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Everybody needs a desk, students, gamers, CEO’s, people who are in home offices during corona, your best friend and their mother…
But what desk size should you get?
They come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and dimensions. The most important factor is the space you got. Another factor is the purpose you need the desk for.
So let’s get started and see what kind of desk suits your needs the best!
How To Decide The Size Of Your Office Desk
The most important question you need to answer is: How much space do I have?
There is no point in recommending goliath executive desks for home usage in a one-bedroom apartment, right?
If you live in an urban area you’ll most likely don’t have tons of capacity for your home office.
In this case, you may want to think about convertible solutions or floating desks, that you can hide by folding.
So first of all determine how much space you got left for your workstation.
Then decide if you want to use it up for a desk only…. or maybe keep some capacity for future options like cupboards, lamps or plants, that can brighten up your home office.
Also, think about the style of the rest of the room.
Make sure your desk fits the rest of the room’s style…or not… Meaning, that you maybe want to differentiate your desk on purpose as your dedicated working space.
In that case, you can paint out the wall, use a rug or a room divider, but that’s another topic.
Finally, determine the purpose.
- Do you need to fit a computer and a big or multiple monitors?
- Do you need to fit two people on a single table?
- Or do you only need some space for your laptop?
- Do you need extra room for your folders and a printer?
- Do you need a bigger desk for books and sheets when you study?
Think about exactly what you will need to do at your desk and how much extra storage space you’ll need for your equipment.
What desk dimensions should you get?
The typical desk dimensions are 60 x 30 inches for the most common usage. These dimensions will most likely cover a variety of purposes.
But when you need some extra capacity for books, a dual or triple monitor setup, or another person, you can consider bigger dimensions.
Pay attention to desk height. You should have the option to either
a) adjust your desk chair in height or
b) be able to adjust the desk in height to match the chair.
Here is the deal: There is no optimal desk height without considering the chair.
No matter how tall you are you can adjust the optimal desk height, by adjusting the desk to the chair, or vice versa.
The combination of both is key.
Most desks have a standard height of a minimum of around 30 inches which can be a little too high for shorter people below 8.8ft.
Your option would be to adjust the chair and get a footrest, so your feet don’t dangle in the air. Or get a smaller desk, which is harder to find.
The bare minimum you should get is 24″. That’s enough for laptops and smaller monitors up to 27″. Anything above requires more depth. Keep that in mind to protect your eyes and prevent headaches from sitting too close to your computer screen.
The desk width is highly variable, depending on the purpose, you can find some typical desk dimensions below.
Typical Dimensions And Measurements
How to measure desks
- Width: The measurement from left to right when you’re standing in front of it like you would use it.
- Depth: The measurement from to back when you’re standing in front of it like you would use it.
- Height: The measurement from the base to the table top.
- The most common depth is between 23″ and 32″
- The most common width is 55″ and 70″
- The most common height is around 30″ (but always pay attention if the desk or at least your chair are adjustable in height to ensure ergonomic working.
Minimum Desk Dimension For a Laptop Desk
Let’s start with the minimum desk dimensions that you should get.
If everything you need is a place to get your laptop on you should get a depth of 15″ and a width of 32″.
Why is that the bare minimum we recommend?
- You need some knee space under the table for your legs
- An office chair with armrests can be fairly wide, like 28″ and you can’t fit it under the table because you need to consider the legs of the desk.
- You’ll have a little extra space for a notepad, book, etc…
This minimum size also won’t fit any shelves or the like you’ll need some file cabinets for extra storage room.
If you’re typing a lot and need to fit another keyboard you should consider a minimum depth of 24 inches already.
Executive desks aren’t really a great fit for your home office, aren’t they?
Most likely they are bigger than they need to be to represent the power of the person sitting behind them.
The minimum size for an executive starts at around 65″, the bigger the better, despite paying attention to practicality they use to float in the middle of the room.
So if you need a desk for your home office, this is not the best option. If you’re not an executive with a big office you don’t need an executive desk.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a student I lived in a tiny apartment just leaving enough room for a bed, tiny sofa, and a desk.
Most of the students I know don’t live in large mansions but have just enough room for their basic necessities. And what could be more important for a student than his desk? (except good grades and actually graduating…)
So depending on the space you have left in your student apartment, I would recommend desks with a couple of shelves and drawers where you can eventually fit a printer as well.
