How to choose a desk that’s perfect for you

When kitting out a home office, study station or even work office, knowing how to choose a desk that suits all your needs and requirements for the area is essential. After all, you will probably spend a significant amount of money and time at your desk, particularly if you are working at the desk for 8 hours a day or more or studying for months or years on end.

In a disposable era where virtually everything is being fabricated for cheap, short-term use, even fast furniture has joined that list. Despite this, desks are not a piece of furniture that we purchase on a regular basis. You will probably expect it to last you at a minimum, a number of years. For that reason, choosing the correct office desk could be the deciding factor that keeps you comfortable while powering through your work at lightning speed and having the upper hand over your colleagues, friends or competitors.


If you choose poorly though, it could result in frequent disruption due to a poor, disorganized, cluttered and unsuitable work setup, exacerbated by suffering from pain and discomfort as a result of the unergonomic desk set-up. Ultimately, all these factors could lead to you boycotting the desk altogether and choosing to work from your kitchen table or even your bed. Neither of which are recommended from an ergonomic perspective – trust me on that one.

Today is your luck day because…

You can thank your lucky starts that you stumbled upon this article, because I bestow on you a definitive list of criteria that will guarantee that you choose the correct desk for whatever purpose you may need.

By following this easy to follow list, you can forget about suffering the nightmare that is returning items, choosing poorly sized desks and a very possible risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders due to a poor desk setup. Also, you don’t want to miss an article packed with insider tips!

Let’s get started!

How to choose a desk - White desk with laptop

How to choose a desk:

1. What size desk can you fit in the area?

2. What height desk do you need?

3. How much space do you need for your work?

4. What is your budget?

5. Does your desk need storage units too?

6. What type of desk surface do you want?

7. What finish desk suits the atmosphere and interior design best?

8. Does the desk need to complement your chair?

What size desk can you fit in the area?

It goes without saying that if you purchase a desk that is the incorrect size for the area, it could have negative consequences. Not everyone has unlimited amounts of space in their home or office, and so measuring the area is an essential and smart step to take. By determining the amount of area you have available, you can whittle down the list of desks to choose from.

Avoid the nightmare of trying to squeeze an oversized humongous desk into a room. Who knows, it may be so unsuitable for the room that you may even have to return it.

Now if you’re anything like me, you probably do everything in your power to avoid having to return items. The sheer thought of having to return items, even something simple as a pair of jeans, makes me want to run for the hills…

and I hate running…and hills!

So if having to return a pair of jeans sounds like an ordeal, imagine what it would be like having to return a heavy desk which could involve excess costs if the furniture store needs to come out and collect it.

Additionally, if there is shelving or windows or radiators in the area, these could either infringe on the space available or be beneficial to the location.

Hands up if you are the person hanging off your radiator in the cold winter months while somehow still wearing 40 jackets and a hat indoors.

Tip: Ensure you measure the width, depth and height of the space available and consider ancillary equipment nearby that you may need access to, for example, sockets.

How to choose a desk - Corner small wooden desk with chair

What height desk do you need?

Achieving comfort and good ergonomics should be essential criteria when selecting a desk to work at. Depending on your height, you may need a desk that can be adjustable to avoid banging your knees off the desk. You may otherwise need a chair to complement your height while allowing you to sit in as neutral a posture as possible while having feet on a flat surface.

There is such a thing as desks for taller people, and also desks for shorter people. However, generally most tasks accommodation the majority of heights, so this isn’t a concern for most people. If it is though, you may need to consider the height dimensions or even a height-adjustable desk.

How to choose a desk - white height adjustable desk

How much space do you need for your work?

In addition to the space available, the type of work that you perform at the desk will probably dictate the amount of space that you need your desk to be. For instance, if you have separate monitors and a keyboard and mouse, and you also need space to review documents, then a small square desk would probably not suffice.

However, if you are someone who uses the desk to study or perform administrative tasks like printing, scanning or sorting out bills and miscellaneous tasks, a small desk possibly could be sufficient.

Common examples of desk functions include:

  • Computer-based work (IT roles, casual web browsing)
  • Paperwork-based work (writing, taking notes, reviewing documents)
  • Multi-functional (computer work and paperwork)
  • Decorative desk (holds ornaments or items such as a telephone)
  • Secretarial work (answering calls, managing home bills etc.)

Other considerations include the shape of the room, if the desk is going into a corner, you could opt for a range of desks including an L-shaped desk, corner desk, rectangular desk or even a wave desk.

L-shaped desks and wave desks typically offer extra surface space where you can perform both computer work and paperwork. However, if you think that you require less space, a rectangular desk maybe more than sufficient.

If space constraints or budget limitations exist, remember that you can optimize the amount of space available on your desk by using separate storage and even mounting monitors to your walls. Additionally, pull out trays for storing your keyboard and mouse can also vastly enhance the amount of space available.

P.S. If you keep reading, I may even share with you an article on optimizing office desk space.

Tip: The size of the desk should allow for easy reach to equipment and materials. You shouldn’t have to be bending over to see your monitor or overstretching to retrieve a document or stationery.

How to choose a desk - Built in desk storage

What is your budget?

