Should You Use Dining Table as Work Desk?

Working from home sounded like a great idea until I realized that I do not have a work desk or enough floor space to add one.

All I had was a dining table with ample surface to create a transitional work desk.

And, guess what? It worked wonders.

Dining tables make an excellent transitional or permanent work desk with a significant workspace suitable for different works. Choose to use it as a work desk as long as it fits the criteria.

Dining table
Dining table for six (Source: Unsplash)

The premium table space offers dual duty, from dining to working, but somewhat lacks functional benefits provided by a work desk.

Read on to determine whether you can convert a plain dining table into a functional work desk.

Difference Between Dining Table and Work Desk

Before discussing whether you should use your dining table as a work desk, let us explain how a dining table differs from a regular work desk.

Although you can tell the difference by simply looking at them, let us delve into a few defining factors between the two.

1. Usage or Functionality

As the name suggests, the work desk is intended for work.

It is spacious enough to write and assess documents, work on laptops or computers, and carry out other paperwork.

On the other hand, a dining table is designed for dining and is usually intended for multiple users.

A dining table is usually big enough to keep multiple items ranging from utensils to food. A work desk may be limited in its use, but a dining table could be used for activities other than eating.

Dining Table vs. Work Desk
Dining Table vs. Work Desk (Source: Pexels)

2. Size or Surface Dimension

A standard work desk is about 122cm wide, 55-61cm deep, and 75-80cm tall, which would be enough for one person.

On the other hand, a dining table would usually start from 76x107cm (depth x width) for two people, 91x183cm for 6-8 people, and 137x305cm for 10-12 people.

Dining Table Dimensions
Dining Table Dimensions (Source: Dimensions.com)

Moreover, a work desk may come in different sizes and styles, which is rare for a dining table to imitate.

3. Availability of Storages

A work desk may come with built-in storage such as shelves and drawers. However, a dining table may not include any storage units because it is rarely designed to store items.

You may find a dining table with drawers or shelves, but it would not be appropriate for storing office items.

Desk Drawer in office supploes
Office Desk with Drawer (Source: Amazon)

The most you could store are cutleries, sharp tools, hand towels, and condiments. A dining table with spacious built-in storage will be rare to find.

Should You Use Dining Table as Work Desk?

You should completely use your dining table as a work desk.

A dining table would make an excellent transitional desk when you do not have enough space to install a work desk at home.

A large-sized dining table can easily accommodate from one to multiple users.

Except for dining or preparing meals, a dining table is often the least used furniture at home. Hence, you can turn it into a workspace.

Food on a dining table
Food on a dining table (Source: Pexels)

However, enabling it to become a functional work desk depends on your dining table size, load capacity, and whether you can make adjustments.

At least, using your dining table as a work desk would rid you of reclining on the couch or bed with a laptop.

Depending on the dining table size, you can convert the entire surface into a workspace or use only a portion.

Benefits of Using Dining Table as a Work Desk

Turning your dining table into a work desk comes with many benefits.

Take a look at some of the advantages if you wish to convert your dining table into a functional work desk.

1. Large Work Surface

Dining tables usually have large surface areas that can be used in various ways.

Even the smallest dining table will easily accommodate a laptop, multiple desktops, and a storage unit.

A small dining table measuring 76 x 107 cm (2′ 6″ x 3′ 6″) would fit two users with each of their laptops.

Number of people a dining table could fit
Number of people a dining table could fit (Source: Dimension.com)

The bigger the surface area, the more ample workspace you will get. Most dining tables are available in rectangular sizes, offering more horizontal space to add multiple monitor setups.

Read our article about What is the Ideal Desk Size for Three-Monitor Setup?

2. Cost-Effective

When you need not shop for a work desk, you save a lot of money that you can use for other purposes.

A single work desk would cost anywhere from $99 to $1200, depending on the material, size, functionality, and finish.

Some traditional work desks could go up to $7,200 for their hardwood material and artistic finish.

By using your dining table as a work desk, you would save at least $100 that you can spend on buying a new peripheral or office tools.

Moreover, it is ideal for homes that need a place to work and dine.

3. Convenient Desk Height

Most dining tables measure similar height to traditional desks, making them equally convenient for a work desk.

