Whether you’re a student cranking out a 3000-word essay hours before it’s due, a misplaced employee who’s now working from home, or just someone who live-streams their face for 12 hours a day, having a quality desk is always important! A quality desk setup means that you can work longer, be more productive and have more space for whatever you need on your desk at all times. In this blog we’re going to show what to look for when buying a desk alongside helpful items to have nearby for whatever purpose.
Buying a desk seems like a simple task: buy the first thing that has four legs and a top surface. However, buying a bad desk that doesn’t fit your needs will have you wishing you put more thought into your purchase, and a good desk will have you working like a clockwork machine. So before you purchase your new desk, we’d recommend considering where you plan on putting the desk and choosing an option that’s appropriate for your needs!
The smallest of the three main types of desks, Writing desks are great for bedrooms and dorms for the use of study and schoolwork. Their compact size makes them great for being tucked into a corner without using up too much unnecessary space and instead just gives a small surface area to work on a laptop and a book or two.
The size of a writing desk, however, is also its biggest drawback. Since it’s so limited on space, you’ll have problems with bumped knees, small workspace, and knocking off items onto the floor. As such, these desks are mostly intended for those limited in space or for occasional use, such as in a children’s bedroom or a spare room.
The most common type of desk nowadays, computer desks are incredibly simple, with just four legs and a ton of space for your PC and peripherals. Computer desks are great for anyone who plans to work at their desk for an extended period of time as their added surface area means you can be more productive and do more at your work. You’re not having to be stingy on desk space with where to put your cup of coffee compared to a writing desk. Due to their versatility, computer desks are also readily available with a variety of shapes, namely L and U Shaped, alongside great Quality-of-life features such as cable management holes.
However, this simplicity can also be the downfall of computer desks. If you plan on keeping any important documentation or miscellaneous items such as pens and staples, then you best be looking at getting some shelves to keep nearby! This can sometimes be of benefit, as it means you can choose to get storage to fit your needs and not be dictated by what the desk manufacturer chose to pair with that desk. But it’s always annoying to have to look elsewhere if you’d like to get storage alongside your desk.
The final desk to be mentioned are executive desks. Often made from higher quality materials such as Oak, executive desks combine the large surface area of a computer desk with the added storage of a writing desk. The storage in particular is designed to make the desk as much of an all-in-one setup as possible, with many including keyboard trays and desktop cubbies so that as little cable management is exposed as possible. As such, executive desks really are a jack of all trades and are perfect placed in the center of an office for use in meetings/interviews and other executive uses.
However, executive desks are also incredibly bulky. So they’re not ideal if you’re limited on space or if you plan on moving it a lot. They are also incredibly to specification, so if you’re not a fan of the drawers in the desk or want a filing cabinet, etc. then you’re better to go the above route of a computer desk with separate storage bought elsewhere.
While it might be all well and nice to buy a nice desk and purchase a cheap $20 chair to tide you by, getting a quality chair for your desk will make you able to work for longer as you’re less likely to get uncomfortable due to either bad back support or terrible cushioning.
Thus, we would recommend when purchasing an office chair to consider the desk it’s going with and how the pair will work together. While it might be nice to have fancy armrests on your computer chair, if your desk requires you to tuck nice and close then they might quickly become a nuisance. Consider the movement of the chair too, as some chairs don’t come with wheels (or the wheels included may as well be immobile) which if you plan on purchasing a wide desk can quickly become a nuisance as you have to hop around from one side of the desk to the other. Make sure your desk and chair mesh well, because you can’t use one without the other, so they have to be a great team to begin with.
Storage and other items
Depending on how you plan on using your desk, you’re most likely going to need at minimum some pens and paper. Obviously, if you purchased an executive or writing desk you’ll have some storage included. But if you need plenty of books and folders for reference, then having a bookshelf nearby is handy.
If your desk is more intended as a home for your computer, then having some appropriate shelving where you can store related cables and accessories is always super useful. You can also clear some headache by storing items such as blank usb sticks and different types of cables into labeled snap lock bags. This removes any unnecessary tangling and also slightly increases the surface area of the chosen item, making everything easily accessible.
We’d also definitely recommend some form of bin nearby, 6 out of 10 professionals have admitted to eating at their desk and if you’re cranking into a 6-hour study session then some good snacks are a must. Even outside of the realm of food, you’re likely going to have notes that you’ll scribble down and throw out once you’re done with them, so giving them a home can help keep your desk from looking like a confetti catastrophe.
