Ikea hacking

· mumblings ·

Ikea kitchen stuff hacked to make adesk{width=“500” height=“375”}

We've been thinking about rearranging our guest room/home office for a while. When we originally set the room up, Mr. Bsag needed (for one reason or another) to have his iMac in the office, and I needed a desk too for my laptop, so we put together a couple of quite large desks with Ikea Vika desktops and legs. That didn't leave much room for the double sofa bed to be unfolded, and it wasn't really a good use of space. However, we've recently been able to move the iMac into Mr. Bsag's little studio, so that meant I could scale down the desk and get rid of the one of the horrible fibre-board desk tops which had started to bend badly.

I spent quite a long time trying to design an elegant but space efficient desk. I like to have room to write with a notebook and pen if necessary, but I also like to keep the surface as uncluttered as possible. Another consideration is cat-proofing. The cats like to stroll around on the desk, and sometimes view the open laptop as a tempting looking, warm surface on which to curl up. While I like having the cats on the desk (nothing cures writer's block more quickly than a cat sitting a few inches away and just staring at you) I wanted to discourage them from lying on either the laptop or my external keyboard.

I noticed that the Lagan kitchen worktop (solid beech) was very cheap and just the size I was looking for. That set me thinking about other kitchen components which I could use for my desk setup. A little lightbulb came on when I spotted the Asker rail range, and in particular, when I realised that the aluminium dish drainer was a perfect size to hold my laptop off the surface of the desk, with room underneath to slide the external keyboard when I'm not using it.

Asker dish drainer as laptopstand{width=“500” height=“375”}

We had a trip to Ikea to get all the necessary stuff (only one circuit this time!) and I had a busy couple of days putting everything together. I took the legs off the old desks, and reused the biggest desktop to replace Mr. Bsag's work desk in his studio. I put the Vika Kaj legs on the Lagan worktop, then put up the Asker rail so that the laptop sitting on the dish drainer is the right height when I'm working at the desk. It leaves a gap underneath that's too small for cats to comfortably squeeze under, but perfect for sliding my keyboard under, which gives me more desk space if I want to use paper and pen. The Asker clips and containers are great for getting all the desk clutter off the surface, holding Post-It pads etc. I fixed up a Jansjö LED wall lamp on the right hand wall, which is small, but provides perfect, glare-free task lighting for working at night.

I had used a Signum cable basket on the original desk, so I transferred that over too, mounting the powerstrip on the wall and resting the USB hub and my 2.5" external hard drive in the basket too, which gets them out of the way. I'm really pleased with the setup, and it gives us much more space which I'm sure our next guests will appreciate.

It's easy to hate Ikea for homogenising interiors with their mass produced stuff, but actually a lot of their furniture is eminently hackable — there are some excellent examples on Ikea hacker. A lot of items are cheap enough that you don't worry about chopping them up or using them for unusual purposes, so it's a good way for those relatively unskilled at DIY (like me) to put a custom piece together.