Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ikea Hack Part 1 - Designing the Desk

For our style and design mission, we decided to fashicate a new desk that would meet our needs. Mandy does a lot of work at the computer, and the lack of ergonomics is starting to take a toll. Here's the first part of our guide to hack several pieces of Ikea furniture.

1. Evaluate what your current desk is lacking. Is it ergonomic? Do you have accessible storage? Is it sturdy? We found our existing desk inadequate in several areas:

- after one year, it was rickety and unstable
- it was not even close to ergonomic
- there was very little workspace
- and while the doors were great at covering up the mess, there wasn't any accessible storage while seated at the desk

Here's a photo of our old desk (complete with cat accessory).
Old desk - open     Old desk - closed

We looked at many desks at Ikea, but couldn't find one that met all of our requirements. We decided to come up with our own design.

2. The basic pieces in this hack are still used for their intended purposes (desktop, legs, drawer unit), but we added several details to make the desk our own.

First, I noticed that the keyboard trays that Ikea sells were kind of flimsy. You can make a much better one yourself. All you need is a piece of wood and a sturdy pair of keyboard slides (both available at your local hardware store). Mandy wrapped the wood with leather like vinyl, using a staple gun to tack the material to the underside of the keyboard tray. This turned out great! The texture is so smooth and soft that we don't even need a mouse pad anymore.
Keyboard tray

The next detail we added was a second tier on the desktop. I really wanted quick access to several items like my firewire drive, and at the same time liked how the raised level looked. Mandy found solid wood magazine file boxes at Ikea (Knuff) that worked out perfectly. The curved edges match the curves of the desk legs.

Check back for Part 2 tomorrow and learn about exciting cable management and how to paint your desk. In Part 3, we'll explore the proper setup for an ergonomic desk. A fun filled time for all ages!

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