How To Choose A Desk Armoire

If you work from home but don't have space for a dedicated office, a desk armoire enables you to squeeze a workspace into your living room, bedroom or den without disrupting the style of your room.

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Armoires feature convenient doors and drawers for tucking away items and giving a room an uncluttered appearance. While many armoires are used as wardrobes, desk armoires are a multipurpose item that provides ample storage space for office essentials and a generous tabletop for busy professionals.

Whether you work from home or have an executive suite, a desk armoire can add practical charm to any room. Here's what to look for when shopping for a desk armoire.

How Large Should an Armoire Desk Be?

Armoire desks can be as short as 40" but many are 60" or taller to provide as much storage as possible. They need to be at least 30" wide to provide large enough workspace to accommodate a computer as well as allowing space to write. For optimal storage, look for larger armoires that are up to 60" wide.

Armoire desks are usually 24"-36" deep. Although 36" armoire desks have plenty of storage, they may be too large for small rooms. Armoire desks need 30-36" of open space in front to comfortably accommodate a chair.

Keep in mind that the sliding or a fold-out writing surface will typically determine the amount of space underneath a desk armoire has. People over 6-feet tall will need at least 20" of desk or keyboard tray space to have adequate legroom.

Dark Brown Classic Solid Wood Armoire Desk
Black Simple Solid Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Traditional Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Black Modern Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Simple Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Gray Classic Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk

How High Should the Desk Surface Be?

The writing space or keyboard tray should be high enough off the ground to allow your legs underneath, but low enough that it won't strain your shoulders or arms. Most desks are around 30" high, but this may not work for very short or tall people.

To measure the correct desk height of your armoire, sit in front of the desk, and put your arms on the desk. They should rest at a 90-degree angle when placed on the work surface, and there should be approximately 10" between the seat of your office chair and the desktop.

If multiple people use the armoire, purchase an adjustable-height office chair to make your workspace more comfortable.

What Style Doors Should I Get?

Desk armoires use doors to hide the main writing surface and shelf storage inside. There is a variety of different door styles to choose from, depending on the space you have available in your home.

Cabinet Doors

These doors swing outward and have a slide-out desk surface to give the user more space. You will need to allow for added clearance either side of the armoire to avoid damaging your walls or other furniture.

Gray Classic Solid Wood Armoire Desk
White Modern Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Traditional Solid Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Elegant Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Classic Solid Wood Armoire Desk
Black Simple Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk

Drop Down Doors

Drop doors fold down to create a desk space with storage located further back in the unit. They are ideally suited to rooms with limited space around the armoire. Armoires with drop-down doors often have a slimline design, making them a more flexible choice for small homes.

Dark Brown Classic Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
White Modern Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Traditional Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Classic Solid Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Traditional Manufactured Wood Armoire Desk
Brown Classic Solid Wood Armoire Desk

What Storage Options Do Desk Armoires Come With?

Armoires usually have a generous selection of small drawers, cabinets, and shelves for storing office supplies. Some armoires include locking cabinets and drawers, which can be helpful for valuables and private paperwork.

If you are storing letter-sized papers and folders, ensure the armoire includes a file drawer or a shelf that can keep them stored flat. Smaller cubbies are useful for writing utensils and small notepads.

If you find an armoire that's almost perfect but is lacking in storage space, keep in mind that you can add plastic organizers or other storage tools as needed. As long as an armoire has the main functions you need, you can add accessories to make it work for you.

Which Armoires Are Most Computer-Friendly?

Most modern armoires are designed to accommodate computers on the worktop. But the type of desk armoire you choose depends on whether you primarily use a laptop or desktop computer.

For desktop computer users, look for an armoire that has enough vertical space below for a computer tower. Keep in mind that shelves can get in the way of computer monitors and towers. Removable shelves are best for owners who plan on using desktops computers. There should also be adequate space for a keyboard or a sliding shelf that allows you to store the keyboard when not in use.

Since computers require lots of cables and accessories, get an armoire with a cable management system to keep your workspace uncluttered. Small shelves and cubbies are also helpful for speakers and external hard drives. Large cabinets and shelves underneath are perfect for printers.

Solid or Manufactured Wood?

Solid wood is traditionally used for desks. It is durable, and the wood grain adds texture to your room to enhance your décor. The finish you choose on your armoire will determine how well the piece blends with the style of your home.

Hardwoods like oak and walnut are dense but durable. A solid wood desk armoire in deep mahogany makes a good heirloom piece for home offices and coordinates seamlessly with traditional-style homes.

Lighter wood finishes such as pine or oak have a clean, fresh appearance that coordinates perfectly with a farmhouse or Scandi style home office.

Manufactured wood (MDF) offers a broader range of styles and colors to match the décor of your home. High-quality manufactured wood can last for decades and is almost indistinguishable from solid wood.

For a sophisticated mid-century modern look, choose an MDF drop-down armoire with tapered legs in a rich maple finish. Or opt for a pristine white armoire for a nautical style room.

Quick Tips

  • Large desk armoires can be over 60" tall and up to 60" wide. The smallest ones are 40" tall and around 30" wide. Desks range between 24"-36" deep, with additional space available when the keyboard tray or other surface folds out.

  • Writing and typing surfaces are typically 30" high, but very tall or short people may need a different desk height.

  • Cabinet-style doors are ubiquitous, but some desk armoires have doors with hinges on the bottom that opens out into a writing surface.

  • Desk armoires are available with an assortment of additional cabinets, shelves, and drawers. Some drawers are lockable or are designed for use as file cabinets.

  • For computer use, choose an armoire that has adequate cable holes and room for a keyboard. Additional shelves and cabinets should be large enough for external hard drives, printers, and other accessories.

  • Solid wood, especially hardwoods, are ideal for heirloom pieces. Softwoods are lightweight but can scratch easily. Manufactured woods are inexpensive yet durable.

  • Most desk armoires are available in wood finishes. Light wood finishes and white paint are ideal for light-colored rooms. Dark wood finishes and black paint work well in executive suites or rooms with neutral painted interiors.