The most important features of a home office desk and chair are comfort and productivity. But, of course, style comes into play as well. This is especially true in many contemporary home designs, where the home office is incorporated into an open floor plan, rather than a room unto itself.
How to Choose the Right Desk For Your Home Office
In the former scenario, you need something that is comfortable and functional, but that also jives with the rest of the interior design. In the latter case, you may have more freedom in terms of style, assuming you’re the only one who uses the office.
In any case, here are steps for choosing a desk that allows you to work comfortably while still looking great when the office is “closed.”
- Measure the space. Don’t rely on spatial memory when you head out to shop for office furniture. Even the sleekest and streamlined desk designs can surprise you with their bulk once you’ve set them in place. Instead, get out the tape measure and start figuring out the room’s dimensions. If the room is empty, you’ll have to work out where all of the furniture will go. If you’re simply purchasing a new desk, throw a towel or blanket on the floor to mimic the surface area the desk will take up. This will give you a better idea of the maximum width and depth dimensions that makes sense for the room.
- Be realistic about the time spent working. What’s the desk going to be for? If your home office is really more of a space where you check email and social media updates or perhaps pay a few bills, comfort is not as much of a necessity. If, however, you work more than a few hours or more per day, comfort and ergonomics are your first priority and style should be secondary.
- Who else uses the space? Again, if you are the only one who uses the desk, yours are the only needs that matter. If you and your partner or the whole family will be using the space – it needs to be a more holistic fit. Think about the types of equipment and gadgets that require space, pens/pencils, arts and crafts materials, basic office supplies…how will all of these configure in the picture? You may realize you need more or less drawer/cabinet space than you thought.
- Is it in the main living area? The wonderful thing about open floor plans is that they create one, large space – ideal for entertaining and hanging out as a family. The bad thing is that there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. If your home office is going to be an addition to your open floor plan, look for desks that make sense with the visible furnishings. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel anytime soon, consider building your home office desk into the kitchen area, a great way to make it cohesive because it inherently blends with the kitchen cabinetry and décor. If a remodel isn’t in the works but you have a little room in the budget – and the floor plan – see if there’s a way to incorporate a built-in office space between the kitchen and family or living room areas.
- Does it fit your body? Shopping for desks is like shopping for a mattress. You can sit at it (or lie on it) for several minutes in a store and it feels great, then the discomfort sets in after you’re home. Be conscious of your body size – height, width, and leg length – to ensure the desk will fit you well. If you aren’t averse to a modern look, consider home office desks with standing work options. If you don’t like that look, companies such as Varidesk offer desktop “standing work station” options that are well worth the investment if you work at a desk for hours at a time.