2020 was the year of the home office. Many of us now are WFH and have a more permanent home office desk setup. But with so many different types of desks to choose from, it can be tricky to find the right one for your style, space, and needs!

Some key things to consider include the kind of desk that’s most functional for your work and space. If you need a lot of surface to spread out your daily work, a writing desk or L-desk might be ideal; but if you live in a small space, a wall desk or a laddery style one make for compact options. No matter your style or space, we’re here to guide you through the different types of desks and the pros and cons to each. Get our tips below!

If you’re just starting to think about your home office desk, check out our quick guide on how to choose a desk, along with our picks for the best desks for working from home and the best home office chairs to go with them.

types of desks

Writing Desk

A minimalist desk type, writing desks often have open designs and limited storage (aside from drawers). It’s has a narrow surface (great for laptops) and a slender, sophisticated look.

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Writing Desk Pros:

  • It’s generally smaller in size so they fit in tighter spaces like a hallway or behind other furniture.
  • They’re great pieces to also float in a room or use in a home office with two desks.

Writing Desk Cons:

  • It typically doesn’t come with storage besides a drawer or small shelf, so you’ll need other storage pieces, like a bookshelf or a cabinet for your office supplies.
  • These desks are not very long or wide, so you’ll have a narrow work surface which is not ideal if you need a full home office desk setup.

It’s perfect if you… need a simple surface for desktop work, or if you only use a laptop and don’t need a lot of surface space.

types of desks

Executive Desk

This stately desk is exactly what it sounds like. Think CEO desk. It has a large work surface and comes with lots of storage, like locking drawers and built-in file cabinets, that get the job done.

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Executive Desk Pros:

  • There’s plenty of drawers and storage compartments to keep all your office supplies and materials within easy reach—no additional storage needed.
  • The wide surface can fit a computer, books, table lamp, and even a laptop on top of all that.
  • They can come in either rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shape configurations, so you can build out a full home office desk station setup.

Executive Desk Cons:

  • It’s very large and heavy, so they take up a lot of room.

It’s perfect if you… have a separate spacious home office for WFH, and you love a desk that’s slightly more traditional in style.

L-Desk

Compact and functional, the L-desk is made for a corner office that utilizes longer wall spaces. They offer tons of storage and is great no matter the kind of work you do.

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L-Desk Pros:

  • The L-shape helps designate a corner into a work zone that feels separate from the rest of your room. It also makes for a cozy corner office setup.
  • It’s a multipurpose home office desk that naturally keeps everything organized in one place, from the laptop work surface to storage for paperwork and books.

L-Desk Cons:

  • Because of the L-shape, the desk is very limited in terms of where it can go a room.

It’s perfect if you… are looking to carve out a space in a larger room for an office. The L-desk is also great for people who do creative work, since it gives them plenty of surface (and wall) space to spread out their ideas and work.

Corner Desk

If you’re working with a small office space, a corner desk makes for a convenient (and unconventional) solution. They have a clean-lined look that doesn’t visually crowd up a room.

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Corner Desk Pros:

  • It’s a compact desk that fits in a lot of function—surface for computer, pull-out drawer for keyboard, wide opening for a comfy desk chair.
  • They usually have open bases that provide a good amount of legroom for a small desk.

Corner Desk Cons:

  • Unlike the L-desk, which can be moved around, this is a home office desk that can only be used in corners.

It’s perfect if you… need to find room for a practical workspace in a small apartment or studio, or you’re looking to fit an office setup into an existing bedroom or den.

types of desks

Secretary Desk

Another solution for a home office desk that takes up minimal footprint is a secretary. While it has a more traditional look, it has tons of storage as well as a spacious hidden work surface!

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Secretary Desk Pros:

  • It takes up very little space and comes with a hinge top that conceals a very spacious desk surface.
  • It’s a compact and luxurious-looking desk that’s both decorative and functional—when it’s not in use, it can close up to blend in with the rest of your space.
  • You can easily work one into a living room or bedroom without it feeling out of place.

