Jun 08, 2010

How To: Make a Laptop Riser for Watching Movies and TV in Bed

created at: 06/08/2010

In the era of streaming videos, Hulu, Netflix, and the like, folks are cancelling their cable packages left and right and opting to recieve all of their television and watch many of their movies on computers. Our old CRT televisions are dying, and instead of replacing them, we just head to the computer instead.

And it's great...except watching films and engaging television is supposed to be about relaxing, and that can be difficult to do when you're trying to consume a feature length film at your desk. Many of us have wi-fi connected devices on our TVs, or even connected whole computers to televisions in our living and family rooms, both of which work wonderfully, but the portability of the laptop means lots of us bring our streaming movies to bed.

And then what are you supposed to do? Balance it on top of your pjs? The bottom of my aluminum case gets crazy hot. Put it on the bed itself, where the sheets and bedclothes start to bundle, obstructing your view and the speakers? If you share your bed with a partner, the likelihood of finding the perfect placement and viewing angle is cut in half, at best. And, at least at my house, stretching the power cord to the wall is a precarious venture.

The fix? You gotta get it off the mattress. And yes, there are LOTS of laptop stand how-tos out there, but most are designed for working and productivity. When watching movies or television, you really only need to hit the space bar to pause it while you grab some more popcorn. So, this option has a nice wide top that allows adjustment for the right placement for both to see, and a sturdy base that doesn't get affected by the shifts and movements of the mattress and bedclothes.

And so, a laptop riser for watching movies and TV in bed.


  • Bent plywood stool, like the IKEA Benjamin
  • Saw
  • Two screw in towel hooks
  • One extension cord
  • Cable tacks

1. Decide on the height you'd like your riser. You could cut it long enough to allow you to place your legs under - breakfast in bed style - but that seemed a bit constricting for movie watching, so we cut our at around 4 inches. Place some masking tape on the cut line to prevent splintering, then cut with a saw.

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2. Screw the two towel hooks on either end of one side, with the curved bottoms facing in.

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3. Attach the extension cord to the inside with the cable tacks.

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4. Then, just wrap the cable around the towel hooks for storage.

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And that's it!

You'll be amazed at what four inches and a flat surface will do in terms of viewability and security.

Oh, and if there's anything you've seen lately that you think everyone should watch, in bed or otherwise, let us know in the comments!

created at: 06/08/2010



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Claire on Nov 30, 2012:

I love this! It's totally simple and sophisticated at the same time.  Thanks for sharing!



DeadlyDad on Jun 16, 2010:

Mine was almost completely free.  I just grabbed the cover off an old desktop PC (the flat kind, not a tower), drilled holes for the keyhole slots of my surge protector, installed it on the inside using carriage bolts (the only cost), and moved the rubber feet from the bottom of the case to the top, to both provide air space for the laptop, and to keep it from moving around.  Done.

Eric on Jun 14, 2010:

We don't have IKEA out here either. Like the others below, I would love a few alternatives. Something good at Walmart or Target?

Jenny on Jun 14, 2010:

A much less labor intensive version would be to get one of those discarded legal size inbaskets and turn it over. done.

@massayoshi on Jun 14, 2010:

any alternatives to the Benjamin? cause I can't find them on IKEA's website.

bruns on Jun 10, 2010:

february must have been around the time it was phased out.  that is when i went to the portland ikea and it was still in their locator system, but "sold out."  later checked online and it was missing!  has been ever since.  and BUMMER about fira.  why oh why can't ikea keep the good stuff???

Chris on Jun 10, 2010:

Wow! Really?! I just got mine in February...

I wonder if it went away with the FIRA series, as both are made from actual plywood.

I've seen stools like this a couple places. I believe Target sells one.

bruns on Jun 09, 2010:

so i've seen this before and planned on tackling it, but ikea discontinued the benjamin a long time ago!  know of a cheap source for something similar?  my search for bentwood stool does not yield what i am looking for.