How to Find the Right Home Office Desk

A Desk Buying Guide by Staples

Your home office environment is one that can be comfortable without compromising productivity. Choosing the right work desk for your home office is a key factor in striking the perfect balance.

In This Buying Guide:

Industry Snapshot
Selecting the Right Home Office Desk (Chart)
Additional Desk Features to Consider
Desk Tips for a Large Home Office
Desk Tips for a Small Home Office
Key Questions
Related Products

Industry Snapshot

Choosing a desk that is well suited to your industry and your work habits is essential for success. What elements are most important to you? Comfort? Storage? Surface area? Ergonomics?

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If you’re a project manager, account executive or consultant of any stripe, then a small standard desk or compact computer desk may be just what you need. You’ll have ample surface area for a laptop or desktop computer, and enough storage for basic office supplies. If your room space allows, consider a large computer desk. This will house your monitor and computer tower, and provide extra storage space for computer accessories and other peripherals. Regardless of size, all computer desks typically include a keyboard tray.

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Accountants, tax professionals and other jobs that entail in-office meetings might require a desk that can accommodate client seating. Although much larger than a standard desk, an L-shaped desk works well in a home office because of its efficient use of floor space. The extra surface area allows for easy stacking and grouping of files, and comfortable side-by-side review of documents.

Web designers, web developers and engineers may require an even bigger desk to house multiple monitors and peripherals. Space permitting, a U-shaped desk is a good option. It features a main desk, credenza and a bridge to connect both components. Storage options for both desk types are plentiful, including hutches, file pedestals and under-desk drawers.

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Writers and editors generally don’t need a lot of space, but they spend a lot of time at their computers. This can lead to repetitive strain injuries. A standing desk or sit-to-stand workstation could be the ideal solution. Switching between standing and sitting while working has been shown to increase energy, improve posture and contribute to both work quality and efficiency. These units allow the user to move the keyboard and monitor up and down vertically throughout the day.

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Some professionals, like realtors and teachers, only spend part of their working hours in the home office. A floating desk offers a unique solution – it’s small, unobtrusive, and mounts directly to a wall. This conserves floor space and makes it ideal for placement in a bedroom, foyer or low-traffic hallway. A writing desk is also a good option. This minimalist open-desk style simply becomes an attractive piece of furniture when not in use. Shelving and cubbies can be mounted above either desk type for extra storage, an especially attractive option for corner-style models.

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Selecting the Right Home Office Desk

Use this chart to help you determine which style of desk is the best for your home office.

Desk Type Surface Space Storage Space Size Mobility Material Price

Standard Desks

Also known as a rectangle desk, this desk type is versatile and popular
Single surface, space varies per model but typically fits a laptop/monitor and other devices or accessories Varies per model; may include 1-2 drawers on one side, double drawers on each side or no additional storage A good option for the small to medium sized home office Some models may be heavier and more difficult to move depending on material and storage Engineered wood, metal and/or tempered glass $-$$

Computer Desks

Includes a keyboard tray and enough surface space for a laptop or monitor
Single surface, smaller on average and typically fits just a laptop or monitor and small accessories Varies per model; may include 1-2 drawers on one side, double drawers on each side or no additional storage A space-saving option for the small home office Generally light and easy to move, some models come with casters for easy one-person mobility Engineered wood, metal and/or tempered glass $$

L-Shaped Desks

Also known as a corner desk, this style is designed for use in the corner of a room
Two main surface areas offer plenty of surface space Generally includes at least one set of storage drawers, often 2-3 drawers on each side of the corner desk A good option for larger home offices or those with space in the corner Not built for mobility but may be taken apart and moved if required Most often wood; some metal/tempered glass models available $$-$$$

U-Shaped Desks

Made of three components: a main desk, credenza and bridge to connect them
Three main surface areas for even more surface space, including the ability to hold meetings at one end of the desk Plenty of storage space in both the main desk and credenza area, often including a hutch for additional storage A good option for larger home offices with space to spare Not built for mobility but may be taken apart and moved if required Wood $$$$

