Choose your desk carefully – Guide to buying office desks

The first decision to make is what shape you require. The 3 basic shapes offered by most manufacturers are rectangular, radial, or wave.

The rectangular desk needs little explanation, and to a large degree was replaced in popularity by the radial or crescent desk ( a rectangular desk with a tail or return on one side).

The radial desk was designed to allow much larger computer screens to be positioned on the desk top, whilst still achieving the minimum distance between the user and the screen itself.

This was becoming a problem with rectangular desks where the standard width is 80cm. The tail or return section of the desk, which is usually 60cm wide, is an ideal space for a desk height pedestal, giving the user more desk space and close to hand storage.
The wave shaped desk is a compromise between the two, as it still provides increased desk depth, but has a smaller footprint , useful for making the best use of your office space.

So having decided on the shape, the next thing is the size. A 160cm desk is the most popular size, but anything from one metre to 180 cm is available as a standard product.
From here on your decisions are dictated by your budget. A real wood veneer is very nice but will scratch easily, will fade in direct sunlight, and spilt drinks can be a real problem. Another factor is that they are in general about 40% more expensive than a man made finish, and the delivery times will typically be 2 to 3 weeks longer.

Modern man made finishes are very realistic and extremely tough. Over 80 percent of desks sold in the UK have a man made finish. There is also a wide range of finishes to choose from, making it much easier to match other furniture or to complement your existing décor.

The style of the desk is a personal choice, and can be anything from the more traditional look of a solid panel leg to a stylish modern aluminium frame.
The strongest desks are the ones where the desk top can be removed to reveal a self supporting framework, made entirely of steel. The cheaper desks tend to rely on the desk top and the modesty panel for some of their strength and rigidity. These desks tend not to fare so well if they are moved around a lot.

Having got this far the last thing to consider is if you need cable management. There are many sophisticated systems available and most of them add cost and end up unused. Sometimes some simple trunking and under desk cable trays will give you everything you need and will cost very little.

Looking through catalogues and internet sites at what is on offer can be confusing and bewildering, but as with anything, don’t be blinkered by price alone.

You should be looking for value and suitability for you purpose and make sure that you get the full specifications of the product before making a decision. Due to the intense competiveness in the furniture market most dealers and suppliers have closed their showrooms, making it difficult to actually and see and feel the quality of the product, unless you are looking at the bottom end of the price range.