Need Office Setup in Temporary, Already Full Bedroom
July 17, 2020 11:47 AM   Subscribe

I need a home-office in my temporary home. Compact but functional. And it's temporary so I don't want to spend too much. Is there a way to make some of the desk be over the bed? But I want to be sitting in a real chair not sit on the bed. (both for ergonomics reasons and for professionalism while video-conferencing reasons).

I'm staying with my parents during the pandemic. I expect to need to start working from home, 9-5ish. I need a place to work. But this isn't my house and it's already full.

There are two rooms where this could happen. One has quite limited floorspace. Maybe I could talk my parents into moving a small dresser or large-ish nighstand out of the room. My son and I sleep here, though, so that would complicate my ability to do some of my work after he goes to bed.

The other room is a sort of spare room, belonging to somone (i.e. someone who has two bedrooms uses this one to store their clothes, but never sleeps there. Goes in pretty much only to get dressed). I could put a desk there, but there's pretty much 0 floor space and there isn't really any furniture that could move out without disruption. But I'm thinkng, a desk that is partially over the bed while I"m working and pushed more fully over the bed when I'm not. Is that a thing? the bed is this style, so the standard hospital-style over the bed table/tray thing will not work. I'm thinking something with legs like this so I could work at the side of the able with the vertical posts and then tuck it over bed when I'm not working? But would love an actual desk, heavy-duty enough to hold a real monitor and keyboard try. Is that a thing?

Tips for picking a chair? I want something under $200, let's say, but reasonably ergonomic, and as comfortable as possible without taking up too much room? I'll have to choose online, so not sitting and trying it out.

ANy other ideas?

I'm in Canada. I'm looking at Ikea, Amazon, and Staples.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Shopping (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ikea used to make a Malm overbed table that was pretty nice. Not that hard to make yourself.
posted by pinochiette at 11:56 AM on July 17, 2020

Could you use something like a wall-mounted drop-leaf table to do double duty as a both a nightstand and a desk? I'm not sure how much space you need to spread out but in the linked sample it looks like there'd be room to push a small monitor up against the wall when in nightstand mode. IKEA version is way more economical.
posted by missmobtown at 12:01 PM on July 17, 2020

Response by poster: Would it be madness to sit something like this on the bed?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:05 PM on July 17, 2020

Also, I sometimes use a pop-up cardboard standing desk on my bed (you can also make this yourself). It's not a full desk, but holds a laptop at the right height and the keyboard separately.
posted by pinochiette at 12:06 PM on July 17, 2020

One of the things about having the standing desk things on the bed is that if you were try try to use it seated, you couldn't be properly under it. Think about how far over your knees you can comfortably reach and type all day.

I think I'd consider if making it work in the room you share with your son for most of the day is worth it if you had to take a laptop to another room to work when he's asleep. (Assuming you have a laptop to work with here.)
posted by advicepig at 12:27 PM on July 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Since the pandemic began, my at-home work desk has consisted of two folding chairs with some cardboard boxes on them and a small piece of plywood on top of that for my work surface. It didn't cost me a thing as I scrounged stuff from around the house, and can be quickly dismantled when the room has to be used for something else.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

How much space do you need? What kind of computer and accessories are we talking about? Book/paperwork space?
posted by rhizome at 1:01 PM on July 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I feel like if I had enough width that I can slide under a keyboard tray, that's wide enough. And if I cant attach a monitor arm, then that gives the desk surface itself for a few papers and such. I'm wondering if something like this would be sturdy enough to attach a keyboard drawer and monitor arm.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:25 PM on July 17, 2020

You probably would have mentioned this if this were the case, but is there any chance that the top of the dresser is standing desk height? Alternatively, is it safely possible to put a plywood board on top of a pulled out dresser drawer to make a makeshift desk?

Perhaps something like this would work. (On preview... jinx... but I think the question whether a sub $100 "mail order" desk is durable enough is a fair one).
posted by oceano at 1:38 PM on July 17, 2020

I'm generally thinking of the table desk here. Make sure it has locking wheels, but other than that there are a variety of desktop sizes and storage options (mind your legroom!). This chair looks decent and somewhat small, depending on your taste.

On preview: No, I don't think so. That looks pretty spindly. But there are heavier duty options there. So it's more like a full desktop setup rather than "laptop and maybe a mouse."

I'd recommend then, something more substantial:
- Probably not monitor arm-safe, but it has places for papers besides
- Same idea, make sure whatever has wheels has locks for them
- Or, here's a whole company that looks great. Lots of stuff sold out, natch, but I think you could put something perfect together, maybe even more than perfect if you called them. Almost all of them are <$200.
posted by rhizome at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2020

I sometimes work in bed and when I do, I put a sit-to-stand thing like the one you shared on my bed. It's...fine, you can't put your legs under it so I usually put my legs crossed in front of me or sort of put the whole thing in my lap (but then can't move my body or the whole camera view moves). Definitely not ideal nor the most comfortable, but works in a pinch.
posted by assenav at 2:06 PM on July 17, 2020

I got a Garka adjustable height chair from Ikea a few weeks ago and ended up getting two more this week for other family members. I also got the Knotten standing desk which has a fairly small footprint and has worked well for me so far.
posted by mogget at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2020

Response by poster: OK, I might end up going with a compact ikea desk...but I just want to clarify that I'm not the least bit interested in a standing desk. I want to sit.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:00 PM on July 17, 2020

I think you would find a table on the bed intolerable. Sitting for a long time without back support can be very difficult. I think you'll want a proper chair. Also, you'll ideally want to have your keyboard at the proper height to type, with the monitor elevated. Laptops really aren't ergonomic for long hours.

My home office has to be collapsible. I have a folding table with an elevated monitor, a smaller adjustable laptop table underneath (Dave now discontinued, but we never used the tilt) set at the correct height for typing, and a dining chair that happens to have good support. The table is folded daily, the chair and laptop table (doesn't fold) are put in a corner.

Do you have enough room in either room to get out a folding table, even if you can't really move around it?
posted by jb at 10:06 PM on July 18, 2020

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