How To Fit Two Monitors on Small Computer Desks

Having a small desk can be a challenge when it comes to having a dual monitor setup. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible

Speaking from experience, two monitors seriously boost productivity. I have my main monitor on my primary task, and I can have reference articles and music on the other monitor. When you make the switch to dual monitors, you’ll find that you’re spending less time scrolling through different programs, and just getting more work done. 

If you have a tiny desk, it’s not always a simple task to fit dual monitors. That doesn’t mean you should lose hope! Today we’re going to talk about 7 different ways you can successfully fit two monitors on even the smallest desks. 

And we promise an answer is not “buy a bigger desk”.

Key Takeaways

The absolute best way to fit two monitors on a small desk is to utilize a desk clamping monitor arm that supports two monitors. These desk clamps monitor arms use a small fraction of the table space that two monitor bases would actually need.

This is what a dual monitor arm desk clamp looks like:

Ways To Squeeze Dual Monitors On Tiny Desks

1) Aftermarket Monitor Mounts

Most monitors come with a simple monitor stand that gets the job done. It extends from the back of the monitor down to the tabletop. This forces you to use your table as the monitor’s base.

If you have a small table, you don’t have much of this space available. With aftermarket monitor mounts, we can unscrew the standard base, and install a new one that is much more space efficient!

As we touched on at the start, aftermarket monitor mounts solve this problem quickly and are an absolute lifesaver!

You simply replace the factory monitor stand that has a large base with a mount that has a small desk clamp instead. Here’s what it looks like:

Monitor arm with 27 inch 4k monitor

VESA Mounting

On most monitors, there are four screws at the back available for aftermarket mounting. The screw pattern is called a VESA mount. We have a dedicated article if you want to learn more about what VESA mounting is.

If you are shopping for monitors in the future, be sure to get ones with VESA mounts. That keeps them very flexible!

If you don’t have VESA-mount compatible monitors, there are still ways to mount monitors that don’t have VESA mounting holes. Also, if you have a Dell monitor, we have a guide on how to remove the Dell factory stand to gain access to the VESA mounts.

VESA Monitor Mounting back plate

Even if you have large monitors, you can find the best dual monitor mounts for those big screens here.

These are adaptable for all types of desks too. We have dedicated articles on how to make these desk clamps work for different desk challenges:

How To Use Monitor Mounts With Thin & Weak Tables

Make Monitor Mounts Work On Glass Tables

How To Mount Monitors To Thick Tables

Not all monitor arms need to clamp onto your table. There are a few different configurations for a dual monitor setup that hardly use any desk space. One of these actually uses no desk space at all!

Table Mount Dual Monitor

VIVO Dual Monitor Desk Mount

This dual monitor mount fits two screens 13” to 30” in size and up to 22 lbs each. It offers adjustable arm, height adjustment, and monitors can be placed in portrait or landscape orientation. It mounts to the back of your desk via a heavy-duty C-clamp or optional grommet mount and has cable management clips and detachable VESA bracket plates for easy installation.

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This first monitor stand is probably the cleanest and most useful of all. The way this stand works is that you clamp the base to the back lip of your table. After that, a post that extends upwards with two arms that can support the weight of your monitors!

A stand like this only requires a small amount of desk space at the base. The desk clamp takes up around 4×4 inches of space, and that’s it! You save a ton of space this way.

This is what the bottom of the clamp looks like.

Monitor Arm Clamp

That means that you gain a ton of desk space back! Because your monitors are being supported with monitor arms, your table space is clear of any monitor bases. That’s why I love this solution so much.

If you want to adjust your monitor position on the fly, this stand below is gas spring-loaded to make the monitors pretty weightless and easy to manipulate. 

HUANUO Dual Monitor Stand

This gas spring monitor arm simplifies assembly and can be set up in 10 minutes or less. It has solid construction and a stable clamp/grommet base for secure holding and allows for a wide range of motion with smooth action.

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All of these arms have some built-in cable management solutions that make it easy to clean up all your display and power cables. We do have a dedicated article on hiding monitor cables like a pro.

Wall Mount Dual Monitor

Not everyone has a strong desk that the table mounts can clamp to. If you have a glass desk, a table mount clamp can introduce stress points and risk cracking the brittle glass. 

