Planning For The Near Future With IKEA Desks

IKEA desks; it’s a rabbit hole I totally didn’t expect. My living/office space is set to expand sometime this year, and looking for the perfect desk just soaked up my entire day. Rather than write this day off as a waste of time, I decided to write it up as a blog post. So let’s look at the inspiration, mock-ups, and the indecision together!

My aim for this week was to crank out a couple of Android/iOS reviews to make up for the extra bit of spending over the Christmas period, and while I managed the main one covering ambitious Action MMO, Rangers of Oblivion (which you can read over at TouchArcade), the other didn’t get the straight-forward approval I was hoping for.

So rather than struggling to get a simple answer for a simple question, I spent my day roughly planning my future office space. It isn’t something I regularly share on the internet, but my office/living space has been incredibly small over the last 5-6 years, but a family event is set to change that. The small room currently causing my knees to age rapidly will more than likely be turned into a small bed/wardrobe space, with a noticeably bigger room upstairs becoming my primary office/entertainment den.

I swapped one of my IKEA desks for this shorter version just a few weeks ago.
It’s “cozy”.

Although I’ve just about managed to finally work this tiny room into something relatively functional given its various structural compromises (visible boiler, uneven plasterwork, freezing floors, and heavily piped walls), I’m excited to see what I can do with far more space in another room.

The Inspiration

The room upstairs is a fairly basic room at around 3×3 meters. The overall goal here is to house my recently simplified PC setup, a TV and its connected devices, a couch (AKA my current bed) a decent distance away from the TV for media consumption, and a space for my favorite hospice-bought armchair/footstool that was moved into the corner of the living room when its inability to adapt to a higher desk made it completely unsuitable as a desk chair. Having enough enough space between all of this for my Oculus Rift I bought back in 2017 for some occasional review work would be a bonus. VR reviews is a niche I’d love to dive back into!

So what’s the plan, then? Given I already have plenty of the components for the new room (I’ll just be moving them upstairs), sourcing IKEA desk is proving more complicated than I imagined. Reddit’s /r/battlestations page is heaven for inspiration, and I know IKEA has basically everything I need for the desk of my dreams, but finding the individual parts that can pull it all together isn’t easy.

IKEA desks used to their full potential.
This guy nailed it, but the situation is a little different.

I’ve more or less settled on the idea of buying what’s generally considered a kitchen worktop as my desk as they generally have a better finish than the chipboard-stuffed desktops featured on the IKEA desks page. It’s longer, looks great in dark oak, and can be chopped down to fit a more precise measurement – unlike the cheaper LINNMON desk most opt for.

But the issue is finding a way to prop. Sure, you can just use virtually any of the legs sold in the famous warehouse stores, but why settle for a single-use solution when you can – sometimes – sit the worktop/desk on top something that doubles as a storage unit; like a shelf or chest of drawers? Geniuses over at Reddit have the Kallax cube-style shelving units for this exact purpose, and the results are simply gorgeous even though the extra height seems like it would put my current chair into the borderline useless category given how little it seems to rise – but that’s something we can fix later down the line. What irks me is that at 77cm high, the KALLAX is in a league of its own.

The Mock-Ups

The IKEA desks tool only deems two storage units as being suited to use as legs for their generic tabletops; the ALEX cupboard/drawer unit, and the KLIMPEN shelf. Both at 70 cm high, you can mix and match all you want. But the KALLAX, at 77 cm high, is an all-or-nothing situation.

I can use two IKEA desks to create one L-shaped configuration, but the measurements are never perfect.
SketchUp isn’t great with chairs, so just imagine them for now.

My initial plan was to create an L-shape desk with the two LINNMON desks I currently own (a 120cm and a 100cm version), with the corner essentially canabilising 40 cm or usable space, with legs supporting the middle/corner area while a Klimpen shelf would sit on the PC side closest to the couch, and the ALEX drawer unit acting as the leg on the far side, allowing for quick reach of a book from the shelf while relaxing, and hiding things like cables and remotes in the drawer by the TV section. It’s an idea I still love, but the couch would lose a bit of its length in the process, and my favorite chair wouldn’t get a good view of the TV.

Instead, I decided to entertain the idea of having a single, long desk spanning where the couch was initially going to sit, bringing me to the idea of using various Kallax shelving units to prop up the worktop desk. In my mind, it’s the better-looking option (though screen glare from the windows could pose a risk without blackout curtains), but the single style of the KALLAX means I’d have nowhere to hide my junk, with the open back making them fairly impractical when it comes to books, too.

IKEA desks are a more complicated than the company would have you believe.
The depth of the KALLAX units trumps the worktop, sadly. Legs could work on the far side.

The Indecision

So I’m at a loss, honestly. The idea of one neat, long shelf piqued my interest, but the limitations of the legs have put a dampener on things. A center KALLAX would work well as a console caddy but would eat up quite a bit of leg space. I’ll probably find some way to make it work, but typing it all up here has helped me to get a clearer perspective on my situation.

It’s meant to be a good 6 months before I can get this little project going, but I believe there’s a strong chance it’ll come sooner; and I want to be prepared!

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