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Your Guide to Desks

Desks have been around for centuries and are often considered essential to the modern home. Rather than carrying your work from room to room, desks provide a dedicated space for productivity. With space for bringing your day job home, crafting your latest DIY project or setting the kids up to finish their latest book report, the desk is a must-have in the homes of many Canadians.

When searching for the desk that’s right for you, there are four important elements to consider:

  1. Shape
  2. Features
  3. Size
  4. Materials

Shape

The shape of your desk depends both on how you’ll be using your office furniture as well as your personal preference. If you work mainly on a laptop, a small computer desk without much surface space may make sense. However if you prefer to spread your papers out or plan on making your desk a multi-use space for other projects, a large surface is entirely necessary. Once you determine your space needs, deciding on a configuration is easy.

Rectangular

This is the most common and versatile shape, often seen in rooms of kids and adults alike. A rectangular desk fits nicely into any room but doesn’t always offer the most space. Sometimes rectangular desks will have a curved front edge to make multi-tasking and working at a computer more comfortable.

L-Shaped

Palladia L-Shaped Desk

Find this look at The Brick.

An L-shaped desk fits nicely into a corner and makes good use of wall space. You’ll have tons of surface space and more storage options, but you’ll be limited in your variety of room configurations. L-shaped desks can have a slightly cut-out and rounded inner corner to make multi-tasking and working in front of computer more comfortable.

U-Shaped

This desk also makes for a good use of wall space and gives you plenty of surface area to spread out. You’ll also have tons of storage space. Unfortunately, you might be stuck with only one or two room configurations due to the inherent size of this type of desk.

Kidney-Shaped

A kidney-shaped desk is the most conducive to working on a computer since you can push your monitor to the back edge and have plenty of room for your keyboard, mouse, papers and other supplies. The curved front edge offers a comfortable space in which to tuck your body.

Features

What you’ll be doing at your desk determines what types of features will be important to you. Here is a list of helpful features to consider when shopping for your next desk.

Surface Space

Ensure you have enough surface space for the work you’ll be doing.

Shelves

Desks offer shelves for a variety of purposes. Some desks provide a specific shelf for your printer or computer tower. Other desks offer general shelving for a variety of items, from decor to office supplies to your outdated collection of encyclopedias.

Cupboards

Cupboards offer hidden storage so you can disguise your computer tower or tuck books and extra office supplies out of sight.

Hutch

A hutch sits on top of your desk and offers additional organization space. Keep pens, papers and other home office essentials within easy reach.

Shoal Creek Executive Desk with Hutch

Find this look at The Brick.

Keyboard Tray

If you’re constantly working on your computer, a keyboard tray is incredibly convenient and often more ergonomic than simply placing your keyboard on top of your desk. You can find pull-out trays to make your working experience even more comfortable.

Cable Management System

If you dislike messy wires, a cable management system is your saviour. You can keep your cables neat so they don’t get tangled and in the way. These are most often seen in the form of a designated hole in the tabletop or as a series of clips.

Built-In Power Strip

York 4-Piece Desk Package

Image courtesy of The Brick.

This feature is extremely convenient when you have a limited number of power outlets in your office or your devices’ cords are weirdly short. Some desks may even have a USB port on the power strip so you can keep your phone within reach while it’s charging.

Adjustable Leg Heights

Adjustable legs allow you to customize the height of your desk to ensure you are comfortable while sitting. Depending on the desk, you can also convert it from a sitting desk to a standing desk. Whether you’re sitting or standing, you should adjust the desk height so your hands rest comfortably on the tabletop (or keyboard tray) with your arms at a 90 degree angle.

Size

When it comes to finding a desk, size can seem pretty self-explanatory. However, there are four important points it may be easy to overlook when considering the size of your new desk.

  1. Make sure your desk is the right size (i.e. has enough surface area) for how you’ll be using it.
  2. Your desk needs to fit comfortably in your home office (or other room). It is important you allocate enough space for your desk plus any other office furniture, such as bookcases or filing cabinets. Desks often require assembly once they’re in your home, so make sure you have enough space to spread the pieces out and put it together. If your desk comes pre-assembled, ensure it can fit through all the spaces on the way to its final destination.
  3. Ensure the heights of your chair and desk line up properly so you can comfortably reach the desk surface and/or your keyboard without stretching or straining yourself. Measure your chair beforehand and bring a small measuring tape with you while you shop.

    correct sitting posture

    Image courtesy of The Brick.

  4. Consider the depth of your desk in relation to the placement of your laptop or monitor. Your screen should be at arm’s length so a desk that’s too deep will have wasted space behind your monitor. Alternatively, you could use that space for storing books or office supplies you don’t often use. Depth is also important when it comes to leg room. If you have long legs, a larger depth will allow you to stretch your legs out comfortably.

Materials

Your personal preferences and how you’ll be using your desk will determine the type of material(s) you’ll want. Here are the six most common materials you’ll see when looking for a desk.

Solid Wood

High-performance, furniture-grade woods provide superb durability and stability. Solid wood is strong and exceptionally constructed for long-lasting support. Although on the pricier side of the spectrum, solid wood offers a classic design.

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)

MDF is an extremely strong and versatile material. Made by using heat and pressure to fuse small wood fibres together, the result is a durable, long-lasting and inexpensive wood. The lack of grain creates an even texture and colour, providing a smooth finish to this budget-friendly material.

Veneers

Created by cutting a thin layer of wood and laying it on top of construction-grade material, veneers offer a beautiful wood texture and finish. They won’t warp, crack or split over time and often create unique markings on the desk’s surface. Veneers are often bonded onto less expensive wood composites like MDF to provide a real-wood look with a budget-friendly price tag.

Paper Laminate

A manufactured layer of paper is printed with a wood grain (or other design) and then laminated for protection. Paper laminate is often bonded onto less expensive wood composites like MDF or particleboard to provide a beautiful and affordable look.

Metal

Metal is an inherently strong material used to create solid desk frames. Easily recycled, metal is an environmentally-friendly choice.

Glass

Glass is sturdy and can support a lot of weight, yet has a light design for an elegant finish. Often used for the surface of a desk, glass can be paired with wood or metal for an upscale design.

Bexley Desk

Find this look at The Brick.

Start Your Search Today

Now that you’ve done your research on all things desks, you should have a clearer picture of what features and designs work best for you. Discover ideas and inspiration at TheBrick.com, and start your search today.

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