Whether it’s coming out of your own pocket or the pocket of your employer, the amount of money available to spend will play a factor in determining the office desks that you can choose from. Fortunately, there are plenty of desk manufacturers out there that produce low-cost desks which are often more than adequate for the majority of people.

However, if you are looking for a large mahogany or oak desk made of solid wood with storage and trimmings, be prepared to spend a little more. On the bright side, it will more than likely last you a lifetime, and so you should consider it an investment.

How to choose a desk - Wooden mahogany desk with screen

Does your desk need storage units too?

Many desks come equipped with storage cabinets and drawers that are extremely useful for storing miscellaneous items, such as paperwork, stationary and other personal bits and bobs. Desk storage also improves the organization of your work space and ensures that essential and frequently used items are at your fingertips.

Depending on the amount of storage that you have already available and the amount of paraphernalia that you attribute to your work or study, you may or may not need a desk with storage compartments.

Some desks don’t provide any storage units, and this may deter you from looking at certain storage desks. Depending on the height of the desk, it may be possible to purchase storage cabinets that can slide neatly underneath the side of the desk, without infringing on your leg space.

Tip: If you already have a storage cabinet that you wish to fit underneath your new piece of furniture, ensure that the height of the storage cabinet can fit underneath the lowest part of the desk.

How to choose a desk - Office with mac monitor and shelving

What type of desk surface do you want?

The surface of a desk generally falls into three categories:

Laminate: Laminate finishes are popular choice as they are durable and also relatively affordable. Laminate also come in a wide range of colours and effects, such as wood grain patterns. They are fabricated by applying plastic finish to a wooden segment, such as chip board. When purchasing a laminate desk, opt for ones which have a thick, high pressure laminate finish.

Wood: Wooden desks offer beautiful grains and shapes along with a touch of elegance and homeliness. Wooden desks are generally sturdy and heavy to move. They can however, scratch more easily and are considered more delicate in terms of maintenance. They are also generally more expensive than other types of desks available.

Metal: Metal or steel desks are one of the most durable types available. Generally, the heavier the weight of the desk, the greater the quality. They may not be the most professional looking though; in addition, they can also be cold to touch or hot in warm climates. They also make more noise when items are being moved around on them.

Tip: Bear in mind the finish and the colour of the surface. Brown hues create a sense of nourishment and comfort. Black finishes encourage concentration and open mindedness, while white and grey surfaces promote clarity and discipline. However, white can be draining and dazzling for some people to look at.

How to choose a desk - Wooden desk with office equipment

What finish desk suits the atmosphere and interior design best?

When considering the type of desk material, don’t forget to take into consideration of the design of the room.

The interior design could be described as:

  • Modern
  • Homely
  • Industrial
  • Traditional
  • Transitional
  • Rustic
  • Bohemian
  • Shabby chic

For instance, if there is a homely feel to your home office, it may be more suited to a laminate or wood effect as opposed to a metal desk, which may not complement a room full of wooden furniture.

It’s likely that the interior design of the room would pay homage to the type of atmosphere intended in the area, particularly if it is a work setting as opposed to a home office being repurposed into a work space.

The colour sequence of the room can also dictate most suitable type of desk. Bright, vibrant colours maybe suited to an office environment which encourages energy and creativity. However, a bright red desk may not complement a multi-functional room, such as a dining room being used as a home office. Most rooms are suited to laminate and wood effect desks.

How to choose a desk - White desk and chair

Does the desk need to complement your chair?

The desks should certainly be suited to your chair. For instance, if you sit yourself on the chair and try to slide into the desk, the arms of the chair should not bang off the desk restrict your distance from the desk.

This is probably not the greatest of your concerns criteria, but if you already own an office chair, you may want it to be aesthetically complemented by your desk. Most chairs typically will complement any desk design. If, however, you own an old-fashioned leather chair, it could truly create a traditional atmosphere if accompanied by a traditional wooden or wooden-effect desk.

How to choose a desk - Office with desk and chair


If you have successfully completed the article and take into consideration the above factors, you are well and truly on the straight and narrow in terms of knowing how to choose a desk. Which of the above factors would be priority for you when choosing a desk? Do you opt for functionality over fashion or vica versa? What’s your favourite surface effect? Please share your comments and thoughts in the box below!

If you’re interesting in buying this product or viewing the complete range of ergonomic products that I’d recommend to my closed family and friends, then check it out by following this link:

Ergotron Workfit Standing Desk Converters

At the start of this article, I briefly touched on the topic of knowing your office workflow. Understanding how you process work through your desk is a key factor in choosing the size and shape of desk that you require.

In this article on how to organize my office desk – 10 easy steps, not only do you gain some insight into what your style is, you also get the best insider tips to stay organized and clutter-free.

So, read on to learn how to create a more productive environment and catapult your levels of productivity and organizational skills to a whole other level. As a bonus, I also share with you how to instantly reduce your stress levels in ways you never thought possible. You can’t afford NOT to read it!

How to choose a desk - Do more Apple monitor desk

Sources Best Feng Shui Desk Color&text=Brown: It is a grounding,It facilitates clarity and discipline


With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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