Standing Desks

Either a free-standing desk itself or a tabletop unit that can be raised or lowered
Smaller surface area, enough for a laptop or monitor and keyboard. Some models include additional levels and monitor stands No additional storage space A space-saving option, especially with tabletop models that sit atop an existing desk Tabletop versions are portable; Free-standing models are generally lighter and easier to move than other desk styles Engineered wood, metal or plastic $-$$$

Floating Desks

Mounts directly to a wall to save space and minimize the footprint in the room
Temporary work space with a smaller surface area suitable for a laptop and small accessories No additional storage space but shelving can be mounted above The ultimate space-saving option, ideal for bedrooms or other small areas Not mobile Wood or engineered wood $$

Writing Desks

Small desk that doubles as a piece of furniture when not in use
Small, single surface that typically accommodates just a laptop and small accessories No additional storage space but shelving can be mounted above An excellent space-saving option, ideal for bedrooms or other small areas Light and easy to move, the compact shape and size allows for easy placement in small areas Engineered wood, metal and/or tempered glass $$

Additional Desk Features to Consider

Cable Management

Many computer desks for the home office come with integrated USB ports and pre-cut holes to help minimize cable clutter. This clears your workspace of power cords and cables that cross over and under your desk, creating a more work-friendly space.

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Keyboard Trays

Help keep your body protected from carpal tunnel syndrome and other pressure point injuries by investing in an ergonomic keyboard tray for your home office. The tray should be able to lower, slide, angle and pivot so you don't have to bend or stretch to reach your keyboard. It should also tilt forward and backward to achieve the optimal typing angle (usually a negative tilt downward and away from you).

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) from an improperly set-up desk is a recognized workplace issue that can extend into the home office as well. Prolonged slouching and tensed shoulders can result in pinched nerves, sore wrists and other ailments.Make sure your workspace is a comfortable and ergonomic one by choosing a home office desk that enables the following best practices:

  • Ample clearance between thighs and desktop or keyboard tray
  • Sufficient space under the desk to allow legs room to move and stretch
  • Thighs should be parallel to the floor and lower legs perpendicular to the floor
  • Hands and wrists should be in a straight line with the forearm (versus bent up or down)
  • If using a keyboard tray, ensure it is adjustable and has a gel wrist rest

Learn more about finding the right desk for your needs in our General Desk Guide.

Desk Tips for a Large Home Office

Consider All Options

Look at the room in question and review the types of desks. You have ample space, so imagine different placements of larger L-shaped and U-shaped desks. Make a list of the office furniture and equipment you’ll need and develop a floor plan. It might include filing cabinets, wall units, a printer stand, etc. Then, re-evaluate your desk choice to determine if the size and fit still work.

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Protect Your Floors

You probably won’t be moving your desk around too much, but when you do, you’ll want to protect any sensitive floors, especially hardwood. A desk with casters allows for easy rolling movement that protects your floors from scuffing.

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Optimize Functionality

Even in a larger home office, space can get used up quickly. If you’re purchasing a large desk, look for a model that enhances functionality through added storage, a hutch or credenza.

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Desk Tips for a Small Home Office

Maximize Space

If space comes at a premium, measure your home office before deciding on a style. Consider the entire floor space and space requirements of other office furniture and equipment. Ensure windows and doors are unobstructed. Most importantly, ensure you have at least one metre of free space behind the desk to allow movement of your chair.

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Key Questions

Now that you’re aware of the different styles of desks and features available for your home office, answering the following questions can help you come to an even more informed decision:

  • What is my working style?
  • How big is my home office?
  • What is the layout of my home office?
  • Will my desk be used mainly for computer work, or is more room required for other devices?
  • Am I creating a new style of room décor or matching an existing one?
  • How can I best implement ergonomics in my home workplace?
  • Do I need additional storage space?

Understanding the needs of your home-based business will be an important step in choosing the right desk for your office.

Related Products

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January 31, 2019