Dorm living is an experiment in working within the constraints of small spaces, crappy furniture, and more often than not, a rather limited budget. Today's featured workspace is a great example of how to work with all three.
Lifehacker reader tobobo has a pretty standard dorm room. It's a small space and the furniture is sturdy but boring and old. One of the hallmarks of most dorms is that you're stuck with the furniture, even if you can afford to swap it out with your own. Despite those limitations, tobobo used the furniture he had to put together a functional and cordless workspace. Check out his photos and detailed notes, the initial notes belong to the image above.
This workspace is in my dorm room. Being a college student in a dorm, I basically had to make do with what was given to me-I am not realistically capable of choosing my own desk, etc. This presented a challenge when I attempted to create a cordless workspace, but as it turned out, the desk that I had was pretty good for hiding cables, with a little ingenuity.
Equipment shown here: 23" Apple Cinema Display, Logitech MX Revolution mouse, Apple Wireless Keyboard, M-Audio BX5a Deluxe Monitors, an IKEA desk lamp, and backlighting provided by an IKEA Dioder setup (which can show a variety of colors: purple, blue, red, green, yellow, orange, white, cyan. or, it can fade between them, or, it can go through them in succession).
A view of the back of my monitor. You can see the dioder LEDs (attached with duct tape, of course). Also, in the lower left, is the small USB hub taped to the back of the computer-it's slightly easier to access than the real ports on the back. The switch for the lamp and the dioder LEDs is hidden behind the desk; all I have to do is reach back and feel for a switch (not as hard as it sounds).
Here's the clever bit: all the stuff that doesn't need to be directly seen by me is stashed into the flat desk drawer right above my lap. Everything in the drawer is lifted off the bottom of the drawer with cardboard risers. In the back of the drawer are two 500 GB external hard drives in Rosewill cases; the one on the left is for backups, on the right, for movies. I keep the lid of the laptop very slightly open to further improve air circulation. This setup is great because when I'm using my computer normally, all this stuff is out of the way. But to access it, all I have to do is pull a drawer out if I need to plug in headphones or grab my computer to go mobile. All the cords go out the back of the drawer and into a makeshift cable trough I made with a long, narrow piece of cardboard. (It's not pretty or elegant, but hey, it works, and was free).
I think these kinds of desks are extremely common in college dorm rooms, so this might be a good solution for those in college looking to get some efficiency out of their setup. It sacrifices that often advantageous dual-monitor efficiency that comes with having a laptop and an external display, but I really think that having a cleaner desk makes me more efficient than having two screens.
A closer look-here you can see a few extra details. The desk is actually made of a desk and a dresser pushed together, and the cord to the logitech charger is hidden by squeezing into the seam. The speaker stands were made with few screws, washers, nuts, and some pieces of metal available at most hardware stores.
The Cordless Dorm [Lifehacker Workspace Show and Tell Pool]