Small Work stations and home office thread

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by fq55, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. fq55

    fq55 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 1999
    With everything that’s going on I am working from home and am looking to upgrade my home desk.

    Problem is everything out there is made from engineered “wood” and composites.

    Any recommendations for a smaller work desk that is actually made from wood and made to last that isn’t $600? I would like to keep it under $300 and around $200 if possible for a simple small workstation that is made to last.

    Also, has anyone had to upgrade their work from home setups?
  2. GB940Rookie

    GB940Rookie Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2016
    You’re asking for a lot my friend. Used from garage sales and such or build something yourself.
    jux t likes this.
  3. bdmicarta


    Feb 16, 2012
    I'm working on a cheap Office Max folding table, 30"x70". It isn't too bad but isn't very flat so my keyboard wobbles, etc. I am running an old laptop connected to one monitor. I could bring my work computer and dual monitors home from my office but I'm not sure that the folding table would support it all. My home internet connection is horrible, what I really need is better internet service.
  4. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Does it have to be wood ? Could it be metal ?
    Maybe you could modify a $99 Harbor freight steel work bench ?
    They're often on sale for much less, and I think the only thing you might need to do is leave off the top and pegboard when assembling it.
  5. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    If you can swing it, a work-bench kit might be the thing to do. Most "desks" are at the wrong height anyway, and you will want some adjustability, and stability. Add a pull-out shelf for your keyboard and mouse. That would let you tailor things to your preference. Besides, moving flatpack furniture sucks, a bench kit can at least be taken down again.
  6. fq55

    fq55 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 1999
    Thanks for all the recommendations. I think my expectations may have been a bit off, I was looking for wood primarily because I would just want something am that ages well and that would last.

    I’m gonna take a look at habor freight and work bench kits. Thanks for the replies.

    I’m also looking at the Tennsco shop desks, they seem like they might fit the bill at under $300. It’s not wood but if it’s made well I am thinking about it.


    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
    GB940Rookie likes this.
  7. jaseman

    jaseman Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 28, 2016
    If you’re even remotely handy, just make your own. Some iron pipe and fittings, some nice planks, or an old door, and you can have a custom desk for well under your budget. You can make it as simple, or elaborate, as you want, in any size you need. I plan on doing this for some furniture on my back porch.

    You can find all sorts of examples online with a simple search.

    GB940Rookie likes this.
  8. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I'm willing to bet this is probably a better choice than the harbor freight steel work bench, and it's probably more the size you want over the larger harbor freight work bench.

    If you do want to look into the harbor freight work bench ( considering how inexpensive they are ) just keep in mind that the display models are often assembled wrong and wobble.
  9. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    @fq55 Some unfinished furniture places have what they call a secretaries desk which are a simple wood desk with a small drawer. I have one (~4 ft long) and used it as my primary for a number of years until I needed or wanted something larger. Then I went with a Office Depot engineered wood computer desk that is normal desk sized (~6 ft long). I much prefer it but it doesn't do well with cold drinks or whatever sitting on it. Takes up a lot of space.
    Link to a similar one:
    (Do a search on "desk" at that site and you will see many choices.)

    I have both in my home office now and use both. But the computer desk is primary.

    A short folding table works too but they are engineered "wood". I have one of these too that I put in a bedroom as a "student's desk" for a young lady that was living with us for a couple years (exchange student).

    Get a good office chair also. The woods ones look nice but they suck for extended use. It is the only chair at this point that I would spend 100's on now other than re-doing the living room or something.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  10. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    A couple of years ago I needed to set up a quickie work station at home. I bought an unfinished solid wood table top and four metal table legs from IKEA. I stained and varnished the top myself. Whole deal cost less than $120. Worked great and still looks nice.
    jaseman likes this.
  11. Scott321


    Jul 20, 2016
    Although I keep meaning to upgrade, for about 20 years I've just used two file cabinets (proper ball bearing file cabinets) with a hardware store laminate kitchen counter top laying over them. You can find butcher's block counter tops at many larger hardware stores made of wood if desired.

    Not the prettiest, but great size and function.
  12. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Some pretty neat suggestions so far.

    A while back I needed a sturdy craft table.

    I grabbed a couple of non-treated pallets, “sawzalled” them apart, then made a table with the reclaimed wood.

    Took me about an hour, worked great, as was quite sturdy. I used it for a while in the house, then later moved it into the garage.

    All it cost was some time and a few wood screws.
    jaseman likes this.
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Mine is made of ash (solid wood) and I finished it also. It is quite easy to do that with all the stains and so forth that are available. Mine still looks great after about 20 years. I just don't use it as my primary desk. I use a stand for my computer monitor and the keyboard would slide beneath it. My oldest desktop computer that does not have internet connections still resides on that desk. I have three computers in my home office. It is used primarily to store pictures at this point but I keep things backed up regardless. You can get one and stain it later but I would suggest you keep it clean and don't get a bunch of water on it which will raise the grain. I have an oak bench that I use for house plants which I never got around to finishing.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  14. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    If you live in or near a major city, used office furniture dealers occasionally have used 1920s wooden office desks. They're not as expensive as you might think because they weigh 120–150 pounds, they can't be disassembled, and they're a bear to move up or down stairs. 1920s desks are better quality than 1950s but typically more beat up. For computer work you need one at least 29" deep — most of them are — and the roll tops are useless. Run a search on "1920s wooden office desks" and you'll see.

    It would be fun to take one of these antiques with a useless typewriter drawer and attach a laptop computer where a typewriter once was bolted down.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  15. Charlie_K


    Jul 16, 2012
    As someone who detests today's artistic efforts at hiding visible hardware, and as a result complicating the design, that's just plain awesome.

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