Super UserWhat is a good programmer's desk?
[+31] [16] Jim
[2009-07-10 01:31:13]
[ environment home-office ]

I'm building a home office and looking for the ultimate desk.

Lot's of resources about the great desk chairs, but very little on great modern desks.


Electric adjustable would be nice, but I haven't found very attractive looking one. The one recommended in this thread [1] is pretty ugly.

The Herman Miller Sense desk [2] looks nice. Big fan of Herman Miller after my Aeron and Mirra. Does anyone have any experience with their desks?


Thanks all for the advice.

I ended up just going with the Galant after seeing it and the Herman Miller's in person.

What a great desk!

This would be a good question for when it finally arrives. - community_owned
(11) Well it isn't here. And it's ridiculous this is getting closed. I sit at a desk 14 hours a day. - community_owned
(3) Too bad this has been closed. I'm looking for desks as well and could've used the input. - community_owned
(38) Nominate for reopening. The little Napoleons on this site are getting ridiculous. - community_owned
(12) Second for reopening... wait, is this a committee? - community_owned
(8) Fourthed for reopening. - unforgiven3
(2) Reopen, I really want to answer about the wonderous $65 desk I got from OfficeMax! - community_owned
(2) Come on, who is going to be the last vote to reopen? :-) - unforgiven3
(1) I really want to hear about the @Remus $65 desk. So I also vote for reopen too! - community_owned
(1) It's back by popular demand! - community_owned
(7) @Jim: Might be wise to make this a community wiki. - William Brendel
(1) I didn't vote to close it, but this is hardly programming related. This is relevant to anyone that sits in a desk for some length of time and uses a computer. I know I don't come to SO to get furniture advice... - community_owned
(4) @Ed: Imagine an auto mechanics version of Stack Overflow. Should a question about the best socket sets be allowed? I think so. Sure, other people use socket sets, but mechanics are very particular about what tools they use. Programmers are too... or at least, they should be. - William Brendel
(2) woot yet another question to expose the great mental divide within the community. shows that community-driven governing isn't as neat as it would appear. - icelava
(1) Just wanted to add that I think the question might be borderline, but it shouldn't be closed. I agree with Jim about people being too quick to close questions nowadays. I actually think this will become even more of a problem, as more and more people reach the reputation threshold needed to vote to close a question. - William Brendel
@William Brendel: I think a mechanic's socket set would be more analogous to the software tools that we use then a desk, but it doesn't matter, I'm not for closing it either, just my take. - community_owned
(3) Desk questions have been done before. Just search "desks":… - gnovice
(1) (any discussions of the community mechanics of opening/closing questions belong on "meta", not here) - Marc Gravell
[+6] [2009-07-22 19:08:26] tim [ACCEPTED]
Coming from Sweden, this felt like an unexpected accepted answer... but looking at that Miller Sense desk, they sure look alike. - Oskar Duveborn
Link is dead :( - alex
[+4] [2009-07-10 02:10:50] Kristo

You could try the desks that Joel Spolsky [1] bought for his crew. Adjustables [2] by the Details company. Unfortunately, the website doesn't appear to list pricing info.


(3) He mentioned that they cost 15 or 16 hundred (didn't hear him too well), so that's within the budget. It was mentioned in a video that you can find by googling for "Hanselminutes on 9 - Tour of Fog Creek". - community_owned
Series 7 would be perfect. Wish there was a place to order it online. - community_owned
[+3] [2009-07-10 05:01:19] Kurt

For $1-2000 you can get a carpenter to custom build you something. A good carpenter will know about things such as ergonomics (i.e. what the right height for you is/etc.). I personally use a $150 cheap table that happens to be the perfect height, to bad it's a bit on the small side.

You appear to have added this answer twice. - gnovice
Yup, must hit back and forwards or something by accident. Anyways the second one got deleted. - community_owned
[+2] [2009-07-10 04:09:46] community_owned

There can be only one style.

enter image description here

This is a cheap one ($800) functional but give me more then ten minutes and I will find better.

enter image description here

I really like this one - unfortunately it is $3000 because it is "Amish".

enter image description here

This is a top view so you can see what happens to the monitor. Presumably the hole is covered when the monitor is down. Might be a minus though because I might pile up so many things I could never get it off to raise my monitor!

Ok. I don't know why my images aren't showing if some one can give me a hand? - community_owned
Use html. <img src="blahblah" />...... - community_owned
Still not showing up. - community_owned
I took a look, and for all of those URLs, ImageShack says "Image not found." Make sure they're uploaded and you have the right URLs. - Nikhil Chelliah
I didn't see any smileys, but you must be joking. Strictly speaking, that's not even a desk (well, even less strictly speaking, that's not a desk). - ldigas
[+2] [2009-07-12 02:59:16] community_owned

If you only need one surface and are looking for something pretty special, I'd check out the Biomorph desks [1].

There's also AnthroCart, but personally I think they are a little expensive for what you get.

If you want something that is very beautiful, the Jesper [2] bow desk + tear drop (if you have room for the teardrop) is just stunning--the organic shape, the long lines--it's quite a sight--this is in their 3000 line.

There are attractive electric height adjustable desks out there--but I am not sure who makes the best ones. I have seen them from time to time.

