12.31.15 – Desk Setup Build Log

Before I start, I just wanted to say that I love the idea of build logs but in actuality I’m pretty bad at doing the actual documentation. Therefore, I won’t have actual photo documentation of past project/setups.


Shy of 2 years ago, I had plans to renovate my workstation since my monitors rendered most of the space useless. However, with little planning done and still in college, there weren’t many alternatives to my current setup so the project was dropped.

To give some history, my current workstation is my third workstation.

  • The first one desk I recall was a long wooden desk with two drawers on both ends; one pull out and the other was a flip door and also a keyboard tray. Back in the day when all wood products were actual solid wood, this was a pretty great desk – both my brother and I had our own. This was probably used up until middle school when I got my own room and desktop computer, a prebuilt Dell.
  • After getting a new computer, my parents bought me one of those workstations with lots of shelves for storage, though it was not from IKEA. Looking back, I’ve only made use of one out of the five shelves; the rest were all storing junk. This workstation stuck with me through my high school graduation.
  • I ended up staying local for college so during the summer of 2009, I made a handful of purchases as a gift to myself and one of these purchases was the MIKAEL workstation desk. Overall, there weren’t as much storage space as my previous workstation but it wasn’t an issue as I never made much use of it anyways. I’ve stuck with this desk for the next 6 years.

Fast-forward to November 2015 – I’ve graduated college and have been working for the last year and a half. While cleaning out my computer (click here to read my desktop build logs), I found room/desk “blueprints” from 2013. After catching up from 2 years ago, I figured it was time to make things happen! With that, I made it a goal to renovate my workstation before the end of 2015. To fuel this project, I had purchased a couple peripherals for my computer during Black Friday and vowed not to unbox until the desk project was complete.


The IKEA MIKAEL desk was the first piece of IKEA furniture I purchased back in 2009. The desk measured 65” tall, 41” wide, and depth of 19” and placed on a wall between two doors.

Shortly after I purchased the workstation desk, I also purchased and assembled my first gaming rig. From there came the problems. The new 23.6” monitor no longer fit within the 20 3/4" shelf clearance and had to be placed outside of the shelving. As a result, there was a depth of 10” from the back to the front of the shelf left unused since the monitor was now blocking it.

In 2013, I graduated from using one monitor to now using two monitors and this prompted another challenge. As a result of lining up both monitors, I lost even more usable space. Not only that, the desk wasn’t long enough for the two monitors and they both stuck out on both ends. This was a total hazard for the monitors and for people who were moving around the space – we often knocked into it. Without space on both ends, my speakers were placed on the shelf above the monitors, which generated inconsistent audio sounding like it came from a tunnel.

I soon realize the shelves were just as useless as my prior workstation. Everything else on these shelves could have been relocated and stored elsewhere. The only benefit to the shelving unit was that it offered a space on top for my good-o black-and-white printer that has to be tethered to my desktop. And no – I’ve never considered replacing the printer with a wireless one because aside from it being wired, nothing was wrong with it; in fact it’s probably the most consistent piece of equipment I still own.

IKEA MIKAEL Workstation (2008, discontinued) – in all white instead of white/birch.

IKEA MIKAEL Workstation (2008, discontinued) – in all white instead of white/birch.

IKEA MIKAEL with dual monitor rendering setup

IKEA MIKAEL with dual monitor rendering setup

IKEA MIKAEL with dual monitor rendering setup

IKEA MIKAEL with dual monitor rendering setup

IKEA Hackers provided a ton of inspiration and guidance. I knew this had to be an IKEA build because IKEA offered numerous modular solutions at budget prices. Though the lifespan of their products may not last as long as other brands, I was fine with it because in a couple of years, I might want something new.

November 25, 2015:

With drafts dating back to 2010, I was able to pull measurements of my room and existing furniture to determine how much space to allocate to the new desk. First, I measured and sketched out my current desk in Illustrator and added peripherals that will be affected by the build – 2 monitors, keyboard tray, and a computer tower. As mentioned before, the desk was to be placed between two doors and the distance between these doors 60” however after taking into consideration the placement of other furniture in the room, I’ve budged a maximum of 50” wide for the desk.

After scouring IKEA for individual furniture pieces, the most common measurements they had for desks within my measurement range were 47 1/4” wide and a depth of 23 5/8” so that’s what I went with. Inspired by Pinterest, I thought a glossy white setup would be great because everything would look super sleek and clean. But gloss came at a premium and at the time, I accepted it without much thought.

In addition to the desk, I wanted to elevate my monitors because with my current setup, I often found myself hutched over, looking down at my screens, rather than looking straight ahead, which created bad posture. I was able to find a matching wall shelf that can be used with CAPITA legs on top of the desk. Since CAPITA legs were metal, metal table legs seemed to be the best option for the overall desk. I wanted to include a keyboard tray, an important component from the MIKAEL desk because this allowed me to be further away from my monitors and offered more tabletop space. This’ll require the overall height of the desk to be higher but since no IKEA desks come with keyboard trays anymore, the overall height of the desks have been lowered for ergonomic reasons. This meant I had to purchase height-adjustable legs or a height-adjustable table but I don’t think IKEA branded height-adjustable tables are worth the price so it had to be legs. There were two options, the cheaper option, OLOV for $15, and the premium option, GERTON for $30 – I was opened to both options.


2013 IKEA MIKAEL workstation setup with dual monitors in relation to room space

New workstation mockup in relation to room space

To be continued...