The low-down on floor desks

February 4 2014 |

OMG y'all! Look who popped her awesome head back into Offbeat Home & Life to share some of her old school goodness — it's our founding editor, Cat Rocketship!

cats floor deskForget standing desks. Forget treadmill desks.

ON THE FLOOR is where it's at.

I built my studio around a desk on the floor — my workspace, where I write and draw. I do most of my job at my desk.

I tried a drafting table. Finding it uncomfortable, I tried another drafting table.

I tried a child-sized desk (which is about my size because I am very short). I was unable to find a comfortable way to work in my studio.

I thought back to my office job, and to desks in previous studios, and realized I've never had a work station that was comfortable, allowed the space I needed, and aided my work.

So I moved everything out of my office, put my iMac on an over-turned basket, and sat on the floor.

It was perfect: I could spread my work out around me — draft drawings, markers and pens, works in progress — and sitting on the floor allowed greater leverage for me to really lean in over big drawings.

It's been more than two years since I made my floor desk. I've arranged my studio around it. Crouching into my desk feels like sinking into a good couch. I feel relieved to come into my studio and flop at my desk and pick up the last project I left off (or browse Tumblr).

I use a backjack for support, hold a my keyboard and mouse on a lap desk, and my computer stands on a laid-down blueprint locker. When I draw I hold the sketchbook in my lap or on a clipboard. It all works pretty well.

It's not like I'm the first person to think sitting on the ground is nice. But I'm considering this life experiment, the floor desk, a success.

This is me, at my desk. Which is basically me sitting on the floor in front of my computer.
This is me, at my desk. Which is basically me sitting on the floor in front of my computer.

Now I need to work on a better organizational experiment than "keeping things in vaguely related piles"…

  1. I miss you Cat!
    Please pop by more often to tell us about how you sit/ what you're growing/ your friends raising meat rabbits.

  2. I put my tv in an ikea tv unit and use it as my monitor. It's so low that I just started sitting on the floor leaning against my bed and it's become somewhat of a vortex when I sit down and don't get up for hours…it also maybe I'm just tired from work. But I like it and now I know it's a thing! 🙂

  3. Awesome! Nice to know I'm not the only person that finds the floor more comfortable! There are times when I really need to concentrate and it's almost as if I feel drawn to the floor. Kudos to you for finding what works for you!

  4. I totally dig this. My only hinderance would be two kitties who are compelled to promptly lay down on whatever I am reading/looking at/using, and the hair and litter that magically appear on every horizontal surface in my apartment.

    • You need to devise some cat traps!

      Cardboard boxes (like the meme), decoy important papers, a heating pad, a fuzzy blanket folded on the floor…the options are endless.

  5. OMG Cat I didn't recognize you without your glasses!

    When I was young I did nearly all my homework lying down on my bed. The only thing that prevents me from doing that now is it's hard to type on a computer while lying down. ( Well that and the threat of falling asleep. )

    But this "floor desk" might be a good approximation. The "lap desk" is giving me pause though, especially that picture of the coffee mug on it. It looks like it's basically a board that sits on your lap and there's absolutely no way I could trust myself to do this without dumping hot coffee all over my keyboard, my mouse, myself, my floor, my cat and my priceless Vermeer. To be honest, I'm not even sure how it would feel with just the keyboard. I imagine a lot of rocking. Is that the case?

  6. So, I've been lurking and reading offbeat home (and bride and life and now families….) for a few years now, and I'm not sure I've ever commented. Heh. Maybe one day I'll get around to that post about my own offbeat wedding (2 1/2 years ago now) that I've been meaning to write.

    Anyway. Thanks Cat for this post! It is totally my biggest 'baskets' moment inspired by you guys thus far. I will now go and scheme about how to incorporate a lap desk workspace into my tiny rental with a soon-to-arrive newborn. 🙂

    I seriously thought I was the only pretending-to-be-a-grownup who still preferred sitting on the floor. I used to get raised eyebrows in high school for asking the teachers if I could sit on the floor beside my desk rather than in it. Amazingly, they almost all did. (One let me sit on top of the lab table instead.)

    I have tried the normal desk thing at home – but it just ends up turning into a horizontal filing system and I still prefer working on the floor when writing or working on an art piece. OMG so many things about how I work are suddenly so much clearer to me!

  7. I used to do all of my homework in the middle of the living room floor with my back against the couch or on my bed. I just need the room to spread out – particularly when you're doing things like science or math and you've got a textbook, notes, formula sheet, and your homework paper.

    Now of days, I've got an office somehow all to myself (my office mate graduated, and they didn't assign anyone else). I've seriously considered at least pushing the two desks together to get a bit bigger workspace as I just like to spread out!

    • When my lab mate graduated, I took over her bench as an extension of my desk. It's like a filing system where I can see everything and have a station for each thing I'm working on. (Also makes me realize how much I am my father's daughter.)

  8. I love this! I sit on the floor all the time, people think that I am weird but it really is comfy. I have an Ikea Lack end table that I use for a desk.

  9. When I draw I sit on the floor at the coffee table. That way I can shift and shuffle around as much as I want. It is far more comfy than a desk.

  10. I am typing this from my floor desk. My family doesn't get it they think I'm nuts. I think it's comfy to me and really that's all that matters lol!

  11. Yay, Cat, I miss your posts!

    I'm glad I'm not the only dedicated floor sitter/worker out there. I'm always more comfortable on the floor than in a chair. When I make art, I do it on the floor. (Not as dirty as that sounded.) When I work on my laptop I sit on the floor with my laptop on a giant ottoman. It seems to be more comfortable for my pretzel-ish overly tall body than sitting in any chair I've ever found.

  12. I keep wanting to do this with my dining table. Just cushions on the floor and a decorative coffee table used as the "kitchen" table. Chairs set off my sciatica sooooo bad so we never eat at our table currently because I can't stand the chairs. It's good to hear of success in floor sitting. Definitely going to keep it under consideration now.

  13. Right now we have beanbags instead of a couch in the living room. My fave way to work at home this winter has been a beanbag by the fire with my laptop on my huge wooden cutting board. BONUS: I like being floor level so I can hang with my pets.

  14. I teach second grade, and I have a variety of seating areas for my students in my classroom because I know that I don't work best sitting at a desk! They can choose to sit on the floor, on or at a lowered table, at a normal height table, standing at a countertop, sitting on a couch, sitting on a bench, or (almost) wherever they want to in the classroom in order to be productive. They love having these choices!

  15. We have a very firm california king sized bed. I also employed a basket, and it's made my last two semesters of English homework much, much easier. Laptop on basket, notes around me, life is good.

  16. My love and I jokingly refer to ourselves as "floor dwellers" because we spend most of our free time lounging on the floor. We have a floor couch (blankets and pillows piled in the living room in front of the wall where we aim our projector), and although it raises questions, most of our friends and family love it once they get the hang of it. For work stuff and other serious business, we spread out on our bathroom door, which is propped up on two pieces of furniture (still not sure what they're supposed to be) that I found in the alley behind my last apartment (there's a curtain where the door used to hang).

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.