Desk Buying Guide

January 10, 2024


Having the right office desk can help improve productivity, efficiency, and comfort while you work. The look and design of your workplace or home office furniture can help determine the mood and overall feel you want your office to convey. Whether in a home office or a traditional office setting, selecting the right office desk is an important choice.

When selecting an office desk, there are many options — and with those options come even more choices to make. You can be on the right path if you do your due diligence by researching various brands and styles, reading reviews, and asking for recommendations from trusted colleagues and co-workers.

A desk buying guide can be of assistance during the research phase, as well. Explore this guide to learn helpful information before making an important office furniture purchase.

Buying a Desk: Key Deciding Factors

Choosing an office desk might be overwhelming initially, but a few key considerations can streamline the buying process.

3 Things To Consider Before Shopping For Your New Office Desk

What Is Your Office Space Layout?

Look at how your office is laid out and take measurements of the space where your office desk will go.

Do you have a small space, or is your workspace within a cubicle? Does your office have an open floor plan where you’ll work alongside your colleagues? Do you have a closed-door office? These are important questions to ask, as you need to make sure the desk fits comfortably in your workplace.

This also applies to home offices. Are you able to dedicate a portion of a room to your desk? You’ll want to take measurements and thoughtfully design your home office so that you can comfortably work without giving up essential living space.

What Is Your Budget?

Once you’ve determined the measurements for a desk that can fit in your space, you can begin narrowing down the selections. Look at your office furniture budget and come up with a price range you’re willing and able to spend.

Many high-quality desks are available in a wide price range, whether you’re looking to spend on something elaborate and spacious or need something a bit more modest in the low hundreds range. By determining your budget before picking out an office desk, you can narrow your selection to find the right one.

What Is Your Office Furniture Style?

After figuring out how much space you have for the desk and how much you’re willing to spend, consider your style and preference for your office’s appearance.

Do you prefer a classic office or home decor, like a traditional or midcentury modern style? Something sturdy and professional might suit your taste. Or perhaps you favor a modern desk and want something with interesting shapes and accents.

These are just two examples of many styles. You can also shop office desks by color or wood finish, such as cherry wood or oak, black or white, or espresso brown or gray.

Your desk can be an extension of your profession, work personality, and brand, so have fun with it. Consider choosing something that makes you happy and motivates you to sit down every morning and work.

If style is the chief factor in your desk decision, consider viewing the office furniture collections. The desks in these collections can be a major aspect of your office style and visually appealing to the eye. While the collection shows you all the coordinated pieces, it is also a great way to shop your style, even if just for the desk. More to come on this.

Office Desk Options: Choose From These Types

Many kinds of office desks can complement your work environment and work style. Each desk variety has unique functions that can help make your workday more productive and make you feel more comfortable in your workspace or home office.

6 Popular Desk Types To Look Into While Shopping For Your Office Desk

Realspace Magellan Standing Desks

1. Standing Desks

A standing desk is useful for those who spend continuous hours working at their desk. Having a standing desk that allows you to switch back and forth between sitting and standing during the workday has multiple benefits.

Experts have found that standing more can help benefit your health and standing while you work can also help boost your productivity.

When you opt for a standing or stand up desk over other desk styles, such as a standard computer or writing desk, you can relieve yourself from sitting all day without sacrificing any time at your desk.

One of the primary features of a desk for standing is its height adjustability. Some adjustable desks have manual lifts, and others can be controlled electronically.

Standing desks come in various colors, finishes, and sizes. You can find standing desks made from reclaimed wood or butcher block in colors like black, gray, white, or espresso that include a scratch-resistant finish, heavy-duty laminate, or powder-coated.

Some bestsellers include styles from Realspace, WorkPro, VariDesk and FlexiSpot. Standing desks can be found for under $100.

Realspace Magellan

2. Desks With Hutch

Do you require a lot of storage space but work in a small space? A desk with a hutch might be good for you. Hutches sit on your workspace or home office desk, so it doesn’t take up additional space on the floor.

Workplace or home office desks with hutches can help save time — you don’t have to get up to walk over to a file cabinet or a bookcase to find something you need. Everything can be neatly arranged within this storage desk through cubby holes, small slots for mail, open shelving, and cabinets.

