home office, person, work

DIY Desks on a budget

One of the myths about working from home is that you’ll be hunched over your laptop on your sofa, probably doing all sorts of long term damage to your back, and generally feeling uncomfortable because you don’t have a desk to work from. Well, I’m here to tell you:  If you have even a little bit of spare space and some ingenuity, you can Macgyver a makeshift desk out of ordinary household things, on as temporary or permanent basis as you like.

Working from home doesn't have to be uncomfortable

Having back issues myself, I know the hell of sitting and working for long periods of time in an uncomfortable position and the burning neck and shoulder pain that can accompany it. That’s why for me, my number one consideration is always back support. 

For those of you working from the sofa, just remember sofa’s are designed for a more relaxed position, and even then, I find it uncomfortable to sit for any length of time. I would recommend finding an alternative to the sofa during work hours, not only to save your back, but to provide a separation between your working and relaxing space. 


Sofa cushions back support

If you have no other options and you’re forced to work on a sofa, make sure you support your back. You can invest in a few cushions, or use your bed pillows to put behind your lower back to encourage a more naturally spine friendly posture. In addition, make sure you take regular breaks to get up and walk around, even if it’s just 5 minutes to get up and get a cup of coffee. 

Ikea furniture is the king of versatility

Ikea DIY desk setup

Like many people, I’ve bought items of furniture from Ikea over the years. I’ve replaced sets and been given odd drawers and cabinets from friends who no longer needed them, and I always keep an eye out for more as they are so handy for cheap storage. 

When the global pandemic started, I was fortunate (and geeky) enough to already have a good desk set up that I could use, but my girlfriend now also needed somewhere more permanent to work. We shuffled a few things around and came up with this quite serviceable desk made from two Ikea bedside tables, and an old piece of tempered glass I had in the garage from an old TV cabinet. Even if I didn’t have the glass to hand, any wooden board around 1.5m in length would have done, either laying around in garage, or easily purchased from a hardware store for under £10 (€11 / $13). 

I had an old office chair from a decade ago that I reupholstered by staple gunning a couple of old t-shirts around the existing tatty material which turned out nicely, and we set it up in our bedroom. 

This was a massive improvement over working on the sofa, and she could easily use her laptop on the desk, but I went one step further, and as she uses Dual screens for her work, we bought a cheap 27″ monitor from Amazon for £140 (which has now gone up in price, but there are plenty out there!)

The best part about this set up is that if you needed the space back at the end of the day, you could screw a couple of cheap caster wheels to the bedside tables, and the whole thing can be moved around in a minute.

I’d be interested to know, how are you working from home? Have you Macgyvered a DIY desk yourself? Leave a comment in the section below!

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