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Buying Guide: 6 Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Desk

Whether you’re working remotely for good or not, it’s looking like many of us will still be working from home in 2021. If you haven’t taken the plunge to set up a more permanent workspace, now’s the time!

With any home office, the most important question is: What desk should I get? Makes sense, since it’s the key piece you’ll be doing all your work on. And when it comes to finding the right desk for your work needs, there are a lot of factors to consider—from storage to style to shape.

For guidance, we’re breaking it all down here for you. Read on to get step-by-step on how to choose a desk that’s right for you, your space, and your work style.

Ready to shop for a desk? Check out our roundup of the best types of desks, then get inspiration for your space in our room gallery for office design ideas!

 

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Identify how you’ll use the desk

Before you look for a desk, figure out what you’ll be using your desk for. Will you be doing a lot of creative or finance work that requires a big surface? Or do you work mostly on your laptop or computer? Start here with how you need the desk to function for you.

Read This Next: These Are The Best Desks For Working From Home

If you’re only doing computer work…

Will you be working on a laptop with a monitor or using a desktop? Naturally, laptops will require less space, so you can get away with a smaller computer desk. If you’re using a desktop or several monitors, you’ll want a longer and wider desk that allows for cord management, and maybe an evening one that comes with a keyboard tray.

If you work with lots of files and paperwork…

A spacious home office desk or one with drawers and storage might work best for you. You may also want a place to stack, arrange, and store your paperwork as well as a spot to organize writing utensils (like a drawer). You’ll also want to consider a desk height that lets you extend your arms and work comfortably.

If you need a desk for both…

You’ll want to consider desks that can accommodate all our work equipment and paperwork. The key is to edit your work material needs down to 2-3 essentials—laptop and monitor, notebooks, paperwork, and all— that you’ll keep on your desk surface. And then consider the desk size and you’ll need it from there.

 

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Will it be a communal workspace?

A collaborative workspace means a larger desk. You can consider a few different approaches:

You can opt for both people to sit on the same side (so there’s enough legroom underneath for two). Or pick a desk that’s closer in proportion to a dining table, which will allow two or more people to share the work surface all around. Here, a dining table that’s not too wide is made into a collaborative desk for two, with chairs on opposite sides of the table. You can find more creative hacks with our dining room office designs.

Another option? If you have the room, you can try arranging a home office with two desks.

 

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Consider the size of your space

Once you’ve figured out how you’ll be using your desk and how many people will be working at your desk, next is figuring out how much room you have to work with.

If you have space constraints…

Maybe you only have a closet, a nook in your living room, or a tiny area next to your bed. On the contrary, you might have a large office, and it would feel odd to have a tiny desk along one wall. You want to take note of the size and nuances of your room and the exact spot for your desk. If you’re dealing with a small space, also take a look at our small home office design tips.

And don’t forget to measure and check for any physical restraints around getting a desk inside your space, such as the width and size of your doorways, stairwells, etc.

Have a sense of your desk shape

After you know the space you’re working with, think about what shape desk will fit best.

For instance, in a small office, you might want to maximize a corner space with an L-shaped desk. Or maybe you need something even more compact, like a corner desk. On the other hand, with a large office where you need lots of surface space, it may warrant a U-shape desk. Get clear on the desk shape and configuration you need, because that will also influence the other office furniture you bring into your space.

 

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Think through your storage needs

Now that you have your desk space, size, and shape figure out, it’s time to focus on storage.

To start, ask yourself if you’ll need a compact desk with separate open storage or one that lets you keep everything organized in drawers and built-in storage.

For example, with a small office, you may want to explore ladder desk options, which provide vertical storage and will help you save on horizontal and floor space. Similarly, if your office is narrow, that may call for a console-style desk, which won’t take up much width.

Read This Next: Our All-In-One Home Office Furniture Checklist

For light storage, look for a desk with…

Either no drawers or a single drawer that can hold small items like pens, notepads, mail, etc. Light storage means you’ll have to store supplies in other office furniture and accessories, such as bookshelves, cabinets, and bins. Another option is to choose a desk with enough space underneath that lets you wheel in a small filing cabinet or baskets.

