How To Choose A Computer Desk

If you are thinking to buy a new computer desk, investing time on it is as important as investing money. You want it to last a long time and be able to perform efficiently on it. So, what are the points to ponder, types to look at, and features to check? 

Looking at the types of desktop computing systems available today, computer desks can be divided into workstations and laptop desks. Accordingly, look for these features in each type.

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What Features Should You Look For in a Computer Workstation?

The term workstation invokes mental images of rows upon rows of linearly arranged computer desks in a call center or information technology workspaces. It is also equally applicable to individuals working from home or small offices.

A good workstation should provide well-designed, adequate space for the components they typically consist of. Also, keep in mind that continuous operation of workstations generates heat. So, these components should not only be well-spaced, but they should also provide good air ventilation to prevent overheating and burnout. For this, the universal standards and placements are:

  • Computer monitor on the desktop, at its center, with adequate space on the sides and behind the monitor. This will place you well comfortably at the center. The space behind the monitor provides ventilation as well as cabling.

  • Keyboard is usually placed on a sliding pull-out rack about 2.5" lower than the desk height.

  • Mousepad with mouse goes on the desktop, about 3"-4" from the right edge of the monitor. This distance will adjust the height of the operator comfortably.

  • CPU is placed on the floor beside the workstation, or in an open shelf as part of the workstation. Since this is the main heat-generating source, the cabinet should be about 2.5" larger than the CPU on the three sides, and about 4" larger at the back. Proper ventilation is the main aim for this arrangement.

  • Cabling system: To interconnect all the computer system's components efficiently, the workstation must provide proper holes or slots. It is very difficult to provide concealed wiring for this entire cabling system. Nevertheless, they can be held together in electrical channels and passed through slots to connect with each other. The slots or holes will be well-hidden behind the monitor for aesthetic reasons.

  • The best media storage space can be provided on the workstation's side drawers. Their design should be such that they allow the categorization of media. These drawers should be push-and-pull and should be lockable to ensure a dust-resistant and secure storage.

  • For books, references, stationery, documents, and other materials, workstations can have in-built shelves or racks on the rear, or side drawers or shelves. They can also have separate cabinets on the wall if the workstation is placed adjacent to one.

  • The footrest is an important ergonomic feature of thoughtful workstation designs.

What are the standard workstation dimensions?

The standard workstation dimensions are:

  • Height: 29 1/8"
  • Length: 47 ¼"
  • Depth: 23 5/8"
  • Maximum load is 110 pounds (lbs).

Can you use any computer desk as a laptop desk?

Any well-designed and aesthetic computer desk will function well as a laptop desk when you are sitting on a regular computer chair. However, desks that will be used solely as laptop stations do not need to be as sturdy in terms of construction as workstations. You will have a choice of sleek, modern designs, glass tops and more compact sizes.

 Manufactured Wood Desk for Laptop
White and Black Wood and PVC Laptop Desk
Big Black Wooden Desk for Laptop
Simple Brown Laptop Desk
Metal and Wood Laptop Desk with Drawer
Left Corner L-Shape Laptop Desk

What are the pros and cons of different computer desk materials?

Computer desks are crafted from several types of material. You have the following to consider:


They are the universal favorites. Within this broad category, you will come across these types:

  • Side drawers
  • Drawers on both sides
  • Drawers-and-shelves
  • Rear shelf panel
  • With or without footrest

Regardless of the styling, these computer desks will have a sliding keyboard panel below the top and a large shelf to store the CPU.

Benefits of wooden computer tables include:

  • Non-conductive - You are safe from electrical shock and accidents
  • Climatically stable - wood neither over-heats nor does it get very cold
  • Biodegradable - Hence, eco-friendly
  • Strong and durable
  • Does not deform with time
  • Lends itself very well to carpentry work
  • Carving, inlay, and other decorative work is possible on wood
  • Beauty and charm of wood textures

Wooden computer desks will be your choice if you prefer a higher initial investment for long-term usage. Besides, a wooden desk will blend with any type of interiors, whether office or home.

Rectangular Manufactured Wood Computer Desk
White Wood L-Shape Computer Desk
Simple Wooden Computer Desk
Wooden L-Shape Computer in White
Black Manufactured Wood Computer Desk
Classic Wooden Computer Desk


These will be made from tough industrial plastics such as ABS, polypropylene (PP), and polyvinylchloride (PVC). There are infinite varieties to check out at e-commerce portals.

Plastic computer desks come with these benefits:

  • Affordable and long-lasting for their price
  • A vast range of surface finishes - from wood texture to plane matt and glossy finish, plastic lends itself very well to many types of surface treatments.
  • Lightweight and easily transferable
  • Can be fitted with castors
  • Fittings such as handles, and knobs can be fitted easily

On the flip side:

  • Plastic is combustible, its surface heats up after long hours of CPU operation.
  • It also fades with time
  • It can deform under extreme temperature variation
  • It can crack or crash over time, or if overloaded

Plastic computer desks are advisable for those who look for value for money and are not fans of permanent furniture. Are you one of them? Then choose from the endless varieties.

Rectangular Plastic Computer Desk
4 Piece Standing Plastic Computer Desk
Computer Aided Drafting Plastic Table
Black Plastic Lift Top Computer Desk
Plastic Computer Desk with Keyboard Tray
Plastic Computer Desk with Lever

Molded plastic

These are the colorful, vibrant computer desktops that also look sleek and youthful. They suit the millennial mindset very well. To complement the energetic vibes of molded plastic, you can opt for a matching molded plastic chair.

Molded plastic computer chairs are mass-manufactured with molding technology, so you will come across thousands of people using the same design.

Are you a high-school or undergrad student? Or an intern? Or prefer light-weight, easy to move furniture? You will choose a molded computer desk for its sheer cheer! And oh, also its modularity.

What are the benefits of a computer desk with multiple planes?

Rather than having a single desktop surface, this style has multiple desktop surfaces. The monitor rests on the main top, but you can store media, books, stationery, personal picture, lampshade, décor items, and other materials on racks, shelves, or cabinets built on other planes. Such a composite computer desk looks visually interesting. Functionally too, it offers dedicated planes for each category of items.

You will opt for a multi-plane computer desk if you love the harmony of disharmony, and if you want stuff having their own space on the desk.

These computer desks can be wooden, plastic, or wood-plastic blended.

Wood and Metal L-Shape Computer Desk
Plastic/Acrylic Computer Desk in Grey
Plastic Adjustable Standing Desk Converter
Classic Wooden L-Shaped Computer Desk
White Plastic Standing Desk for Computer
Industrial Solid Wood Computer Desk

What style computer desk will match my decor?

Having checked the types of computer desks, here are some tips on which styles and designs will blend with different types of interiors.

  • Bright desks for bright minds - For creative and youthful workplaces that have little or no hierarchy. Open offices are an ideal setup, next are tech offices and co-working spaces. A funky artefact on these desktops is a must!

  • Clerical computer desks - A dual-color scheme to break the monotony of administrative tasks. How about sunflower yellow tabletop and grey body?

  • Tall and lean, multicolored metal or wood computer desks that have high stools to sit on. The finish is mostly matt powder-coating. The same style suits standing desks.

  • Natural wood finish for banks, financial institutions, lawyers, and the like; it blends with the overall conservative settings. Walls would be pastel colors with still life or landscape paintings.

  • Glass & gold are a worthwhile option to consider for a glam-style interior, where beauty bloggers or fashion journalists pen their inspirational articles and social media posts.

Computer desks have use-specific mandates, which we have covered in this article. Along with the information on the types of computer desks, we hope this will make useful reading.