You're already going to be doing a lot of work at your home office desk, so it helps if you can make the process of selecting and purchasing that desk as painless as possible. There are more questions you should ask yourself before picking out a desk than you might think, so let me help you consider some of them.
- What kind of work do I plan on doing at my desk?
- How large of a surface space do I need in order to maintain organization?
- Will my needs be better met by a straight desk or an L-shaped model?
- Do I need additional storage space beyond the surface and drawers of the desk itself?
Certain shapes and types of desk lend themselves better to different types of work.
- If the majority of your work is done on a computer, it's likely you can get by with a smaller surface space. If that computer is a traditional desktop, you will probably want a keyboard tray; you will also want to make sure you have a place to put the CPU tower below the surface of the desk. With this type of setup, you may be able to eliminate the need for drawers.
- Even in these high-tech times, there are still a lot of jobs that require a great deal of paperwork. If your job is one of these, you will want the main work surface to be larger than with a primarily computer-based job, and you will likely also want drawers for file storage. If files remain at your desk over a long term, you'll want to consider a dedicated filing cabinet for these.
- If your work requires both a computer and extensive paperwork or multiple computers, you'll want an L-shaped desk if at all possible, to keep the maximum amount of work close at hand.
In terms of surface space on a desk, you will not encounter the standardized sizes that you see in other types of furniture - whatever space you have, there is likely a desk available that will fill it. Measure the space in your home office before making a selection, and take note of any space in the room that could be used for additional storage.
The two most common shapes for a desk are rectangular, which tends to be better for a smaller workload and/or a smaller space, and L-shaped, which is very useful for a combination of computer and paperwork or if a lot of multitasking is involved.
For some home offices, the surface and drawers of the desk itself simply do not provide enough storage for all items and documents that need to be kept in the area. In cases like this you have three available options:
- Built in hutch. This refers to additional shelving affixed right to the top surface of the desk itself. This creates extra storage without you having to purchase a separate piece, but it can interfere with your ability to easily use the entire main surface of the desk.
- Floating hutch. This type of hutch is a separate piece that gets mounted on the wall over the desk. These hutches provide additional storage while still allowing a lot of room on top of the desk itself, though they may be a bit more difficult to access.
- Freestanding storage. This simply refers to having any of a number of additional pieces of furniture kept near the desk for the specific purpose of overflow storage. The most common piece to use for this is a bookcase, though other well established options include separate file cabinets or computer tower stands.
These points should help you on your way to figuring out what desk will work for your situation. Watch for an upcoming guide on how to select accompanying storage pieces for your home office, too.