Colt's right - y'all need another table. My "reality" is there's always one surface that's cluttered - so plan for it. I have an old bench that my father in law had in his basement (he was a custodian, and this thing looks amazingly similar to the benches they use in schools...) and it's used against the wall to hold up my tool boxes and collect clutter. My main workbench is nowhere near 4' x 8'. If you can't reach across the thing it gets useless. take a look at the woodworking benches in the specialty catalogs, and if you really feel compelled to go big, then expand those dimensions a touch. My bench top is made from two pieces of 3/4" plywood with a "replaceable" skin of 1/4" hardboard on top. You don't want it much thicker because then hobby vises and clamps and lamps won't be able to clamp to the edge of the thing. The idea for the hardboard top was for it to be able to withstand being chopped into with chisels or handsaws and I could peel off the skin after backing out a few screws and replace it. Let's just say the Masonite hardboard top has been on there since before MDF became readily available. For years I had a hole drilled in the edge to hold an incandescent swing-arm lamp, but lately I've got one of those magnifier-fluorescent swing arm lamps that I need for soldering (don't ask me why I didn't need it a few years ago, I'm still sensitive about the whole bi-focals thing). The shop has a mix of fluorescent and halogen main lighting. Lousy shot but it actually shows you the sandwich construction: You can also see my system for letting the jigsaw signal me when the blade reaches the top of the bench. I took a cue from the woodworking benches and added a tool tray off the back edge so that the tools i'm using can be dropped out of the way and the workpiece can be slid around the top (only half your tools get knocked over this way). Because of the dimensions, it's still easy to reach into that tray, or to lean over and see what's in there. I wouldn't recommend a permanent carpet covering. Unlike the guys at the music store, you'll have splinters and wood chips being generated in your shop, and they'll become a permanent part of the carpet. Instead break out a clean towel when you need to lay down a polished instrument.