The average height for a standard dining desk is 28 to 30 inches (70-79 cm), perfect for a traditional sitting posture such as while working on a computer.

Standing Vs Sitting desk
Standing vs. Sitting desk Height (Source: Unsplash)

Therefore, you need not adjust the dining table height when using it as a work desk.

Consider getting an adjustable work chair if the table’s height seems taller or shorter than the standard desk height.

Quick Tip: A desk height of 30 inches may feel slightly high, especially to a person with short stature. Buying an adjustable chair will help.

4. Convenient for Multiple Users

A large dining table can have multiple people working simultaneously, making for a great team workspace.

Most offices choose a single desk layout, one at the center so that everyone can work together in a group.

If you contemplate starting a home office with your friends or colleagues, using a dining table as a workspace could prove a life-saver.

Hot desk sitting
Hot desk sitting (Source: Unsplash)

The larger surface area will easily take multiple computers, desktops, and storage units. Moreover, you would save a lot of money otherwise spent on individual work desks.

5. Heavy and Sturdy Built

A dining table is sturdy and strong-built to withstand heavy use and significant wear and tear for a prolonged time.

Therefore, you need not worry about accidentally breaking your dining table.

A well-built dining table would easily hold a weight of 330-440 lbs. (150-200 kg).

However, it may depend on the material and quality of the table. The wooden table made from hardwood (solid wood) will easily withstand excess weight, but MDF furniture may not take a lot of weight.

Otherwise, choose dining tables made from either hardwood or metal for sturdiness.

Cons of Using Dining Table as a Work Desk

Using a dining table as a work desk is not free of drawbacks.

Therefore, consider these before converting your dining table into a work desk.

  • The kitchen is a busy area that witnesses a lot of traffic, including the dining area.
  • It can become a noisy and crowded area when others are dining.
  • Because dining tables are heavier and more prominent, they are harder to move around for space adjustments.
  • It lacks grommets, outlets, shelves, and cabinets standard with most work desks.
  • Wiring up the devices will spread cables all over the desk and floor, making the workspace look messy.
  • Trying to refurnish a dining table may ruin its decor
  • It is easy to spill water and food items over the workspace when the table is closer to the cooking station.
  • Dining tables made from flimsy wood material will break down under the intense weight.
  • Dining tables made with glass material or crystal countertops are prone to damage from regular, heavy usage.
  • Avoid leaving scratch marks on the surface, especially on costly hardwood tables like rosewood.

Related Article: Desk Vs Table: Which should you choose for your home office?

How to Convert Dining Table into a Work Desk?

Converting a dining table into a work desk is relatively easy, and often it does not need making any changes.

You can use the existing layout and table surface to arrange your laptop, monitor, and other office items.

Here are some tips for converting a dining table into a functional work desk.

1. Organize the Desk

  • Start with organizing your dining table to convert it into a work desk.
  • Remove the chairs from a side of the table where you would be sitting to free up the floor space.
  • Remove dining table arrangements such as condiments, water jars, ornamental plants, and utensils as far as possible from the workstation.
  • Add a tablecloth or runner to protect the surface from scratches and weight. It also comes in handy to hide old or washed-out textures.
  • To prevent scratches, add a cushioned cloth on the glass surface before laying out the office items.
  • Move the dining table closer to the natural light source or ambient light to illuminate the work surface.

Alternatively, you can move the dining table outside the kitchen area to avoid the crowd and kitchen-related accidents.

2. Add Storage Units

A dining table is less likely to have built-in storage; hence, consider adding external storage units.

A storage unit protects your files, folders, and office supplies from external elements, making it a vital aspect of a work desk.

There are a variety of storage units available for a work desk, so be decisive about your need.

Desk organizers are usually remote storage unit that holds office supplies and files. It comes in handy in removing clutters from the desk surface.

Choose a large desk organizer with shelves or open drawers if you need more extensive storage.

Here are a few recommendations for you.

ProductSpecificationImage
Marbrasse Desk OrganizerFive sliding trays, 2 Magazine Holders, two Hanging Pencil Holders, one sliding drawer to hold all kinds of office items.
Bamboo Desktop OrganizerFour Tier durable bamboo storage for pencils, notepads, and Office Supplies.
Fits 8 ½ x 11-inch paper on both shelves.
Executive Office Solutions Large Adjustable17” Wide x 7.5” Deep x 12” High for letter and legal size papers and office supplies.

