The Best Desks for Big and Small Spaces

Our favorite is Pottery Barn's Mateo Rustic Desk

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Best Desks

Courtesy of Pottery Barn

A good desk is always useful, whether you telecommute full-time, work from home a couple of days a week, or just need a designated space for bill-pay and emailing.

"Finding the right desk just requires having an understanding of how one works," says interior designer Ahmad AbouZanat of Project AZ Design. "For example, someone who works on a laptop has completely different desk needs than someone who works on multiple screens."

We researched stylish, functional desks, evaluating appearance, durability, and any standout features. Our number one pick is the Mateo Rustic Desk from Pottery Barn, a versatile and practical workstation with a generously sized drawer.

Ahead, the best desks currently on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Pottery Barn Mateo 56" Rustic Desk with Drawer

Mateo 56" Rustic Desk with Drawer
Courtesy of Pottery Barn.
What We Like
  • Versatile and timeless

  • Sturdy joinery

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • May take weeks to ship

  • Some assembly required

If you're looking for a well-made, mid-sized workstation with a classic silhouette, this might be the one. Pottery Barn's Mateo Rustic Desk is made of solid pine wood and features a poplar wood veneer. Tongue-and-groove joinery and stretchers between the legs offer durability to ensure it lasts for several years—decades, maybe.

Available in your choice of light natural wood, gray wash, or rich blackish-brown, this desk features rough-sawn detailing and is hand-sealed to create a "salvaged" look. While it's called the "Rustic Desk," the weathered aesthetic adds character without affecting its versatility. From industrial and coastal to modern and traditional, the Mateo will complement a wide range of design schemes. What's more, the multi-toned finish is actually designed to look better over time, which only adds to the long-lasting appeal.

This timeless desk is 56 x 30 x 26 inches and has one spacious drawer (24 x 17 inches) with brushed gray hardware. Unlike many furniture items from Pottery Barn, it won't arrive fully assembled, but you'll only need to attach the three pieces. The other thing to note is that it might take weeks to ship, depending on the finish you get.

Dimensions: 56 x 30 x 26 inches | Weight: 55.5 | Material: Solid wood, wood veneer | Storage: 1 drawer

Best Budget: Ikea Micke Desk

Ikea Micke Desk
Courtesy of Ikea.
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Adjustable shelves

  • Made from recycled materials

What We Don't Like
  • Assembly required

  • Not solid wood

Ikea is always a great budget option, especially for home office furniture. We like the Micke Desk, which measures roughly 41.5 inches wide, 29.5 inches tall, and 19.5 inches deep. Available in four versatile colorways, it's made of particleboard and fiberboard with recycled honeycomb paper filling.

This desk has a decent amount of storage, including two drawers and a three-shelf cabinet, which you can mount to either side. The finished back gives you the option to place it away from the wall, and a cable outlet provides a more streamlined, minimalist look. Like all Ikea furniture, you'll have to put this one together at home.

Dimensions: 41.5 x 29.5 x 19.5 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Particleboard, fiberboard, recycled paper, plastic | Storage: 2 drawers, 3-shelf cabinet

Best Luxury: CB2 Fullerton Modular Desk with 2 Drawers

Fullerton Modular Desk with 2 Drawers
Courtesy of CB2.
What We Like
  • Real marble surface

  • Statement piece

  • Ample storage

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • May take weeks to ship

If you have the budget for something fancier, you should definitely check out CB2's Fullerton Desk. Featuring an oak veneer frame, square metal legs, and a real marble surface, it's the perfect blend of art deco, industrial, and glam. 

This strikingly handsome yet versatile desk measures 57 inches wide, 30 inches tall, and 24 inches deep. The symmetrical design has three drawers on either side with hanging file storage to boot. One thing to note is that depending on the color, it might take weeks to ship. But if you get in-home delivery, they'll assemble it in your room of choice.

