The Ultimate IKEA ALEX Battlestation Desk Setup

IKEA has always been a popular option for desk setups. They have a huge variety of customizable desks and their prices can be competitive. 

Using one as the centerpiece of your battlestation is always a good idea. IKEA even has gaming-specific desks, so they know we gamers are big fans. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about how to put together the ultimate IKEA battlestation desk. I’ll be using my IKEA ALEX desk setup as an example. 

I’m always playing some FPS games with friends and even set up my Logitech steering wheel for F1 racing. I found a setup that helps me utilize my desk for gaming, but also for working as well. 

Why I Chose The IKEA ALEX Drawer Desk For Gaming

Out of all the desks that IKEA has, I went with the classic dual ALEX drawer desk with a butcher block top. It’s a very popular desk for good reason! 

Maximum Storage With Dual Drawers

The main reason I went for a dual ALEX drawer desk is for all of the precious storage. I keep a lot of useful quick-access items in my drawers. 

I have 10 drawers total and here is what each is dedicated to hold. 

  • Laptop & tablet storage
  • Electronics (cables/power banks/hard drives)
  • Camera gear 
  • Extra gaming peripherals (Xbox controller, gaming mouse)
  • Office supplies (pens/notepads)
  • Mail/Documents
  • Excess book storage
  • Video gear

The last two drawers are miscellaneous stuff like small screwdriver sets, laptop chargers, etc. Without the ALEX drawers, there’s no way I could have all this stuff with such easy access. 

Not everyone needs this much storage, but it’s a lifesaver for me. 

Simple Assembly

If you’re familiar with the ALEX drawer desk setups, you’ll know that it is a pretty simple desk. Once you build up the drawers, you just place a table surface on top! 

The drawers do take a few steps to build. Here’s a video on the IKEA ALEX drawer assembly process.

I paired my drawers with a 60 by 30-inch oak desktop surface. This was a pretty roomy depth and width that was manageable for my space. 

Other Popular IKEA Desks

The dual ALEX drawer desks are not the only IKEA desks that are great for gaming. Here are some other popular desks you can find at IKEA. 

The IKEA KARLBY tabletop is another great tabletop surface that you can use in your desk setup. It’s technically a kitchen countertop, but these are much more wallet-friendly and work very well as a desk surface. 

It’s not nearly as expensive as a solid wood table as it has a particle wood core. The surfaces are all thick solid wood veneer. So you get the real wood where you need it at a very low price. 

You can pair this with the ADILS desk legs, or an IKEA ALEX drawer for some added storage. 

There are seemingly limitless IKEA desk setup examples out there. Check out this article from Maker Stations on a bunch of real-world IKEA desk setups

There are a ton of different desktop materials out there. If you need help deciding, check out our guide to desk surface materials. 

Setting Up My IKEA ALEX Gaming Desk

It took me a long time to end up with my current gaming desk setup. We workspace addicts are always finding ways to change up our desk and take it to the next level. 

Here are some ways I improved the aesthetics and “game-ability” of my desk setup. 

Hide Your Computer Tower

If you are a PC gamer, like myself, this one might come as a surprise to you, but hear me out. Most of us gamers build custom PCs with a ton of RGB and love the way they look. Here’s my own NR200 custom PC below:

Most of us show off our custom builds by keeping the tower on top of our desks so we can stare at them 24/7. I did this for about a year. 

I ended up realizing that I wanted some more space on my desk, so I hid my computer tower. Here I talk about exactly how I hid my computer tower here. It’s now on a computer riser near the floor.

The result is a ton more space on my desk. Also, I swapped the glass side panel for the mesh side panel because I was no longer showing off the computer on top of my desk. 

screenbar halo light bar halo bias

This resulted in my PC operating at much cooler temperatures when gaming all while having a ton more desk space. In our PC placement guide, I talk about all the possible locations and their pros and cons. 

Use A Desk Shelf

Also known as monitor risers and monitor shelves, desk shelves are elevated platforms that just sit on your desk. They are a straightforward product but with big functionality. 

We have a dedicated article on the purpose of desk shelves

In summary, they boost your monitor’s height which helps ergonomics, gives you some organizational space, helps hide cables, and adds some depth to improve the look of your desk. 

Here’s how this relates to the battlestation side of things. 

As someone who uses my desk for both working and gaming, I have my “work” mouse and keyboard as well as a gaming mouse and keyboard. 

My work keyboard and mouse are from the Logitech MX line. My gaming keyboard is a custom mechanical build, and I have a wired Logitech mouse. 

I can keep my gaming keyboard neatly tucked underneath the desk shelf while I’m working. This makes it really easy to swap out when I want to switch from working mode to gaming mode.

Instead of going through a drawer or some other further storage location, I just slide my mechanical keyboard out and store away my working keyboard. 