If you want more than one surface, I'd recommend buying out of a standard office collection that has a lot of modules. That's what I did--my entire desk system was a little over $2,200--I used coupons and took advantage of sales aggressively. I have 2 large 6 ft desks, a 6 ft credenza, many drawers and storage cabinets out of a middle-grade Bush collection. It looks pretty decent and offers a lot of configurations.

I have experimented with numerous expensive keyboard and mouse tray systems at various price points, but I've not found any that I liked better than a well-positioned 1 x 12 pine board ($10 at Home Depot).

If I could buy only one desk, it would be either the Jesper or Biomorph. The Biomorph is a little over the $2000 limit, but I believe the Jesper bow + tear is around $1600 (or used to be). Frankly, the Biomorphs are stunning and worth going a little over if you can afford it.

My 2c. :-)


Those Biomorph desks look awesome, just the way I'd want it.. ^^ - Oskar Duveborn
[+1] [2009-07-10 06:57:15] Ray Hayes

For my home office....

I have a huge IKEA worktop that is over six feet long and quite deep. It's up upon some adjustable height-folding legs. Where I have my desk placed, I also have a matching IKEA shelf (the sort that don't have visible brackets), this shelf is placed about 5 inches above the level of the desk and is perfect for lifting my two 24" monitors to a good position. My wife is about three inches shorter, and she can adjust them down to her eye level easily [the shelf did actually need the addition of some brackets to hold the weight, but you can't see them].

The advantage of this layout, combined with using wireless keyboards and mice is that if I want to convert the room into another guest room, remove the keyboard/mouse, tilt over the desk to enable folding away the legs and push up against the wall. I then have almost all of the space I had before furniture was put into the room! The monitors sit on the shelf untouched!

I paid about £100 for everything...

[+1] [2009-07-10 01:51:20] user1596

Check out this site [1] and its associated links.


[+1] [2009-07-10 01:59:47] Robert

Don't know what happened to the guys at [1]. The lastest news on the buy a PCE page is from '06. I always thought having a PCE would be cool though.


(2) That thing looks like it belongs in a spaceship :) - community_owned
(1) Future versions will have a matrix jack installed. ;) - community_owned
lacks bicycle pedals. and would prefer a commode version so I can sit there all day and just concentrate on working. oh yeah. - icelava
Reminds me of Wall-E. - community_owned
Hosting expired! - Joe Philllips
[0] [2009-07-10 02:28:47] Remus Rusanu

As promised, the Sauder Computer Desk in Magna Cherry [1] is today listed at $159, but I payed $65 for it in the store right next to Starbucks HQ. I don't usually inquiry such questions, but I believe my desk is straight.


(2) rofl; I'm a raving fan of my $40 6' plastic folding table from Lowes. Granted it's not my main work desk, but it's about as comfortable as my cube nonetheless--plus I can use it for cookouts or as a makeshift sled if I'm so inclined :-D - community_owned
(2) That desk looks awfully small... - William Brendel
[0] [2009-07-10 02:43:47] community_owned

I have an adjustable keyboard tray [1] attached to my desk so, given that and an adjustable chair and monitor, from a programming and ergonomics point of view I don't think that the desk itself matters very much.


[0] [2009-07-10 06:09:44] amorfis

I use Ikea Jerker [1] desk and I'm very happy with it. It's very simple, no cabinets, really big flat space. All I need. But it is not adjustable (I never missed it).


I agree this is a great desk (I have one), but sadly Ikea doesn't seem to sell it anymore. - TM
It's called FREDRIK now. - Brad Bruce
[0] [2009-07-10 06:42:50] Johan

I like those electrical adjustable desks, and they must be able to go quite high so you can stand up and work (it is quite good for your back to stand up now and then...)

However if we go back some 5-10 years that type of desk was hard find, but today they seem to be all over the place. Even IKEA has a couple of those (with fairly good quality as well, they seem to have a 5 year guarantee on the electrical motors anyway), and their system is called Galant and a normal sized desk costs about 500$.

So if you pay your own bills I would go with the IKEA solution...

[0] [2009-07-22 19:15:30] LiraNuna

I use the Vanguard EZ desk [1], it's big, it's height is perfect and it's very roomy and clean with the sockets panels.

Not to mention it looks hot too.


[0] [2009-08-23 16:18:25] Nelson

My work surface is optimized for letting me type without injuring my wrists. For that purpose, a simple flat wood desk combined with a fantastic keyboard tray is the key.

The desk itself is just a plank of wood 24" deep, 60" wide, and 2" thick. Anything will do; I like the Room and Board Parsons Legs desks [1]. 30" used to be standard desk depth. But now that CRTs are a thing of the past consider getting a narrower desk for your computer.

The keyboard tray is much more important; there's a lot of junky trays out there. The best keyboard trays I've found are from Humanscale [2]; very sturdy and a variety of options for mouse trays, etc. The mounting takes up some space, which is why it's good to have a thin desk without any molding, etc underneath the top.


[0] [2009-09-07 04:41:37] alex

A friend of mine used a big wooden solid door on 2 saw horses. It worked great - large surface area - good height and quite cheap!

[0] [2010-03-28 14:39:37] community_owned

Scroll down to the chair/desk from Vision One