01/05/2016 05:35 pm ET | Updated Jan 05, 2017

Setting Up a Home Office: The Home Depot vs. IKEA


The other night I went to The Home Depot to challenge IKEA. In the process of setting up a home office, I wanted to see if THD can serve me better. Flat packed stuff from IKEA is too obvious. No wonder there are so many IKEA "hacks" out there. Heck, even I created a downloadable ideaBook on how to "upcycle" IKEA.

At The Home Depot, I do not need instructions

Let's see. For a home office, first thing one needs is a desk. When you build your own, you can make it fit exactly right. It's up to you to decide what kind of a desk it should it be. You can make it narrower or wider than "standard." It will depend on your exact needs and space constraints. Your designer within can choose materials, finishes, and colors.

The Home Depot supplies all of the components

When it's made from scratch, all of the design decisions are totally up to you. The Home Depot provides the ingredients and you combine them based on personal preferences. You come up with your own unique solution! I love that. Everything in your home can proudly represent who you are.

With a desk or a table, first thing to consider is what to use for the work surface. Here are some of the choices: solid maple, birch, and red oak planks in ¾" thickness; I can double it. There is plywood. I can also go with a hollow core door.

Next step is to explore various leg options


With the help of The Home Depot associate, I locate a few designated contenders such as a carved ornate and streamlined 1 ½" square wooden leg varieties. Then, he shows me dowels of various diameters. Once he leaves to assist someone else, I come across something called "goth post." There are also a few options in gas pipe -- I love the color of the coating. Galvanized fencing posts of various diameters could work as well.

I want my home office desk to be on casters


IKEA choices do not even come close

There are some workable storage solutions available at The Home Depot. Here's a designated display even. I like the wooden crates. They can be set on casters as well. I can combine two of them and make a cart. But then, I can make my own bins and shelves out of the same material as the desk. If it's made out of plywood, I can carry that through. Or I can use solid wood planks. That way it will be a set, a carefully considered composition.

Something else comes to mind. Besides a desk and storage/shelving I need a place/wall to arrange work-in-progress in my home office No problem. The Home Depot has natural cork available in rolls. There is also such a thing as a Serrated Lay-in Ceiling Panels. I can create a pin-up surface over my desk.

Well, that works. I don't need IKEA instructions. I can set up my home office using The Home Depot as a springboard for my own creativity. Do you agree? I would love to get your comments. Maybe you can even share your latest projects with me.

Alla is an architect on demand advising DIY home improvement enthusiasts online.

This post originally appeared on