Desk buying guide

Desk buying guide

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

52 guides

Looking to replace an old desk or create a new work space?  Your choice of desk will depend on how you plan to use it, the amount of space you have and the style of your room. Pick between corner or straight desks and materials like wood, metal or glass. Read on to find the perfect desk for you!

Important features

  • Desk material
  • Desk table top type
  • Uses
  • Free-standing or wall-mounted
  • Decorative style
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Your desk should be chosen with a great deal of care, especially if it's going to serve as your day-to-day work space. It's important to be comfortable at your desk and have everything you need close at hand. If you want to find a model that properly suits your needs, you should consider the following important points:

  • shape,
  • depth and size ;
  • the type of desk table top :
  • conference table,
  • desk with storage,
  • desk on wheels,
  • computer desk,
  • adjustable desk,
  • secretary desk,
  • bookcase with built-in desk,
  • combination desk;
  • uses:
  • solid wood,
  • composite wood,
  • metal,
  • glass;
  • the material:
  • installation type: free-standing or wall-mounted;
  • style: from traditional to modern.
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You should start by thinking of the type of desk table top you need. This is the first thing to think about as the shape of the desk must match its use and the available space must be take into account.

Choosing the right desk table top

There are several shapes of table tops and these must be chosen carefully as this will decide how the piece of furniture is used:

  • straight table top: a traditional, all-purpose desk that adapts to all set-ups and particularly to small spaces;
  • corner table top: practical for spreading out your work and folders, it is often available with a lot of storage space but requires space to accommodate it;
  • wave table top : modern and stylish and offers optimum comfort. Fits in with modern decor, although it requires a sizeable space.
  • curved table top: with a round cut-out to be closer to the computer, it offers modern curves and requires substantial space.

Desk table top size and depth

The size of the table top, and therefore the desk, depends on the size of the room and its use.

In terms of depth, the narrowest desks are suitable for flat screens, while the deepest ones are suitable for holding CRT screens and/or numerous storage units, such as trays, stands, etc.

Another essential factor to consider is how the desk will be used. The main uses are listed below.

Work desk

To ensure that you are comfortable throughout your working day, it is important to choose a suitable desk. For professional use, choose a conference table which is spacious and the must-have work desk.

Computer desk

For conventional use, the computer desk has a special layout for desktop computers with central processing units. Alternatively, you can opt for a bookcase with a built-in desk , which is not very large but functional. It has storage space for books or décor.

Adjustable desk

Ideal for sharing with others, it is height-adjustable and allows you to adapt the table top to everyone's height. Some models can be raised to allow you to work standing up!

Secretary desk

The secretary desk is perfect in a hallway or in a corner of your room. It saves a lot of space and remains very functional.

Mobile desk and desk on wheels

A desk on wheels is easy to move, is practical and can be used for other purposes, such as a side table. Mobile desks are also popular in smaller homes.

Combination desk

Combination desks are equipped with a lot of storage and save a lot of space. They are intended to be used mainly in small spaces. For this reason, they are widely used in children's and/or teenagers' rooms. There are two main versions:

  1. A desk with built-in cupboards and storage. This is often a storage unit with a swivel or mounted desk table top.
  2. A desk-bed. The desk-bed is available as a desk built into the bed or as a desk on wheels that slides under the bed.
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It is necessary to choose the right material for your desk, both in terms of quality and maintenance. The following are the most common materials.

Solid wood desk

Strong and homely, it is one of the most expensive materials. You can protect it or renovate it with varnish, a woodcare product or paint, which extends the life of your desk.

It is easy to maintain and dust is not very visible. On the other hand, you need to wax it regularly to keep it in good condition.

Melamine, MDF or chipboard desk

MDF, melamine and chipboard are the most common materials and offer the best value for money. The coating, which is often laminated, can be rather fragile.

Maintenance is very easy; regular dusting and the use of a slightly damp cloth is sufficient.

Another advantage is that a melamine or laminated desk can be painted to give it a second lease of life.

Metal desk

It is very strong and virtually unbreakable, but scratches quite easily. Metal desks can be characterised by their aesthetics and clean lines. In terms of maintenance, it requires frequent dusting on its surface.

Glass desk

Glass is a fragile material that requires special care and maintenance. Dusting must be done regularly and you should always have a spray bottle with glass cleaner and a cloth nearby to remove fingerprints! However, it does bring style and light to the room.

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There are two main installation types for fitting your desk into your room:

  • free-standing desks: the most popular option, free-standing desks are simply placed on the ground like any other piece of furniture and do take up floor space;
  • wall-mounted desks: ideal for small rooms, these models are secured to the wall like a decorative shelf. It is therefore possible to install storage above the desk, such as small drawer units, etc.

Of course, it's essential to weigh up a range of technical features when picking a desk but it's also important to find a desk that works with the décor of your room.

  • Scandinavian-style desks: for a more natural look, go for a light-toned wooden desk with a white desktop and slim, tapered legs.
  • Industrial desks: these stylish models feature metal contours and an aged wood desktop for a guaranteed loft vibe!
  • Traditional desks: a neutral-toned straight desk made of melamine or wood will look at home in most interiors.
  • Rustic-style desks: usually made of a dark-toned solid wood protected by a wax or varnish, these desks are great for a more traditional feel.
  • Children's desksbrightly coloured and equipped with convenient storage spaces, these desks can be fitted with novelty handles in the shape of hearts, suns, cartoon characters, etc.

Read more

  • Top sellers by price range

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Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton, 52 guides

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

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