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20 IKEA Desk Facts You Need to Know Before Buying


We own 2 IKEA desks, both very different. If you're considering an IKEA desk, check out these 25 interesting and important IKEA desk facts you need to know before buying.

large two person home office station with ikea desks

We own two IKEA desks.  One is a small adjustable height table-style desk.  The other is a small, lightweight desk designed for desktop computers (remember the desks with a space for the CPU under the desk?).

We’ve had both desks for years.  They’ve served us well and cost us very little.  I’d say these days, where we only use laptops, the adjustable height desk serves us better.  It looks better too with it’s minimalist white top and metalic legs.

If you like the minimalist look and don’t need anything too fancy, IKEA is an outstanding choice for a desk… but there are few things you should know about first.

Related: Bedroom with Built-In Desks | Unique DIY Desks | Computer Desk Options

Insanely popular – IKEA desk popularity chart

Check how popular IKEA desks are compared to others.  Based on monthly search volume.

Desk Popularity Chart

1. Stationary computers vs. laptop tables

The main distinction IKEA offers with its desk series is whether you need a larger desk for a stationary computer or something smaller such as a laptop computer.  That doesn’t mean you can’t use a larger desk with a laptop (I do), but maybe you just need a simple table to sit at with a laptop.  Speaking of laptop options, they also offer options for use on sofas.

2. Build your own… sky is the limit

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IKEA has a cool feature on its website where you can build your own desk with the desk planner. You choose the legs or trestle style, dimensions and then add-ons such as shelving units.  It’s a good solution when you can’t find a pre-designed desk that meets your needs.

3. Need an executive set up?  You gotta know where to look

If you’re looking for a full executive set up for a home or commercial office, you need to extend your search beyond the IKEA desks. You need to check out the Office Storage section which is where you can take a simple desk and turn your space into a large, executive style home office.

Storage options include drawers, cabinets, shelves, bookshelves and combinations to create an outstanding office set up.

4. Cord Management and Other Accessories

Do you have cord overflow? It happens to all of us. Most items we value on a daily basis require a cord. Phones, tablets, computers, printers, cameras, stereos, lights…the list goes on. With any computer, a surge protector is highly recommended, and the uglier the better. So rather than feel like you sitting in a snake nest, you can pick up IKEA’s cord management strips along with your desk. They may be more simple affairs but they will do the trick. If you prefer to get fancy or creative, you can shop online via Google Images.

5. Adjustable height (awesome)

Do you like standing sometimes?  Are you tall?  IKEA offers desks with adjustable legs.  We have one of these.  It’s a simple affair, but we bought it for the adjustable feature and the low price of course.

6. Not Enough Storage

With many designs being clean, there can be a need for additional storage. IKEA has us there too. They have filing cabinets, drawer units, bookcases, shelving, wall shelves. There is also paper and media organizers, which also work great as a magazine racks near your toilet. Or maybe that’s just me.

7. Sticks to their roots

Overall, IKEA desks have a minimalist “Scandinavian” design to them.  Most are very simple; essentially table designs used as desks.  It definitely offers a certain look which is much like the rest of the furniture sold there – they don’t try to be everything and instead stick to their design wheelhouse.

8. Are they the cheapest out there?

Not always, but they are close. If you are shopping by price only, you can most likely find something there or used on sites like Craigslist, and Amazon offers a healthy amount of competition, but IKEA isn’t necessarily a brand that breaks down quickly and would be worth the minor investment.

9. Buy It at the Best Price

If you are still looking to save beyond the regular price, IKEA does have regular sales. One constant way of saving is to join the IKEA Family program. Another way is to let them know you are moving, and they will pass along special savings to you. Also, each store has a different sale. Though this can be a bit frustrating, shopping ahead of time by calling different stores can ensure you get the best deal. Also, each store has an “As Is” section, where you can browse items that are lovingly slightly damaged.

10. Will it Rust?

That’s a great question Hawaii. The answer is…. sometimes. This answer is a bit surprising given the low price point, but IKEA does offer some desks with aluminum on the legs and even powder coating. The key word here is “some”. There is a “Materials and Environment” tab below each product clearly laying out the materials.

11. Mixing it Up

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An additional solution to consider when organizing a workspace is if you can benefit from additional work surface solutions, like short work tables that can be used with lounge chairs. IKEA offers a few and more hit the market every day. They can provide additional comfort for you as you type away on a laptop, and help with maintaining productivity.

12. IKEA Quality: Is it All True?

OK…let’s get this question right out of the way. Sure, IKEA is known for a few different things. The designs aren’t bad and you can furnish your entire home in one trip if own a Semi, but it really all comes down to just one thing: IKEA IS CHEAP. It’s so cheap your hoity-toity friends won’t mind assembling items themselves – which they’ll get wrong. Cheap, however, is not always a bad thing, especially with desks.

That’s because desks are becoming less and less, well, desky. If you look at high-end designers of office furniture such as Knoll and Steelcase, you’ll notice desks are either white, thin, or both. Well, you’re in luck. You can buy a similar style at IKEA without the high price. All in all, desks are less risky items to buy than, say, upholstery. You won’t need to lay across them for hours while binge-watching Game of Thrones. Desks have a simple job: hold your papers and computer and Post-its in an array of colors. If, however, quality is what you’re looking for, IKEA offers a line of desks tested for office use called BEKANT. I am not being paid by IKEA and can tell you I purchased one and it is great. You’ll need some drawers, but IKEA offers those too.

