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How to choose an office desk

Your office desk is the the most significant piece of furniture in your office. Before you buy, it's important to figure out which styles will fit your work area, provide plenty of work and storage space, and stand up to years of daily use. OnTimeSupplies.com carries hundreds of office desks. This guide will help your narrow down your options and choose the best desk for your office.

There are three factors to consider when shopping for a new office desk:

Surface Material: which materials balance style and durability without breaking your budget?
Size: what size office desk will work best in your space?

Configuration: which desk plans provide enough work and storage space?  

Shop Office Desks

Office Desk Surface Material: balance cost and durability.

Today's office desk are generally available with three finishing materials. Each option is available in a range of wood grains and colors.

Low P​ressure Laminate
Low Pressure Laminate Office Desks; also know as melamine

Also known as melamine. Inexpensive, durable and easy to care for.

High Pressure Laminate
High Pressure Laminate Office Desks

A little thicker, harder & more durable than low pressure laminate. 

Wo​od Veneer
Wood Veneer Office Desks

Attractive, but more  susceptible to scratches and water marks.

Top Low Pressure Laminate Desk

Safco® Computer Desk with Reversible Top
Safco® Computer Desk

Top High Pressure Laminate Desk

HON® 94000 Series "L" Workstation Desk for Return on Right
HON® "L" Shape Desk

Top Wood Veneer Desk

Alera® Wood Desk
Alera® Wood Office Desk

Office Desk Size: how big is your work area?

Your office desk needs to fit in your work area with enough space left over to maneuver around. Don't guess! Measure the width and depth of your office space before you start shopping. Make sure you allot 2-3 feet of walking space on each desk side not adjacent to a wall.

Office desks are available in a range of widths, and come in four basic styles to fit any office environment.

Standard Desks

Rectangular and typically 30" deep.

Bow Front Desks

Rounded lip in front provides desk space for guests.

Corner Desks

Designed to fit in corners. Ideal in offices where space is an issue.


Usually 24" deep. Used alone where space is an issue.

Top Standard Desk

HON® Rectangular Office Desk
HON® Rectangular Office Desk

Top Bow Front Desk

Alera® Valencia Series Bow Front Desk Shell
Alera® Bow Front Office Desk

Top Corner Desk

Bush® Series C Corner Desk Module
Bush® Corner Office Desk

Top Credenza Desks

HON® 10700 Series Credenza with Doors
HON® Credenza with Doors

Office Desk Configuration:  balance work and storage space.

Once you've figured out how much space you can allot to your office desk, it's time to choose a configuration. A good desk plan provides ample work and storage space. 

Does your desk need to accommodate a phone, fax, printer and computer or just a laptop? Do you work exclusively on your computer, or do you need space to lay out multiple sheets of paper and documents? You may need more surface space than provided by a single office desk. Consider adding on an office desk extender. 


Desk Bridge Connects two desks, two credenzas or a desk and credenza.


Desk Returns Attaches to one desk or credenza.


Penisula Attaches to one desk or credenza; rounded lip provides desk space for guests.

Need space for files and reference books? You can increase the storage space of your office desk with add-on storage elements. 

Pedestal File Cabinets

Pedestal File Cabinets Fit under desks to keep frequently reference files close at hand.

Desk Hutches

Office Desk Hutch Adds storage on top of desks and credenzas.

Once you've determined how many office desk elements you need in your workspace, you can pick a desk plan.

L Shape Desk Plan U Shaped Desk Plan Open Desk Plan

L Shape Desk Plan

Create with one desk or credenza and a return.

U Shape Desk Plan

Connect two desks, two credenzas or desk and credenza with a bridge.

Open Desk Plan

Create with two desks, two credenzas, or a desk and credenza.

Related articles and buying guides:

Conference Tables: how to choose the right sizes.
Conference Tables: how to choose the right sizes.
A Guide to Ergonomic Desk Chair Features
A Guide to Ergonomic Desk Chair Features
How to choose the best ergonomic keyboard trays & drawers.
How to choose the best ergonomic keyboard trays & drawers.
How to care for veneer and solid wood furniture.
How to care for veneer and solid wood furniture.
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