Part 1 – Research.
One year ago I decided to get rid of the boring old desk from my bedroom studio.
There were a few things that I was looking for:
- Get rid of these tall speakers stands (they take too much space) and find a way to avoid placing the speakers directly on the table top.
- The desk had to look cool and to be completely white, since most of my hardware is black. Black on white is a cool theme.
- The desk had to be large and solid enough to hold all my gear and give me plenty of workspace. However, after finishing building the desk, I’ve applied the 80/20 rule and ended up keeping just the essential items on it. These are the items that I always use: monitor, keyboard and mouse, speakers, audio interface, headphones, the LPK25 and the LPD8. It’s a bedroom studio and I was going for a minimalist look on this one.
I’ve started looking online, but nothing really appealed to me. I knew that I will have to build it myself, but since the only thing I have built in my life was a dog house, I had to improvise. You know what that means: IKEA.
I thought that a new desk will give me a fresh perspective and boost my creativity. It didn’t. But at least it looks cool:
I started by searching online for desk ideas using IKEA products (IKEA HACKS) to get some inspiration. The amount of things you can build by just combining IKEA products is incredible. People are building some really cool stuff.
Once I got an idea of what I am going to be building, I’ve started to look for IKEA products that would do the job. Before buying them, I had to know how the end result will look like, with some of my equipment on it. But the only thing I can draw is a cube so I had to find a software for this.
So I’ve installed Google SketchUp. It’s a free and incredibly easy to use software. You can build anything it in. But you don’t have too, because most of the popular products are already modelled by other people and you just download them instantly from its 3d Warehouse. You basically just drag and drop them. Just look what I’ve found already modelled:
Ended up wasting over 3 hours placing random stuff in my room:
While it’s not perfect, this was the end result of a few hours spent in SketchUp:
How much it costs to build this? The essential items (everything but the corner book shelf, the top wall shelf and the drawer in the right) added up to $333.83. This includes the wallpaper, the LED strip, the headphone stand and the desk pad. The optional items (book shelf, wall shelf and drawer) were $153.98. Total costs for this setup (Ikea plus Amazon) was $487.81.
Part 2 – Building it.
STEP 1: WALLPAPER ($40) – ESSENTIAL
Put a cool wallpaper on the wall you’ll be facing. I can’t find this design anymore, but it was around $40 to do the entire wall. I liked it because it creates this 3d illusion. (Please excuse the awful photos, I was sending them to a friend while building this thing. Didn’t know I was going to write this guide.)
STEP 2: COOL CORNER SHELF ($49.99) – OPTIONAL
This is completely optional for you, but I wanted a simple shelf in the corner to store some books. So I got the Ikea Lack Wall Shelf Unit: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60282186/
It comes in black and white and it costs $49.99. I went with black because there was already too much white. It’s so easy to build; it takes less than 15 minutes. You’re supposed to fix this to the wall because it’s very light but put some weight on it and it becomes very steady.
STEP 3: DRAWER UNIT FOR YOUR PC ($79) – OPTIONAL
This is also optional if you’re running on MacBook, iMac or laptop. However, if you have a large PC case, you’ll need a drawer to put it on. Or you could place it on the ground. But my case looks pretty cool and I thought it would be a shame to put it on the ground since it fits within the black and white theme of the setup.
So I got the Ikea Alexa Drawer Unit: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10192824/
STEP 4: THE DESK ($179) – VERY ESSENTIAL
I went with the IKEA Bekant Desk: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79022792/#/S19022808
While there are plenty of cheaper desks from IKEA, there are a few reason why I’ve chosen this desk:
- It’s VERY solid and stable.
- It’s huge. Gives you plenty of workspace.
- It has height adjustable legs (65-85 cm).
- It has a net under the table top so it’s very easy to do cable management and hide all those ugly cables.
STEP 5: BUILD AND INSTALL THE SPEAKER STANDS ($33.97) – ESSENTIAL
For the speaker stands you will need these:
- 2x Ikea Lack Wall Shelf ($13.98): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50282177/
- 2x Ikea Capita Legs ($19.99): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40051196/
Just fix the Capita leg to the Lack Wall Shelf:
Drill two holes in the table top and install the speaker stands. They will be fixed to the table but you can rotate them in any angle:
STEP 6: BUILD AND INSTALL THE MONITOR STAND ($26.99) – ESSENTIAL
For the monitor stand, you will need these:
- A longer Lack Wall Shelf ($14.99): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10282179/
- 4x Capita Legs ($12): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60263574/
Because of the 4-legs structure, you don’t have to fix the monitor stand to the table. It’s very stable once you put the monitor on top. So just fix the Capita legs to the shelf and you’re done. Not only this raises the monitor to the perfect height, but you can also use it to hide your audio interface and other smaller devices when you’re not using them.
STEP 7: A WALL SHELF THAT IT’S USED AS A WALL SHELF! ($24.99) – OPTIONAL
For this, I went with the Ikea EKBY Wall Shelf: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49903639/
STEP 8: START PLACING YOUR HARDWARE
It’s beginning to take shape:
STEP 9: THE KEYBOARD AND MOUSE PAD ($24.99) – ESSENTIAL
Look no further, I’ve found the best keyboard and mouse pad.
It’s called the Rissla Desk Pad: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40246156/
Regular Mouse pad:
STEP 10: LEDs ($20.80) – VERY ESSENTIAL
You can’t skip this one. You want LEDs, you need them. They’re cheap, take less than 10 minutes to install, but they make a huge difference. If you don’t like colours, just go with white. They help a lot when producing at night.
I went with the bestseller: Tingkam’s waterproof 5 metre strip of RGB LEDs (non-affiliate Amazon link). Been using them daily for one year and no problemo.
They come with an IR Remote Controller which I’ve mounted under the table using some 3M tape:
The 5m LED strip goes from the back of the desk to the monitor stand, lighting up the LPK25. From the monitor stands it goes on the back on the monitor in a square pattern:
STEP 11: EXTRA TOUCHES ($10) – ESSENTIAL
Get a headphone stand. Any headphone stand.
Don’t leave them hanging on the desk. They’re less than $10 (non-affiliate Amazon link).
Get a fake plant to add some colour to your setup. Found this pencil holder for $2 at Tiger:
And we’re done. Cat approves.
PART 3 – PRODUCT LIST.
Bekant Desk ($179)
Speaker Stands ($33.97):
Rissla Desk Pad ($24.99)
LED Strip ($20.89)
Headphone Stand ($7.99)
EKBY Wall Shelf ($24.99)
Lack Wall Shelf Unit ($49.99)
Alexa Drawer Unit ($79)
PART 4 – THE END.
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