this thing's incredible

This Petite Computer Desk Is £50 and Looks As If It Costs (at Least) Three Times the Price

Photo: Rosie Percy

When I, along with the office-based masses, was sent to work from home in mid-March, I envisaged just a couple of weeks camped out at my kitchen table in my rented South London flat. But six months on, I was still here, with an impressive Zoom call log and a constant backache to show for it. I’d been sharing the table with my housemate, but as our conference calls clashed and our plans to work from home looked more long-term, I had to make myself a more sustainable workstation, starting with a desk.

After being beaten to the punch on Gumtree and priced out of John Lewis, Wayfair, and La Redoute, I set new criteria for what my desk had to fill: something Habitat-y without the price tag that still looked nice enough that I’ll want to keep it even after I head back into the office. Inspired by our previous roundups of cheap-but-expensive-looking home-décor accents you can find on Amazon, I chanced it.

I searched “retro desk” in hopes of weeding out pine, white plastic, and chrome, and Amazon’s top recommendation was a sleek industrial-style desk from German interiors company Vasagle. With over 600 reviews and a 4.8 (out of five stars) rating, the computer desk was hailed as stable, easy to assemble, and space-saving — exactly what I needed. Even better, it was just £50.

Even though the desk was coming from Germany (and during a pandemic), it arrived just four days after I ordered it. I’m pretty useless at self-assembly — I have a Made lamp that still wobbles just a bit — but the Vasagle desk was surprisingly simple to unpack and put together. The four pieces (two legs, one connecting beam, and the wooden top) came with super-simple instructions, a mini-screwdriver (!), and even extra bolts. With the help of my housemate, we were able to put it together in the 15 minutes before our next work calls — the extra pair of hands were a big help when lining up bolts and holes and holding in place.

Once assembled and slotted neatly into the one free corner in my living room, the desk looked like it should have always been there. The dark-wood top and black metal legs blend into my existing interiors aesthetic without dominating the space — it’s just 50 centimetres deep, so the Vasagle desk is more narrow than the ones I’m used to, but it fits my laptop stand, second screen, and keyboard with space to spare for my notepad and a cup of coffee.

It’s the perfect height for me to sit at all day without slumping, and no matter how aggressively I type, it stands solid thanks to the adjustable feet on each leg that accommodate even our wonky floorboards. In just three weeks, it solved my sore back and — dare I say it — sanity, as my housemate and I now have our separate spaces for concentrating and taking calls.

I bragged about my new setup on Instagram, and, within minutes, several other working-from-home friends DM’d me to ask where they could buy it from. I’m so pleased with my desk that I’ve started to browse the rest of the Vasagle range on Amazon, which includes everything from storage cabinets to coffee tables in the same industrial style as my desk, should I want my future furniture to have a more uniform look and appear much more expensive than it is.

VASAGLE Computer Desk

A similar model, with no crossbar.

Some other Strategist-recommended working-from-home essentials

When we researched the best-reviewed office chairs on Amazon, many people said they bought this chair by SixBros because it didn’t look like an office chair. One reviewer likened the minimalist look to something from a Scandinavian brand, while another commented that it doubled as a chair for the bedroom.

Contributor Lynn Enright loves this pen so much she bought two. She writes: “It is a ballpoint pen, so there is no risk of the ink blotting on softer paper — you can annotate a book of the flimsiest pages with it, and it’s perfect for the crossword. It glides along the page, never snagging.”

If you don’t have the space for a desk, contributor Issy Sampson recommends a cushioned lap tray (the sort beloved by grandmas). “It keeps the laptop level and steady, the computer doesn’t overheat, and it’s actually comfortable.”

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This Tiny Computer Desk Is £50 But Looks Twice As Expensive