Dimensions: 57 x 30 x 24 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Oak veneer, metal, marble | Storage: 6 drawers

Best Design: Joss & Main Chrissy Desk

Joss & Main Chrissy Desk
Courtesy of Joss & Main.
What We Like
  • Sturdy joinery

  • Keyboard tray

  • Cable-management compartment

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Some assembly required

We also like the Chrissy Desk from Joss & Main. Constructed from solid and manufactured wood with dependable dowel-joint joinery, it comes in your choice of chestnut wash, blackened wood, or a white-painted finish. This workstation has two small drawers on either side, plus a pull-out keyboard tray.

Not only that but there's a hidden cable-management compartment with a built-in charger in the back that doubles as a tablet stand. Note that the Chrissy measures 60 x 30 x 24 inches and weighs 127 pounds. This desk is expensive, and you'll have to assemble some of it at home, but it might be worth investing in the feature-rich design.

Dimensions: 60 x 30 x 24 inches | Weight: 127 pounds | Material: Solid/manufactured wood | Storage: 2 drawers, keyboard tray

Best Adjustable: Poppin Series L Adjustable Height Single Desk

Series L Adjustable Height Single Desk
Courtesy of Poppin.
What We Like
  • Electric adjustments

  • Meets BIFMA standards

  • 5-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • No storage

  • Assembly required

If you want the option to stand (but maybe not all the time), go with an adjustable model. Poppin's Series L Desk comes in three sizes, ranging from 47 to 72 inches wide. We also like that each size can be adjusted from 25 inches up to 50.5 inches tall.

This thoughtfully designed workstation plugs into a standard outlet and has an LED control panel, making it easy to adjust with the push of a button. The price is steep, and it doesn't have any storage. However, the Series L meets BIFMA (​​Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) standards for durability, and it's backed by a 5-year warranty.

Dimensions: 4 sizes available | Weight: 108–139 pounds | Material: Engineered wood, metal, laminate | Storage: None

What Our Experts Say

"Sit/stand desks provide the flexibility of differentiating heights depending on your preferred use throughout the day."—Ahmad AbouZanat, interior designer

Best Adjustable: East Urban Home Cuuba Libre L-Shape Desk

Cuuba Libre L-Shape Desk
Courtesy of Wayfair.
What We Like
  • Sturdy joinery

  • Ample storage

  • Adjustable orientation

What We Don't Like
  • Not solid wood

  • Assembly required

Need a larger surface or more storage? Go with the Cuuba Libre Desk. Though it's not solid wood, this L-shaped workstation was constructed with mortise-and-tenon joinery for enhanced durability. Thanks to the finished back, you're not limited to placing it in a corner, and you can even adjust the orientation.

The main desk is 55 inches wide, 30 inches tall, and 23 inches deep, then the additional piece goes out another 23 inches. The Cuuba Libre boasts ample storage, including a cabinet, a spacious drawer, and two shelves. There's also a hole in the back to keep your cords hidden.

Dimensions: 55 x 47 x 30 x 23 inches | Weight: 111 pounds | Material: Manufactured wood, particleboard | Storage: Cabinet, 1 drawer, 2 shelves

Best Compact: Sand & Stable Jetty Desk with Hutch

Jetty Desk with Hutch
Courtesy of Wayfair.
What We Like
  • Good for small spaces

  • Versatile

  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • Only one color

  • Assembly required

Working with limited square footage? The Jetty Desk might be just the thing. It's 35.5 inches wide, 20 inches deep, and 36 inches tall (including the attached hutch shelf).

Though this desk only comes in one color, it's versatile enough to go with various design styles. And the compact size is perfect for a small office, teen's bedroom, bonus room, or guest room. Keep in mind that assembly is required, but it should be quick and easy.

Dimensions: 35.5 x 36 x 20 inches | Weight: 25 pounds | Material: Manufactured wood, metal | Storage: Hutch shelf

Best with Drawers: Homary Mular 3-Drawer White Writing Desk with Storage Cabinet

3-Drawer White Writing Desk with Storage Cabinet
Courtesy of Homary.
What We Like
  • Reversible drawer orientation

  • Hyper-modern aesthetic

  • Three-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Only one color

  • May take weeks to ship

Homary's Mular Desk has three drawers on one side. The generously sized pull-outs provide plenty of space to stash your pens, papers, files, batteries, cords, and other essentials. Not only that but the drawers can be placed on either side.

