How To Select The Right Desk For Work

Selecting a basic desk for work is easy. However, selecting the right desk for work is a daunting task for many people out there. Why? Because there are thousands of options to choose from and they’re all different. On top of that, we all have our individual needs, preferences, and expectations. Add these two to the mix and you quickly get indecisive.

Being indecisive can be a good thing. It means that you need reliable and useful information to make a purchasing decision. That’s where we come in. Instead of telling you which desk to buy, we are going to take another angle. We will give you all the information you need to select the right desk for work on your own. Let’s get started, shall we?

Desk Size

When it comes to desks, the size can make a huge difference. The size determines how much workspace you will have on the desk surface and the number of additional compartments. How do you choose a work desk that’s perfectly sized for you?

There are two things to take into account here. The first one is the nature of your work. If your workload combines work on a computer, paperwork, and work with clients over the phone or in-person, you will need a bigger desk. But, there is another catch.

You should also consider your office, and whether it’s in a company headquarters or in your home. Some limitations will always apply, and you will have to minimize it. What should you do if you need a large desk, but lack of space doesn’t allow it? That’s why we have desks that come in different shapes, and that can be mounted on a wall.

Do You Need a Computer Desk?

“Every desk can be a computer desk, where are you going with this?” you might be wondering. Well, yes, every desk for work can be a computer desk. But, if you predominantly work on your computer, you should consider taking a look at desks specifically designed to cater to the needs of tech-dependant workers.

Computer desks have a few features that can help you feel more comfortable working at the computer while at the same time save you some space, and help your desktop look tidy and clean. The most obvious feature is a pullout keyboard tray, which brings the keyboard a bit down and places its right beneath your hands where it’s most comfortable.

Some desks even come with a special compartment for your computer case. The holes for cords are also vital, as they will help you manage cables and reduce clutter.

There are plenty of styles and computer desk designs on the market, including the latest edition to the family – standing desk. Go through the rest of our guide, and we’re confident you’ll be able to choose the one that reflects your needs.

Desk Shape

Desk shape goes hand in hand with desk size. Work desks come in many shapes. One of these shapes can help you overcome the challenge of needing a lot of space but having to work in a smaller room or office.

Apart from the standard desks, you have two more options: L-shaped and U-shaped desks. L-shape desks are particularly handy as they can turn any corner of the room in a productive environment. They are very useful for people who have to do a combined work. Having a computer on an L-shaped desk leaves you with enough room to do paperwork.

You can also leverage the L-shape to leave one side of the desk open for quick meetings with your clients. If you don’t work with clients in person and there is no need for having meetings at your desk, you can put it in the corner to maximize your workspace.

U-shaped desks are reserved for people who are in desperate need of more space. These desks deliver high load capacity and can have an impressive number of compartments and drawers. Not to mention the impression they will help you make on your clients. Since most of them are massive, they only become an option when you have extra space in an office or home.

Additional Compartments

You can compensate for the lack of compartments in a desk by investing in file cabinets. However, if you plan carefully, you can get a desk that can meet all your storage needs. The manufacturers are very mindful of the storage capacity of desks, and you will find a variety of solutions on the market.

Compartments are very useful when you often have to use items but don’t necessarily need them on the table 24/7. Compartments can be handy for some light paperwork, but you should avoid using them if you’re dealing with sensitive data.

Drawers are more practical for people who need to store more papers and keep them well organized. The good thing is that work desks come with both compartments and drawers so that you can benefit from both.

In case you are working with sensitive data, you should always aim for drawers with locks. It will help you prevent confidential data leaks, and you will sleep better, knowing that everything is locked away.

Desk Materials

There is a work desk for every profession. Materials have a lot to do with this. Let’s say you are looking for a desk for your workshop. The wooden one wouldn’t last long, especially if you are doing some heavy-duty work. Here are the options you have; just choose the one that can serve you the best and the longest. 

Metal and steel are reserved for those who need the most durable desks. Yes, they look ridiculous when compared to wooden decks, but they are usually not for show. They are designed to carry maximum load capacity and withstand scratches and heavy-duty use. 

The laminate work desks are very popular. They feature a wood core with a plastic layer on top and are more durable than wood and veneer ones. Laminate comes in different wood grain patterns and colors, so it’s easy to find the one that complements your interior. 

These are good for people who use accessories and other office tools that can damage the fine surfaces. 

Wood and veneer tables are the best looking ones, but they are also the most sensitive to scratches and are easily damaged. Since you can easily nick them, you should invest in one only if the heaviest tools you are using are a pencil, mouse, and keyboard. 


The right desk should promote your health. There are very specific things to look for when shopping for a desk and planning its position in the office:

  • A desk should have enough room for your legs. Make sure to get a desk that is at least 29 inches high.
  • Three feet is the rule of the thumb you probably heard before. There should be a 3-feet clear space around your desk. That way, you provide enough room for you and the chair and leave enough space to get around the desk. With this much space, you’ll also be able to add a chair for a client.
  • When shopping for a computer desk, check the height of the keyboard platform. The best variants have adjustable legs so that you can set the height to the most optimal level.
  • And finally, be mindful of desk edges. Sharp edges can put extra pressure on your wrists and stop circulation in your palms, leading to discomfort. Use wrist pads if necessary to avoid this. 

Home Friendly Work Desks

We say home, but the following desks can easily be a perfect solution for office spaces as well. We are, of course, talking about floating or wall-mounted desks. They are real space saviors. Wall-mounted desks can be mounted on all wall types and are easy to assemble. If you don’t have that much space for a work desk, a wall-mounted desk should be on top of your list when you go shopping.

They are also made of various materials, just like a standard desk. Pick the material that complements your needs and interior design. A particularly useful one is a fold-out wall mounted desk, as you can just fold it when you are done working and get your precious space back.

If the fold out wall mounted desks sound interesting, you should also explore the variations that come with some cabinets you can use to store office supplies and accessories.

There you have it – a sort of ultimate mini-guide on how to select the right desk for work. The most important thing to do is to outline your goals and identify your needs. The rest of the puzzle pieces will fall into place easily enough.

Eric Moore

Eric Moore is the owner of Overheard on Conference Calls. As a corporate veteran, he’s seen and heard it all. And when it comes to office chairs, desks, and accessories, he’s used it all. As a former office furniture sales rep, he bring his expertise to provide readers the knowledge to choose the right products for them. He also has his OSHA Ergonomics Certificate.