If the table mount arm doesn’t get the job done, the next best thing is wall mounting. 

WALI Dual Monitor Gas Spring Wall Mount

This monitor arm is compatible with monitors up to 32" and has a heavy-duty wall plate that can be mounted to both brick walls and wood wall studs. It can be extended 17", tilted, swiveled, and rotated from landscape to portrait mode.

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Wall mounting is a terrific solution because it does not depend on your desk size at all! You actually use zero desk space. This frees up your small desk for more activities!

Another major benefit here is that you can completely hide your monitor mount for a very clean workspace. Your monitor simply looks like it is floating above your desk. The clean look of wall-mounted monitors is unmatched. 

Keep in mind when you install a monitor mount like this, you should be mounted directly to a stud on the wall. Do not expect drywall to hold up your precious monitors!

This is one of the favorite solutions for mounting a monitor for use in bed. You have way more freedom on where you can install it. The wall is your oyster!

Table Mount Laptop + Monitor Setup

The last recommendation is a bit of a cost saver. This table mount actually holds a laptop and a monitor. Technically, you can use your laptop as your second monitor too. I definitely do.

Two monitors are always better than one in terms of productivity. And your laptop definitely counts as one. 

Viozon Monitor and Laptop Mount

This monitor and laptop mount attach to your desk with adjustable height and angle for comfortable positioning. It is compatible with 17-32 inch monitors up to 19.8 lbs and 12-17'' laptops. It has a sleek design and integrated cable management features.

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This way, you don’t have to go out and buy a second monitor at all. The only thing you might need here is a wireless keyboard and mouse to connect to your laptop. 

That way you can keep the keyboard and mouse on your desk while your laptop is mounted in mid-air. 

2) Use Neighboring Furniture

When in a tight spot with no use of aftermarket monitor mounts, a good saving grace is neighboring furniture. A piece of furniture next to your small desk can be a nice and quick solution to place a second monitor. 

If you don’t have anything next to your desk, think about what items you can move around or purchase that would give you more functionality. Do you have a short bookshelf around the house? A filing cabinet? Do you want one?

Furinno 3-Tier Compact Shelf

This budget-friendly multifunctional shelf is made from particleboard and PVC tubes. It fits in your space and is easy to assemble without tools.

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Simple bookshelves like these are very affordable at around $20 USD. 

Anything that is close to your desk height can work. They also can introduce more functionality to your workspace. A bookshelf next to your desk can hold your monitor, and now you have a nice place to store items.

Monitors are usually height adjustable, so don’t worry about your furniture being the exact same height as your desk. You can still get your monitors to be at the same level.

3) Table Extensions

Table extensions are an easy way to add more space to your desk. 

Computer Desk Arm Rest Extender
  • Can support up to 20 lbs
  • Clamps onto desk
  • Creates flush surface
  • Only supports desks under ~2" thick
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For example, the product above can easily fit a typical flat monitor base. The specifications also call out that it can support up to 20 lbs! That’s definitely enough for modern thin and light monitors. If you’re worried about your monitor’s weight, check out our article on how much monitors typically weigh.

On a related note, items like these can extend your desk for other purposes too. This ad shows it being used as an armrest for a more ergonomic workspace! 

If you want to match your wood-finished desk, the item below comes in different wood-style finishes! 

OUGIC Desk Extender Tray

This extension board can fold down when not in use to save space and can hold additional items like a keyboard, monitor, notebook, or mouse. It's easy to install and compatible with most desks.

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4) Vertical Monitor

If you are barely running out of room on your desk with two side-by-side monitors, you might want to try placing one vertically. This is one of the more space-efficient dual monitor arrangements.

We have a dedicated article on how to mount your monitor vertically.

Mounting your second monitor vertically can significantly cut down the desk space required. Instead of two wide monitors spanning super wide, you only have one horizontal-oriented monitor.

HP 24mh Full HD IPS Monitor

This FHD display with IPS technology gives you great visuals and quality with 1080p resolution at 75 Hz. It has a slim design that saves desk space and provides a better viewing experience maintained across wide vertical viewing angles. The micro-edge display provides for seamless multi-monitor setups.

