DIY Industrial Desk & Shelves


Restoration Hardware

Desk and Shelving

I am so excited to share my latest DIY with you all!! And, let me just say, I love how it turned out!!!

I know I have told you guys a 1,000 times about how much I love Restoration Hardware! My wallet (and husband) do not, so more often than not I must compromise. Most of the time it's by hitting up stores like TJ Maxx, Target, or the occasional trip to IKEA, however, there are times no one can really "copy" the look I am wanting. That is when I turn to old reliable....Pinterest!! Or Google, and sometimes just anything I can get my hands on just to brainstorm!

After hours of searching blogs and DIY sites about the do's and don'ts of building industrial pipe shelving I finally had a plan and started designing my own. (I suppose the term "designing" might be a bit of a stretch seeing that  I basically just combined several different projects into one that met my needs and wants, but you get the idea!) This part sucks but is a must if you want your project done right! If you skip this part,  you will find yourself in a mess! And way over budget!!!

On to the second most important part of the project, the drawing of the plans. (Weird! I know right?) Seriously, this part is so important because one little mess up and your whole thing is off! (In measurement or just put on hold until you can run back to the store, which I hate!!!)

It doesn't have to be fancy or even real pretty, but it does need to equal and balanced.  What do I mean by this? The pipes have to be equal, the boards have to be exact, the holes drilled correctly for the pipes to fit through (there is another option for this part if you wanted to go that route), and the boards must be straight. (Otherwise they wobble) I would suggest making several copies, so you can make notes or changes if needed, and make a supply list.


Tips for making your own:

Find a partner!! I recruited my husband! He did most of the cutting of the lumber. I'm not that good with a saw....yet!! He is also better with the measurements. I am a moron when it comes to math!! So anytime I have said "I" I actually mean "We".....

Be ready to dig through lumber to find the straightest, prettiest boards. Remember, you probably do not want one with huge holes and loose knots, especially on the desk portion.

I used black iron pipe instead of galvanized pipe unless I couldn't find a certain piece then I compromised. Just a cost preference. The only thing is black iron is messy! You have to clean it really well before spray painting. I cleaned mine with Dawn dish soap to remove the grease (Do not soak! I just had a small bowl of water and soap to dip a brush or cloth) and SCRUBBED! I then wiped it down with denatured alcohol and let it dry. WEAR OLD CLOTHES AND LATEX GLOVES!! IT GETS VERY MESSY!

Black iron pipe will rust if exposed to even the smallest amount of moisture, but I was spray painting mine anyway so it didn't factor in too much. However, if you are not spray painting, I would use the galvanized pipe.

I bought floor flanges at Home Depot. They were half the cost compared to Lowe's so it's worth making the trip! (We only have a Lowe's in our immediate area. Often times, other than that, I had just as much luck at locally owned places as I did the big brand stores....

If you don't want to fool with drilling holes through the boards for the pipe to slide through the other option is to let the board rest on top of the pipe. Similar to how we did the half bath shelving. (Here is the link in case you have forgotten how it looked: RH Bathroom Shelving) I just liked the look of the pipe through the board better!

Find a stud! (And if you do take a picture I want to see!! Ha!) Seriously, if you use drywall anchors you will be fine, but these are heavy shelves. Better to be safe than sorry!

Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint is the color I chose to use to paint the pipes. Again, just a preference.--  at least 2 cans. I also used blue painters tape to cover the thread, very important so that the fittings can screw on correctly! A wire brush works well in removing anything caught up in the threading.

I also used Minwax Pre-stain Conditioner followed by Minwax Special Walnut for the color. I strongly recommend the pre-sain conditioner. Lots of times I skip things like this bc of the hassle and extra cost, but it's worth it. OtherBoring blank wallwise, the stain will often blotch or streak...

Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane Satin Finish....that's a preference too. I chose to do this because 1.) I am using it as a desk ad wanted the protection to be able to write and actually use it without worry. 2.) It's easier to dust with a smooth finish. I suggest sanding very lightly with 400 grit sandpaper between coats. (Or even a brown paper bag would work) Makes for a smoother finish!!!

I used pine as my choice of wood. It's the cheapest!

I got a Dewalt 3-Amp Orbital Sander for my birthday last year. Love it!! 120 Grit then followed up with 220 Grit before started the staining process.

We did not screw the floor flanges into my floor. We used furniture pads so to not scratch and the weight of the shelves holds it in place.



And that's about it, folks! It was a big project, but one that I am absolutely thrilled with! And, for well over half the cost! Mine did cost more than I had originally intended, though only because of my design. More shelves=more lumber, pipes, pipe fittings, etc=more money!

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them to the best of my ability but remember.....I am not a carpenter, I just like to pretend to be!






3 Responses

  1. Rebekah Schweiger says:

    Hello! Can you give us the specs for the length of boards and the exact number and sizes of the pipes you used? I would like to copy this configuration exactly for my new office. I really appreciate all of your help!

    • Ginger says:

      Yes! But, keep in mind that your wall space may require you to adjust the length or width accordingly. I would also recommend doing a rough sketch of what you want it to look like with dimensions drawn in. (This helped us the most!)

      Board Length’s- 3x 84 inch (Being the top shelf and other two desktop)
      5x 44 1/2 inch (Two upper shelves and two lower)

      Pipes- 2x– 26 inch pipe
      1x– 22 inch pipe (custom cut at Home Depot)
      11x– 10 inch pipe
      8x– 12 inch pipe
      3x– 8 inch pipe
      18x– 6 inch pipe
      18x– ‘T’ fitting
      21x– Elbow fitting
      1x– Cross fitting
      1x– Nipple fitting (This you shouldn’t need. We only needed bc of mistake in drilling.)
      9x– 3/4 inch Floor Flanges

      You could probably cutout a few of these pipe fittings. We had to compromise in a few spots… I will post an update with picture measurements later today! Hope that helps!! Good Luck!

      • Rebekah says:

        It does! We are moving to a different apartment with a teeny tiny office and this is literally what I have been searching for! I am hoping copying yours will be the right fit. Everyone has tutorials but no one lists all the pieces to buy. I am like a home cook- give me a list of ingredients and I can (hopefully) bake a cake (or in this case a pipe desk/shelf) !

        Thank you again!!! I look forward to the follow up post!

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