Desk Buying Guide

July 14, 2020

Having the right office desk can help improve productivity, efficiency, and comfort within your office. 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 to anyone who enters. Whether you work in a home office or a traditional office setting, selecting the right office desk is an important choice.

When it comes to selecting an office desk, there are a lot of options out there – and with those options come even more choices to make. If you do your due diligence by researching various brands and styles, reading reviews, and asking for recommendations from trusted colleagues and co-workers, you can be on the right path.

A desk buying guide can be of assistance during the research phase, as well. You can 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 at first, but a few key considerations can streamline the buying process. Certain decisions need to be made first concerning your office space, as having the right space can help increase your work productivity by creating a more welcoming and energy-boosting environment.

Before shopping for your new office desk, consider these three things:

What Is Your Office Space Layout?


Look at how your office is laid out, and you can 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 will be working right alongside your colleagues? Do you have a closed-door office? This can be important when choosing the type of desk to purchase, as you need to try to make sure it fits comfortably in the space you are working within.


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 see where you can comfortably work without giving up essential living space.


What Is Your Budget?


Once you have determined the measurements for a desk that can fit in your space, you can begin narrowing down the selections. To narrow it down either further, it’s time to look at your office furniture budget. It’s a good idea to come up with a price range you are willing and able to spend.


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

What is Your Office Furniture Style?


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


Do you prefer a classic office or home decor, like a traditional or mid-century modern style? Then, 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 their color or wood finish, such as cherry wood or oak, black or white, espresso brown or gray. Your desk can be an extension of your profession, your work personality, and your 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 that are part of these collections can be the major aspect of your office style and so very visually appealing to the eye. While the collection shows you all the pieces that are coordinated, it also is a great way to shop your style look even if just for the desk. More to come on this, keep reading.

Office Desk Options: Choose From These Types

There are many kinds of office desks to complement your work environment and your work style. Each desk variety has its own set of unique functions that can help make your workday more productive and make you feel more comfortable in your workspace or home office.

Here are six popular desk types you can look into while shopping for your office desk:

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. A 2018 study found that those who used a sit-stand desk had stronger work performance and increased engagement in their work. Standing desks can also save space since an office chair might not be needed.

When you opt for a standing desk, 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 of these adjustable desks have manual lifts, and others can be controlled electronically.

Standing desks come in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and sizes. You can find standing desks made from reclaimed wood or butcher block, in colors like black, gray, white, or espresso, and that include a scratch-resistant finish, heavy-duty laminate, or are powder coated. Some of our bestsellers include styles from Realspace, WorkPro, and VariDesk. Standing desks can be found for under $100.

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 top of your workplace 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 won’t have to get up to walk over to a file cabinet or a bookcase to find something you need while working at your desk. Everything can be neatly arranged within this storage desk through things like cubby holes, small slots for mail, open shelving, and cabinets.

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

A hutch may have a matching desk, or you can purchase one on its own and attach it to another desk. Some hutches can affix to all types of desks, no matter the shape or size.

Hutches come in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and sizes. You can find sleek, modern styles of hutches in colors like dune and modern 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 of our bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Sauder, and Kathy Ireland. Hutches range from under $100 up to around $1000.

Writing Desks

Any desk can be used for writing, but writing desks will have a particularly large and clear desktop area where you have 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 very simple and straightforward in its design. It can be an ideal desk for someone who just needs something to hold their basic desk essentials.

Writing desks can function as a sleek and uncluttered space to work on your most important projects. Unlike many computer desks or desks with hutches, there is no shelving or other storage that would distract you from your work.

Writing desks come in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and sizes. Whether you are looking for something contemporary or more traditional, there is something for you. There are several wood finish options, such as coastal oak, cinnamon cherry, and dark chestnut, as well as all white, black, and soft gold. Popular features include drawers that hold hanging files, slide-out drawers, and keyboard drawers.

Some of our bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Elle Decor, and Whalen Jasper. Writing desks range from under $100 up to around $2,000.

Corner and L-Shaped Desks

For multitaskers, a corner or L-shaped desk can be helpful. These larger desks can 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 a variety of 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 like classic cherry and maple to oak and espresso. Features include file drawers, keyboard drawers, cord management, and locking storage areas.

Some of our bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Z-Line Designs, and Bush Furniture. Corner and L-shaped desks range from around $125 to the high $2,000s.

Computer Desks

A computer desk is used to hold all of your computer essentials, such as your laptop, desktop computer, printer, and scanner in one designated space. Essentially, any desk can technically be a desk for computer use. All of the desks mentioned here can be considered a computer desk if that is their intended use.

As long as there is room for everything you need for your computer work, your standing desk, desk with hutch, writing desk, or corner or L-shaped desk can work as a computer desk.

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

Computer desks come in a variety of 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 of our bestsellers include styles from Realspace, Brenton Studio, and Sauder. Computer desks range from under $100 to as high as $5,000.

Executive Desks

A company executive will often wear many hats and fill many roles – and so should their desk. An executive desk can fit the needs and look of a company that wants to give off a sense of authority.

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

Our 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: This kind of desk 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 a variety of 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, and WorkPro. You can find commercial-grade desks as low as $150, 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 you can create one by adding a desk riser to the top of your desk. Desk risers can be added to the surface of any desk, and some have the option 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 under $100 to around $700.
  • Student Desks: If you are a parent creating an office space for your child to do their schoolwork at home or are involved with the selection of desks for school classrooms, you can look into 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.

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

  • Gaming Desks: If you are a gaming enthusiast you may want a desk built especially for gamers.
    These desks come in a variety of colors like black, white, blue and red. Popular models have modern designs and ergonomics features. Many are even adjustable, allowing players to customize their setups to their individual needs.

Office Furniture Collections

Your desk might be the focal point of your office space, but it is not the only design element in the room. To pull together your office look, so it is visually appealing to the eye and practical and functional, purchasing pieces of furniture that are part of a full collection is the way to go.

Furniture collections can be useful if you prefer to keep a specific color scheme or certain element to your office, and 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 pieces that are coordinated, it also is a great way to shop your style look even if just for the desk.

Home Office Furniture Collections

When creating a work environment at home, you may have more leeway when it comes to design since you are in control of the space. The likely showcase will be your home office desk but consider adding a few matching pieces.

Home Office Furniture Sets

Ideally you can make it a private area and free of distraction, but it should exude comfort. Determine how you want your office to feel and you can check out these top picks for home office furniture sets:

There may also be a need for designing a small office furniture area in your home or a small area of a larger office. When you have smaller office space to work with, the functionality of your office furniture becomes that much more important. This might mean focusing on multi-use pieces and pieces you are going to use regularly but also making sure the furniture is styled so that it does not 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:

Commercial Furniture Collections

When you create a commercial office space, you are also helping to create the ambiance and mood of the entire atmosphere, which can help 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 but also be comfortable and inviting. The overall look should depend on your work style and needs as the executive of a company. Here are a few top picks to choose from:

Cubicle Desks and Cubicle Walls

If your office area utilizes workstations, plan to make the area comfortable as well as efficient. The right office cubicle setup can help improve productivity. Here are some furniture collection 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 are not separated by walls or panels and encouraged to collaborate and work side by side. Key factors when creating an open floor plan is choosing furniture collections that embrace puzzle-like shapes that fit together and have ample amount of space for meetings. Here are a few options when creating an open space office design:

Find the Right Desk for You

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

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 so it can be optimized 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.