Ultimate Computer Desk?

PocketDesk from DWR

I need a new computer desk for the house. Over the past two weeks, we’ve checked out the offerings at Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Design Within Reach, IKEA, and Craigslist. The price varies from cheap to wildly expensive. The DWR Pocket Desk is one of my favorites with its huge keyboard tray and rear utility drawer. At $1450, however, it’s definitely not within my reach! The Walker Desk and the Nova Desk are both nice, but they might be a little small for my 30-inch Cinema Display. The Galant desk from IKEA has many modular components and is another desk that I’m looking at.

Let’s talk about requirements. The desk that I have right now is 60″W x 29″H x 30″D. My future desk doesn’t have to be bigger, but it shouldn’t be much much smaller. I find myself raising my chair too high in order to get my hands in the proper position to type, so I think a keyboard tray with ample room for my mouse and office supplies would be great.

Any ideas on what other companies I should be looking at? How much would it cost to get a custom desk made in the vein of the Pocket Desk?

The Room
The Office/Den in the new house

Walker Desk from Crate and Barrel
Walker Desk from Crate and Barrel

PocketDesk from Design Within Reach
Pocket Desk from Design Within Reach

Nova Desk from Scandinavian Designs
Nova Desk from Scandinavian Designs

Bedford Desk from Pottery Barn
Bedford Desk from Pottery Barn

23 thoughts on “Ultimate Computer Desk?

  1. DaHamster

    Adam, I use the O’Sullivan Computer L-shape desk at home. It is very affordable, easy to assemble and it also has great ergonomics. Furthermore, the L-shape design is more efficient for movement and there are plenty of desk-top real estate for your electronic toys. If you feel the desk is a little bit too high, you could always buy a footrest to get more comfortable. (see http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_chair.html) I bought my desk from Office Depot a few years ago. Use the following link to see a sample photo of the desk:


    Good luck.


  2. Forgot to mention, the room is 7.5 feet wide by 15 feet long. I want to put the computer away from the window to avoid unnecessary sun glare. I love L-desks, but I’m not sure it’s the best type of desk for this room configuration. I probably will get a real footrest. Right now, my footrest is comprised of two B&H catalogs!

  3. Adam, have you checked out Target?


    If you have not been to their store lately, you really should as they have some really cool stuff at very affordable prices. I would say much of their stuff is at least IKEA quality too.

  4. I’d challenge you to re-think the entire space before you take the plunge. What kind of shelving do you need? What kind of storage? How much surface space? How many work areas? Where can you put a whiteboard? Where will the desktop computers and network goodies live?

    When I did this, I designed my own desk solution and I’ve been quite happy with it. Perhaps you should come out to Denver on a recon trip. :)

  5. I have the GALANT IKEA desk (you can see it in action at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebpayne/107558558/). We chose it because of the flexability – I can have my Mac Mini, PowerBook, iBook, Photosmart printer, Toshiba laptop, broadband boxes and a TV/DVD on the desk and it fits the room perfectly. It took a while to fix together but I love it, very good.

    I chose this instead of a glass desk because I was concerned about durability and storage location!

  6. Also, it is interesting all the pictures have Macs on them ;-)

  7. that’s kinda funny, you can afford the 30 Cinema Display, but can’t afford something to put it on…

  8. I have the Nova (didn’t even know it was called that) without the little side ad-on. I can fit my deeeep 17-inch CRT Apple display on it as well as a bunch of books, my PowerBook on a stand and two computer speakers. I have it up against a wall so the CRT has to sit off to the side. I’m thinking of getting a flat-panel display to gain back a little more real estate. A 30-inch would certainly take up a lot of room, but I think you’d be OK.

    It’s a nice desk, although the glass feels pretty cold in summer when I’m wearing short sleeves. I’d never owned a glass desk before and on the whole I now realize I prefer wood. But I do like the look of it and that’s a minor complaint. I got some wooden rolling drawers at Ikea to go under it.

    You can see it in action in the office in my old house here.

  9. Thanks for the image, John! I see that you have added the keyboard tray to the Nova, but your external keyboard is sitting on top. Any particular reason for that?

  10. Felix – I’ll check out Target as well. We have some unused gift certificates from the wedding.

    Tristan – The price is more easily quantifiable with the Cinema Display. The Pocket Desk is nice, but it’s not $1450 nice.

    Seb – Rae and I are looking closely at the Galant and the different configurations possible. We’ll be bringing out measuring tape to the house this Friday to see if everything can fit!

    Alex – Been thinking about this, esp. rewiring the house. I don’t want my servers and NAS boxes in this room.

  11. The keyboard on the desk is for the PowerBook, and there’s a black split-key ergonomic keyboard on the tray for the Power Mac G4. I really should switch them since I use the PowerBook more than the Power Mac, but I’d have to crawl under the table and it’s all dark and scary under there…

  12. There are some many bolts – it took the good part of three hours to assemble the entire Galant setup and there were not too many left over! I have the desk in the beech style with a main ‘corner’ piece, two smaller desk pieces, two end round piceces and three T-style legs. I also have two pedestals which hold manuals, various spare components and too many papers! Good luck.

  13. After lots of search I bought this from Ikea:


    It snugly fits in a corner hence reduces the clutter in the room. Has space for my 24 inch lcd monitor. It does not have a keyboard tray.lots of space to keep books and other stuff.Has a magnet board/Dry erase marker board also to keep notes.Its strong enough to hold the computer etc….But may not be strong enough to last multiple re assemblies (after the initial one). but you pay only 130$.

  14. Lynn

    Boy is this timely. I’m doing the same search and just happened to notice the Walker desk at Crate and Barrel. I like the possibilities. My home computer is a laptop and a nice deep keyboard tray is just right for the whole thing. External drives can sit on that little shelf in back. The glass top is a a little scary, however. And it means that I can’t put a hutch on top of the desk – but I can put shelves on the wall. I have to completely redo the room because it’s sort of grown organically and doesn’t work very well right now. In the end, I may find that the best option is a low corner unit table. I find that 26″ is a nice comfortable height for a keyboard or laptop.

  15. As a computer desk designer, one of the most critical issues is how to fit many computer peripherals and office equipment devices in tight spaces, all at the reach of hand. An effective approach is to use not one, but several light-weight wheeled units, preferably on a hard floors, that can be accomodated according to eac hones daily need. This can be achieved with a set of small mobile tables, that can help creat L shape layouts without having to have a monstruos L-shape fixed desk. Or using a pole computer workstation , with LCD monitor brackets, ergonomic keyboard trays and shelves, all height adjustable, at the very point of need. Many of these solutions are found here: http://www.1-computerdesks.com/, where also extra add-on units can come in handy (extra monitor, printer, scanner, laptop, etc…), like for instance the S2828. You are welcome to call with any questions or suggestions..


  16. sting

    Adam, what did you end up getting? Love to see a photo of your final setup. I’m going through the exercise right now.

  17. http://www.tow.com/2006/03/19/moving-day/

    I ended up getting a Galant desk from Ikea. It’s been pretty good thus far!

  18. sting

    Adam, I didn’t see a keyboard tray. Did you just lower the desk for proper typing position?

  19. No keyboard tray. We did lower the desk slightly. I’m also using a footrest and a higher position for my seat.

  20. One thing I have learned about computer desks is higher price doesn’t necessarily mean better quality, I own an ikea desk and am very pleased with it, go with your needs, ikea very rarely dissapoints!

  21. aidan

    thanks for your info.
    now, i can compare to some stores before buying the desk.

  22. that’s kinda funny, you can afford the 30 Cinema Display, but can’t afford something to put it on…

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