It’s a super handy storage location for getting into battlestation mode. These can get really expensive. I found this budget-friendly one fit my needs perfectly. 

Aothia Large Dual Monitor Desk Shelf
4.5
Pros:
  • Comes in three wood grain colors
  • Made with real poplar wood
  • Supports up to 100 lbs.
  • 43 inch by 9.4 inch surface
  • Affordable compared to other wood desk shelves of the same size
Cons:
  • Cork legs are not the prettiest
Check Price On Amazon

Use a Large Desk Mat

Most PC gamers already know that you should be using a large mousepad. What if I told you the best mousepad was actually a desk mat?

In our comparison of desk mats vs mousepads, we touch on all the benefits desk mats have over mousepads. Namely, more desk protection, a huge continuous usable mouse area, more wrist comfort, and better aesthetics. 

They come in a huge variety of sizes and designs so you can get one that fits your battlestation perfectly. 

For the hardcore RGB gamers out there, you can get a clean RGB desk mat if you are willing to plug your desk mat into a power source.  

I personally avoid the extra wires, but they do add strong battlestation vibes. 

Add The Battlestation RGB

There are two main ways I recommend gamers add lighting to their desk setup. That is with RGB LED strips or RGB light bars. Check out this article if you want a more in-depth LED desk setup guide

RGB Light Bars

If I had to choose one RGB bias light source for my desk, I would have to pick RGB light bars. These are basically powerful LEDs inside of a diffused housing. 

It makes for a very well-spread light source for desk backlighting. 

They are a bit more expensive than LED strips, but you can get a much higher quality light spread. LED strips are individual tiny lights that need further space from a wall to give the same diffused look. 

I personally use Govee Light Bars, which I have reviewed here. They are placed behind my monitor. 

Govee Smart LED Light Bars
4.6
Pros:
  • 16 Million Colors
  • Included brackets make setup easy
  • Smooth and even lighting
  • Feature packed mobile app
  • Works with smart assistants
  • Has a Stream Deck Plugin!
Cons:
  • 8ft max distance between bars
  • RGB is not as bright as white settings
  • Occasional wireless control issues
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They are a much more affordable alternative to the Philips Hue Play Lightbars which are crazy expensive. The Play Light bars also need a Phillips hub so your total cost is way higher than the Govee Light Bars. 

Philips Hue Play White & Color Smart Light, 2 Pack

The Philips Hue Play is a versatile and customizable smart light that can be controlled with your voice through Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant. With limitless possibilities for enhancing your home, the Hue Play can be mounted behind your TV for the ultimate lighting experience or placed anywhere in your living room for a pleasant ambiance. The pack includes clips and double-sided tape for easy installation.

Check Price on Amazon

RBG LED Strips

You can’t go wrong with a simple RGB LED strip if you want something super budget-friendly. 

Some come pre-cut to fit around the back of your monitor, and others can be cut at certain lengths to you can stick one along the backside of your desk. 

Hide Wires Under Desk led strip behind desk RGB

I personally have one behind my desk at the moment and I stopped using them because of how dim they are compared to my light bars. Also, my desk shelf covers up the rear edge of my desk, so they are less effective overall for my desk setup. 

Accessories For The Gaming Desk Setup

There are a few items on my desk that are fully dedicated to the gaming side of the battlestation. These items make my desk much more gaming-friendly.

We have a dedicated article on the best desk accessories for gamers here if you want a longer list!

3D Printed Headphone Stand

When you have a 3D printer, all you want to do is 3D print a bunch of desk accessories. That’s where I got my gaming headset’s headphone stand. 

I found this 3D print on Thingiverse. I mention it in my dedicated article on the best printed headphone stands

It holds my Logitech G435 Lightspeed headphones. It’s a very budget-friendly gaming headset with no moving parts so I expect it to last much longer than my previous gaming headsets. 

Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset - Lightweight over-ear headphones, built-in mics, 18h battery, compatible with Dolby Atmos, PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Mobile - Black
  • Headphones fit type:Over-Ear.Frequency Response: 100Hz-8KHz
  • Total comfort: Breathable fabric earcups keep your ears cool during long play sessions, and the comfortable memory foam padding helps absorb sound waves to improve...
  • Lightweight: With a lightweight construction, this wireless gaming headset weighs only 5.8 oz (165 g), making it comfortable to wear all day long
  • Superior voice quality: Be heard loud and clear thanks to the built-in dual beamforming microphones that eliminate the need for a mic arm and reduce background noise
Check Price on Amazon

The swiveling microphone pivot point is a super common mode of failure for gaming headsets. The G435 does not have anything rotating which removes this risk entirely. 

USB Hub For Gaming PC

Remember when I mentioned my gaming PC was placed underneath my desk? Well, turns out it’s harder to access USB ports down there. 

The first thing I did after placing my PC on the riser on the floor was to add a little USB 3.0 hub to the rear edge of my desk. 

