Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
With nationwide self-quarantine orders now in full effect due to COVID-19, most of us are stuck at home, as local officials mandate shelter-in-place orders in an effort to flatten the coronavirus curve.
One of the biggest changes for most Americans is adapting to work from home. Before the coronavirus pandemic, just 4.7 million Americans, or 3.4% of the population worked from home. That number has since skyrocketed, and for many, the adjustment to Zoom meetings, remote planning and simply staying focused at home hasn’t been easy.
But figuring out how to get work done at home can be especially challenging for those of us without a dedicated home office or desk space. Small apartments, limited furniture, as well as table-commandeering roommates or kids might put a damper on your dreams of a productive quarantine. This leaves many people with one spot left: the couch.
Working from the sofa might sound like an oxymoron, but it is actually possible to be a hard-working couch potato. Even though most couches are designed for relaxing in front of the TV, certain products can help turn your sofa into a space for productive writing, reading and conferencing.
There are essentially three key upgrades to transform your couch into a productive space. Firstly, you’ll need a surface for your laptop (plus a mouse and keyboard, if you have them). This can take a couple of forms, including lap desks or side tables that double as couch desks. Some of these couch desks also have convenient added features like phone stands or cup holders.
Secondly, the couch might need some extra support for your back and behind. This will maintain proper blood flow and keep you from inadvertently slumping into a TV-watching position.
Lastly, you might need some additional lighting. Whether you’re reading documents or just trying to stay awake in the evening, regular living room lighting usually won’t cut it. Lamps that hang over the couch (but don’t interfere with the decor style) will keep your workspace illuminated for peak productivity.
As with any home upgrade, style is something to keep in mind. You don’t want to ruin a carefully-crafted interior design look when creating your new couch-office. And since the coronavirus quarantine could last through May (or even longer), investing in some stylish, high-quality products might be a good idea.
1. Huanuo Lap Desk
This lap desk from Huanuo offers a surface for your laptop, mouse and phone. The desk is designed to rest on your legs with two cushion boosters of different heights, angling the desk into an ergonomic position for reading, writing and typing. At the top of the tray is two slots – one for mounting your phone upright and another for your tablet or writing utensils.
This desk is the simplest way to set up a workspace on the couch because it’s not a whole new piece of furniture, and you can easily tuck it away when you’re not working. Plus, lightweight portability means it’s also great for working from the bed or any chair (say, an airport seat or park bench).
2. C-color Lap Desk
In terms of function and ergonomics, this C-color lap desk scores top marks. Three-armed foldable legs on either side let you comfortably set up your laptop on the couch, bed, or counter and adjust to the perfect position. These adjustable legs also mean you can customize the desk to be stable on any couch – no matter the cushion size or shape. The desktop is 16.5 x 10 inches, so it’s big enough for any laptop or book, but that’s about it.
3. Homfa End Table Desk
If you’re worried about causing extra clutter with your new couch workspace, this side-table-slash-couch-desk is a good pick. The undercover table doubles as a desk, allowing for an easy switch from living room to workspace (and back again) without any additional furniture.
The table is smooth and easy to clean, but doesn’t offer a dedicated spot for drinks or devices. It comes in two sizes to match your workspace needs and couch size, but the small option has just enough space for a laptop, phone and cup of coffee (23.6 x 15.7 inches in total surface). Despite the table’s slim look, it can hold quite a bit of weight, meaning it can manage a desktop computer just fine.
A 100% bamboo construction makes the desk/table lightweight for constantly moving around yet durable enough for rowdy households. The desk’s style is also versatile enough to match any interior design look, although it airs on the modern side.
4. KingSo Side Table
Another good side table that doubles as a small desk is this C-table from KingSo. It stands at 26 inches tall with a 14 x 22 inch workspace, which isn’t much, but fine for the essentials (laptop, phone, etc). The style is a little more rugged (compared to Homfa’s table above) with a metal frame and a vintage embossed top. Besides lending a vintage-inspired, worn-in look, the embossing also creates an anti-slip surface to prevent slips and spills. This one does require assembly, but reviewers say it’s very easy.
5. Nord Eagle Sofa Arm Tray
Small arm trays such as this are sure to get more use than you might expect. They’re ideal as an addition to a lap desk such as the options above, offering just enough space to dump your phone, coffee mug and remote. We like this one from Nord Eagle because it has a modern bamboo design that can hug a sofa arm or be laid flat on the couch. The tray itself is velvet, which prevents devices from slipping or drinks from spilling.
6. Z-One Lumbar Support Pillow
Most couches are designed for non-productive comfort at the end of a long day. If you want to set up a good workspace on your couch, we recommend altering the seat with some extra support. This lumbar support pillow from Z-One does just that, keeping you upright and focused while working.
Unlike most lumbar support pillows, this one also looks somewhat like a normal couch pillow that you’d actually want in your living room. And while its primary mission is to correct your posture, a corn velvet fabric ensures some comfort as well.
7. ComfiLife Gel Seat Cushion
Another way to correct your posture for productive work is a seat cushion such as this one from ComfiLife. It utilizes orthopedic gel, memory foam and an ergonomic design to keep your behind comfortable and your lower back healthy. This can be a life-saver for anyone with back problems who needs to sit through hours of Zoom meetings and conferences. The ComfiLife pillow also boasts impressive ratings on Amazon with 4.3/5 stars and over 10,700 reviews, as users say the material is great and the shape holds up.
8. TaoTronics LED Floor Lamp
Even if you’re working on your laptop 100% of the time, good lighting is key for staying awake and focused while working from home. Most ceiling lighting and table lamps don’t provide enough light, so we recommend investing in a floor lamp to have by your workspace.
This affordable floor lamp from TaoTronics is a great choice with five brightness levels, three color options and versatile adjustability thanks to a gooseneck a variable height. The color settings let you switch between cold, natural and warm light, which is nice for transitioning from work to a relaxed happy hour at home.
9. Brightech Sparq Floor Lamp
Looking for a slightly more bold lamp? Check out Brightech’s Sparq floor lamp. The elegant arched lamp stands about 67 inches tall and arches over even the biggest couches. It features three brightness levels, works for about 20 years and saves quite a bit of electricity thanks to the efficient LEDs. Style is where this lamp really shines though, matching well with modern interiors. Users are happy, according to over 1,600 reviews and a 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon.
10. Best Choice Products Sofa
If you really want to gear your home towards a live/work-space, consider upgrading your current couch to this sofa from Best Choice Products. Low armrests, cupholders and a more upright position offer a better space for getting work done. But don’t worry: this sofa is still a great place to kick back at the end of the day thanks to a reclining back. Plus, it even converts into a bed for guests. At less than $200 it’s also very affordable, but the modern look, metal legs and quality faux leather make it look more expensive than it is.