Your essential home office work surface

The single most important piece of furniture in your home office is definitely your desk. Whether you use your space for writing, drafting, computing or reading, the right desk will maximize your office's efficiency and beauty.


Computer desks are specially designed to support and display all components of a computer. There is often a large flat surface hiding beneath a smaller section; this flat surface can be pulled out from under the main desk, and is usually reserved for the computer's keyboard. Some desks also have separate, raised platforms for monitors, putting the screen at eye level. There will also be a section below the main desk where the computer tower can sit, as well as smaller spaces near the monitor for speakers. An optional feature is a built-in wrist rest for maximum comfort while typing.

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Corner computer desks fit snugly in a 90-degree corner, either by being fan-shaped or by having two sections that meet in the corner and spread along the intersecting walls. Much more compact than traditional computer desks, a corner desk helps turn a small space into an efficient work area. Another advantage is that they leave ample room for bedroom sets if you are using a section of your bedroom as your home office.

Conversely, writing desks are designed to offer as much surface space as possible. Most also have one or more drawers or shelves to hold pencils, paper and other office supplies. Old-fashioned writing desks have roll tops to hide messy work surfaces when not in use. Writing desks are typically larger and sturdier than computer desks.

Materials Used to Make Desks

Home office desks can be made from many materials, but wood, composite materials, metals and plastics seem to be the most popular. You can even find glass office desks or, at least, desks with glass surfaces. In fact, many styles combine different materials for a more pleasing look and superior durability.

The cost of office desks is comparable to other large pieces of furniture. Wooden desks are becoming harder to find and are the most expensive, as they're usually hand-crafted. Composite desks, which are painted or covered to look like wood, are notably cheaper than the real thing but are not nearly as durable. (You won't be handing down your plywood computer desk to your children some day.) All-metal and all-glass desks are expensive, so look for desks that use these materials as accentuations if you're on a tight budget.