For medium storage, look for a desk with…

Multiple drawers or a connected built-in file cabinet. You’ll find many larger home office desks, such as L-shaped desks, with shelving units connected to them, so it might be worth investing in a whole system if you need to spread out your work on multiple surfaces.

For heavy storage, look for a desk with…

Multiple drawers that are large and deep, as well as desks that have large file cabinets on both sides. You may even want to add open shelving additional above your desk to maximize wall space for storage. You’ll also want to choose a desk with a large surface for desktop items.

 

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Don’t forget: Ergonomics play a huge part

Now let’s consider your work style, because how you work matters when you’re choosing a desk. To start, do you like to stand or sit when you’re working?

A standing desk that can be moved up or down could be great for you if you like to stay active and not stay seated for hours on end. In the same vein, a treadmill walking desk can also be a great option. But if you love to sit and lounge while you work, make sure you get a home office desk with enough legroom to pull up a big comfy desk chair.

Read This Next: The Best Home Office Chairs

Will you need different work ‘zones’?

Do you need to swivel between monitors or have it all in front of you? Do you need different work areas, like a computer and monitor on one side and a surface for paperwork on another? Decide what’s most productive for you. Having an L-shaped or U-shaped desk can be perfect if you need to switch gears a lot for your work. Alternatively, if you want all your work and monitors in front of you, make sure you get a long enough computer desk to house it all on one surface.

What about your arms comfort?

Will you need a home office desk that’s deep enough for your arms and wrists to sit comfortably on the keyboard? A good rule of thumb is to make sure your desk isn’t so narrow that your keyboard or laptop is sitting right on the edge of your table—which will strain your arms, wrist, and neck. Also good to note: Monitors should be eye level or higher to maintain good neck posture.

How about legroom?

Will your desk chair and your legs fit comfortably underneath? If you have really long legs or like to stretch your legs while you work, you definitely want to take this into consideration—and you might even want to float your desk instead of putting it up against a wall to give your legs more room underneath.

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Keep quality and durability in mind

Finally, materials matter when choosing a home office desk. One that’s made using quality materials and well-designed is worth the investment because you’ll keep it for years to come. One that’s the right size but made with mediocre materials and design will eventually show wear and you’ll have to replace it sooner than you think.

Pay attention to high-quality materials

Solid wood, marble, and natural stone-top desks along with ones that have decorative details like carved wood, metal accents, and exotic coverings will cost more. If you need an extra durable desktop, look for office desks with a veneer wood or a highly laminated top. These are also materials that will last for a lifetime, so if you’re ready to splurge, it’s definitely worth it.

Look at the construction

If you use drawers a lot, you’ll want solidly constructed drawers with dove joinery and good rolling mechanisms. Most vintage or older desks have wood-on-wood drawers, which tend to warp and get stuck more, while newer desks come with soft closing mechanisms that prevent slamming. Either way, make sure you check out all the design elements because a table that keeps up with you and your work should always be the benchmark when choosing a desk.

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The Home Office: Here’s How The Office Characters’ Work-From-Home Set-Ups Would Look in 2020

With offices closed across the country, many of us have been working from home for months. Some of us probably miss those co-workers-turned-friends, while others of us might be quite content not running into certain people at meetings and in the break room.

All these thoughts of office politics got us thinking—how would Michael Scott and the gang be handling working from home during the Shelter in Place ordinances?? (In Michael’s case, probably not-so-gracefully.) So, we challenged our Modsy designers to imagine the work-from-home set-ups of our favorite characters from The Office!

Keep reading to see how Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam, and Kelly would decorate their home offices in 2020!

Michael Scott’s Home Office

Imagine Michael Scott while he was still the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, but dropped into the 2020 pandemic. There would be no more last-minute meetings in the conference room. No avoiding work by wandering out into the office and testing out a couple new “that’s what she said” jokes. No hosting birthday parties every other week. We imagine that an extended bout of working from home would take quite an emotional toll on “the world’s best boss.” But we’d bet that there are quite a few spur-of-the-moment Zoom calls happening each day…

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Michael’s Style

By 2020, Michael would have converted one of the spare bedrooms in his townhouse into a home office—gravitating toward transitional style with quirky touches. He would want his home office to feel cool—but he definitely wouldn’t be able to pull off a look that’s too edgy.

