Getting Right to Business: Choosing the Perfect Home Office Desk
Your home office is a quiet haven where you catch up on work, make plans and get organized. It works even more effectively when you introduce a desk that blends form and function to meet your needs, while looking great. With products and inspiration from Pottery Barn, it’s easy to find a piece with all the key features you need for day-to-day use that complements your existing decor. From space-efficient corner desks to elegant glass-topped styles and wall-mounted tables, the available designs and materials give you countless options for customizing your surroundings. Finding office furniture that’s a natural fit for your room is all part of the fun!
Decide Form and Function
Choosing a desk that meets all your needs starts with asking a few key questions. Your first step in the selection process is identifying the primary requirements for your office table:
· Do you use a computer?
· How much useable surface area do you need?
· Is your space limited?
· Do you need storage systems?
Desks by Task
If you mainly work with a desktop computer, consider choosing a design with enough space for the monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer, plus a compartment or shelf for the computer tower if necessary. Wiring holes and channels make it easier to connect your computer components safely and securely, and a pull-out keyboard shelf is a space-saving option that also enhances usability.
If you prepare a lot of paperwork, a desk with a large surface area is useful. The additional room lets you spread out papers or lay open a reference book. Consider storage solutions that make filing a breeze – a home office desk that incorporates a cabinet or bookshelves might be the ideal solution.
Desks by Function
There are many styles of office desks to choose from. When it comes to their usability and design, each provides its own benefits to think about.
· Writing desk: These feature a large, clear surface area. Ideal for paperwork or using a laptop computer.
· Computer desk: Designed with computers in mind, these styles often have pull-out keyboard platforms, wiring organizers and cubbies for CPUs.
· Executive desk: Stylish and sophisticated, these desks often incorporate large surface areas and plenty of drawers to create the ideal accessory for a classic study.
· Secretary desk: A compact, elegant writing bureau for occasional use, these desks often feature simple legs and built-in storage slots or drawers on the desktop.
Desk by Space
The old saying “measure twice, cut once,” rings true when you buy a desk. Thinking about how much space you have makes it easier to choose styles and features. One way to focus on your options is to rule out any desk that’s too large for the room. However, there are other measurements to think about to ensure your space is efficiently organized and enjoyable to use.
· Access: How are you getting the desk inside the room? If you have a spiral stairwell, a narrow hallway, low ceilings or small doors, you may have to lift the desk through the window or choose a desk you can assemble at home.
· Doors: Take care to allow space for doors to open fully when the desk is in place.
· Windows: Place the desk somewhere you can limit sun glare on your monitor and light in your eyes while you’re reading.
· Electrical outlets: If you’re using tech items, consider the position of the desk in relation to the outlets to keep cables corralled.
· Room to move: Try to leave at least 3.5' of space behind the desk for pulling out a chair and sitting down comfortably.
For an unusual space, modular office furniture is a convenient solution. By choosing the individual components that fit the room, you get a customized office environment with furniture that feels like an organic part of the decor. It helps to draw a plan of the room, mapping out the position of the furniture to get a better understanding of how it interacts with your space.
Desks by Shape
As noted above, space considerations play an important role when you’re choosing a type of desk. Think about how the following shapes and styles can fit into your room:
· Regular desks: Available in many sizes and styles and work in almost any shape room.
· Corner desks: Provides a lot of surface area and plenty of leg room in a relatively small space, making them ideal in compact rooms.
· Floating desks: Keeps the floor space free by affixing to the wall. Position the desk high up the wall to use as a stand-up desk, which creates even more space by eliminating the need for a chair.
· Credenza desks: Suitable for use in a dining room or living room if you don’t have a dedicated office space, and features lots of storage solutions.
Consider Every Angle
Ergonomics is the science of designing products that are easy for people to use, ensuring comfort and functionality while minimizing back pain and repetitive strains. For a work desk, ergonomic considerations include:
· Leg clearance: Most desk surfaces are standardized at 28"–30" from the floor, which typically works for people who are between 5'6" and 5'11". The general guideline is to choose a desk height that feels comfortable and lets your hands rest flat on the surface when your elbows are down at your sides and bent at a 90-degree angle.
· Monitor position: A computer monitor should be 20"–30" from your face, with the top of the monitor level with your eye height.
· Keyboard height: A keyboard on top of a regular desk may be too high for your comfort. Many computer desks have a pull-out keyboard shelf to position the keyboard level with your elbows while sitting. This ensures your forearms are straight while typing for greater comfort.
· Work surface: Important items or those you use frequently, like filing trays or pen cups, should be within arm’s reach.
· A desk chair: For maximum comfort, consider a desk chair with armrests to support your elbows, good lumbar support to keep your back feeling great, adjustable height settings and a swivel action that makes it easier to reach objects in any direction. Chairs with rollers offer greater maneuverability.
· Sit-stand desks: Standing while you work can limit back strain and help you feel more alert. Sit-stand desks are higher than regular desks, but you can still use them with a stool if you want to sit comfortably.
Choose Materials That Matter
Different materials influence the appearance of a desk and help you express your personal style. For example, dark woods provide a classic, timeless look, while metal and glass have a clean, modern vibe. Common material choices include:
· Wood: A traditional, versatile choice that’s widely available in many colors and grain patterns, making it easy to find something suitable for your decor. Wood may be stained to show its natural grain pattern or painted for a crisp, clean finish.
· Laminate: Pressure laminate on wood is a practical option available in many of the same styles and colors as real wood.
· Glass: A glass-topped desk feels very modern. The transparency of the material opens the space and reflects light to make the room feel more spacious.
· Metal: Choosing metal furniture gives your office an industrial appearance, and it pairs well with dark woods for a high-contrast modern style. Metal is durable and resistant to scuffs, requiring less maintenance than wood and glass.
Materials often determine the color and style of a desk; choosing materials that pair with your office decor makes it easier to enjoy your time in the space. For example, neutral colors and natural wood tones like pine or birch create a sophisticated, light office that’s conducive to quiet contemplation. If you crave stimulation and like to surround yourself with vibrant colors, something bright and bold that makes a striking contrast with your existing decor – perhaps a mirrored desk – is a great option. Glass is modern and unobtrusive, becoming a pleasant complement for a room that already has lots of colors and patterns.
While your personality and decor determine the style of desk you ultimately choose, remember to think about ergonomic design and the different roles that you want your desk to play to ensure the desk you buy meets your needs. The wide selection of home office furniture available makes it possible to find something perfectly tailored to your space.