Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a Desk? All You Need to Know

When deciding on the perfect computer desk for your setup, there is an important question arises: Is it cheaper to build or buy a desk?

It is quite complicated to answer this question. It all depends on the size and shape of the desk you need, the cost of materials you want to work with, the complexity of the project, and the amount of time it needed.

For your desk setup, building your own custom computer desk can be a cost-effective solution and the best way to get the desk you want than buying a professionally made desk from the stores.

However, building your own DIY computer desk from scratch requires crafting skills, as well as basic knowledge of operating carpentry tools and materials. 

On the other hand, buying a ready-made computer desk from stores is often more straightforward but you may require more money upfront. 

Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of both building and buying before making your decision.

In this article, we will explore the key factors that affect the cost of desk construction and explore various considerations to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and needs. 

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Pros and Cons of Building Your Computer Desk

Let’s dive deeper and look at what are the advantages and disadvantages of building your custom computer desk to decide whether a DIY desk worth it or not.

Pros of Building Your Computer Desk

Here are some major pros that make building your computer desk a great choice. 

1. Cost-Saving Solution

Building your custom computer desk can be more cost-effective than buying a professionally-made computer desk from local retailers or the online market.

Since most computer desks, gaming desks, and office desks available to buy are made from cheap materials such as plywood and MDF board, your home-built computer desk is likely to be inexpensive as well if you use the same materials.

So, by incorporating affordable materials and using your DIY skills, you can have greater control over the overall cost and can potentially save more money than buying one.

2. Customizable Approach

By building a computer desk yourself, you can have complete control over the construction technique and design the desk to suit your specific setup needs and preferences.

You can tailor the dimensions and designs, as well as add additional features and create a desk that perfectly aligns with your space, equipment, and ergonomic requirements.

3. Tailoring to Specific Needs

Building your computer desk gives you the freedom to get creative with the design so you can build a desk the way you want by choosing from various materials, styles, and finishes.

This way you can ensure that your computer desk perfectly complements your setup aesthetics, blends with your room interior, and becomes the focal point of your setup.

4. Quality & Durability

When you build your computer desk, you have the opportunity to prioritize the best materials and quality craftsmanship.

By incorporating sturdy materials and utilizing precise construction techniques, you can ensure that your desk is durable, long-lasting, and capable of withstanding everyday wear and tear.

5. Develop New Skills 

With your DIY projects, you can turn your imagination into reality by acquiring new skills and techniques and getting creative with designs.

The more time you spend on your DIY project, the more you learn new skills and gain valuable experience with the desk-building process.

6. Sense of Achievement

Building your computer desk can be a fun DIY project as well as a rewarding experience that you can be proud of.

When you see your creation come alive using your skills and creativity, you feel a different sense of satisfaction and pride in the achievement in your field of work.

Cons of Building Your Computer Desk

Here are some of the cons of building your computer desk that you must be aware of before making any decision.

1. Time and Effort

Building a DIY computer desk is something that takes a significant amount of time and effort. From planning to sourcing materials and designing to constructing, the entire process is time-consuming.

2. Skill and Knowledge Required

Building your computer desk requires a certain level of woodworking skill and knowledge of operating the power and manual carpentry tools.

If you lack carpentry skills and knowledge, it could lead to mistakes, or you may require additional time to do the job precisely or need a professional for external assistance.

3. Require Carpentry Tools

Building your computer desk typically requires a variety of carpentry tools. Whether you buy these tools or rent them, these can add to the overall desk cost. 

However, you do not need every tool to build your computer desk, but as a beginner DIYer, you might not know what you need and what not.

As a result, you begin to add more and more tools to your cart and your bill is way more than you expected.

4. No Warranty or Guaranty

Unlike store-bought desks that come with a warranty and guarantee, a DIY desk lacks such protection. And if there any defects or issues arise, you’ll have no resources but to fix the problem yourself.

5. Material and Construction Costs

Although DIY-built desks can be more cost-effective, there are cases where building your computer desk can be more expensive than buying a pre-made desk.

If the materials are inexpensive and you make any mistake, you may require more materials which can potentially increase the overall cost of construction than buying a ready-made desk of the same cost.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Ready-made Computer Desk

Now let’s have a look at the pros and cons of buying a pre-built computer desk to determine whether it a worth it or not.

Pros of Buying a Pre-built Computer Desk

Here are some of the pros of pre-built desks that make them worth investing in.

1. Time-Saving

One of the advantages of buying a ready-made desk is that it saves the time and effort that you spend making a plan, sourcing the materials, and constructing the desk from scratch yourself.

You can simply visit your local furniture store or online market, browse through available ones, and choose the perfect one that meets your setup needs and preferences.

2. Wide Range of Options

Buying a read-made desk is more convenient than building one because of the vast range of desks available in both online and offline stores to choose from.

Whether you need a desk for a small space, with features, or with specific functionalities, with diverse styles, sizes, designs, and features available, you can choose the exact desk that suits your preferences.

3. No Skill or Knowledge Required

Unlike DIY-built desks, buying a professionally-made desk won’t require any level of woodworking skill or knowledge of construction techniques.

This is more accessible for individuals who aren’t experienced in DIY projects or lack expertise in woodworking skills.

4. Professional Design and Quality

Since the desks available to buy are made by specialized professionals, these desks often have a quality design with optimal height, integrated cord management, and storage solutions. 

So, a ready-made desk with these features is very helpful in making a comfortable workspace or gaming space and enhancing productivity.

5. Warranty & Customer Support

Store-bought desks often come with warranty and customer support to ensure you get the most out of the penny you’ve invested.