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As someone who loves to combine work and play, his workspace is completely functional but his bookcases are filled with more “fun” items than work-related supplies—including his many Dundie awards, a magic set, and a whiteboard for motivational quotes. Always a nostalgic softie at heart, he’d also bring home Pam’s painting of the office and burn Jan’s candles (much to Holly’s dismay).

In the hopes that someone (other than Dwight) would swing by for a visit, we imagine he would have a carved hand-shape chair for them to sit in—and undoubtedly laugh his head off every time someone used it. Ultimately, his home office is all about feeling approachable and casual, since he always wants to be viewed as a best friend and a boss. (For the record, we’re pretty sure he’d be the first in the office to get coronavirus.)

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The OfficeDwight Schrute’s Home Office

In 2020, Dwight wouldn’t mind working from home. In fact, he’d prefer it. The Schrutes always had superior immune systems—but there would be no point in mixing with the degenerates in the office who would just disease the rest of them. What he can’t figure out is how Jim continues to prank him, even from a distance—and now he can’t just run into Michael’s office or submit his weekly complaint with HR.

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Dwight’s Style

It’s no surprise that Dwight’s home office would have a very rustic Colonial farmhouse vibe. He was always proud of his old farmhouse and loved furniture with solid construction—specifically if it was made by the Pennsylvania Dutch!

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He would undoubtedly have a solid desk in his office, positioned in a place of power. That’s why his desk would be floating and facing out into the room, with the stone fireplace behind him, a tiger rug beneath him, and the ability to look out over his “kingdom” (aka his beet farm) and make sure Mose doesn’t get himself into trouble throughout the day. And, for moments of repose, he’d have a simple rocking chair where he could sit and dream of someday becoming regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

A lover of all things old, he’d also have nods to the past within his office—candlesticks, tractor gears on the wall, artwork of German bridges. And, of course, he’d have a few personal objects as well, like his Harry Potter wand, his Dundie awards, and, of course, his name plaque and Dwight bobblehead, which he was sure to grab before the office shut down!

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Jim & Pam Halpert’s Home Office

Jim and Pam couldn’t be happier to be working from home together. They’re actually able to get work done without Michael constantly interrupting them—leaving much more time for scheming creative ways to prank Dwight from a distance. Plus, Pam no longer has to agonize over who left the microwave in such a mess (there’s only Jim to blame) and they also get to spend time with their children throughout the day, which they love.

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Jim & Pam’s Style

We’re pretty sure Pam would be all in with a Chip and Joanna Gaines-inspired rustic farmhouse office in 2020. So, for their work-from-home set-up, we imaging Pam would have created a crisp, bright, and happy space that’s also cozy and family-friendly.

It’s a practical space, with side-by-side desks, but designed in a way that reflects both Jim and Pam’s passions and hobbies. And, though they have matching desks, they each have a chair that suits their personality. With personal photos, some sports memorabilia, a space for painting, and even the teapot Jim gave Pam for Christmas all those years ago, this is a space that’s personal and inviting.

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Kelly Kapoor’s Home Office

Let’s be real: in 2020, Kelly Kapoor is probably long gone from Dunder Mifflin. Instead, she’s likely using her style savvy to run the influencer program at a tech fashion start-up. After all, she’s always known what’s hot.

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Kelly’s Style

Kelly is bold and fun—so it’s no surprise that her home office is a reflection of that. Would you expect anything less than a glam, chic, and bold feminine space for Dunder Mifflin’s resident Business B*tch? In 2020, Kelly would definitely still be dedicated to style, trends, and all things chic and modern. Her office is the manifestation of those things with a bold rug, pink upholstered chair, and chic acrylic desk.

With Ryan still at her beck and call, she often hosts “fashion shows at lunch” to show off her latest shopping finds and favorite trendy looks. And you know she’s the queen of Zoom happy hours!

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Simple Home Office Ideas For A Productive Work Space

Modern home office ideasEven if you don’t work from home, having a dedicated office area is a great way to bring a little function and inspiration into your space. You can use it as a place to check email, sort through snail mail, or even turn it into a creative workstation. In short, you can create an office space in your home that’s both practical and pretty.

