Office Desk Buying Guide
Shopping for the perfect office desk can be a difficult task, especially if you are unfamiliar with commonly used office furniture terms and desk layouts. While most shoppers have an idea of the desk size needed, many can be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing material, storage options, desk accessories, color finishes, and configurations. Because of this, we have created this Office Desk Buying Guide to help add clarity to your shopping experience!
Whether you choose to buy your office desk here at BridgeCreek Office, or anywhere else, this guide will provide information necessary for making a smart, informed decision.
Office Desk Configurations
When selecting a desk configuration, it is important to take into account your room capacity, work requirements, and the impression you would like to impart on your clients, or whomever may be sitting on the other side of your desk.
Also, consider how your business or responsibilities may expand in the future, and try to choose a desk that can grow with you for years to come.
The single desk is comprised of one work surface, usually with a rectangular shape. This acts as the main desk piece in all other configurations.
There are many single desk styles to choose from, each with advantages for different types of work.
A straight desk is the most common and recognized type of single desk. It usually best when placed against a wall, since it is not specifically designed to provide leg room for anyone seated on the opposite side of the desk.
Bow desks, also referred to as bow-front desks, feature a curved front edge and a few inches of leg room for individuals seated on the opposite side of the desk.
This type of desk is perfect for client-facing offices that are looking for a sleek, professional look.
Bullet / Porkchop / P-Desk
Bullet, Porkchop, and P-Desks are named for their shapes. A bullet desk has a uniform, curved design while porkchop and P-desks have more accentuated curves.
A Step-Front Desk features a depressed inlay on the front of the desk. This piece can be accentuated with a glass panel for an even more elegant look.
L-Shaped Desks are comprised of a main desk and a return. They provide more surface space than single desks and are available in a variety of styles.
U-Shaped Desks generally include a main desk, bridge, and a credenza (detailed below). These pieces fit together to create a U-shape.
These desks are common among professionals and executives who need a large amount of storage or surface space. Additional pieces like a hutch, bookcase, or lateral filing cabinets can be added to these configurations with ease.
The Executive Desk setup at BridgeCreek Office includes a main desk and a credenza surface behind the seating area. The credenza could include extra storage, a hutch, or both!
These types of desks allow you to enter or exit your desk chair from either side of the desk, without sacrificing too much functionality.
The Reception Desk is often the first piece of office furniture a client will see upon entering your place of business. These desks include a higher writing surface for standing clients, while maintaining a standard 29-31″ high desk top surface for your receptionist.
Office Desk Size
When choosing the perfect desk size, you will likely have to weigh many factors, including but not limited to: room & office spacing, surface area, type of work being done, and storage needed. Most office desks you will find here in the United States are between 29″-31″ in height.
Here at BridgeCreek, we offer a multitude of different desk sizing options (detailed in the image below). Adding a desk return or bridge can help expand your surface space and create L-Shaped and U-Shaped configurations.
Main Desk Size
The Main Desk is generally where most of the work gets done. It is the forward-most part of any desk configuration and comes in a variety of different styles. This piece should have the most depth, to ensure you have ample leg room when sitting. Of course, if you are looking for a single desk, the Main Desk is the only piece to be concerned with.
A desk return is an extension that can be added to the main desk to create an L-shaped desk. This piece only extends to the floor on one side, and is usually has a narrower depth than your main desk. When ordering from BridgeCreek Office, you can choose to place the return on the left or right side of your desk.
A bridge is used to connect two desk pieces together. Most often, it is used to “bridge a gap” between your main desk and a credenza to create a U-shaped desk. It does not extend to the floor on either side, meaning it must be connected on both sides to be functional.
Office Desk Storage
If having a larger, serviceable work surface is the key to getting work done, then desk storage options are the key to keeping work organized.
File important documents or store essential items, all within an arm’s reach.
