Steel Pipe + Wood Furniture

My boyfriend and I just moved into a new apartment and had the ambitious goal of building all of our furniture– all we had was a bed. While we have since accepted one piece of interim furniture (a table from my brother) we have succeeded in building ourselves a shelf and standing desk thus far.

The shelf we wanted actually had some stringent requirements. The wall we wanted it against has a heating unit along the bottom of it– think a really large molding– so we needed something that could be flush with the wall but also jump over the heating unit. We also don’t really want to put any high load bearing screws in the wall. We poked around the on the internet for ideas and settled on something made out of steel pipes and wood, which would become a theme. 🙂

I think it’s easiest to explain in pictures:

photo2 photo4The shelf “leans” into the wall, meaning no drilling required! The wood shelves just rest on the tee joints of the steel pipes, so the whole thing was made with just a hand drill (for holes in the wood) and is easily disassembled. This also means it is easy to add and subtract shelves. The whole thing is not terribly sturdy laterally– a good shove on the side of the shelf and you’ll get some movement– but this is not a huge deal with shelving.

We think it looks pretty cool. We found some similar designs online selling for upwards of $1,000, but we think our Home Depot’ed $200 is just as nifty, plus it’s reconfigurable! Most of the cost goes towards the steel piping (surprisingly expensive) but you could get something pretty close to this with black PVC pipes and you would probably cut the cost in half.

Then we needed a standing desk to match. We got a great deal on an awesome bamboo tabletop, and basically put some steel legs on it. We learned that steel pipes do not hold tight straightness tolerances (duh) but with shims anything is possible! Again, this was simple to construct: hand drill to drill the flanges in the bamboo tabletop, and the steel pipes assembled by hand.

photo3The monitor is just sitting on the subwoofer of the computer speakers. Again, this kind of industrial modern table sells for upwards of $500 online, but ours was a neat $250. (Nice table tops are more expensive than pine lumber at Home Depot!)

We expect this furniture to last us forever– it is easily modified so we can reconfigure when we move somewhere new, or just want a change of pace. It’ll be easy to move because it all comes apart. Plus, there is almost nothing we can do to damage the steel pipes!


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