The primary functionality of a desk with hutch is to increase your storage area without increasing the amount of floor space the desk takes up. Its ability to build up instead of out makes a desk with a hutch stand apart from other desk styles. A hutch sits on top of the desk instead of next to it, which would take up additional space.

A hutch may have a matching desk, or you can purchase one and attach it to another desk. Some hutches can be affixed to all types of desks, regardless of shape or size.

Hutches come in various colors, finishes, and sizes. You can find sleek, modern styles of hutches in colors like dune and walnut. There are all-black and all-white hutches and those finished in cherry wood and charcoal gray. Additional features include exposed metal framework and/or knobs and handles, shelves with doors, and flip-up framed glass doors.

Some bestsellers include styles from Sauder, Realspace, and Bush Furniture. Hutches range from under $100 up to around $1000.

Realspace Writing Desks

3. Writing Desks

You can use any desk for writing, but writing desks have a particularly large and clear desktop area with plenty of space for a laptop or computer, as well as notebooks, paper, and other writing tools.

Some writing desks are a tabletop with no storage attached, while others may have a drawer underneath or multiple small drawers on the side. A writing desk is simple and straightforward in its design. It can be an ideal desk for someone needing something to hold their basic desk essentials.

Writing desks can be a sleek, uncluttered space to work on your most important projects. Unlike many computer desks or desks with hutches, no shelving or other storage might distract you from your work.

Writing desks come in various colors, finishes, and sizes. Whether you’re looking for contemporary or more traditional, there’s something for you. Wood finish options include coastal oak, cinnamon cherry, dark chestnut, and all-white, black, and soft gold. Popular features include drawers that hold hanging files, slide-out drawers, and keyboard drawers.

Some bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Sauder, and Whalen. Writing desks range from under $100 up to around $2,000.

Realspace Trezza

4. Corner and L-Shaped Desks

For multitaskers, a corner desk or L shaped desk can be helpful. These larger desks fit into the corner of a room, providing ample room in a small space. You can use one side of the desk for your laptop or desktop computer. The other side can be kept clear for materials you may need to reference or additional tasks, like working on a project with a co-worker or hosting one-on-one meetings.

Corner and L-shaped desks come in various colors, finishes, and sizes. Modern styles may feature glass or chrome accents or come in all-black or silver. More traditional styles range in finishes from classic cherry and maple to oak and espresso. Features include file drawers, keyboard drawers, cord management, and locking storage areas.

Some bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Sauder, and Bush Furniture. Corner and L-shaped desks range from around $150 to the high $2,000s.

Whalen Computer Desks

5. Computer Desks

A computer desk holds essentials such as a laptop, desktop computer, printer, and scanner in one designated space. Any desk can technically be a desk for computer use. All desks mentioned here can be computer desks if that’s their intended use. As long as there’s room for everything you need for your computer work, your standing desk, desk with a hutch, writing desk, or corner or L-shaped desk can work as a computer desk.

When choosing a computer desk, space is a key component. If all you have is a laptop, a desk with a small surface may suffice, but you might need something bigger if you have a large monitor or more than one monitor. There are also computer desks with a sliding drawer for your keyboard or an elevated shelf to hold a monitor.

Computer desks come in various colors, finishes, and sizes. Examples include blond ash and mystic oak, mahogany, all white or black, and many with more than one color or finish. Popular features include detachable shelves, file drawers, drawers with flip-down front panels, cord grommets, and built-in chargers.

Some bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Bush Furniture, and Sauder. Computer desks range from under $100 to as high as $5,000.

Sauder® Heritage Hill

6. Executive Desks

A company executive often wears many hats and fills many roles — and so should their desk. An executive desk can fit the needs and look of a company wanting to give off a sense of authority.

Many executive desks feature a matching hutch to increase desk space, various drawers and storage space, keyboard trays, and areas to organize multiple cables and power cords.

Bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Sauder, and Bush Business. You can find smaller executive desks for less than $200, but these large-and-in-charge desks are often closer to $1,000 to $2,000.

Additional Options

Desks can be broken down even further, depending on your specific needs.

Commercial-Grade Desks

Commercial-grade desks can withstand any atmosphere, with a durable, sturdy build that meets all the necessary safety and performance qualifications.

An example of when you may need to purchase a commercial-grade desk is when you need to supply an entire office with a high-quality, unified look. You can find various commercial-grade desks for your office needs, whether you have a large area to work with or a smaller area where shared desk space is necessary. 

