Choosing a hideaway computer desk
There are a number of things to consider when buying a hideaway computer desk. In this article I'll outline the factors I think are most important.
Will it fit the space designated for it in your house?Given that compactness is one of the main selling points of this type of desk, you obviously need to make sure it'll fit in the space you've allocated for it. And don't just guess! Get out a tape measure and measure the space as accurately as you can, then compare with the desk's specifications. Also make sure there'll be enough space around the sides of the unit to open the doors properly or it may feel like you're sitting inside the cupboard while you're working (gives new meaning to coming out of the closet)!
While we're at it, make sure there's a power socket nearby - the last thing you want is cables stretched across the floor for you or the kids to trip over.
Ample desktop workspaceEven in the 21st century it's sometimes necessary to resort to good old-fashioned pen and paper, so check if the desk you're considering caters for this. Many that I've looked at don't - there is only just enough room for a computer keyboard and mouse. My advice is to get the biggest unit you can fit in the space - you'll thank yourself when you start to use it.
Right or left handed?It's a right-handed world and most desks reflect this, although I have come across some that can actually be constructed for lefties or righties. If not though, ask yourself if the there is enough room to use the mouse with your other hand. This is not just a hypothetical scenario - you may have to if you injure your usual arm or hand.
LegroomCan you pull your chair right up to the desk? Is there enough room to stretch your legs out? These are not always immediately obvious things to think about, but you'll realise their importance after you've been sitting at the desk for an hour or two.
Will your pc fit?There's generally a dedicated shelf for your computer's base unit, but it's definitely worth checking the measurements as not all PCs are the same size - will your tower fit the space? Remember to allow a bit of space for the cables at the back and other bits that stick out the front, like disk drives and USB devices.
The same goes for your monitor. Bear in mind that the pictures you see in brochures or websites invariably show a flat-screen LCD monitor, and often a small one at that. It may be possible to squeeze in that hulking great 17 inch CRT monitor of yours, but you need to check! Alternatively, think seriously about buying an LCD monitor - they're not very expensive, take up a lot less room, are a lot less reflective, and generally exhibit less flicker. Your eyes may thank you!
SturdinessObviously your desk needs to stand solidly and be able to bear the weight of your equipment and your arms pressing down on it while working. The last thing you want is to damage the runners on your retractable keyboard shelf as soon as you get down to some serious typing.
Try before you buyThe best way to assess many of these features is actually to physically get in front of as many different desks as you can - sometimes easier said than done as most of these types of desks come in self-assembly flatpack. Still, some bigger shops have showrooms with demo models that have been erected for precisely this reason. It's well worth paying one of them a visit, even if you end up later buying it online.
If you do decide to buy it from a shop, check whether or not it'll fit in your car (get out the trusty tape measure again), or you could end up paying delivery charges on top of the cost of the desk.
About usHideaway computer desks are perfect if you want to set up a home office but can't dedicate an entire room for the purpose - these modern essentials are there when you need them, but tuck away neatly when you don't.
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