Every home needs a desk. Whether you work from home and use it every day, or use it only for occasional filing and storage, some kind of work area is essential. So before you buy, think about your requirements and then proceed. We've devised this guide to help you out - it covers desk features to consider and the pros and cons of different types.
Your budget will determine the material your desk is made of and the extent of its functionality. If you have a limited budget, you are confined to a plastic or laminate desk at a fixed height. Extra money will buy you a wooden or glass desk that is height adjustable and the range of shelving, drawers and other add-ons will be wider.
It is especially important to get your desk's ergonomics accurate if the desk will be used frequently - for example, if you work from home. You need to ensure the desk height works with the height of the chair. A height-adjustable desk is ideal. You also need to check your legs fit underneath the desk comfortably. When sitting at your desk you need to be able to turn at least 90 degrees in both directions.
When selecting your desk you must consider lighting. Ideally the room where the desk is situated will have a good overhead light and then a power socket for a desk lamp or other task lighting. Look out for desks with space for a lamp on the surface as well as a cord-management system to keep the area looking tidy.
The size of the desk depends, of course, on the size of the room in which it will be situated. If the room is small, take measurements with you. For the purpose of using a computer at the desk, you need to be at least an arm's length away from the screen. If you don't have enough space to allow this, there are keyboard pullouts available that can be stored away when not in use.
Before you hit the shops, think about what you will be using your desk for, as different uses demand different qualities. If you use your desk once a month to pay bills then adequate storage will probably be high on your list. If you work from home and use your desk daily, the ergonomics should be a priority and extra functions such as cord management and height adjustability will be useful.
Desks are available in a wide variety of materials and configurations. Your choice is limited only by your budget.
TYPES OF DESK MATERIAL
There are varying grades of timber that can be used for desks including plywood, treated pine, jarrah and mahogany.
Easy to repair
Can be sanded back to change colour
Durable surface - good for children
Can crack if cheap plywood
Most expensive desk type
Laminate desks are usually made from plywood and covered in a synthetic material. They come in a variety of finishes to suit most décors.
Available in a variety of colours and finishes - including a timber look-alike
Easy to clean
Difficult to repair once chipped
Glass desks usually have a glass surface and a metal, aluminium or timber frame.
The glass gives an illusion of more space - perfect for small rooms
Easy to clean
Hard to repair once scratched
Cord management difficult - unsightly cables on full display
Usually few (if any) drawers for storage
Plastic or PVC desks come directly from a set mould.
Available in a variety of colours
Easy to clean
Available in small sizes, therefore suitable for children
No ability to customise desk to your specific needs