13. Review the Reviews!

I can see you are a fan of the internet. IKEA’s website makes reviewing their products easy. Just go to their website and when selecting your product, click on the row of stars near the price point. You’ll get honest reviews separated into multiple categories. It may be quicker to rip the BAND-AID off and browse by the star ratings.

14. Don’t Order Online if Possible

If you are near an IKEA, it’s worth the trip. Yes, it’s ginormous and everything takes forever to accomplish. Walking the store is hard enough. Not only will you be able to see your favorite desk up-close and personal, but you can also try it for size and even compare it to other options you may not have considered before. I have taken home an entire bed because it just was better at the store than I thought online. Furniture is like a car. It’s good to kick the tires. It will save you hassle in the long run.

If you decide to ignore all of this and order online, read the next entry…

15. Return Policy

So now you hate it. IKEA offers refunds for 365 days on products in “new and unused condition and, if possible, the packaging.” This basically means it needs to be re-saleable, and they will adjust the price accordingly in some cases. There is a 14-day cancellation policy for online orders which is refunded to you once they receive it.

16. Warranty

IKEA is actually good with customer service and trying to please their customers. There is a 10-year limited warranty on the BEKANT, IDASEN, GALANT, THYGE, and HALLAN furniture pieces, though note that not all the products in these categories are covered. For those they do, they cover the standard array of issues like workmanship, any defects in the materials, and all the main parts. There is a catch. You need to assemble the desks correctly (yes, correctly) and used in the manner they were meant to be used (not as surfboards). There is a warning about the incorrect cleaning products as well. But be sure to keep that receipt because it is required.

17. Assembly Not Included

If you love arguments with your friends or lovers, assemble IKEA furniture together. Don’t worry, it’s not really your fault. Be like all of us and blame the instructions. It’s important, however, to do your best to follow them closely. Become Zen about the process. If not, you may need to start over, and in other cases, what is put together can’t be un-put.

If I’m making you nervous, IKEA can assemble the furniture for you at a fee, and their assembly service comes with a one-year guarantee.

18. Functionality

“It looks great, but my stuff won’t fit.” IKEA itself is a wonderland and you may get distracted, buying a piece you love on site but find out later it isn’t right for your needs at home. Do your research beforehand and read the models carefully. When it comes to working, having an effective workspace is invaluable. You’ll work faster and better. Having a desk that is awkward for your purpose becomes a constant annoyance and you’ll soon find yourself heading back to the store.

19. Your Workspace Environment Matters

Since you can’t easily take your printer, desktop computer, keyboard and desk pad with you, it’s important to know what desk will work best. If you don’t know, this link shows you common size guides you can follow as well as gives detailed information on the best way to set up your office. Having your environment planned out will give you all the fuel you need to select the best desk option.

And an important note: Beware of any products using the words “writing desks”. The term sounds calm and relaxing like you’re holding a fountain pen and staring out the window searching for just the right words to calligraphy your letter to your grandmother. In reality, this is all they are good for. Writing desks are remarkably shallow and are sometimes hard to distinguish online. Though helpful if you live inside a closet, writing desks aren’t going to work as a functional surface for real work. We all know this from typing at a counter at Starbucks. In general, go as big as possible.

20. Missing Parts

One of the greatest joys of IKEA is the occasional missing part. After working as Zen as possible to complete your assembly, chances are you’ll be missing a piece or two. It’s as aggravating as a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle. IKEA will help. Contact them and they will order you parts within 10 days, or you can swing by an IKEA store and pick them up ourselves. But be warned, if you go there, you may feel the urge to just take one more look and end up impulse buying. Yes, you will find something and you will want it, but your friend Jerry isn’t going to feel like helping last minute.

21. There Is More to Offer

IKEA does a pretty good job of offering desks in different sizes, and has additional pieces in a collection that can be combined as well, allowing you to have more storage and a larger work area. A good example is the MICKE line of desks. By scrolling down the page of any desk, you will find more items in the series, allowing you to expand to your heart’s delight.

22. Metric vs American – Not an Issue

It used to be some European products are sized a bit funky, even heights of tables. In many cases they can sit lower than a standard American table., but these days this is not such a big problem and the only European consideration is down to metric tools, which they supply. IKEA tools could end up being the only metric thing you own, so be sure to hold onto them; otherwise, you can most likely find the tool you need at your friendly neighborhood hardware store. Opt for the man wearing suspenders.

23. IKEA vs. Amazon

Yes, Amazon sells IKEA, as well as many competing brands. Amazon will soon rule the world. Before you order there, however, it is important to know how Amazon does this. It’s chiefly through third-party sellers who can often be cheaper than IKEA, which is good, but it can appear they are more expensive as a price point because the product price point is higher. The key to it is an Amazon Prime account. Third party retailers can sell products at a higher price but the overall price is still cheaper than IKEA due to free shipping, which means the 3rd party sellers and you still win. IKEA is having to navigate this issue as are most every other company these days, but this is important only if you are having them shipped. Going to the store will always be the lowest price.

Gizmodo put together a good article on the subject.

24. Business?

IKEA is not known to be a grand presentation. Is it functional? Yes. Will it pass? Yes. You won’t, however, find a grand corporate desk here of burlwood and pompousness that would rival Gordon Gecko. It will work well enough for, say, a start-up company or a home office. In those places, nobody asks any questions.

25. Don’t Buy a Desk at All

If you can’t find the desk you like, then don’t look for a desk at all. A dining table is an excellent alternative. Dining tables easily come in a range of sizes and are similar in height. You will get all the functionality with an option of an additional footprint. They can be good looking and very durable. If it holds Thanksgiving, it will hold your computer. Just make sure you choose the right height since dining tables don’t typically adjust.

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