It doesn’t have to be that huge, I guess most students prefer laptops over a massive desktop computer (not me, I was a gamer back then).
So I recommend a medium size, where you can fit your laptop and books. Maybe a laptop stand and extra screen for advanced productivity and ergonomics.
So a depth of around 30 inches should be good and a width of 62″ to fit your books, notepads, and coffeepot as well.
Also pick a desk with drawers and plenty of extra shelves for your equipment like a printer, paper shredder, trash receptacle, printer cartridges, markers etc., or file cabinets to fit your documents and folders.
A keyboard tray can also save some space for books and notepads.
Gaming desk dimensions should be at least 55″ wide and 30″ deep depending on your monitor setup.
You’ll find smaller gaming desks but hear me out before your purchase.
Despite some fancy LED’s, cupholders, and cool design, a gaming desk needs to fulfill an important task: Fitting your multi-monitor desk setup.
Here’s the thing: Either you need a single screen (in which case the width of the table doesn’t matter, you can pick a smaller one) or you need three monitors!
Let’s check out three scenarios.
- 1 screen: Everything up to a 27″ screen is simple. You could even go with a depth below 30″. If you take a humungous 49″ widescreen it’ll still fit on any table, even though the edges could protrude the desk top. But if you take a 16:9 30″ screen you want at least a desk depth of 30″ better 35″. Otherwise, it’ll feel like your screen is right on your face…Trust me I made the mistake once with a 23″ deep desk and a 30″ screen…it’s just awful.
- 2 screens: You’ll see a lot of gaming desks on amazon that show how they can handle two monitors, but that is not suitable for gaming! If you try to play a first-person shooter the crosshair will always be in the middle…meaning right between the monitors on the frame, which is totally pointless. Either you take a widescreen or three monitors. Keep that in mind when you plan to game.
- 3 screens: Since widescreens became popular those triple-monitor setups became rare. But if you’re someone who wants to go for that, maybe even for productivity reasons you’ll need a table of at least 55″ depending on the size of the monitors. My recommendation is to mount for higher flexibility and a cleaner look on the desk
Further on you may consider a computer shelf, so it doesn’t have to stand on the floor to protect it from dust.
Sometimes it happens that you don’t have enough room for two separate workspaces or you want to save some space in the office, or it just fits the style of the room.
Then you can take a two-person-double-desk.
The absolute minimum to fit two people on one desk is a width of 79″ to make your workstation spacious and comfortable enough to not disturb each other.
Even better 95″ so you have plenty of space to leave the two people with enough options to set up their workspace like they want to and fit a huge file cabinet between the workplaces for extra storage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting or standing, the desk dimensions remain the same.
Personally, I used to have a standing desk with a 71″ width and 40″ depth work surface that worked fine for me. Recently I switched to a new desk surface because I got bored of the color of my old one.
This is another advantage. You don’t need to buy a whole new table, just switch the work surfaces.
How Much Space Do You Need Behind A Desk?
Again, it depends a little on multiple factors. Do you need to access the back of your desk or computer? If not you can just slide your desk against the wall.
All you need to fit between your desk and the wall is the monitor cable.
Some mounts require a couple of inches to work freely behind the screen, but you can also keep them sideways as I do as you can see on the image below.
Usually, standard desks don’t have holes in the surface to run cables through or any kind of cable management.
You can consider getting one with built-in cable management, but they are also more expensive and you can also get some cable trays for just a couple of dollars to manage your cables, so no worries there.
So if you don’t need to access the backside of your computer to switch cables or something else, you don’t need any extra space behind your desk. And if you need to switch cables, get a USB hub.
Room For Your Chair
Consider the size of your office chair and check how much floor space you need in front of your desk to comfortably enter and leave your workspace.
Also consider the size of a chair mat, if you want to protect your floor from scratches.
Conclusion: The Correct Sizes For Your Home Office Desk
As you can see the correct size for your home office highly depends on the purpose and space you got.
With some tricks like mounts for your monitors, shelves for printers, trash cans, and paper shredders, file storage or file boxes, and keyboard trays, you can use a smaller desk to fit your equipment.
If you have more space left you can design your work lifestyle more spacious.