Kotatsu: The Heated Small Space Desktop

updated May 9, 2019
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We were chatting with a friend who spent several years in Japan about the Japanese proficiency for maximizing usable space in the home when he mentioned the kotatsu, a low multipurpose table that transforms for warm or cold weather configurations. In winter time, the wooden tabletop is removed to be replaced with a heavy blanket and heating unit placed into the middle of the framework, effectively creating a cocoon of warmth to work at while on the computer or enjoying television…


Interested in building your own kotatsu while weathering the colder climates of wintertime while WOWing or watching the telly? You’ll need a few materials to get started, including a kotatsu heater unit (do not use a regular heater, as they may not properly vent and may cause a fire), a table, some cushy futon seating, and large blanket to drape across. Throw in a space heating mat for each of your guests, and you’ve got the hottest place to be on a cold winter LAN party night.

A great 3-part resource for a DIY kotatsu set-up was written at mantilo: a miscellany, listing a variety of kotatsu construction alternatives for the heating unit and resources for other kotatsu supplies (including some cute photos of pets enjoying the warmth the ingenious heated workcenter provides). Considering our better half complains that Los Angeles falls and winters are “arctic”, we think we might be making our own DIY version soon.