The Perfect Post-Desktop Desk
March 1, 2009 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Recommend new desk for Laptop + Flat Panel(s)? My computer is dying, as is its old desk. I need to replace both. While I'm set on the hardware (15" MacBook Pro + 27" LCD Monitor), I can't find the ideal desk.

  1. Full-sized desk (not one of those puny pods)
  2. Primary surface of desk should be low enough (or adjustable) so that typing on the laptop's keyboard is not awkward or painful (No keyboard tray or separate plug-in keyboard).
  3. Elevated rear shelf (or elevated swing-arm) to accommodate large 27" monitor
  4. Quality materials - I'm willing to pay extra for something that will really last, so would like to avoid particle board if at all possible.
  5. Finish: Would prefer black or metal or some combination thereof.
  6. Drawers: nice, but not necessary
Any ideas hugely appreciated!
posted by MaxVonCretin to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have had this desk and file for about four years now and am thoroughly happy with it.
posted by netbros at 12:47 PM on March 1, 2009

Not sure if this is what you're looking for or not, but the best computer desk I've ever had (and the one I'm sitting at this very instant) is not a computer desk at all, but an old school office desk which was picked up at a city government cash-and-carry sale for $30. It cost more to have it shipped here than it did to buy it.

It is very full sized at 3'x6', and probably weighs 250lbs. The surface is low enough that I keep my keyboard on top of it with no keyboard drawer/tray.

No elevated rear shelf, but the primary desk is more than big enough to accommodate a keyboard, tower, 3 monitors and a ton of junk. It's more than sturdy enough to bolt a swing arm to if you wanted for a monitor to elevate by.

The materials are very sturdy, real wood, no particle board.

As for the finish, that's where there might be some lack of choice. I lucked out to get this desk in dark walnut top with similar coloring on the sides and black metal 'highlights' but usually at these city asset disposal things you have a pronounced lack of choice when it comes to color.

Drawers are my favorite part of this thing. It has 5 drawers, 3 regular ones on the left, 2 on the right, one of which has wooden dividers for file folders. It also has two pull out surfaces above the drawers, which when extended make the desk into a shallow U shaped workspace.

It looks kind of similar to this, except a little wider, much darker color and with no central locking drawer. And in better shape, mine's not all beat to hell like that one.
posted by barc0001 at 12:58 PM on March 1, 2009

I have found my perfect office desk to be a buffet table purchased at Sam's for the grand price of $89. I have seen buffet tables in 3 different lengths and they are a perfect width and height. On my desk now is a full-page scanner, an injet printer, a label printer, a nice set of speakers, a USB hub and firewire hub, 2 external hard drives, a lamp, a cable modem, my Palm cradle, an ipod charger, large cushioned headphones AND my 20" iMac with wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. There is plenty of room remaining for laying down of papers and a lighted document holder when I choose to use one for typing. Underneath the table it is wide-open for troubleshooting by crawling under the desk as needed to plug/unplug, check connections, etc., as necessary. There is also room under the desk for a portable file if desired (right next to my sub woofer).

The size I use is 30" wide x 96" long, which is extremely large for a desk. The 30" width is almost perfect, and as I said, you can choose your length as needed. It is sturdy, since the legs lock into place. It also collapses, which makes moving it very easy. Downside: it is made of particle board supported by a steel frame, which I understand you want to stay away from, and particle board is heavy. Hopefully you won't have to move it much. It fits my needs perfectly.
posted by konig at 1:42 PM on March 1, 2009

Although I don't have any of their products myself (I've got a custom slab that's hanging directly on the wall), I've always been intrigued by Anthro.

Another option you could explore is building a workstation using legs and worktops from McMaster-Carr. It'll be ugly, industrial, and bulletproof. If you want a maple-block worktop measuring 32"x60" on 29" legs, look there.
posted by adamrice at 2:01 PM on March 1, 2009

Sorry, here's a better link direct to McMaster-Carr's workbench section
posted by adamrice at 2:06 PM on March 1, 2009

Do you live near an Ikea? You can mix and match table tops and legs there till you're giddy. It's also easy to build out platforms using shelves and their various legs (some as short as 4") - not sure about durability, but you will be able to get almost exactly the surface and height you want.
posted by wfrgms at 4:20 PM on March 1, 2009

Yeah, here's what I did with two Ikea tabletops and six legs. It works really well.
posted by nicwolff at 10:06 AM on March 2, 2009

Seconding IKEA. Check out this animation.
posted by dinger at 1:23 PM on March 2, 2009

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