Ask Unclutterer: Dual desks

Reader Cory submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:

What are some good solutions for a two workstation/desk in a apartment? I will soon be moving in with someone sharing a one-bedroom apartment and we are looking for an elegant way for us to both have a small desk/laptop workspace in the new place. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

There are various setups available that are similar to what you’ve described. The following are images I’ve collected over the years of two-person desks that I like. You can click on the images to learn more about the desks. I encourage our readers to add their finds in the comments section and hopefully our collective responses will lead you to a solution.

Thank you, Cory, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column.

Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your email as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2009.

16 Comments for “Ask Unclutterer: Dual desks”

  1. posted by Lauren Halagarda on

    My husband and I have a similar set up to the first picture and it works great for us. We actually have a wall of Elfa shelving including a shelf at desk height and have centered a 3’W X 4 1/2’L desktop flush with the Elfa shelves (supported by 2 legs from Ikea and 2 file cabinets). This way office supplies are stored within reach on the shelves but the desktop is reserved as spreading out and work space.

    We custom cut the desktop for us and our space b/c we wanted something as large as possible but yet not too large for the space. Plus, I had a difficult time finding a desktop that wide. The size we have gives us enough desk surface to spread out and leg room, too.

    Good Luck!

  2. posted by SavvyChristine on

    I love the setup in that last picture. If I had Mr. Savvy across from me while I was at the computer, I’d be distracted unless there was something like a wall in the way. Plus, the shelving would allow me to keep the stuff I need close at hand, and same for him.

  3. posted by Sky on

    My husband and I moved our office home to cut expenses and we have them facing each other. We each have bookcases behind us and the copier at the end of the desks. It works great.
    Love the pictures!

  4. posted by Rue on

    Some friends of mine bought two of the same desk and put them back to back, with one end against a wall. Like the last picture, but without the bookcases. Their printer is at the end of the desks.

    If you don’t have room for two desks, I’d try to find one big table and each of you use a lengthwise half of it (as in the first picture). The bonus for this is money – you wouldn’t have to buy a desk, necessarily. You could easily buy a folding table. Much cheaper than a desk 🙂

  5. posted by Giggles on

    That last one looks like there’s a table coming out of the middle of a bookcase. Or a bookcase growing out of the middle of a table. I like that idea. And the baskets hanging on the end of it are brilliant.

  6. posted by Another Deb on

    I visited the Flickr site of the desk in the first picture and was totally inspired by the setup UNDERNEATH that desk! My cables and connections have been a real mess but now I know what I will be doing to fix it! Thanks so much!

  7. posted by Aliza on

    My boss and I had a setup like that – one desk, two of us sitting opposite each other and it worked really really well. When we got bigger office space and we were able to have our own desks, we sort of missed being so close!

  8. posted by Eric on

    Our computer room has 2 of the same desk side by side, and it works out pretty well for us. Check it out, and please excuse the mess:

  9. posted by Thom on

    I would have a real problem with all of these, other than the final image with the bookcase acting as divider. They would only work (for me, anyway) with only one user at a time. Not that this makes a double desk setup redundant, since each person still wants their own, dedicated space.

    But if I were working at the same time as a partner, there is no way I would want to sit opposite facing them without some kind of substantial divider so remove eye-contact and to diminish noise. That’s where some of the long side-by-side solutions seem more sensible. Or one that I’ve seen, where two people sit on opposite sides of the table but also at opposite ends, i.e. so when you look up you don’t look at your partner.

  10. posted by twosandalz on

    If your space is long and narrow, try something like the third option. I used a rectangular kitchen table (long enough to seat 6) for several years set up like this, one person on each end. It left very little room for file, papers, etc, but forced me to evaluate my work habits. After a while, I didn’t mind the loss of space very much.

  11. posted by Emma on

    I just found a pic of an office earlier today that I thought was a brilliant use of shared space,
    Love it!

  12. posted by anastasia.z-g on

    I find third workplace really gorgeous. I love minimalism style – mix of black and white colours is really great, if anyone knows the designer of this desk, please send his/her name to my e-mail.

    Yours truly,
    Anastasia Z.-G.

    [email protected]

  13. posted by Francesca on

    These are some great solutions. Getting creative with how you use your space can be really rewarding. The second photograph is particularly appealing!

  14. posted by Caroline on

    It really doesn’t matter how much space you have, there is no need for clutter. Some great solutions indeed

  15. posted by Dee Dee on

    I don’t think I would like a dual desk. I like my own space and like it clean and uncluttered.

  16. posted by Aileen on

    I am wondering why there have been no new articles on Unclutter since March 1st of this year. What happened to Unclutter? I always liked this site.

Comments are closed.