6 Types of Desk to Know

Illustration showing the types of desks

When you’re shopping for a desk, there’s a lot to keep in mind—size, style, storage capacity, and so much more. We spoke with designers who outlined six of the most common desk types so that you’ll be best unformed before making a purchase. Keep reading for their top suggestions and design tips.

  • Executive Desk

    An executive desk with drawers on each side

    This type of desk, as the name suggests, means business. As designer Lauren DeBello explains, “An executive desk is a larger,  larger, more substantial piece that typically has drawers and filing cabinets. This type of desk is best for a larger office space or if you’re in need of plenty of storage, as this is the most formal and professional type of desk.”

    As designer Jenna Schumacher states, “An executive desk says, ‘Welcome to my office’ and not much else.” That said, she adds that executive desks can be excellent for camouflaging cords and wires, though “they tend to be less decorative and visually bulkier for the sake of function.” Looking to jazz up your executive workspace? Schumacher offers a few tips. “An ink blotter and personalized desk accessories can go a long way in creating a more inviting and personal touch,” she says.

  • Standing Desk

    Standing desk in the corner of a room

    While part of finding the right desk is sourcing the perfect seating to go with it, there’s not necessarily a need to think about chairs when shopping for a standing desk. Therefore, this style is a particularly optimal choice for small spaces.” Standing desks becoming more popular (and aesthetically pleasing), as more and more people are working from home,” DeBello explains. “These desks are typically more modern looking and streamlined.” Of course, standing desks can also be lowered and used with a chair if needed—not every desk worker necessarily wants to be on their feet for eight hours a day.

    Just note that standing desks aren’t made for storage galore or styled setups. “Keep in mind that any accessories on this type of desk should be able to handle movement,” Schumacher states. “A topper on a writing or executive desk, while not a clean as a standing desk, offers the convenience of a conventional workstation with the flexibility for mobility.”

     We Found the Best Standing Desks for Any Office
  • Writing Desks

    writing desk

    A writing desk is what we commonly see in kids’ rooms or smaller offices. “They are clean and simple, but do not offer much storage space,” DeBello notes. “A writing desk can fit almost anywhere.” And a writing desk is versatile enough to serve a few purposes. DeBello adds, “If space is a concern, a writing desk can double as a dining table.”

    “From a style standpoint, this is a design favorite since it tends be more decorative than functional,” Schumacher says of the writing desk. “Accessories can be more abstract and selected to complement the surrounding decor rather than provide the convenience of office supplies,” she adds. “An interesting table lamp, a few pretty books, maybe a plant, and the desk becomes a design element that you can work at.”

    Designer Tanya Hembree offers one last tip for those shopping for a writing desk. “Look for one that is finished on all sides so you can face towards the room and not only at a wall,” she suggests.”

  • Secretary Desks

    An opened out secretary desk

    These petite desks open via a hinge. “The top of the piece typically has drawers, cubbies, etc., for storage,” DeBello adds. “These desks are more of a statement furniture piece, rather than a work from home staple.” That said, their small size and character means they can truly live anywhere in the home. ”Because of their multipurpose abilities, these desks are great in a guest room, to provide both storage and a work surface, or as a place to store family documents and bills,” DeBello comments. We’ve even seen some homeowners style their secretary desks as bar carts!

    Schumacher notes that secretary desks are generally more aesthetically pleasing than functional. “Secretaries are usually packed with charm, from their hinge-down top, sectioned interior compartments, to their incognito persona,” she comments. “That said, it can be challenging to store a computer in one and the operable desktop provides only limited workspace. While it is a benefit to be able keep clutter out of sight, it also means that any work-in-progress must be removed from the hinged desktop so that it can be closed.”

  • Vanity Desk

    A vanity or dressing table can be used as a desk

    Yes, vanities can serve double duty and function wonderfully as desks, designer Catherine Staples shares. “The bedroom is an ideal space to have a desk that can double as a makeup vanity—it’s the ideal spot to do a little work or do your makeup.” Charming vanity desks can easily be sourced secondhand and made over with a little spray paint or chalk paint if needed, making them an affordable solution.

  • L-Shaped Desks

                                                                          L-Shaped desk

    L-shaped desks, as Hembree says, “most often need to go against a wall and require the most floor space available.” She notes, “They are a blend between a writing desk and an executive. These are best used in spaces that are dedicated office places and are moderate to large in size. Desks of this scale allow for printers and files to be kept nearby for easy access and function.”

    These desks particularly come in handy for those who rely on multiple computer monitors while working. Taking a work preference like this one into account is key regardless what style of desk one is eyeing, designer Cathy Purple Cherry comments. “Some individuals like to organize their work in paper stacks along a long surface—others prefer to keep their work efforts digital,” she says. “Some want to minimize distractions while others like to work facing a beautiful view. You’ll also want to take into consideration the space that is going to serve as an office, as it determines how the room is laid out, where the desk can be positioned, and whether or not you are also able to also incorporate soft seating.”

Post time: Jul-27-2022