Planning the New RV Computer Desk
At the rear of our Keystone Cougar fifth wheel, there are two swivel recliners with a small table between them. This little table is where I use the computer, not an ideal situation.
So, as part of the summer renovations I wanted to build myself a properly sized desk. Studying the very small space I had to work with I figured the best plan of action was to completely remove the small table between the swivel rocker chairs. I had my own custom design ideas.
Our plan is to throw away these worn out fabric OEM RV chairs and replace them with a nice computer chair for my new desk and a leather recliner. Space wise the best solution was to place the computer chair beside the rigs entrance door and sit sideways as to not block it. The new desk will be the same width as the old table but extend out an extra foot and one-half. The desk dimensions will end out being 18 inches wide 36 inches long and 28 inches tall.
I went around and around in mind as to how to have a desk big enough to work on but still allow our slide out to come in. My first thought was a free standing table that we would move and secure elsewhere when traveling. But then a light bulb went off in my head when I remembered we had a kitchen counter extension we never use. It already had the flip up leg assembly and the match our kitchens counter top pattern. Perfect.
Removing the Old Table and Reusing the Drawer
Removing the little coffee table was really easy as it was only held in place by several long screws. Inside the cabinet area is where the RV power cord is stored by feeding it through a hole at the rear of the rig. I’m going to add a pluggable power connection instead. That way I can store the long cord somewhere else.
One feature of the coffee table I really liked though was the small drawer, so I decided to move it to another location. Recently a Love Your RV blog reader had emailed me with photos detailing how he had installed a drawer in an unused section of his Cougars kitchen cabinets. Perfect timing! I was able to use the existing drawer hardware and made it work in a new location right beside our entrance door.
Building the New RV Computer Desk
Constructing the Cabinet
First thing I needed to do for the new RV computer desk was construct a small cabinet. This would hide the holes in the wall and also provide housing for my Progressive Industries surge protector which previously lived in the old table’s cabinet area. To keep the weight down I built it out of ¼ inch plywood and 2 x 2s. For the top, I reused the old tables top but cut it a little shorter. Below the cabinet top, I included a handy little shelf area.
T0 hold the new cabinet in place I screwed 4 – 2 x 2s to the back wall and then screwed the cabinet to that frame. To allow the window blinds to clear, I had to notch out a 5-inch section of the cabinet’s rear.
Adding the Flip Up Section
Once I had the cabinet all built, I next could affix the flip-up section. It used to use a pair of “L” brackets to hold it in place, but I wanted it to be able to flip up or down so replaced them with a pair of cabinet door hinges.
Now when we prepare to travel we can lower this portion of the computer desk and the living room slide out will have enough space as it is retracted. I’ll have to devise some sort of restraint so it doesn’t bounce around during travel. Maybe an adjustable strap or catch of some sort.
Making It Look Pretty
To make the new desks cabinet look like it was part of the décor I covered it in what is called Con-Tact paper. It’s a very thin wallpaper type material with its own built-in glue. Just peel and stick. It comes in a cherry wood design that is almost a perfect match to our rigs existing cabinetry. Turned out to be a very cheap and lightweight solution, and easy to change in the future if we don’t like it. But, so far it is wife approved!
Video Detailing the RV Computer Desk Build
See the previous Summer RV renovation blog posts