Create a Floor Desk Work Space on a Budget

I wrote all about How I Set Up a Japanese-Inspired Floor Desk, and recently, I broke down the cost of all of that and realized just how expensive it was, even not including computer peripherals.

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All prices are what I paid in USD, before tax and shipping, at the time of purchase (current price may vary); the total below is an estimate and based on my location.

IKEA PAHL Children’s Desk: $59.99

ClosetMaid Cubeicals 3-Cube Shoe Bench: $69.99

White Wire Under-Shelf Basket 10-Inch: $9.79

Monitor and Laptop Mount: $47.99

Zabuton: $86.95

Cushion Labs Car Seat: $69

Grand Total: $343.71

Wow! Because I purchased all of this over time, I didn’t realize how much it actually ended up costing. Don’t get me wrong — it was money well spent. But I understand not everyone is able to spend that much money on a floor desk, so I decided to create a list of items I used before I made my floor desk permanent.

Be sure to check with your doctor on what’s right for your body.

For the desk

For the desk, I used a laptop tray. This is not a long-term solution because it’s not ergonomic to look down at your screen all the time and you may get tired without anything to rest your arms on, but if you’re just trying out the floor setup, it could work temporarily.

This large adjustable laptop table with folding legs was a great option for my space before I found the IKEA desk mentioned above. Because this table is adjustable, it also helped me I figured out what height my floor desk needed to be to work comfortably.

The IKEA desk is inexpensive, so reasons to consider this adjustable laptop table instead might be:

  • You’re not sure what height would work
  • Your space is too small for a full-size desk
  • You’re not sure if the low desk will be permanent

For the seat

I went through many different seating options, from floor seats to meditation cushions to yoga bolsters. I found what works best is a combination of some sort of general floor cover (like a zabuton) and Cushion Labs Car Seat. This cushion is a bit expensive, but it’s one area I wouldn’t recommend taking shortcuts because this will determine how comfortable you are while you’re working and how long you can work.

If you don’t want to buy a zabuton or if one won’t fit in your space, you might consider folding up some blankets or towels under your area to soften up the floor. I didn’t find the Cushion Labs Car Seat to be soft enough alone, even on carpet.

If you want to sit cross-legged with this cushion, you can use rolled up towels or yoga props to support your knees if needed. I don’t usually sit too long cross-legged and end up switching the position of my legs quite a bit. What I especially like about this cushion is that I can stretch my legs out in front of me rather than putting pressure on my knees like with taller cushions or having the front of the cushion digging into my legs.

In closing

There’s a lot of different ways to experiment with a floor desk, but this is the adjustable laptop table I used when I was first starting out, and the Cushion Labs Car Seat is what I use now.

Investing in my floor desk has been a great experience, and now I don’t know what I would do without it. If you’re thinking of trying a floor desk, I hope these items help you decide if it’s right for you.