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For example, the monitor above measures 18.3 x 21.2 inches. Two monitors side by side normally would take up 42.4 inches of horizontal space. One placed vertically and one horizontally would only take up 39.5 inches. That’s almost a 10% reduction in the space needed!

Also, there are a lot of functional uses for having a vertical second monitor instead of a horizontal one. Check out this article by Popular Science on vertical monitor benefits.

5) Make Space

If your desk could technically fit two monitors, but your own stuff is in the way, try making some room. It takes no money at all and solves this problem.

If you are serious about making two monitors fit on a small desk, take a hard look at what is already on your desk. Does everything have to be there? This is a core question in our article on minimal desk setups.

That’s what I always ask myself and it results in this desk setup below:

34 inch ultrawide monitor on ikea alex desk

Do you have a computer tower on your desk? Does that have to be there, or can you hide that computer tower? Do you have a tabletop lamp that could be swapped out for a floor lamp?

We have a dedicated article with these ideas that allow you to get more space on your desk.

Try to make as much room as possible by removing what is not essential. Almost anything can be moved off of your table. Laptops can be placed on laptop stands or arms, books can be put in a drawer or a bookshelf. 

Depending on your desk size, fitting two monitors can be as simple as just making more room.

The actual essentials here are just a keyboard and mouse. It might be different for you so take some time to think about what you actually need.

6) Smaller Monitors

This one can be a compromise, but it is an easy way to fix the problem. If you are having trouble fitting two monitors on your desk, consider using smaller monitors. But having smaller monitors doesn’t necessarily mean smaller screens.

New monitors of the same screen size might actually take up less desk space!

If your monitor is old, it probably has large bezels on all four sides. This increases the dimension of your monitor without a functional gain. It is just the technology of its time. 

New monitors today can have ultra-thin bezels. This can reduce exterior monitor dimensions significantly! Check out this Dell thin bezel monitor:

Dell S2421HS Full HD 24-Inch LED Monitor

This is an elegant desktop monitor with a three-sided ultrathin bezel design. The In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel ensures consistent colors across wide viewing angles.

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This significant drop in bezel size can be seen on all screens, even laptops. A 17-inch laptop a few years ago would be a gigantic megalodon of a laptop. Now, some 17-inch laptops are the same size as old 15-inch laptops! 

If you currently have two large bezel monitors, browse the market for some newer options. These newer monitors have a better chance of fitting on your desk. They will also make your workspace look cleaner and more modern. 

The two-monitor experience also gets better as bezels get thinner. It starts to look like one continuous monitor instead of two different monitors. This is a perfect transition to our next topic. 

7) One Ultrawide Monitor

This is probably the most expensive solutionon this list, but it is a good one. 

Ultrawide monitors are becoming more and more common these days. A standard 1920×1080 monitor has a 16:9 aspect ratio. That means for every 16 wide pixels, you have 9 vertical pixels.

Ultrawide monitors today can have ratios of up to 32:9! A 32:9 ratio is exactly two 16:9 monitors placed next to each other. But this time, you get a beautiful continuous screen. They cost a fortune though.

Monitors with such an ultrawide ratio are often curved. If it was flat, the far ends of the screen would not be at optimal viewing angles. Unlike two monitors where you can just move two screens independently, a curved monitor is almost necessary at such a high aspect ratio. 

You don’t have to go all the way to a 32:9 ratio though. These are very expensive monitors, and 32:9 is not the only aspect ratio to emulate having two monitors. 

The other popular wide monitor ratio is 21:9. This does a great job of multitasking. Multiple windows can be up and viewable at all times. This is what I currently use, as seen in the image above.

Ultrawide monitors are a great solution as they only have a single central stand. That will certainly fit on a small desk better than any two monitors on standard stands.

Before You Go

If you are interested in desks that have a bit more space for dual monitors, check out our dedicated article on desks for two monitors.

Also, there are a ton of ways to actually arrange two monitors to save space. We have a detailed article on dual monitor arrangements. You’ll quickly notice certain configurations are way more space efficient.

If you are more of a three-monitor person, we also have an article on the best desks for triple-monitor users. I also recommend checking out our article on how to fit three monitors on small desks if you want to keep that compact footprint. The ideas are very similar to the ideas in this article but leveled up a bit.

You might also be interested in how to keep small desks organized, and how to make those small home offices look bigger!

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I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!