Sliding Minimalist Computer Desk Starts Life As Ikea Shelf

Where are you right now? You’re probably sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. Us tinkerers/makers/hackers/diyers use computers all the time… they are a great tool and an easy way to spread and gather information. Since we spend so much time sitting at a computer, why shouldn’t the computer’s desk be made to enhance the experience?

Self-proclaimed web guru [Ellis] admits to being a minimalist and wanted a super sleek computer desk. He couldn’t find a commercially available model that he liked so he built his own.

The desk started as an Ikea floating shelf. The shelf comes with a metal bracket that secures to a wall, then the shelf completely slides over the bracket so that the shelf looks as if it is floating in air. Once the u-shaped bracket was installed to the wall, a custom compartment was made to fit in between the bracket’s arms. This compartment will hold a power strip, mini Dell computer and other accessories. On the outside of each bracket arm, [Ellis] mounted drawer slides. The stock shelf was then modified to mount to the newly added drawer slides allowing it to be pulled forward for typing or to expose the hidden compartment. When closed, the shelf-desk looks clean and blends into the wall color.

A wide screen monitor is mounted directly on the wall just above the desk and a wireless keyboard/mouse combo supports the clean look. [Ellis] now has the minimalist computer desk he’s always wanted that doesn’t distract him from his work (or ‘net browsing).

33 thoughts on “Sliding Minimalist Computer Desk Starts Life As Ikea Shelf

  1. I love the idea of hiding everything away and keeping it tidy (it would stop me being in trouble for the mess all the time too) but I wonder how long the mini computer will hold up in a compartment with no air flow or are there some vents, etc?

    1. In reading the original blog that posted the idea, they do address this by pointing out the need for adequate ventilation holes in the sides and the bottom of the containment chamber. The need to control heat wasn’t lost on them.

  2. Must be really uncomfortable to hold your elbows in the air. The distance to the monitor also seems not very well thought. If the idea was to spent less time in the internet, the project might have a chance to be useful.

  3. I would love to build something like this! Unfortunately, I’m built in such a way that with chair and keyboard at comfortable heights, the drawer would leave very little space for my knees under the desk.

      1. I’m assuming that Chis might be talking about long legs/short torso. I am built like this as well. For me to sit properly as ergonomically recommended (feet firmly on floor, knees at 90 degrees, etc..) I have to raise the desk. But then this forces me to hunch my shoulders working on the desk which causes pain in my neck and sometimes even nerve pain in my forearms. Or alternately, lower my chair, scoot my butt forward in the seat pan and extend my legs to fit under the desk (kind of reverse slouching) in a way that my shoulders are in a natural position. But then this causes pain in my tailbone and back after a while, obviously. I’ve had my company’s ergonomics expert over several times and he can’t come up with anything better either.

        A wrap-around desk helps me a lot with this. A desk that was like a hump around your legs with a keyboard/mouse fitting that same shape would probably be even better.

        I’ve also contemplated a reclining workstation (going in the total opposite direction from the purpose of this post…lol) Something like these: http://www.ergoquest.com/

        The typical workstation is designed around ideal proportions, but many people don’t fit this.

          1. I looked at them. Wow. I may have to give serious consideration to the Zero G, or something like it, some day. But I wonder if that would weaken some muscle groups, you lose what you don’t use. In the past few months I’ve become more aware of my posture, and started taking regular mini-breaks to stretch, stand, or perform other non-sitting tasks. It’s helping, and is doing so progressively. May not be sufficient forever, but I’m curious to see how far it can take me.

          2. Chris C. and Justice_099, so what about this desk would exacerbate your discomfort? I’d have thought that this being entirely custom would allow you to put the desk at exactly the height that would allow you to sit entirely in accordance with these ergonomic recommendations.

          3. [Shannon], with my seat and legs in a comfortable position (like [Justice_099] described, feet firmly on floor, knees at 90 degrees), and my arms/hands also in a comfortable typing position (elbows near 90°), there’s only 4.5″ between my hands and the top of my legs.

            My desk is relatively thin, taking up 1.5″ of that, and leaving 3″. I don’t want my legs actually scraping the bottom of the desk, even if I happen to have shoes on; so shave off another 1″, leaving only 1.5″ for any drawer. The drawer bottom, plus clearance between it and the bottom of the desk, and a little margin of error takes about 0.25″; leaving 1.25″ of usable depth in the drawer. Not enough room for most electronics I would want to keep there, others would just barely fit, but be ill-ventilated.

            The height the desk is not the issue for me, it’s the *thickness* of the desk, plus any underhanging drawers. The Ikea desk shown in this post looks so thick I doubt I’d be completely comfortable using it, even without a drawer.

          4. Chris C, thanks for responding. I sort of take that as confirmation of my first question “you like to have your keyboard very close to your lap” :-)
            I also prefer to have a thinner desk, but that’s more because I end up sitting cross legged or lotus position at my desk.

  4. I put my Odroid C1 in the nightstand, together with a power supply, a gigabit switch, and some support hardware
    (like the receiver for the wireless XBox360 controllers).
    I also drilled a hole in the side of the nightstand and mounted a 4-port desk hub in it.
    On top of the nightstand sits a 23″ touch monitor.
    So I now have a giant Android and Linux “tablet” / mediacenter / gameconsole, that also charges my tablet and the phone, and can provide power and network to other boards (like Raspis), when I like to experiment.

    Doesn’t look as modern as Ellis’ one, but man am I relieved that the former wire mess is gone.

  5. At this rate, the next step would be just a wall mounted monitor+PC, no desk and a wireless keyboard+touch pad on your lap. :P

    Whatever happens to work space these days? Must be fun trying to file your taxes using that set up.

    1. There’s space on either side of the desk, and the desk itself thick enough that it could contain a work surface that extends to one side, mounted on locking drawer slides. Or maybe two, one for each side. Do your taxes or whatnot, put things away, then slide the extension(s) back in, restoring the minimalist look. Though you might have to build it from scratch, rather than modifying an Ikea.

      In a similar vein, I have a wide, shallow closet with bi-fold doors, that I installed custom adjustable shelving in. One shelf is on heavy-duty slides, and can be pulled out and used as a work surface. Comes in very handy for any task that can be completed in a few hours or less, when every other work area is already filled with longer-running projects. When you’re done, slide it back in, close the doors, and everything is neat and tidy looking again (at least in that area).

  6. Rich Ellis, he most certainly did not “build his own”. He reposted the original in his blog; pretty much what you did but he probably read it all and understood what he was doing first.

    Bad blogger, Rich.

  7. Since the sport around here is to nitpick the articles, I am surprised that I have never seen anyone point out how just about every article has, “so-and-so admits…” somewhere in the article. HaD confessionals?

  8. Great way to save a space… but if it is minimalist project … screen could be smaller too… even I can say should be if we will think about eyes…There is no way to not get of syndrome of tired eyes which leads to constant headaches or neck pain. Space or Health what is more important?

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