So I started thinking about what I need my desk to do, and have quickly descended into Paradox of Choice hell. At a minimum, a new desk would need to be able to handle:
- Two Monitors
- Keyboard and Mouse (Preferably in a pullout thingy)
- Cable Modem and Router
- Tower Computer (needs good ventilation, especially considering that there are a couple fans mounted on the side of my computer)
- Two speakers
- External Hard Drive
- Associated Cables/Wires
In terms of taste, I tend to be a minimalist. I don't need lots of flying doodads or space-age design. Just something simple that covers the above. In looking around, this seems to be a rarity. As per usual when it comes to this sort of thing, Jeff Atwood has already posted about this, and the comment thread there is quite interesting (and still being updated, years later).
The best desk I've found so far seems to be the D2 Pocket Desk. Of course the big problem with that one is that it's obscenely expensive (even on sale, it's wayyyy to expensive). But it's perfect for me. It's notable almost as much for what you don't see as what you do see - apparently there's a big compartment in the back that's big enough to stuff all the cables, wires, routers, etc... that I need (and you can see the two little holes meant to corral the wires into that area). It being as expensive as it is, it's not something I'm seriously considering, but I'm trying to find a cheaper, but similarly designed option (perhaps something that doesn't use cherry wood, which is apparently quite expensive). I'm kinda surprised at how few computer desks even attempt to account for cable management. Anyway, here's a quick picture:
The other notable option I found at Jeff's site was from a company called Anthro. Not the model he mentions, which is a monstrosity. However, Anthro features lots of models and everything is customizable in the extreme. While they seem like good quality desks, they're also much more reasonably priced. Unfortunately, their configuration tool does little to help you visualize what I'll end up with. Still, the 48" AnthroCart seems like it would fit my needs and given the modular nature of the desk, I can always add on to it later. If you look at the 3rd picture on that page, it's kinda what I'm looking for (but without the bottom shelf and maybe a filing cabinet attachment)
The big questions I have about the AnthroCart are how well their keyboard/mouse solutions work (all of the varieties have seem to be quite small - and my current option is actually kinda large, which I really like for some reason...) There's also the question of how well those extra shelfs on the top and bottom work. And color. Yeah, so this one is definitely in Paradox of Choice territory. However, they're apparently pretty agreeable and will help guide you in choosing the various accessories, etc... So maybe I'll start up a chat with a rep when I get a chance...
Some other stuff I've been looking at:
- Liso Computer Desk with Keyboard (from Target)
- Onyx Matrix Computer Desk (from Office Depot)
- Drake Desk (from Crate & Barrel - would be good if it weren't for the glass top)
- Ikea has some interesting stuff, but most of it is too small. On the other hand, for my bedroom, I did buy one of those generic Ikea tables and made it work as a desk. But it's also kinda tucked into the corner of my room - the new desk needs to be in the middle of my living room, so it needs to look somewhat more presentable...
Update: Desk 51 from BlueDot (via) is pretty interesting. I'm wondering how sturdy it is.
Again Update: This Landon Desk from Crate and Barrel has grown on me a bit, especially after seeing a similar desk on Flickr. The good thing about C&B is that there is a store near me, so I can at least check it out in person...
Another Update: Well, that's an idea... which I suppose also brings up the "Build your own" option, which could be a rewarding experience.
Yet Another Update: For reference, here's a pic of my desk as currently configured, and here's the surprisingly sturdy keyboard tray.