But with so many options for furniture out there, designing a home office can quickly become more work that it’s worth. Do you go with a classic desk chair with casters or one that has a more clean-lined mid-century-inspired look? Should you opt for an open bookshelf or is a cabinet with doors better?

To help you get started, we’ve done the legwork and rounded up some clever home office ideas. Get ready to create a chic and productive space that inspires you to do your best work. Read on for our tips and find out how you can bring each of the looks home!

Rustic home office ideasWork In Comfort

A little rustic and a lot warm and cozy – this office space is all about comfy elements and natural textures. The wood desk and oversized traditional rug sets a warm foundation, while a leather bench, steamer trunk, and nailhead-trimmed wing chair add a layer of vintage elegance.

Consider this approach if you want a slightly more grown-up look with elevated touches that don’t feel stuffy. Case in point: The woven desk chair that’s been modernized with casters for easy movement.

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Style Tip:

If you work from home full-time, this look has both function and comfort. Start with a hefty wooden desk (even better if it has built-in storage) to anchor the space. Then, add in the other cozy and rustic pieces as you go!

Boho home office ideasMake It Mid-Century

The great thing about a mid-century-style desk is that it provides a touch of rustic beauty as well as sleek style. It has just enough functional storage that doesn’t overwhelm a room, and it has an open base that keeps things looking and feeling airy.

You’ll want to look for other furnishings that have a similar light, open aesthetic, like the slim-framed desk chair, the open-base bench, and simple bookshelf.

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Style Tip:

If you only work from home once in awhile, this streamlined and functional approach is right up your alley. Add in art and accents in a desert palette to warm up the mid-century lines.

Modern home office ideasBring In Chic Style

If you love mid-century style but prefer a more minimal vibe with a little polish, this is the look for you.

Keep to light, natural woods (peek our desk, shelving, and chair legs) and brass and gold accents (note the side table, wastebasket, and art frames). Think of it as Mad Men style but not too over-the-top.

To open your space even more, pull in a floor-to-ceiling mirror as a way to reflect light and make the room feel larger than it looks.

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Style Tip:

If you have a spare or guest room, consider working this setup into your room as a makeshift office. Just as you would accent a guest room, hang a few colorful large artworks to add a sophisticated note.

Mid-century home office ideasStay Minimal

We like to think of this super modern, slightly eclectic office as the perfect inspiration for anyone who needs to do focused creative work at home.

With minimal styling and a sparse selection of bold modern pieces—the wire nest chair, the geometric rug, the modular shelf—this office space is the perfect don’t-bother-me work zone with a cool edge.

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Style Tip:

If you live in a small space, this hyper-focused office design could be just the perfect fit given its simple mix of furnishings that take up minimal footprint. If you want the space to appear curated without feeling cold, take the time to choose smaller, sculptural accents, such as an eye-catching table lamp or vase.

coastal home office ideasKeep It Classic

For a traditional office that’s elegant and luxurious stick to timeless pieces. Some great examples include this beveled wooden desk, a classic nailhead-trimmed chair and ottoman, and a tall wooden cabinet that doubles as a display case.

Take note of the color palette for your furnishings—beige and wood tones will play up this look seamlessly.

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Style Tip:

If you’re looking to reimagine a spare room into a functional space, this office design can be an elegant solution. A substantial Lucite floor lamp and an oversize raffia-wrapped mirror can round out this collected, neutral look.

industrial home office ideasGo For Graphic

Like all the popular open offices and co-working spaces, this design is bold and cool and has industrial appeal. We can picture this layout in a college dorm room or a creative’s work corner at home.

The high-contrast notes of black, white, slate, and brown hues, provide the perfect backdrop for design-driven lighting and art that complement the sleek metal-and-wood desk.

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Style Tip:

If you’re looking for a happy medium between mid-century and minimal, this office has just that. It has industrial elements that play into the streamlined cool of mid-century along with the leather chair and graphic art that keep it from feeling too spare. Layer in lots of plants, which can provide a nice organic burst of color in an otherwise neutral space.

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