The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

10 best desks to spruce up your working-from-home environment

These stylish workstations offer functionality and storage as well as design appeal

Ali Howard
Friday 13 August 2021 15:00
<p>Finding the right desk, whether you’re setting it up in the bedroom, corner of the living room, or dedicated study space, can be a tall order</p>

Finding the right desk, whether you’re setting it up in the bedroom, corner of the living room, or dedicated study space, can be a tall order

Until we were all working from home, we hadn’t appreciated the importance of a decent desk. And with that set to continue for many of us, at least part-time, having a workstation that both satisfies our nine-to-five needs and complements our existing decor is just as important as ever.

Finding the right desk, whether you’re setting it up in the bedroom, corner of the living room, or dedicated study space, can be a tall order.

There’s plenty to think about when organising your home office. For some, a paper-thin laptop is all that’s needed, while others are drowning in physical paperwork and will be thankful for integrated storage by way of drawers and shelves.

It’s also well documented that a clean and well-organised desk comes with a wealth of stress-reducing and productivity-increasing benefits. So, it’s worth considering a desk that can hide away cables to keep the look as clean-lined and clutter-free as possible.

How we tested

We put these desks to the test to see how they handled our day-to-day workload. We were looking for top craftsmanship and quality of materials, along with ease of functionality given the daily, heavy use. We also weighed up affordability with space-saving properties.

Read more:

Above all though, we focused on the best designs on the market because, boring spreadsheets aside, a home desk should be a stylish furniture piece to feel proud of.

The best desks for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – John Lewis & Partners anyday cuthbert desk, grey: £159, Johnlewis.com
  • Best corner desk – Jahnke cuuba libre L-shape desk: £299.99, Wayfair.co.uk
  • Best for a touch of glamour – Habitat valence office desk, rose gold: £90, Argos.co.uk
  • Best design – Made frankie wide desk, walnut and black: £499, Made.com
  • Best wooden desk – Tikamoon Oslo solid acacia desk: £365, Tikamoon.co.uk
  • Best for versatility – Vox lori desk with storage, graphite: £185, Cuckooland.com
  • Best writer’s desk – La Redoute noya vintage desk, walnut: £425, Laredoute.co.uk 
  • Best quality craftsmanship – Oakland Furnitureland Copenhagen natural solid oak desk: £529.99, Oakfurnitureland.co.uk
  • Best for hidden storage – Umage ambitions desk: £699, Blackbydesign.co.uk
  • Best space-saver – Urbansize oak floating desk: £300, Urbansize.co.uk

John Lewis & Partners anyday cuthbert desk

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Dimensions: W 90cm x H 75cm x D 48cm

John Lewis & Partners affordable but quality Anyday range continues to impress, and the Cuthbert desk is a stylish case in point. It’s made from a mix of solid rubberwood, oak veneers and medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and boasts an industrial style, chunky angled frame, painted a battleship grey to mimic metal. With its overhanging top you’d be forgiven for thinking the piece opens up like an old-fashioned school desk, but rather, the top hides an inconspicuous drawer, which is handy for storage given its modest surface space. This one may be compact in size but it offers a big impact on the design front.

Jahnke Cuuba Libre L-shape desk

Best: Corner desk

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: W 140cm x H 76cm x D 119cm

We loved the design of this sleek, Scandi-inspired L-shaped desk – perfect if you want to tuck yourself away in the corner and get your head down in a calming space. It’s crafted from manufactured wood, yet the top does a very good impression of natural oak. We loved the contrast between this and the painted white wood, as well as the simple but effective cut-out handle in the cabinet. The extra storage comes in very handy – an ugly printer can be hidden away so as not to interrupt the clean lines of the piece. This one comes flat packed and takes a fair amount of self-assembly, but on the plus side, we were able to choose left or right configurations to suit our home office space.

Habitat Valence office desk

Best: For a touch of glamour

Rating: 8/10

  • Dimensions: W 100cm x H 75cm x D 48cm

This stylish furniture piece wouldn’t look out of place in a living room set-up, making it an ideal WFH desk for those without a dedicated study or home office. Anything but corporate looking, the desk boasts a chic grey wood-effect body with angled metal legs in a warm rose gold. It has a pleasing symmetry, too, with two small drawers either side of a central void that’s useful for keeping important paperwork to hand. The desk offers a slimline silhouette but at 100cm, it has some width. We loved the dainty rose gold knobs that match the legs. Neat and chic.

Made Frankie wide desk, walnut and black

Best: Design

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: W 140cm x H 75cm x D 70cm

We loved this sleek and streamlined desk designed by Steuart Padwick for Made. The desk cleverly maximises on surface space while maintaining its delicate silhouette. This is thanks to its sculptural angled body and its striking and slimline hairpin legs. The desk is crafted from a mix of materials: acacia, engineered wood, solid walnut and walnut veneers, while the legs are fashioned from powder-coated iron. Cleverly, a drawer with a red inner pulls out from the angled front, without upsetting the sharp lines of the piece. The drawer is slim but at 140cm in width, the Frankie boasts a very generous work surface. Super stylish and an ingenious space-saver.

