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This Miraculous, Foldable Desk Is a Snap to Put Together—Literally

Tiny desk.
Photo illustration by Slate

Why is a raven like a writing desk? If you’d asked me the Mad Hatter’s riddle six months ago, the answer would’ve been straightforward: I don’t own either one of them.

It might seem silly that a person who writes for a living wouldn’t have a desk to write on. But on the days when I would work from home, I’d set up camp on my bed, sometimes slouching over my laptop, sometimes lying on my stomach, sometimes curled up on my side as if Leonardo DiCaprio were going to draw me in a movie. After I graduated from college, I put off buying myself a proper desk indefinitely, worried that I’d move and have to lug some clunky wooden monstrosity with me. But after years of my contortionist double act with my laptop, I finally decided that my spine and my dignity deserved better. It was time.

I had a lot of ideas going in about what kind of desk I didn’t want. I didn’t want a desk that would take up a lot of room. I didn’t want to spend a fortune. I didn’t want drawers or shelves, or frills of any kind. I just needed a hard, flat surface to write on, the kind of desk that Marie Kondo might look at and say, Marissa, you have truly mastered the art of simplicity, and also we are best friends now. If it wasn’t completely hideous, all the better. And I found exactly what I was looking for in the elegantly named Writing Computer Desk Modern Simple Study Desk Industrial Style Folding Laptop Table for Home Office Brown Notebook Desk by Coavas, which specializes—ironically, given that prolix description—in minimalist furniture.

I had never heard of Coavas before, but I was won over by their Amazon page, adorned as it is with hand clap emoji and exclamations of “tadaaa!” But despite the company’s promise that its products are as easy as “Unbox, Unfold & Ready,” I was skeptical that it could really be as simple as waving a wand or clicking a mouse. Amazon offers buyers the opportunity to buy “expert assembly” with furniture purchases—in this case, running more than the cost of desk itself—which made me further doubt the promise that I would only have to follow a single step to put the desk together.

I had no reason to worry: When the box arrived, it contained no screws, nothing hexagonal or octagonal, and no diagrams that require an engineering degree to decipher. The desk arrived in just two pieces: a lightweight tabletop and a base that ships flat and unfolds. It’s a snap—literally—to attach one to the other. I went from a person who didn’t own a desk to a person who did within five minutes.

That one-step assembly makes it just as easy to take the desk apart and stick it in a closet, giving it the convenience of a folding table, although it’s much sturdier, not to mention more stylish. Coavas has an entire line of super simple furniture to match—collapsible coffee tables and bookshelves that break down—but at just $60–65, the desk is the crown jewel of the collection, if the 1,500 Amazon reviewers who gave it five stars are any indication. One calls the setup so effortless that “my grandma could do it.”

I was so pleased with the purchase that the next day I showed a photo of the desk to co-workers like it was my newborn baby. Never has the statement “I put it together myself” been less impressive, and thank goodness for that. Now all I need is a raven.

Tiny Desk.
Coavas