Designing the Perfect Desk

I’m finding that drawing up plans to build the perfect desk is slightly more difficult than, say, a bathroom vanity. The latter, as far as I’m concerned, has one purpose– hand washing– whereas my desk needs to work as an inspirational space, a place to sit down and get to work, and the organizing hub of my entire life.

I’m learning some things from my two primary work spaces.


First, my somewhat temporary office at the house.


  • The top of this desk is an old solid door with tiles on top, which means it weighs approximately 284 lbs. Okay, slight exaggeration, but it’s well over 100 lbs, which means it is a royal pain in the ass to move around.
  • The drawers on the right aren’t exactly roomy, and clearly I can’t even find the top one which is indicative of the state of my life at the moment.
  • The legs (stained 4×4’s) are attached with a couple of 4″ screws through the top which makes it difficult to disassemble and reassemble and isn’t the most stable construction method ever.


  • Here’s what I have to say about organization: There is none. Give me another week and there will be papers piled everywhere but the 12″ space in front of the computer. Kind of like this…


That’s my day-job workspace on a good day.

Again, you can see there are cords and stacks of paper everywhere. So what I’ve learned is:

  1. The more space I have the more crap I collect.
  2. Apparently I have a problem filing and/or organizing papers
  3. Important things need to be directly in front of my face, or I won’t remember them.

Understanding these things, I’ve started to sketch out some different desk ideas.

A couple of things I know I need:

  • A small clear area for the computer
  • A space for papers
  • A space for charging things (most notably the Kindle and camera)
  • A dedicate spot for the computer other than the floor or taking up space on the desk top

All I’ve decided about the actual look of it is that the top of the desk will be made from three 2×12’s joined together. Whether I create storage in the “legs” or as a hutch behind the desk remains to be seen.

Here are some things that have caught my eye:


8 Responses

  1. Since clutter is a problem, put all of the paraphernalia on a hutch of some sort and make it a rule that the only thing that goes on the computer desk is the computer and items NECESSARY to your blogging. If a bulletin board of some sort behind the desk works for you, put one in. I also find that a simple copy easel works well for me.

    Finally, put a little effort into the desktop; you’ll be glad you did. Match the 2x12s so you have a nicely joined top. Forest saw blades work best for cutting the edges for a nice disappearing glue joint. Use biscuits and double up on them for wood that thick.

  2. If you routinely deal with papers for several projects at once, what about a paper tray system? By which I mean having a bunch of matched trays or bins, which can be labelled by project, and then a set of cubbies for them to live in when not in active use. Or you could use magazine files and a simple shelf. Either way, the current project lives down on the desk, but when you switch gears you shovel its papers back in its box, and pull down the next one.

    Now *I* want one.

  3. I would also recommend planning for cable runs. Nobody likes dangly cables.

    I’ve recently started scanning all incoming papers and promptly recycling them instead of letting them pile up. It has certainly cut down on the paper clutter.

    1. I’ve heard of a receipt scanner that you can attach to the wall above a trash can – scan the receipt and it goes right into the trash! Somehow you can go from the scanned receipt into a spreadsheet for categorizing expenses. Obviously helpful for budgeting – might work for paperwork in general also.

      I’m using a general purpose scanner and trying to scan paperwork to eliminate files and piles – probably need to get back to that project since Kit’s desks look much better than mine.

  4. I have no particular advice to give, but I am *dying* to know where you found that table/cart with the wheels on the bottom left of your last photo. Are you able/willing to provide the source, please?

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