Tikamoon Oslo solid acacia desk

Best: Wooden desk

Rating: 9.5/10

  • Dimensions: W 117cm x H 78cm x  D 50cm

This is a beautiful furniture piece that fully celebrates its natural wood grain. Crafted from solid acacia, it is rich in tone and brings a wonderfully homely feel to any working space. Storage comes in the form of symmetrically placed drawers either side of a handy open drawer in the centre, while the workstation’s angled and delicately tapered legs hint at mid-century design. The Oslo desk boasts quality craftsmanship, a quietly understated elegance, and with its swirling wood grain, makes us feel closer to nature as we work.

Vox Lori desk with storage in graphite

Best: For versatility

Rating: 8/10

  • Dimensions: W 135cm x H 78cm x D 60cm

Top marks for versatility goes to Polish brand Vox for its contemporary Lori desk, which allowed us to add on wooden drawers and storage boxes to suit our home office needs. The body of the desk is crafted from melamine with a chic graphite finish, while the smooth pole-like legs are an attractive pale pine. We loved this one for its clever design and functionality. A discreet trough at the back on the desk hides unsightly cables; the open storage boxes which slide across the length of the desk can be stacked; and there’s the option of adding up to three drawers. But be warned: these add-on storage bits are sold separately meaning the price of the unit will go up steeply.

La Redoute Noya vintage desk, walnut

Best: Writer’s desk

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: W 93cm x H 110cm x D 51cm

This charming little writer’s desk won us over for its cute partition panels. It’s crafted from solid oak and oak veneered MDF and finished with a rich walnut stain, while the panels are made from rattan cane. With its distinct mid-century aesthetic, this is one for vintage lovers looking for a diminutive workstation – but nonetheless, one with big impact. Don’t expect too much in the way of storage – the drawer is slimline, but it does extend to the full width of the unit. Fix it to the wall with hidden brackets for a snug fit.

Oak Furnitureland Copenhagen natural solid oak desk

Best: Quality craftsmanship

Rating: 10/10

  • Dimensions: W 145cm x H 85cm x D 60cm

If storage is a priority, Oak Furnitureland’s offering has oodles of it. Part of the Copenhagen range, the desk features six compartments by way of sizeable drawers and cupboard space. As with any of the brand’s furniture pieces we’ve tested, we found it to be reliably solid with high quality craftsmanship on show. It’s made from 100 per cent solid oak, including the back and inner drawers. Timeless in design, this one will fit into any interior scheme. We loved its discreet recessed handles – the attractive wood grain isn’t overshadowed by distracting drawer knobs.

Umage ambitions desk

Best: For hidden storage

Rating: 8/10

  • Dimensions: W 100cm x H 72cm x D 60cm

This versatile desk from Danish brand, Umage, plays with contrasts. Clean-lined and contemporary in its shaping, we found this slimline workstation to be a shrewd space-saver. But don’t be fooled by its skinny silhouette: this one is all about the secret storage. Not only does the front of the desk extend outward to reveal a hidden drawer, but the winged white edges open up smoothly to uncover further storage space for stationery, keeping the top clutter-free. The desk is beautifully crafted from solid oak, plywood veneer and steel.

This item is currently out of stock but we hope to see more soon. More stock is expected in the next couple of weeks and you can sign up for emails to alert you exactly when that is.

Urbansize oak floating desk

Best: Space-saver

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: W 90cm x H 20cm x D 30cm

Who needs legs anyway? Urbansize is a brand that specialises in nifty space-saving furniture pieces made with cramped city-dwellers in mind. The floating desk is an ingenious little number that maximises on floor space and allows for your stool or small office chair to tuck in neatly underneath. One for the occasional home-worker on a laptop, the desk fixes flush to the wall but there’s the option of discreet brackets if you’re after some additional support – clearly you don’t want to put too much weight on it. The double drawer unit is made from 100 per cent solid oak and is finished in a light oil that brings out the natural grain.

The verdict: Desks

John Lewis & Partners anyday cuthbert desk won us over for its sleek industrial design and its hidden but spacious drawer. It’s stylish, contemporary, and offers great value for money.

We also loved Tikamoon’s Oslo solid acacia desk. This is a beautifully crafted furniture piece that brings a homely warmth to any WFH space – perfect if you want to avoid that corporate look.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on furniture and homewear, try the links below:

On the look out for more desk-buying inspiration? Be sure to check out our review on Aldi’s £59.99 space-saving foldaway desk

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in