How you set up your gaming area can be a very personal affair, and there are lots of great ways to go about it.
For the past few years, though, I’ve found one element of my GMing setup that’s consistently been my favorite: The side table. It’s simple and versatile, if you’ve never tried it, I think you’ll like it.
Dig up a little coffee table, end table or even something that’s not quite a table, but works like one (last time around, I used a folding chair), and park it right next to your GMing chair.
If you use a GM’s screen, this saves real estate behind the screen — you can just stack your most-referenced books on the table next to you. If you have a few things to hide but don’t want your view of the players obstructed by a screen, you can even move your screen to the side table.
The space under the table can also come in handy: After putting the books I know I’ll need on my side table, I put the ones I think I’ll need, but that might never come up, underneath it. That way they’re near at hand, but not in my way.
This simple extension of my GMing space has made my life as a GM a lot easier, and if you haven’t tried this approach I encourage you to give it a shot — it might work very well for you, too!