Installing a Keyboard Shelf/Tray

Keyboard Shelf Installed...

I recently got an IKEA FREDRICK work station desk as part of my new furniture ensemble after moving into a new apartment and though I liked it a lot for its clean, open approach, I wished it had some sort of keyboard shelf. I didn’t use to be a fan of keyboard shelves, but after four years of university with an $80 Wal-Mart desk that had a surprisingly good keyboard shelf, I’ve been somewhat hooked. (As hooked as one can get to a particular furniture feature)

IKEA has their own SUMMERA keyboard shelf, which is meant to be used with this desk. However, it wasn’t wide enough to accommodate my keyboard and mouse, something I believe is necessary for good ergonomics. Additionally, it didn’t feel too sturdy when I checked it out in-store. So, I had to resort to an online search to find the keyboard shelf I needed.

Big problems

The keyboard I’ve been using for well over a year has been the excellent Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard. Though I’m not a huge gamer, I like the keyboard for its traditional layout, backlighting and the LCD screen, which can run not only Logitech apps, but also some excellent third-party apps developed with Logitech’s SDK. While I don’t use the extra macro keys, they’re nice to have in case I need them. As I’m very picky about keyboards – once I find one I like, Hell will freeze over before I switch to another – this has some unfortunate downsides. The G15, with all its extra features, is a very wide keyboard – about 55 cm at its widest. Couple that with a mouse, and most keyboard shelves weren’t large enough for me.

Looking around

I figured that I’d need a keyboard shelf around 75 cm (close to 30″) wide to accommodate both keyboard and mouse. Checking out some local retailers, I was disappointed to find that most weren’t this big. At best, I could hope to find one that would hold the G15, but not a mouse. Since the whole point of getting a keyboard shelf was for ergonomics – I find it most comfortable to have the keyboard lower than the desk height to keep my elbows close to a 90-degree angle – putting the mouse at a different height away from the keyboard was just not an option. The CDC guide to ergonomics seems to agree with me on this.

I did more searching on the Internet and was finally able to locate the Bush Universal Keyboard Shelf. While looking somewhat plain, it fit the bill – it was around 29-30″ wide, and so would be able to hold everything I needed. Finding it from a Canadian supplier was a little bit harder, but I was able to get it from Office Depot for a fair price with free shipping. They even shipped it using a local courier who was able to deliver it after-hours, when I’d be home from work.


Installation took about one and a half hours, mainly because I have little to no workmanship skills when it comes to this sort of stuff and wanted to make sure I did it right the first time. The installation guide included all the proper measurements and drill locations, so all I had to do was measure it out and drill. Measuring and marking the correct locations took longer than expected, since I only had a tape measure and a small ruler. But in the end, things were fairly straight. Drilling itself only took a few minutes with the cordless drill I borrowed from my helpful superintendent. After that, I just needed to screw the rails onto the underside of the desk, and then attach the shelf to the rails.

Keyboard Shelf Installed...

Overall, I’m happy with the results. The keyboard shelf is feels sturdy and quality-made; it’s covered in a nice grippy-texture that prevents things from slipping, but this means you must use a mousepad with it. No problems – I’ve always used one. It might have been a bit pricey, but getting things just the way you want them often does cost a bit.


  1. I have the SUMMERA and I was searching for ways people have installed it. I installed the SUMMERA on a VIKA ikea desk. I used anchors since the desk is hollow. Bad results: the anchors didn’t hold. Probably would work better with a solid wood or mdf desk.

  2. […] for the same reason (i have a g15 version 2). So i searched around and stumbled upon this blog Installing a Keyboard Shelf/Tray. The owner of that blog also has the same problem was we do. He did some reasearch and found this […]

  3. Cool! I was looking for something like this — to fit my oversized ergonomic keyboard plus mouse. Will order the same keyboard “shelf” from Office Depot. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Indeed, I tried installing the SUMMERA on an EXPEDIT desk, and the results were horrible. Well, it kinda holds in place, but it needs some additional support. Consider this my Next Big Carpentry Project.

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