Workspace comfort is key to new-school normal

Even on a tight budget, a few smart furnishings can help students meet the demands of working from home

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      For college and university students this fall, starting school won’t look anything like the party-hardy dorms and packed lecture halls of the past.

      With most classes moving online, studying will look a lot like the new work-from-home reality—minus the expense account. The key this semester will be setting up an ergonomic computer space, which may also mean migrating between the kitchen table, the coffee table, and, quite possibly, the bed.

      It will also mean having some kind of conference-class background that doesn’t include last night’s empties or a neglected mountain of laundry.

      Here are some budget-friendly ideas for a more comfortable #WFH term.


      Desk duty

      With all the sitting around you’re going to be doing this fall, consider a standing desk for your computer—or at least a style that converts. The Mind Reader 2 Tier Sit and Stand Computer Desk ($145.99 at rolls around (and away from noisy roommates), with two tiers to hold your monitor and your books.

      As for small desks that won’t leave a big footprint in your shoebox-size studio apartment, Wayfair’s Tess Desk, again with the handy two tiers set over powder-coated metal legs, feels as funky as it is airy (on sale for $145.99 at last check).

      And if your tiny bedroom is truly the only place to get away from the sound and fury of home life, look into a laptop bed tray: of the many models on, we discovered a wood-top FOME design that folds away—plus, one section of it tilts so you can see your monitor while you write on the side ($43.99). Elsewhere, the KLIPSK bed tray at IKEA, all-white, is only $15.99.

      Please be seated

      Vancouver-based Article’s ’50s-throwback Svelti desk chair is a boost of high design on a budget.

      In hip hues like aloe green and dusty pink, the style rolls around on five rubber castors and it doesn’t take up a ton of space ($99, For a colour punch, as well as comfort, we like’s adjustable FurnitureR Task Chair in bright, breathable turquoise, purple, or fuchsia nylon mesh, with castors and lumbar support (on sale for $69.99 at last check).


      Let there be light

      Don’t suffer in dimness: you need to be able to see what you’re doing. On, the toberto LED Desk Lamp has a USB charging port, as well as a head that tilts 180 degrees and 18 possible light settings: three colours and six brightness levels ($42.88).

      Go old-school with IKEA’s dark-red FORSÅ, a classic bendable elbow style ($24.99). And if there’s just no surface space to set a lamp on, turn to the same brand’s small but bright LED NÄVLINGE clamp spotlight ($16.99 in black or white), which grips any shelf, headboard, or desk edge.

      And cheer up your desk space with Walmart’s Mercury Merkury Mini Clip String Lights ($14.97), with 35 warm white LED bulbs and 16 clear clips to hold photos of less socially distanced days.