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What to Look for in a Desk

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When buying a desk or workstation for your home office, there are several important things to consider:

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How much space do you have available for your desk?

This will help you determine the maximum size desk that can physically be accommodated. If space is limited, then a large L-Shaped desk or U-Shaped desk will not be practical. A corner desk would be more suitable. If you have more space to work with, then a wider set desk like an executive desk would be better. If you don't have much room to work with, then a narrower but taller desk, such as a desk with hutch or a wall desk might be right for you.

Where do you intend to put your desk?

How much space you have available for your desk is a huge factor in determining where you can put it. When considering where to put your desk, be sure to use common sense. If you are going to have your computer on your desk, then you will need to consider placing your desk where it can easily access electrical outlets as well as be connected to the internet. Placing your desk in front of a heating vent is not a good idea since you risk causing damage to yourself and to your furniture. Similarly, you don't want any cords to be in the way especially in high-traffic areas where people may trip over them thus causing harm to them and to the equipment the cords are connected to.

What is your intended purpose for the desk?

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Basically, how do you plan to use it? Knowing how you intend to use your desk will direct you to the type of desks that are best suited to meet your needs. For instance, if you plan to use your desk to house your computer so you can watch videos online or play video games, then a large desk with filing cabinets and other storage solutions for paper documents will not make sense. A simple computer desk with one drawer may be the best solution. If you simply need a desk to use for paying bills, doing homework, etc., then a writing desk may be the desk for you. If you don't really need a desk but like having somewhere to use your laptop, then a lap desk is a great choice. Lap desks can be used anywhere (even in bed!), are portable, and small enough that they can be easily stored away under a bed or in a closet when not in use. Some desks are made for a specific purpose such as a reception desk, which is used in an office setting as a workstation for the receptionist.

What do you plan to keep on your desk?

If you plan to keep a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, and phone all on the desk's top, you will need a larger desk to accommodate everything. Be sure to get a desk that is sturdy enough to support everything on it. A plastic desk may bow in the middle if you put too much weight on it whereas a wood or metal desk is strong enough to provide sufficient support. If you're the type of person that not only likes to have all the computer essentials on your desk's top but also likes to have some space to spread out when working on documents, then a L-Shaped desk or U-Shaped desk is a good fit since these type of desks provide tons of surface area on their extended arms. (Note: It is helpful to make a list.)

What are your storage and organization needs?

Related to what you plan to keep on your desk is how you plan to store and organize everything. If you keep a lot of paper documents, then a desk with file cabinet (either built-in or as a matching accessory) will keep your documents organized. If you're a big gamer and like to keep your computer games within easy reach, then a computer desk with built in media storage is perfect for you. A desk with hutch has tons of built-in storage in the forms of shelves and drawers. Desks with pedestals have great drawer storage for documents and office supplies. Secretary desks provide ample storage with little work surface area since the main work surface typically pulls out or folds down.


If you tend to move frequently, then a desk or computer cart with casters makes moving easy. Computer carts are also great for people that like to work and watch tv at the same time. Wheel your computer cart to your bedroom or living room so you can work and entertain yourself simultaneously. Portable desks are typically made with plastic or particle board, which are lighter in weight compared to solid wood, metal, or glass, and are also more affordable. They are especially great for college students whose living arrangements can change every semester and whose budgets are more limited.

Material, Style, Finish, and Budget

Your desk is the main piece of furniture for your home office. If at all possible, it's highly recommended to buy your desk first before choosing other office furniture since office chairs, office shelves & storage, and office accessories are selected to complement your desk. From the highly decorative to the simple and sleek, there is a desk to match your personal sense of style.

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  •   • For a more modern and contemporary look, choose a desk made of glass, metal, or a combination of both.
  •   • For a more traditional look, an executive desk made with solid wood lends your office a timeless elegance.
  •   • Want a more beach-like feel to your office? Then a tropical style desk or desk made with bamboo will suit you.
  •   • Like classic American furniture? Then choose a Craftsman or Mission style desk.
  •   • Trying to capture the look and feel of the Old West or your favorite cabin getaway? A Rustic or Lodge style desk is what you need.
  •   • Don't really know what your preferred style is or like elements from many styles? Then transitional is the way to go as this style blends elements from traditional, modern, and everything else in between.

Desks come in a range of finishes so select a finish that will blend in with or complement your current office's color scheme. Desks in a black or white finish are very popular and are easy to coordinate with other furniture pieces.

The type of material your desk is constructed of will affect the price. Solid wood desks tend to be pricey but they last a lifetime. Plastic desks or desks made with laminates or particle boards are typically less expensive but they also do not last as long. You will need to decide if you will be investing in a desk that will last for many years or if you are buying a desk that will work for the short-term.

Now that you know how to go about buying a desk find the desk that's perfect for you!

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