Though we wish this desk came in more colors, we love the rounded corners and hyper-modern flair. It's available in two widths, 47 or 63 inches. Just a heads up, it might take weeks to ship, depending on the size you get. And while the larger one is pricey, the Mular is backed by a three-year warranty.

Best Wall-Mounted: Wade Logan Oglethorpe Floating Desk

Oglethorpe Floating Desk
Courtesy of Wayfair.
What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Eight finishes available

  • Cable-management cutout

What We Don't Like
  • Two-person installation

  • Shallow surface

The Oglethorpe is another great space-saving option. Measuring 63 inches wide, this floating desk has a generously sized surface. And although it's only 12 inches deep, you can place a keyboard in the center cubby and store office supplies in the side cabinets. There's also a cable-management cutout for a clean, streamlined look.

This versatile workstation is made of manufactured wood and comes in eight finishes. The lightweight design and included wall anchors ensure stability, and it can support up to 77 pounds of weight. It definitely calls for two-person installation, so make sure you have a buddy on hand before trying to mount it.

Dimensions: 63 x 12 x 9 inches | Weight: 41 pounds | Material: Manufactured wood | Storage: 2 cabinets, 1 cubby

Best for Home Office: Nathan James Telos Home Office Computer Desk with Drawer

Telos Home Office Computer Desk with Drawer
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Versatile

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Assembly required

Need something for your home office? The Telos Desk by Nathan James might be your best bet. This Scandinavian-inspired piece is made of wood and features a contrasting white surface with a built-in drawer.

Measuring 42 x 29 x 20 inches, it's plenty big for a monitor and keyboard but also compact enough for small spaces. You'll have to put the Telos Desk together at home, but if you buy it from Amazon, you can add expert assembly to your order. The price is more than reasonable, and to sweeten the deal, it's backed by a lifetime warranty.

Dimensions: 42 x 29 x 20 inches | Weight: 37 pounds | Material: Wood | Storage: 1 drawer

Best for Students: Haworth Jive Desk with Post Leg Color Pop Collection

Jive Desk with Post Leg Color Pop Collection
Courtesy of 2Modern.
What We Like
  • Simple and versatile

  • Several colors/finishes

  • Eco-conscious company

What We Don't Like
  • No storage

  • Assembly required

The Jive Desk is perfect for students, telecommuters, and large offices with cubicles or shared workstations. It has a high-pressure laminate surface in your choice of five faux-wood finishes. Plus, the recyclable metal post legs come in a range of neutrals and statement hues.

You can choose from 48 or 60 inches wide and 24 or 30 inches deep, with four size configurations in total. Note that you'll have to assemble the desk yourself, and it doesn't have any storage. Still, there's a lot to love about this simple desk—and the company that makes it. Haworth boasts a zero-waste headquarters and strives to make its designs as sustainable as possible.

Dimensions: 4 sizes available | Weight: Not listed | Material: High-pressure laminate, metal | Storage: None

Best Solid Wood: Castlery Seb Desk

Seb Desk
Courtesy of Castlery.
What We Like
  • Versatile medium finish

  • Mid-century modern

  • Built-in storage

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Some assembly required

  • Short return window

Prefer solid wood? Take a look at the Castlery Seb Desk. It's constructed from solid acacia lumber and features a medium-toned muted honey lacquer. This desk is 51 inches wide, 23.5 inches deep, and 29.5 inches tall. In addition to a generously sized work surface, you'll get a spacious drawer and an open cubby.

With slightly flared legs and rounded corners on the storage compartment, it has a tasteful mid-century modern appeal. Beyond the steep price, we should mention Castlery only accepts returns within two weeks of receiving the desk.

