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This story is part of our Fall Refresh Guide, a weeklong series where we’ll be looking at the products that will help us make the most of yet another season stuck at home. Think of it like Back-to-School content for adults. Except, you know, during a pandemic.
Until a few months ago, the “desk” you keep in your home was more likely to be ornamental than functional, a place to pile unread mail and to-do lists and a stack of New Yorkers that you’ll definitely, probably, maybe get around to one of these weekends.
Then one day everyone got sick but not quite sick enough to stop working, and here we are six months later, 42% of Americans still working from home for the foreseeable future.
Which brings us back to the desk. If you don’t have one, you need one; if you do have one, there’s a good chance you’ve never actually intended to do work at it, and now you realize you’d prefer a different one.
The first thing you should be aware of is that your home desk should probably look nothing like your office desk. That means avoiding laminate, wood veneer and composite desks in favor of rich, natural woods that won’t look out of place in the same room as a leather couch or an antique credenza.
From there, it’s about finding the right dimensions for your space and the right features — sit/stand functionality, cord management, storage — for your needs. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 11 desks we love, complete with our favorite features and the type of worker each desk is best suited for.
Best Value: The Slim Desk by Revival
The second cheapest desk on this list certainly doesn’t look it: Revival revolutionized the rug game by working directly with vintage rug dealers in Turkey to cut out middleman and diminish costs to the consumer, and now they’re doing the same thing with a number of furniture makers around the world. Their first desk is made from natural-finish ash wood by a family-owned, decades-old workshop in Vietnam and then shipped directly to your door for assembly.
Best feature: There’s a subtle accent strip at the back of the desk that helps organize cords and also has a groove for stowing your pen or pencil.
Best American-Made Desk: The Table/Desk by Floyd
Assembled in Michigan from materials sourced from all over the country (steel legs, birch or linoleum tops), the Floyd Desk was among the company’s first forays into proper furniture after they released their iconic clamping table legs, which are integrated into a number of their products. The desk actually uses a separate, screw-down style of leg, but it’s equally robust and durable.
Best feature: Floyd’s furniture is famous for how easy it is to assemble, which means this table is easy to move around the house or even regularly transport from one location to another for reassembly.
Best Desk for Small Spaces: The Pocket Desk by Housefish
At a svelte 50 inches wide by 30 inches deep, this desk will accommodate apartment dwellers and spare bedrooms-turned-offices in the suburbs alike. Features “pockets” in both the front and back for stowing all your knickknacks and power supplies.
Best feature: That frame that looks like it’s made of iron or some other dark metal is actually blackened ash wood, and the entire desk is assembled via joinery techniques, so there’s no hardware.
Best Desk for the Smallest Spaces: Cant Modern Desk by Blu Dot
Basically a sexed-up version of the desk that got you through primary school, this smart little number checks in at just 42 inches by 25 inches, which means it’s perfect for tucking away in the corner of your living or bedroom. Solid wood legs, an accented, powder-coated upper and the unique “canted” legs make for a very attractive profile.
Best feature: It’s gotta be the size. We searched high and low for a desk this smart-looking at these or smaller dimensions, and nothing quite measured up.
Best Desk If You Think You’re Don Draper: Reid Oval Desk by CB2
A stunning, oversized executive desk by Mermelada Estudio in Barcelona, this is a great option if you’ve got a genuine office space in your house and plan on hosting clients or colleagues there. Should be paired with an equally attractive bar.
Best feature: The fluting on the ends that gives this desk its characteristic Art Deco look also conceals doors that open to reveal a ton of storage space.
Best Standing Desk That Won’t Look Out of Place in Your Living room: Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk by Fully
Fully makes handsome, house-friendly standing desks that seamlessly toggle between up to four custom heights of your choosing. We like this warm bamboo number — stick it next to a window that gets good light and you’ll have a bright, inviting workspace that helps you shake off the cobwebs each morning.
Best feature: Beware of the $549 base price, because Fully allows you to customize your build with a ton of extra features, and you’ll want to: surge protectors, powered grommets for devices, extra shelves or monitor arms for your computer, balance boards and anti-fatigue mats to keep you engaged underfoot … it adds up.
Best Writing Desk: The 4.9 Desk, Double Drawer by Emko
One of the only desks on this list made from 100% solid wood, in this case European or American ash. Features two hidden storage compartments at the rear, but otherwise this is a spartan affair meant to help you focus on whatever it is you need to set about writing.
Best feature: Can we say the lack of features? The minimalism is by design.
Best for Minimalist Scandinavian Vibes: The Pyramid Table 01 by HAY
Based on a design from the ’50s by Dutch modernist Wim Rietveld, it doesn’t get much more minimal than the Pyramid Table 01, which comprises exactly two pieces: a steel frame and an oak tabletop. Pair with the Result Chair, also by Rietveld, for maximum effect.
Best feature: That 55-inch by 30-inch top is a deceptively broad workspace. There’s plenty of room for a plant, some books and whatever else you need to put on there to tailor it to its surroundings and make you feel at home.
Best for Your First Apartment: The Joseph Desk by Urban Outfitters
Between the three oversized drawers and the slim profile (at only 16 inches deep, it’s the sleekest desk on this list), it’s perfect for a small room and offers ample storage space to those who may be lacking it (like your recently graduated kid who just moved into a studio apartment the size of your master bathroom). Probably won’t last a lifetime, but also won’t break the bank.
Best feature: That’d be those drawers.
Best Funky Desk: The Optical Inlay Desk by Anthropologie
I’ve been saying for years that your girlfriend/wife/daughter’s favorite boho-chic store is sneakily a great and entirely gender-neutral place to shop for furniture and home goods. This handbuilt wood and brass desk will deliver a welcome dose of personality to your living room or home office, though the neutral tones mean it’s still relatively easy to match it with your existing setup.
Best feature: While those huge drawers will prove useful, it’s gotta be that intricate inlaid pattern.
Best Desk If Price Is No Object: Smart Desk by Sean Woolsey
LA designer Sean Woolsey is a longtime InsideHook muse. He got his start making elegant wooden gaming tables (shuffleboard, ping pong), but now offers a full range of home and office furniture, including this stunning sit/stand smart desk, which — like everything Woolsey makes — features top-grade materials and a ton of really clever design tricks that you won’t find elsewhere on this list.
Best feature: Where to start? It’s got two USB ports and a surge protector in addition to cordless QI charging integrated right into the tabletop, excellent cord management and a quiet motor that can toggle the desk between four different heights. But the thing that most caught our eye was that handsome little valet tray that you can keep in a drawer or on the table to organize all of your personal effects.
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