DIY mirrored secretary desk…

diy mirrored secretary desk

A couple of months ago I purchased the Hemnes secretary desk from IKEA as my workspace. I needed a desk, storage, a place for a printer and plenty of room for ideas. This desk handled all of it. I can easily work in the living room and then pack “my office” up by simply closing the doors. Plenty of shelves and space for all my needs. Since it is sitting in my living room I felt that it needed to be dressed up a bit. I looked around and started up a office desk Pinterest board to get all my ideas in one place. Since I kept pinning desks with fretwork and mirrors I knew that a DIY mirrored secretary desk was the direction I was headed. It has a timeless look to it without being “too much.” I just needed to figure out how to do it.

DIY mirrored secretary desk

The plan was to cut out the two top doors and leave the frames intact. I would then attach a mirror and some sort of fretwork. The mirrored part seemed easy enough since I had just stumbled upon acrylic sheets of mirror at the hardware store. The acrylic sheets are much lighter (and less expensive) than an actual mirror. I was concerned that a glass mirror would cause the whole door to come crashing off since the IKEA doors are pretty lightweight to begin with. I purchased one 24 inch by 48 inch panel which I was able to cut myself. I scored it a couple of times with a box cutter and then snapped it along the scored line. It cut perfectly. This one sheet was enough for both door panels and then some.

The tricky part was figuring out how to add the fretwork! This is where O’verlays came into the picture. They create lightweight decorative fretwork panels in all patterns and sizes. The panels are paintable and can easily be attached to any surface. They did not have the exact dimensions I needed but helped walk me through what sizes would best work for this project. O’verlays then created custom sized panels for me in the Khloe pattern. I went with the 1/2 inch thick panels that measured 11 5/8 wide by 28 3/8 tall. The panels arrived quickly, fit perfectly and I was able to get to work.

DIY mirrored secretary desk

The scariest part of this project was cutting out the center of the cabinet doors, since there was no going back. I first drilled a hole large enough for the jig saw blade to fit into. I then went as close to the inner edge of the frame as possible and cut out the entire center. This was a quick and easy step since the center of the cabinet is extremely thin. Once the inside panel was removed I sanded down any rough edges. All of this would be hidden by the fretwork so I wasn’t too concerned with how it would look. For an extra weight precaution I stabilized each corner with a l-bracket on the back side of the door.

DIY mirrored secretary desk

I then lined up my acrylic mirrors on the backside of each panel with the mirror facing the front of the panel. They attached pretty quickly using large washers. These will later get covered up with white spray paint to blend it. I probably added more washers than I needed to but I wanted this to be as solid as possible. These doors are opened and closed countless times during the day, and not always by adults!

DIY mirrored secretary desk

DIY mirrored secretary desk

The fretwork was then attached to the mirror using Liquid Nails. Best stuff ever. I applied the glue all around the inner edge of the frame, right on top of the mirror. The outer edge of the fretwork would hide the glue but I tried to keep a neat and straight line. I also applied glue dots all along the back of the fretwork. The fretwork was then slipped into place and I let both panels dry for about 24 in a well ventilated area. The next day I filled in any of the gaps between the fretwork and the cabinet frame with white paintable adhesive caulk. The paintable part is important since the next step is to touch up any bare marks on the wooden frame left behind when I sanded them down. There were a few spots that quickly disappeared with the help of some white acrylic paint.

DIY mirrored secretary desk

After the doors dried a bit I was able to reattach them to the desk. Some new hardware was added as well to lighten the whole look up. I chose glass knobs that wouldn’t distract the eye from the mirrored fretwork.

DIY mirrored secretary desk

DIY mirrored secretary desk

DIY mirrored secretary desk

The great thing about a project like this is that I could have gone with any style fretwork that O’verlays had to offer. They have option ranging from modern to traditional to everything in between. I chose something based on my decor and personal style. The desk itself is basic enough which allows more freedom on the DIY end! If you’d like to try a project out using O’verlays panels they have generously offered you 15% a discount. Enter the coupon code no29design15 to apply the discount to your purchase!

Thanks to O’verlays for supplying the fretwork panels for this project.


  1. says

    I’m kind of obsessed with this and love it! It’s a beautiful decorative piece for your home but also functional! I love it and kind of want to recreate it! As a fellow blogger I love how beautiful this is and how it can keep all the materials and extras for blogging hidden! I love it! Beautiful work!

  2. Pat says

    I love your desk! You are very creative. I am obsessed with the chair. Where did you purchase it? Thanks

  3. Katherine Bailey says

    I’m doing a similar project on a Winthrop. Could you share where you found that mirror material? That sounds PERFECT! Your project turned out great!

  4. Paul says

    I really like your design. Could you please tell me the interior dimensions of the desk area where the laptop is positioned. I want to know if it would fit my computer monitor. Thanks.

    • admin says

      The dimensions are 12.5 inches high by 23 inches wide by about 13 inches deep. The depth I measured at the very top since the door closes at an angle. The depth at the bottom is about 17 inches.

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