Monday, May 13, 2013

IKEA LAIVA Desk Review

You want a desk and you don't want to spend much. Well, then you should go with the Table Bar (VIKA) system and pick anything you want.

You want a desk, you don't want to spend much, and you don't want to do any thinking. Oh, and you want to carry it home using transit maybe. You've come to the right place then: the Ikea LAIVA desk.

This is one of the cheapest desks available at Ikea for only $24.99 and the package is compact enough that you could probably bring it home using the bus. Do note that it still weights a good 26 lb (Ikea website). A few years back when I was about to start graduate school, I decided that I was going to give up my decade of living off the carpet. I was going to be a big boy and work from a desk -- a proper working surface. And I was too cheap to spend much, not that I had much room to fit a large desk into. At $25, the LAIVA seemed like the perfect fit: four legs, a seemingly large working surface, and an easy to clean foil surface.

Fast forward a few years and the table now sits in a corner of another room. I'm in the middle of deciding whether to keep it in storage or put it out front for someone to take it. It's not that it's a bad desk, it just didn't suit my needs. More accurately, I couldn't break the decade and a half long practice of working off the carpet. I tried a few times, but the desk ended up becoming a storage table with some books on top and a printer at the base.

It's sitting in a corner and trash sort of gravitated towards it, meaning it's buried under 2 stacks of magazines, an old LCD monitor, behind a coffee table. Those are pretty big hardcover books, so if you want an idea of what one can fit on it.

IKEA LAIVA Fits A Lot of Stuff - Garbage Corner
1 Ikea LAIVA Desk ($24.99)


It doesn't get more Ikea than this: wood dowels, those locking screw/nut things, pre-drilled holes, and particleboard. This was a dream to assemble because of its relatively small size and light weight. I did this one on my own and probably in record time -- I like to think. As usual, I started by laying stuff down and work my way up. The key pieces in this piece of furniture are the legs/frames. Those are joined together with horizontal boards and the table top went on last.


This table was excessively stable when I still used it. There's lateral bracing at the bottom, middle, and top, and one can also find extra leg supports (two front L-legs and two I-legs in the back). If I were paranoid, I could even weigh down the base by putting stuff onto the lower shelf. This would mean the end of using it as a foot rest though.

Expandability / Customizability

Nada. Not modular, very "cheap" desk. Guess you could clip some lamps on.

Everyday Use

It's a pretty good desk. The entire unit is very stable with the upper and lower supports, comes with a storage area (I used for garbage) in the back, and a hole to route cables through. The only complaint is that it's a tad on the smaller size for people like me who have a lot of stuff. I was able to fit a textbook and a notepad on it at once while working comfortably. Coming in at 70cm x 50cm x 72 cm (length x width x height on website), this should not come at a surprise -- do remember to discount that trough in the back if you're measuring working area.
IKEA LAIVA Back Trough
For a "professional" or someone who likes a large swath of desk space to just go crazy on, I wasn't satisfied. The size of it may be optimal for someone who needs a compact desk or has minimal demands. Maybe you just need somewhere to put a few notes down, or you need a laptop desk. The LAIVA should work well for tasks like that. Or maybe you just need something for the kiddies and you don't want one that they'll grow out of soon.

If you want a functional, compact, and fancy table, then I would recommend taking a look at the Ikea LEKSVIK that comes in at 79cm 50cm x 74cm (length x width x height on website) -- I've always loved this one. At $139 though, you better be ready to spend.


Alternatives to Ikea GALANT Desks
IKEA VIKA (Table Bar) Desk Review - Moderately more expensive alternative for a desk.
IKEA BILLY Bookcase Review
IKEA GALANT A-Legs and T-Legs Review
IKEA FIXA 17-piece Tool Kit Review
Ikea Leather Couch Review