Filing Cabinet / Pedestal
Desk Pedestals, also known as Filing Cabinets or ‘Peds’, add storage options directly beneath your desk surface. If you only need limited space, hanging pedestals (1 box drawer & 1 filing drawer) may suffice. For more storage, look into deluxe (2 box, 1 file) and full (2 file) pedestals that extend all the way to the floor.
Office Desk Materials
Desk Material may be the easiest thing to overlook when shopping for office furniture. Most professionals can recall encounters with desks that either scratched too easily, had peeling surfaces, or just simply fell apart.
While it is important to find a desk that offers the functionality you need, it is also important to ensure that your desk can withstand the test of time. Below, we have detailed the most common desk materials and what to look for when making your purchase decision.
Laminate office furniture is made by attaching a thin piece of protective, scratch-resistant material to a wood core. This material is often created to look and/or feel much like real wood.
When produced correctly, this type of finish can offer long-term durability and is more affordable than solid wood, veneer, or metal counterparts.
Veneer furniture is made by attaching a thin layer of treated, real wood to a wood core. This finish gives the highest quality look & feel to your desk, but comes at a price – figuratively and literally.
Veneer office furniture tends to be more expensive than laminate furniture and can accumulate nicks and scratches more easily. Choosing between the most popular finishes, laminate and veneer, should depend on your work environment and how you plan to utilize your desk long-term.
Solid wood desks can be a great solution that can last a lifetime. They can be painted or stained, and can be used to create a traditional, rustic environment in your home or office.
However, these desks also come with some negative aspects. They can often acquire scratches easily, warp in unfavorable environments, or simply be too expensive. Also, because you are relying on material designed by nature – not humans, it may be difficult to match colors, designs, or other types of furniture to your desk in the future.
Metal desks are commonly used in manufacturing or industrial settings. They are the most durable types of desks available and are mostly scratch-proof and easy to clean. BusinessKnowHow suggests the best way to determine the quality of a metal desk is to feel the overall weight.
If you are seeking a professional look that incorporates metal pieces, BridgeCreek Office’s Modern Collection combines the best of both worlds. This line of furniture features a strong, trendy metal base paired with a high-quality laminate work surfaces.
While glass is rarely used to build a desk’s structure, it can often be used as a surface top. It can come in a multitude of colors, designs, and unique shapes. In some cases, it can even be easily removed for replacement, cleaning, or maintenance.
Glass provides a very classy, stain-resistance surface but it can be susceptible to fingerprints and of course, breaking.
Office Desk Attributes
Finding a desk with the attributes you desire can expand comfort and convenience.
Ergonomics is defined as the study of one’s efficiency in a working environment. Although, it has come to be more closely aligned with promoting health and preventing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that arise from long periods of time behind a desk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration covers this topic in detail.
For many, finding a desk or chair that is designed around ergonomics is essential to their well-being at work. In the long run, this type of furniture can help prevent issues with posture, Carpal tunnel, or a variety of other aches and pains.
Sit / Stand Desks
Sit-Stand Desks, also commonly referred to as Adjustable-Height Desks, have been growing in popularity in recent years. These desks make it very easy to adjust the height of your work surface throughout the day, either manually or electronically.
With a growing percentage of the American workforce finding themselves in sedentary work environments, adjustable standing desks can be the perfect solution to staying happy and healthy!
Office Desk Accessories
These desk accessories can be added for extra privacy or functionality of your desk(s).
A modesty panel is usually a thin piece of wood, metal, or glass that can be added to the front of an open-faced desk to help cover the upper legs and waist area for the person seated.
Privacy dividers, or partitions, are usually attached to the edges of desks or cubicles to help shield from wandering eyes or distractions. These come in a variety of materials, sizes, and shapes.
Keyboard & Mouse Tray
A pull-out surface for your keyboard & mouse can be added to almost any desk. This can help to keep your desk surface looking clean and free from clutter.
A tackboard can be added to the space between a desk surface and overhead hutch cabinets. This creates a great place for pinning notes, memos, or pictures of loved ones!