Now that we know what we need for our setup, we now need a home for our office! Where you place your desk can quickly alter how you use your setup and what else you can add to your workstation.
Obviously, we would recommend placing your desk near a window. If you’re working for hours on end, it can be nice to have a view of the real world either as inspiration, an eye break or a check-in with reality. However, with our technology-powered work ethic, we’d also recommend placing the desk either perpendicular or facing out towards the window to avoid glare. However, we’d advise towards perpendicular for a later point.
You also want to make sure your desk is somewhere you can fully assess your environment and away from doorways so you’re not going to be unexpectedly walked into. Placing your desk in a claustrophobic corner of the room behind a door can quickly impact your emotions as further enforces the bleak feelings of doing work rather than motivation and energy.
On the topic of energy, you’ll also want to have a power outlet nearby so that if you’re work sessions risks being cut off early from a dying laptop, you can easily resuscitate it with the nearby charger. It’s also nice to have a multiport coming out from said outlet, as you’ll never know what accessories you’ll add to your setup in the future.
Remember when we mentioned that we’d recommend placing your desk perpendicular to the window, this next point is why. If you’re someone who has a lot of notes and memos, placing a pinboard behind your desk can be a godsend. This gives you a home for anything that you need to check daily or remind yourself for later. If you’re working from home, your roommates will also thank you as the pinboard adds a small layer of soundproofing for the rooms connected by that wall.
Speaking of speaking, if you're the type to use a headset regularly at work or as part of your elite gamer setup, installing a command hook to the side of your desk can give your favourite pair of cans a home so they’re always ready at all times. Command hooks and cable management dots are also great for holding odd cables that you frequently use, such as chargers and HDMI cables for portable setups. A good lamp also can’t hurt, especially for those late-night study sessions.
If we’re talking desk setups, we have to address the RGB elephant in the room. If you’re a gamer and need some extra pointers to take your station to the next level, then this part is for you!
To add some extra bling to your desk, Led strips are incredibly cheap nowadays and you can easily buy one to line the trim of your desk to add a back glow to your desk to reduce eye-strain while also giving your set up that extra pizazz.
A good mouse pad is always good too! Purchasing a nice XL mouse pad to cover both your mouse and keyboard ensure they’ve got a good surface area to stick to while also adding a bit of extra comfort to your forearms.
Now that you’ve found a home for your workstation and threaded your chargers between the desk and the wall, you’re now ready to enjoy your new study station. Hopefully, it brings your inspiration, drive, and energy to your work ethic, and if not well at least you’ve got a nice place to drink coffee and play solitaire. Whether you’ve got a small nook or a centre stage battle station, it’s your desk to your liking and a home for you to put your brain at work, even if it is just watching funny cat videos.
Should I invest in “ergonomic” furniture?
In recent years as more people have taken up office jobs and are in situations where they’re spending hours upon hours sitting at office equipment. Obviously, sitting all day is not exactly the best thing for your body, so a trend of “ergonomic” office furniture such as standing desks and kneeling chairs has come into vogue.
As such, these options are great for keeping your body happy, whether it’s with better posture or by just keeping the body more alert leading to boosted productivity. However, the issue with these “ergonomic” answers is they are incredibly pricy and are an acquired taste. But if you’ve got cash to splash and want to keep your back healthy for years to come, then they’re definitely worth looking into.
Should I buy fancy “gamer” furniture?
Like “ergonomic” furniture, as PC gaming has exploded in recent years, a trend of special “gaming” chairs and desks has risen as more people get into the hobby. However, unlike “ergonomic” furniture, “gamer” furniture has no benefit to you or your gaming performance. A lot of it is just marketing, and the money spent on furniture in this category is better spent buying something quality and worthwhile, even if it is lacking RGB.
Should I keep my desk in my bedroom?
Depending on your living station, you might need to mix your work area with your sleep area. However, we would strongly recommend that if you can, move your desk out of your bedroom into its own separate office or something similar.
This is due to how our brain works and understands areas, as such your brain will make you feel particular ways depending on where you are, such as hungry in a kitchen or comfy in a living room. However, when you mix your work area with your sleep area, your brain gets confused and doesn’t quite know how to react. So if you’re a late-night worker, your body will struggle to get to sleep once you finally get into bed and vice versa.
We’d also simply recommend removing any form of unnecessary screen and light from your bedroom as it can mess with your circadian rhythm, again causing you to struggle to get to sleep.