Having the right desk can make the difference between being stressed out from all the clutter and being able to work productively whenever you sit down at it. Whether you are shopping for a desk for your home office, to put in a small space in a different room in your home or to use at your place of employment, weigh several factors when making the decision. The right desk depends largely on your personal preferences and how you see yourself using the desk.
Desks come in two major types. Writing desks, like their name suggests, are designed to be used in connection with paperwork. This might include writing letters, paying bills, filling out forms or other similar tasks. Computer desks, on the other hand, typically have a keyboard tray to put the keyboard at a comfortable level and might also have a stand so you can place your monitor higher on the desk. Computer desks often have space for a printer as well.
If you need a desk for both writing and computer usage, look for one that allows you to shift your chair back and forth between two ends of the desk so you can set up separate work stations for the two activities. L-shaped and U-shaped desks are also effective for having different work stations. Another option is to select a model that is deep enough for you to push your computer back when you aren’t using it and need the space for writing.
The right size of desk depends largely on the size of the space you have for it. If you have a room set up as a designated office, you will probably want to get a full-size desk, which is at least 6 feet long and 3 feet wide. If you plan to meet with clients who will sit on the other side of the desk, opt for one that is at least 4 feet wide so neither of you feel crowded. On the smaller side, writing desks can measure as little as 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. If you are getting a desk without much depth, choose a design with a drop lid or a pull-out segment so you can extend your work space and have enough space under the desk for your legs.
In addition to the tabletop space on your desk, you should also consider its storage options. If you do not have other space for storing office supplies nearby, you will want a desk that has multiple drawers or shelves for keeping everything organized. Many desks come with filing drawers, which are ideal if you do not have a dedicated filing cabinet. You can either get a design with two filing drawers on top of each other or with one filing drawer and two to three smaller drawers above it. If you need lots of drawer space, get a wider desk that has drawer banks on both sides. Another way to extend your storage space is to get a desk with a hutch above it for additional shelving.
After considering the functionality of the right desk, the remaining task is to select a desk with an appealing appearance. Classic desks are made out of wood, with lighter colored wood feeling more casual and dark, almost red-colored wood feeling much more formal. You can also choose from glass, plastic and composite desks, which tend to be less expensive than wood, but may not last as long. A simple desk is likely to stay in style for years, whereas an ornate or unusual one might need replacement when it gets outdated.
Before buying what seems to be the perfect desk, consider its weight and mobility. A large, single-piece wood desk is great if it will be staying put for the foreseeable future, but if you expect to move the desk, a smaller desk with a lighter construction would be ideal. Many desks can be disassembled for ease moving them up and down stairs or through tight doorways.