an interesting effect: as you write down notes or sketch things, it forces you to more formally document or take action. Since that space is used up (and highly valuable), I find that I act quicker on notes and sketches I’ve made, which is a nice productivity boost.

By the way, if you’re curious about the monitors that are in my photo, I wrote a post with a full review of them. I LOVE these monitors, and they’re half the price of Apple Thunderbolt displays. If you’re looking for new monitors, I can’t recommend them enough. Best thing I’ve ever bought for my office, hands down.

This whiteboard desk has been one of the best things I’ve done for my productivity in my office, and it’s super cheap and super quick to do. This weekend, make a trip to the hardware store and make one of your own!

Do you have a whiteboard desk or other cool office productivity hack? Post it in the comments!

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