Staples | Desk Due Diligence

Desk Due Diligence

What to Look for in a Desk

Your desk will likely become the nerve center of your business dealings. Consider the following to insure that your desk is functional and comfortable.

Will it fit?

Desks come in a variety of sizes. Before you have a desk delivered to your office, be sure it will fit in the designated space. 

  Height Width Depth
Available dimensions range from 28¼" to 35½" 35½" to 72" 20" to 38"

Carefully measure the room or cubicle where the desk will sit – remembering to leave room to walk, move your desk chair around, and add such pieces as guest chairs, filing cabinets, hutches, bookcases, and other office furnishings.

If you're tight on space, consider a model that will fit right into a corner or an L–shaped unit (which can also sit in a corner).

Style and color

Now the fun part – choosing your desired style. If you’d like your office to have a classic look, you’ll want to stick with desks that have a dark cherry finish and antique–looking hardware. For more ideas, read Create a Classic Look for Your Office.

For a modern look, consider a maple, oak, or bordeaux graphite finish. A desk made of tempered glass and a silver frame will also give you a modern look. For more ideas, read Create a Modern Look for Your Office.

Construction material

Manufacturers make desks from solid wood, laminate or melamine, and metal. When choosing your desired construction material, consider the following:

Solid wood Laminate Metal
Highest quality Wood–based core with a plastic finish that resists scratches, stains, and burns Ideal for shared desks
Shows age quickly Generally ready–to–assemble Some have a woodgrain desktop to make them look less institutional
Most expensive option Best value for your money and largest selection Most resilient to wear and tear

To help prevent the strip around the desktop from chipping and aging, look for a desk with dent–resistant edging.

Ready to assemble

Ready–to–assemble desks offer terrific value, plus the manufacturers are continually improving these products to make the assembly process easier than ever. For more information read, Ready, Set, Assemble: How to Put Together Furniture Without Losing Your Mind.

If you'll be setting up the desk in a hard to reach office or room, definitely opt for a ready–to–assemble desk as it will be easier to maneuver a box of parts around tight corners and up several flights of stairs than hauling a pre–assembled desk.

Additionally, ready–to–assemble desks typically arrive faster than pre–assembled ones.

  Ready–to–assemble Pre–assembled
Estimated arrival 7 days 14–28 days


Hutch: Mounts above the desk, offering extra shelves and cabinets for storage. Some hutches have a designated space for your monitor.

Credenza: Ideal for people who would like to reserve their desk for written work. A credenza usually offers a hideaway printer drawer, pullout keyboard, space for a CPU storage unit or monitor, and open and concealed storage.

Filing cabinets: A must for every office. Some collections come with rolling file cabinets that can be moved from desk to desk or office to office.

Bookcase: Usually has between two and seven shelves. A number of the shelves can be adjusted, depending on the unit.

Keyboard trays: Keyboard trays open up space on your desktop for writing and other tasks. They also help prevent shoulder, back, and neck strain. Be sure the tray is large enough to hold a mouse as well.

Monitor arm:monitor arm is an essential space–saving feature. It raises your monitor above the desktop – positioning your monitor at a comfortable working level and helping to reduce eyestrain and upper body aches.

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