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Nelson Swag Leg Desk

 George Nelson

Introduced in 1958 by then-design director, George Nelson, the Nelson Swag Leg Desk has retained its relevance for decades. These desks continue to add interest and utility to homes and offices through their graceful, architectural form and timeless materials. Retro yet contemporary, the Nelson swag leg desk has the look, scale, and function that are just right for today.

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Ref NS5850
Nelson Swag Leg Desk

Just-right Scale

Although introduced in 1958, this distinctive home office desk seems to have been designed to fit today's electronics perfectly. As a computer desk, it perfectly accommodates a laptop or keyboard on the desktop with room on the second tier for a flat screen monitor at eye level. This efficient use of space allows it to fit easily into your home office, kitchen, family room, or main living area.

We've added a handy grommet to the back of the desk for streamlined cable management. Colorful cubbyholes at the back keep materials organized and at hand. One even fits a laptop computer. Two molded plastic drawers store small items.

George Nelson

Beginning with the legs.

George Nelson View Design Story
  • Smart, Contemporary Appearance

    Smart, Contemporary Appearance

    You don't expect to see whimsical colors on a desk, but here they are: orange, spa blue, and chartreuse hardwood dividers. The desk has walnut sides, back, and stretcher frame and a white laminate top. Two unobtrusive black storage drawers hold writing instruments.

  • Compact Dimensions

    Compact Dimensions

    This is a desk that will fit anywhere—in a kitchen, den, or study. The surface is just the right size for electronics, paper, and writing—even though laptop computers didn't exist at the time Nelson designed the desk. (Surface = W: 28 ½" x L: 39")

Nelson Swag Leg Desk

Beginning with the legs.

Sculpture Without Wood

It's All About the Legs

George Nelson began with the legs, insisting that they be made of metal and machine formed. And beautiful. He wanted that graceful curve. "Wouldn't it be beautiful to have some kind of sculptured leg on a piece of furniture?" How could that be done without wood and hand-carving tools?

It's All About the Legs
What's a Swag Leg?

What's a Swag Leg?

Using pressure to taper and curve a metal tube—the process called swaging—proved to be the best way to produce the legs. He added solid walnut stretchers that bolt to the legs for a stable, durable base. Inserting a screw in the legs and rotating them in opposite directions makes quick work of assembly—and makes a strong joint too.

Legs, Legs, and More Legs

Once he got started with swag legs, Nelson didn't stop at desks. He made a work table that lets you spread out papers and tools. And why stop there? Why not a chair? Why not dining tables? He made two—one round, one rectangular—with the walnut base stretchers in an X formation to make room for your legs.

General Dimensions

  • H:34.5"
  • W:39"
  • D:28.5"
Nelson Swag Leg Chair
Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

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Shipping Information

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Packaging Type:
Packaging Dimensions:
42" x 32" x 12"
Package Weight:
77 lbs.
Assembly Required:
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Light Assembly Recommended:
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Care & Maintenance

With regular care and maintenance, your Herman Miller product will provide many years of superior performance and satisfaction. To maintain quality, please follow the cleaning procedures outlined here.

The instructions for the care and maintenance of Herman Miller products are provided to you as a service. No warranty is implied since results may vary.



For normal cleaning, wet cheesecloth in a nonabrasive cleaner, like liquid dish soap, and rub the chrome component lightly until the original luster reappears. Dry the component with a soft cloth to remove any soap residue.

Wood & Veneer

This includes Herman Miller products finished with wood veneer or recut wood veneer, except the oiled Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman with Rosewood, Oiled Walnut, or Oiled Santos Palisander veneer unless specifically noted.

Normal Cleaning
Dust regularly with a slightly damp, soft, lint-free cloth. Wipe dry with a dry, soft cloth in the directionof the wood grain.Spills should be immediately wiped up with a damp cloth.

Once a month
Clean the surface with a soft cloth dampened with a quality cleaner formulated for wood furniture. Wipe the surface in the direction of the wood grain to remove dirt and fingerprints. Wipe dry with a clean, dry cloth.

Twice a year
Apply a good quality furniture polish with a soft cloth. Do not use aerosol-powered cleaners or polishes. Also, do not use polishes containing waxes or abrasives, or polishes that are oil based.

Herman Miller veneers meet strict testing standards for resistance to wear, light, stains, water, and pressure. To reduce the risk of damage, take some precautions: Use coasters for glasses and mugs. If a glass top is added to the veneer surface, be sure it rests on felt pads. Don’t place a potted plant on a veneer surface unless it’s in a water-tight container or in a drip tray.Don’t let vinyl binders stay on a surface for very long. Use protective pads under equipment with “rubber” cushioning feet. Some chemical compounds used in the feet on office equipment, such as printers and monitor stands, may leave permanent stains or marks.

Minor repair of water rings, stains, and scratches
Rub the surface lightly in the direction of the wood grain using No. 000 steel wool. Apply a scratch-removing polish with a color and value that simulate the veneer. If the scratches are deep, consult a professional furniture refinisher.

Other Damage
Wood is susceptible to bruising and scratching from heavy office equipment, so we encourage a protective surface is placed underneath. Objects should be lifted instead of dragged across a surface. Protective pads should be used under items with a rough bottom, like pottery. Denting, caused by extreme pen pressure when writing, can also damage veneer. Use desk pads or some other protection where a lot of paperwork is done. Sunlight can damage veneer as well, so veneer surfaces should not be in direct sunlight. To help a surface age evenly, users can periodically move items on their desks so that the entire surface is exposed to an even amount of light over time. In addition to light, extremely high or low humidity is a damaging environmental factor. Herman Miller suggests maintaining a relative humidity of 35-65 percent.


Products using laminate may include tabletops, work surfaces, counter caps, transaction surfaces, flipper doors, and lateral files.

For normal cleaning, wash the laminate with a soft cloth and a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

For minor repair of burns or other stubborn marks, apply a nonabrasive liquid kitchen cleanser with a soft cloth soaked in warm water. Rub in the direction of the grain; use caution to avoid damaging the surface texture or gloss. If no grain direction is visible, rub with a light, circular motion.

Do not use powdered abrasives or other harsh cleansers like hypochlorite bleach, hydrogen peroxide, nitric or hydrochloric acids, or lye; they may deface the surface and change the finish color.