Now I have easy access to connect any peripherals to my gaming rig without reaching under the table. 

I am always using this USB hub to switch my keyboard from my laptop to my gaming rig. I highly recommend this to anyone keeping their PC out of sight as it comes with a huge convenience boost. 

Upgraded Mechanical Keyboard

My first mechanical keyboard was from another budget-friendly brand: Royal Kludge on Amazon. It was a super clicky keyboard with hot-swappable switches. 

After a bunch of noise complaints from my partner (we live in a tiny apartment), I decided to take this keyboard and perform some upgrades. 

Now my keyboard sounds much softer as is actually very satisfying to use. 

Before
After

Here’s what I did to upgrade my keyboard:

Final Details For a Perfect Gaming Battlestation

Go Minimal

I love the look of an uncluttered desk. Not only does it look fantastic, it’s also very functional. 

The less stuff on your desk, the more focused you can be and the less stuff your mouse will collide with when gaming. 

Check out our ultimate guide to minimal desk setups and start implementing those tips to make your desk setup much more aesthetically pleasing and functional. 

We also have a more gamer-specific guide to minimalistic gaming desks.

Manage the Battlestation Cables

With all the devices on desks these days and the RGB lights, cables can get out of hand very quickly. You can manage 90% of your desk setup with a cable management rack, split sleeve sheathing, and some velcro ties.

no cables under desk

I highly recommend and use the specific items below. These items are super cheap and super effective at hiding cables. 

Split Cable Management Sleeving
4.6

This black wire loom is split and easy to load wires. They come in a large range of diameters and lengths depending on how many cables you need to manage. It groups your individual cables and wraps them in this aesthetically pleasing mesh wrap.

Check Price on Amazon

If you don’t want to use a cable management rack, you can alternatively mount your power strip to your desk. This combined with tying up all the cable slack, you can get a super clean setup very easily. 

We dive deeper into cable management in these three guides below:

How To Hide Monitor Cables

Hide Cables On Top of Your Desk

How To Hide Cables Underneath Your Desk

IKEA has its own cable management accessories like this long cable management rack.  This can hold a longer power strip and has a lot of tie-down points for grouping excess cable slack.

Introduce a Monitor Arm

Most monitors (gaming monitors included) come with a big bulky stand to give your monitor a very stable platform. 

While this is good, it takes up way too much desk space. You can utilize much more desk space if you use an aftermarket monitor mounting arm. 

gas spring monitor arm

Most gaming monitors come with VESA mounting holes. You can use these standardized mounting holes to remove the factory stand and introduce a table clamp stand instead. 

For those of you with very expensive monitors, I highly recommend getting the Ergotron monitor mounts. They are the most stable monitor arms with actual VESA certification. 

Here are a few popular examples:

HUANUO Single Monitor Mount, 13 to 30 Inch Gas Spring Monitor Arm, Adjustable Stand, Vesa Mount with Clamp and Grommet Base – Fits 4.4 to 14.3lbs LCD Computer Monitors
  • Great Adaptability: This HUANUO single monitor arm fits 13-32 inch monitors, holds 4.4-19.8 lbs, suitable for VESA patterns of 75x75mm & 100x100mm. This monitor mount is...
  • Full Adjustable: This PC monitor stand can remain completely stable at any angle without any extra work. Compared with other single monitor arm adjustment methods, huanuo...
  • 80% Sturdier Than Others: At HUANUO, we focus on improving the strength and stability of our single monitor stand. The single desk monitor mount uses automotive-grade gas...
  • Installed In 3 Minutes: The 1-piece design monitor arm simplifies the installation, so all necessary hardware is included; The setup can be completed in 3 minutes. Step...
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Premium Pick for 34" Ultrawide Monitors
Ergotron LX Single Monitor Arm
4.6

Ergotron is the go-to monitor mount for those with expensive monitors or anyone who wants the best monitor mount money can buy. This mount fits single screens up to 34 inches diagonal and between 7 to 25 pounds.

Pros:
  • Comes in three colors to match your workspace
  • Clamps desks up to 2.4 inches thick
  • Can be used with LX Extension for more reach
Cons:
  • Expensive
Check Price on Amazon

Many people who use IKEA tabletops are concerned about using a table clamping monitor arm. We have a dedicated article on how to mount monitors to hollow or weak desks

You essentially want to spread the load across a larger area with a product like this:

HUANUO Steel Monitor Mount Reinforcement Plate
4.7

Protect your desk and increase stability with this easy-to-install reinforcement plate. It reduces distortion and fits more desktops, including glass and paper-filled desks. Use a desk clamping monitor mount arm without damaging your desk.

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That way the smaller clamping area doesn’t risk damaging the table. If you have a solid wood desk, you don’t have to worry about this. 

Photo of author

Dasun

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!

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