So if there is any defect or issue occurs, you can simply contact the customer support of the retailer and ask them to rectify the problem within the warranty period. 

Cons of Buying a Pre-built Computer Desk

Here are some of the cons of buying a pre-built computer desk that you must be aware of before making any decision.

1. More Expensive

A store-bought desk can be more expensive than building one, especially if you’re looking for a high-quality desk or a desk with additional functionalities.

The factors that influence the cost of a pre-built desk are manufacturing, shipping, and retailer margin, which can increase the cost.

2. Limited Customization

Unlike a DIY-built desk, a store-bought desk doesn’t offer the exact customization to meet your specific preference or setup requirements.

Although they may come in a variety of designs, sizes, shapes, and finishes, they may not be the exact desk that you need for your setup.

You have to settle with the certain design, size, and finish they offer.

3. Quality Variation

Since lower-priced desks are made by using cheaper and less durable materials and high-priced desks are made from premium and sturdy materials, the quality of store-bought desks may vary significantly.

4. Assembly Required

Most purchased computer desk requires some level of assembly with tools, and depending on the complexity and provided instructions, the assembly process could be time-consuming.

5. Design & Style Restrictions

While pre-built desks come in various styles, they may not always be the exact ones to meet the style or setup configuration that you have in mind.

So, if you need any specific desk models or designs, you’ll have to wait until the company sells or you’ve to settle with the alternatives.

Now, let’s have a look at in which condition the overall cost of the computer desk goes up. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of the Desk

These are the factors that influence the overall cost of the desk and understanding these will help you to determine the price range of desks and make an informed decision.

1. The Material Choices

The major factor that affects the overall cost of the desk is the choice of materials that are used to build the computer desk.

A desk can be made of materials such as solid wood, engineered wood, plywood, metal, or glass, and since the cost of each material varies, the cost of the desk will also vary.

Desks made with high-quality or premium materials tend to be expensive while the desk made from low-quality or inexpensive materials tend to be cheaper.

2. Design Complexity

The design complexity of the desk also affects the cost of the desk. Desks with a simpler design tend to be affordable while desks with a complex design or unique shape tend to be more expensive.

The more complex design or unique structure a desk follows, the additional manufacturing process and time it requires, which can contribute to higher production costs and ultimately increase the cost of the desk.

3. Size and Dimensions

The size and dimensions of the desk significantly increase the price of the desk. Larger tend to be more expensive while smaller desks tend to be affordable. 

The reason is that larger desks require more materials, and more material increases the materials cost as well as the construction process.

If the desk has a custom size or non-standard dimensions, this can result in a higher cost due to the need for customization or specialized production. 

4. Additional Features and Accessories

Desks that come with additional features or accessories such as integrated cord management, height adjustment, storage options, etc tend to be more expensive than standard desks.

These features and accessories add convenience and value to the desk which ultimately increases the price of the desk.

5. Geographic Location

The geographical location also plays a vital role in determining the price of the desk due to factors such as labor costs, taxes, and shipping expenses.

Desks manufactured in a region with lower production or labor costs tend to be more affordable than those desks manufactured in a region with higher production or labor costs.

Even the shipping expenses can also increase the actual price of the desk if the desk has to be delivered to a far address 

The Botton Line

Both building and buying a desk have their pros and cons and it is your budget, your skills, setup needs, and requirements that will better determine which option is best for you.

Building your desk is budget-saving, customizable approach, flexible, and a pride of accomplishment built by your own hands. However, it requires time, effort, skills, and access to tools and the overall cost can vary depending on materials, design complexity, and additional features you give to the desk.

Buying a ready-made desk on the other hand is more convenient as they are available in a wide range of options, comes with professional design, warranty coverage, and requires minimal skills. However, it may be more expensive and offer limited customization and potential variations in quality.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How much does it cost to build a desk?

The cost of building a desk can vary depending on the choice of materials, size & dimensions of the desk, and additional features you want to give to the desk. There is no fixed budget for building a custom desk. Budgeting can go from about $1000 to as high as $10000. 

2. Is it easy to build your desk?

For anyone with a flair for DIY projects, building a custom desk can be cost-effective as well as a great way to build a desk that you desire as it will allow you to customize the desk in the exact size, shape, dimensions, and finish that perfectly aligns with your budget and suites the aesthetic of the setup.

3. Should I build a desk or buy one?

Building a computer desk is more affordable than buying a professionally made desk. It also offers you the freedom to get creative with the design and allows you to add more elements such as cord-management features, ergonomic options, drawers, shelves, etc to fulfill your setup needs and preferences.

4. Is it more expensive to build or buy a desk?

If you have the time and you’re good at DIYing, building your desk can save you lots of money. You can be creative with the design, apply so many tricks, follow a unique approach, and make something that looks very expensive for a very cheap budget.

5. How much does a good computer desk cost?

With durable materials, sturdy design, standard size, decent functionality, and a variety of finishes, the price of computer desks can vary from about $150 to as high as $500. Most good-quality and durable computer desks could cost somewhere between $200 – $550.


When it comes to determining whether is it cheaper to build or buy a desk, both options have their pros and cons in terms of cost, customization, convenience, and quality.

Whether you choose to build your desk from scratch or buy a pre-built desk, there is a multitude of factors that affect the price of the desk.

As we’ve explored all the pros and cons and the cost-influencing factors of both building and buying, we hope you can make an informed decision between both options.

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Rakesh Dewangan

Hey there, I am Rakesh Dewangan and on this blog, I am sharing tips, guides, and reviews on computer desks which I came to know and learned during the setup of my home office desk when I invested in a computer desk.

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