Top commercial-grade desk brands include Lorell, Bush Business Furniture, and WorkPro Modular. You can find commercial-grade desks around $200, but these very well-made desks will often be in the $500-to-$3,000 range.


Desk Risers

You can purchase a specific desk for standing or create one by adding a desk riser, or standing desk converter, to the top of your desk. You can add a desk riser to the surface of almost any desk, and some allow you to control the height manually or electronically.

A desk riser allows you to switch between sitting and standing during a long workday. Some desk risers have space for your keyboard and cords and can have a large enough surface area to hold more than one monitor or laptop.

Top desk riser brands include VariDesk, FlexiSpot, and VersaDesk. Prices range from around $150 to around $700.

Student Desks

If you’re a parent creating an work space for your child to do their schoolwork at home or are involved with selecting desks for school classrooms, consider student desks.

These desks are smaller in size to maximize space in the classroom, with enough surface space for kids to work on their projects or collaborate with their peers. Features include adjustable legs or desktops, nylon swivels, rolling wheels, storage areas for writing utensils, cubby-like storage, and water bottle holders.

Bestsellers include styles from Sauder, Bush Furniture, and Marco Group. Prices range from $100 to around $1,000.

Gaming Desks

If you’re a gaming enthusiast, you may want a desk built especially for gamers. Gaming desks come in various colors, like black, white, blue, and red.

Popular models have modern designs and ergonomic features. Many are even adjustable, allowing players to customize their setups to their needs.

Office Furniture Collections

Your desk might be the focal point of your office space, but it isn’t the only design element in the room. To pull together your office look so it’s visually appealing, practical, and functional, consider purchasing pieces of furniture that are part of a full collection.

Furniture collections can be useful if you prefer to keep a specific color scheme or element in your office. Since the pieces are meant to be bought and used together in the same room, they may result in a more effective and efficient work environment.

While the collection shows you all the coordinated pieces, it’s also a great way to shop your style, even just for the desk.

You can also find an office chair that matches the style of the other furniture in your workspace. Consider ergonomic chairs that can help optimize your comfort and productivity.

Home Office Furniture Collections

You may have more leeway regarding design when creating a home work space since you control the space. The likely showcase will be your home office desk, but consider adding a few matching pieces such as a bookcase, printer stand and file cabinet.

Home Office Furniture Sets

Your home office should be a private area and free of distraction while exuding comfort. Determine how you want your office to feel, and explore these top picks for home office furniture sets.

There may also be a need to design a small office furniture area in your home or a small area of a larger office. When you have a smaller office space to work with, the functionality of your office furniture becomes that much more important.

This might mean focusing on multiuse pieces or those you’ll use regularly. However, make sure the furniture is styled so as not to make the room look smaller or cluttered. For example, consider the clean, organized look a white desk can bring to your space.

Top Small Space Furniture Collections

Picking the right small office furniture can make or break the aesthetics of any room. Depending on your preferred style and needs, here are a few of our top small space furniture collections:

Mid-Century Modern


Commercial Furniture Collections

When you create a commercial office space, you’re also helping to enhance employee morale and performance. Choose the commercial office furniture collection that best suits your office needs.

Executive Office Furniture Collection

An executive office furniture collection should ooze with sophistication and authoritativeness and be comfortable and inviting. The overall look depends on your work style and needs as a company executive. Here are a few top picks to choose from:

Cubicle Desks and Cubicle Walls

If your office utilizes workstations, plan to make the area comfortable and efficient. The right office cubicle setup can help improve productivity. Here are some furniture options that include cubicle desks and cubicle walls.

Open Space Office Design

Another type of commercial office configuration is the open office design, where employees aren’t separated by walls or panels and are encouraged to collaborate and work side by side. When creating an open floor plan, key factors are choosing furniture collections that embrace puzzle-like shapes that fit together and have ample space for meetings.

Find the Right Desk for You

Desks and coordinating pieces may vary, but the goal is to take your desk to the next level with optimal organization and productivity.

Whether at home or in a traditional office setting, this guide can be used as a resource to help you decide on the right desk to optimize it to its full potential.

About the author

Shaina Wizov is a lifestyle blogger and social media influencer with a background in journalism and media studies.

All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.