Pro Tip: Consider installing a lateral file cabinet beside the dining table to store all kinds of documents.

3. Organize the Cables

Computer, monitor, and device cables lying around the floor often create clutter that is not only a nuisance but dangerous.

A person could trip on the wires and fall, causing severe injuries.

Therefore, consider organizing the cables by minimizing them or tucking them away in a secure place.

  • One way to reduce cable clutter is to clip them together using cable clips.
  • Shorten lengthy cables by wrapping and tucking them in a coil and use a cable clip to keep them attached
  • Switch to remote peripheral like Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. (Use Bluetooth adapter for a device with no Bluetooth capability)
  • Attach hanging cables under the desk using Velcro heavy-duty tape, so they stay in one place.
  • Alternatively, attach the extension cord under the dining table using glue or Velcro so that all the cable connection remains out of sight and danger.

4. Carry Out Minor Reconstructions

Changing the entire layout of the dining table to a work desk may seem implausible, mainly when you use it for dining.

Instead of making a significant layout change, choose minor reconstruction to add a few essential items to the dining table.

If you need a storage unit attached to the table, consider adding custom shelves or drawers underneath the table. Most dining tables would support pull-out shelves that are not too heavy.

Consider reading our article about whether home office desks should have drawers.

Similarly, you can add additional legs, a wooden countertop, or a laminated cover over the table to turn it into a sturdy and functional work desk.

5. Add Furniture Power Center

Add a grommet to the center of the dining table by drilling a small hole (1.5-2 inches) to send all the cables underneath the table and help reduce the desk clutter.

Otherwise, install a central power unit on the desk to power the devices.

Centralizing the power cables will automatically reduce cables from the desk and floors, preventing the risk of minor accidents.

Use DIY methods to furnish custom grommets, or consider hiring a carpenter if you are scared about ruining your dining table.

6. Add Task Lighting

Illuminate your new work desk using the appropriate task lighting.

Task lighting may also come in handy when the dining table is far from the natural light source or the ambient lighting is insufficient in illuminating the workspace.

LED-Based task lamps or desk lamps work great for work desks. Alternatively, you can add overhead task lights just over the table to illuminate the workspace.

Task lighting for computer
Task lighting for computer (Source; Pixabay)

Install energy-efficient LED bulbs with a soft-white temperature (5500-5700K) at 450 lumens that perfectly mimic daylight.

Choosing daylight is best for working on a computer because it mimics natural sunlight.

ColorsMeasurement
Soft white2700K - 3000K
Bright white/Cool white3500K - 4100K
Daylight5000K - 6500K

Moreover, keep the light source approximately 15 inches above or beside your computer to avoid screen glares.

Here are a few desk lighting recommendations.

ProductsFeaturesProduct Image
Ottlite Wellness SeriesAn award-winning Glow LED Desk Lamp with CRI 97 and 5000K temperature designed to reduce eyestrain by 51%
BenQ e-Reading Desk LampA perfect task lighting desk lamp that can be adjusted to ambient lighting and from warm to cool.
Dyson Lightcycle MorphA 3-point revolve motion light that connects to your smartphone—adjusted to ambient lighting whenever needed.
LEDGLE LED Desk LampA smart desktop LED lamp that combines direct and indirect light output perfect for workspaces. LEDGLE LED Desk Lamp

Please read our article on adjusting the best lighting for computer work.

7. Add an Adjustable Office Chair

Using a correct office chair elevates the overall work experience; do not compromise on the sitting.

An adjustable chair will be more appropriate for dining tables because they have a standard desk height.

Therefore, you can adjust the chair height as per your need.

Rug as a Office Chair Mat
Adjustable office chair (Source: Amazon)

You may find many options for a home office chair. The best chair type would be the one that offers maximum comfort, adjustability, and support.

Read more to determine whether a chair with or without wheels would be more appropriate for the home office.

Final Verdict

Turning your dining table into a work desk may sound like a big decision at first.

Rest assured, it is a fabulous idea to turn your dining table into a work desk, especially when your home office is too tiny to fit a desk

Follow the above guide to instantly turn it into a transitional or functional work desk so you can start working immediately.

Related Article: Should Your Place Work Desk at the Center?

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