Dimensions: 51 x 29.5 x 23.5 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Solid acacia wood | Storage: 1 drawer, 1 cubby

Best Acrylic: AllModern Embassy Desk

Embassy Desk
Courtesy of AllModern.
What We Like
  • Strikingly simple

  • Two colors and sizes

  • Arrives fully assembled

What We Don't Like
  • No storage

We also love this modish transparent option from AllModern. The Embassy Desk is made of 100 percent acrylic. Since the surface and legs are one piece, it arrives fully assembled. This desk comes in two sizes (43 x 30 x 22 inches or 50 x 29 x 27.5 inches).

You can also choose between a colorless clear or a black-tinted hue. It doesn't have any storage, but a drawer or cubby might actually detract from its striking simplicity. And while the Embassy is hyper-modern, the pared-down design will go with minimalist, contemporary, Scandinavian, and industrial decor schemes alike.

Dimensions: 43 x 30 x 22 inches; 50 x 29 x 27.5 inches | Weight: 127 pounds | Material: Acrylic | Storage: None

Final Verdict

Overall, we like Pottery Barn's Mateo Rustic Desk. Made of solid wood, this mid-sized workstation features a spacious drawer and a versatile, timeless aesthetic (view at Pottery Barn). But if you're looking for something smaller or more affordable, the Nathan James Telos Computer Desk is an excellent choice (view at Amazon).

What to Consider When Buying a Desk

Size

One of the most important considerations when buying a desk is the size. Interior designer Ahmad AbouZanat of Project AZ says to get a "big enough worktop surface for everyday use." On the other hand, you'll want to make sure you have plenty of room to fit it. Before buying anything, carefully measure your space and double-check the dimensions.

Design

You'll also want to think about the design, including the material, shape, color, and style. Wood desks, like the Mateo Rustic Desk from Pottery Barn, feature natural finishes that are typically durable and versatile enough to go with various decor schemes. Laminate, acrylic, and metal desks usually lean more modern or industrial.

Leg style matters too. For example, flared peg legs present a mid-century aesthetic, whereas X-shaped cross beams give off a farmhouse vibe. For something more timeless, look for a straight-leg desk in a neutral color.

Storage

AbouZanat recommends getting a desk with storage, whether it's drawers, cubbies, built-in cabinets, or shelving. Unless you have another designated spot for your office supplies, this will help you keep clutter out of sight.

Additional Features

"A few ideal features to look for are a back or side panel, as well as cable trays to organize and hide unsightly wires," says AbouZanat. Some desks also have modular configurations. For instance, you might be able to adjust the angle of an L-shaped model or move a stack of drawers to the other side.

FAQs

FAQ
  • How tall should a desk be?

    "It's very important (for adult desks) to have a minimum of 29 to 30 inches of surface height off the floor," AbouZanat tells The Spruce. "This is to ensure the person working on the desk is sitting up straight."

  • What's the best way to organize a desk?

    Generally speaking, you should have your computer (or monitor) in the middle, with the keyboard centered in front. You can place a few other things around it, such as a mouse pad, a pen holder, a phone stand, maybe a notepad, and a decorative object like a small plant or candle. Still, it's usually best to keep the surface relatively clutter-free, which is why desks with built-in storage are ideal.

  • How often should you deep-clean a desk?

    It's a good idea to dust and disinfect your desk about once a week. Beyond that, you can do deeper cleans every month or two to remove grime and oily residues. While you're at it, you may also want to take everything out of the drawers or cabinets, wipe down the interior, then put it all back in an orderly fashion.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and product tester specializing in furniture and decor. She interviewed interior designer Ahmad AbouZanat of Project AZ for this article, compiling their insight into the different types and styles of desks. After reviewing dozens of models from various manufacturers, she ultimately chose durable, versatile desks with thoughtful designs and useful features. Theresa has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers home improvement and remote work essentials. You can find more of her bylines on MyDomaine, Travel + Leisure, Byrdie, and People.

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