Secretary Desk Cons:

  • Secretaries tend to be more traditional in style, though we’re starting to see more and more modern designs!

It’s perfect if you… want a desk that can be more than an office piece. You can use a secretary to store other essentials, like an extra throw blanket or additional books. That also makes it an excellent piece for office guest room designs.

Standing Desk

The ultimate startup office desk—and it’s making its way into homes all over with more and more people working from home. A standing desk is an instant office station wherever you put it.

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Standing Desk Pros:

  • It’s the only home office desk that gives you the option to stand, or sit on an exercise ball, while working.
  • Depending on the type of standing desk, you can manually or electronically adjust the height of your desk.

Standing Desk Cons:

  • Usually minimal in style, the standing desk prioritizes tech and comfort over style, which means it’s not the most attractive desk to incorporate into a larger room or living space.

It’s perfect if you… want the flexibility to choose between working standing up or in a chair. It’s especially great if you want to stay active while working.

types of desks

Ladder Desk

Like the secretary, the ladder desk combines space-saving style and function. It has a small work surface, but it makes up for that with open shelving that maximizes vertical storage space.

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Ladder Desk Pros:

  • The ladder design offers open storage and optimizes vertical wall space, which makes it a compact multipurpose home office desk-and-bookshelf combo.
  • It’s great for small and narrow workspaces, such as a hallway, closet, compact office, or a guest room that double as a home office.

Ladder Desk Cons:

  • There’s not a lot of surface space, so it’s best used for work on a laptop and or writing.

It’s perfect if you… have very little room for an actual workspace but also don’t need a full office. Also check out our small home office design tips for more ideas on creating a compact and functional workspace.

Floating or Wall Desk

The only home office desk that takes up zero square footage, a floating wall-affixed desk is the ideal pick for small spaces like dorm rooms, studio apartments, and kids bedrooms.

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Floating or Wall Desk Pros:

  • It can be installed anywhere in a larger living space and takes up vritually no floor space.
  • There’s minimal storage, maybe a drawer or a shelf, so you’ll have to pull in other storage pieces.
  • You get lots of legroom and space under the desk, so you can easily pull up a bigger, comfier chair or even stow away a storage bin or two underneath.

Floating or Wall Desk Cons:

  • A wall desk is a semi-permanent investment, so make sure it’s a piece you want in one place in the long run.

It’s perfect if you… have a small space but want to dedicate a corner for a full office space without it looking visually overwhelming. Also check out our office design ideas for more space-saving tips.

types of desks

Kids Desk

Designed for homework and computer use, kids desks these days are straightforward in style. And they’re usually made in smaller sizes and height that are specific to kids and teens.

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Kids Desk Pros:

  • They usually come with storage drawers and compartments, which make them a practical choice for a home office desk for schoolwork.
  • It’s designed for kids height and perfect with a kids size desk chair.

Kids Desk Cons:

  • As with all kids room furniture, children often outgrow their pieces after a few years, or invest in a more grown-up desk design that works for both teens and adults.

It’s perfect if you… are looking to carve out a workspace for both virtual classroom studies and homeschooling for your kids.

types of desks

Dining Table

With WFH being the norm these days, dining rooms are doing double-duty as home offices. You can easily use a dining table for a home office desk permanently or as a temporary workstation

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Dining Table Pros:

  • A dining table provides tons of work surface space, so you can spread out your work AND still have room for meals at the same time.
  • Multiple people can use the dining table as a collaborative workspace
  • They come in endless colors and styles, so you’re sure to find one for your space.

Dining Table Cons:

  • There’s zero storage for office and work materials, so you’ll have to move things around each time you use it for work.
  • You’ll have to keep it organized and tidy every day so that it easily transitions from work surface to dinner table.

It’s perfect if you… enjoy the idea of a communal workspace at home, and you have an open living area that allows you to experiment with mixed-use dining room office designs.

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