What Materials are Best for an Home Office Desk?

It’s a piece of furniture that gets a lot of usage in your home whether you’re working from home, doing paperwork, gaming, or simply surfing the Internet.

Besides, the desk is a significant part of the home office interior which determines the overall outlook. Perfect material for a home office desk  is truthfully a personal choice.

Your desk should be able to support a considerable amount of weight while also fitting in with the rest of your home office decor.

The best materials for home office desks are wood or metal due to their durability and functionality. However, depending on the priority of the factors like comfort, durability, functionality, appearance, and many more choice for the type of wood or metal for home office desk are varied.

White desk with drawers
A White Desk with drawers
(Source: Amazon)

So it is owing to the multiple options available, ranging from classics like wood and metal to contemporary choices like melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) and laminates

I have worked on metal top tables before in my home office.

From my experience, I can say that comfort is my work motivation driver as the metal top was very uncomfortable for me.

Also, it got scorching hot in the summer and icy cold in the winter. So I switched to a wood table and have been working quite comfortably.

What do you look for in a perfect home office desk? Read on to find out which material meets your criteria.

Importance of Desk Material

Desk material defines the overall structure of the home office desk, making it a crucial effector of work productivity and office outlook.

First, let’s go over the importance of choosing the right materials for home office desks.

1. Comfort While Working

Your choice of desk material determines the comfort of working on it.

While a desk needs to look aesthetically pleasing, employee comfort for working on it determines the overall work productivity.

Desk material can determine the desk’s feel, temperature, and durability, influencing your comfort while working.

For example, when a work desk is uncomfortable, you avoid sitting for long hours, which might affect work completion.

2. Durability of Desk

The home office desk bears the weight of laptops/desktops, files, notebooks, speakers, printers, and any equipment required for work.

Therefore, durability is one of the most substantial influencing factors in choosing a suitable desk. So, what makes a working desk durable?

The answer is the desk material. Weak materials lead to the desk being shaky or breaking down quickly, which would be a wrong choice both economically and in the sense of comfort.

3. Maintainance Requirement

When working for long hours at the desk, some accidents are prone to happen, such as spillage, scratches, or even breaking parts.

In such a case, you would want your working desk that is easy to clean up without staining or doesn’t scratch easily.

For instance, weak glass tabletop desks are available that would shatter with pressure and are impossible to fix.

At the same time, some wood tables stain pretty easily.

3. The Appearance of the Desk

Overall furniture in the home office, including the desk, should match the home office interiors for a pleasant outlook.

For instance, a wooden table would be a mismatch for an office filled with metal furniture.

Office_Computer_Desk
Office Computer Desk (Source: Pinterest)

4. An Eco-Friendly Option

If you or your home office places importance on sustainable buying, then using desks made of eco-friendly materials might be a perfect choice for you.

Materials like wood veneer make desks easy to recycle and consume only fine shavings of trees to build furniture.

Quick Tip: Using eco-friendly products also boosts the company’s image as a company that cares for the environment.

What are the Best Desk Materials for Office Desk?

First, let’s have a look at the overview of types of desk materials.

Desk MaterialsTypes
WoodSolid Wood, Ply Wood, Bamboo, Cocobolo, Walnut, Cherry, Oak, Maple, Ash, Birch, Cedar, Pine, Elm, Teak, Rose, Wood veneer, Reclaimed wood, Melamine-faced chipboard, and Medium-density fibre board
GlassAnnealed and Tempered
MetalAluminum and Steel
PlasticPVC, Polypropylene, and polymer plastics

1. Wood as Desk Material

Wooden desk is the most common desk material used for office desks due to its durability, sturdiness, and versatility.

In addition, wood is available in various colors and types, providing the vast buyer options.

Advantages of Wooden Desk

  • The flexible material can be made into any design.
  • The varied form of textures, cuts, and grains makes it versatile for designing.
  • It matches with most forms of decor and interior.
  • It is durable.

Disadvantages of Wooden Desk

  • Waste generation in making table made of solid wood.
  • Infestation of insects and rotting.
  • Moisture damage

Types of Wood for Office Desk

Before we go into the details, have a quick look at the table below for an overview of wood types.

Types of WoodAdvantagesPriceDurabilityJanaka Hardness Score
Solid WoodFlexibility
Classic look
$299 – $5,00010-15 years800-1500
PlywoodCost effective
Chemical Resistant
$100-$50015-20 yearsDepends on the original type of wood
Bamboo woodWater resistant
Light
$200-$3004-7 years1380
Cocobolo woodWater resistant
Fragrant
$5000 or more10-15 years1136
Walnut woodWater resistant
Mold resistant
Classic look
$150 - $400010-15 years1010
Cherry woodreddish-brown color
Durable
$2000- $300010 -12 years950
OakwoodScratch-proof
Durable
$5000 or more10 -12 years1360
Maple woodWater resistant
Cost effective
$290 - $150010 -12 years1450
Ash WoodWide range of color
Durable
$300 - $100010 -12 years1320
Birch WoodDurable
Cost effective

$300 - $100010-15 years1260
Cedar woodLight weight
Decay resistant
$290 - $ 300010-15 years320
Pine woodDurable
Classic look
$200-$60010-15 years300-400
Elm woodDurable
Flexible
$150 - $300010-15 years830
Teak woodInsect resistant
Water resistant
$2000- $500010-15 years1155
Rose woodCold tolerance
Flexible
$2000- $500010-15 years1220
Wood vannerEco-friendly
Sturdy
$200-$30010 yearsDepends on the original type of wood
Reclaimed woodVintage look
Eco-friendly
$1500- $800015-20 yearsDepends on the original type of wood
Melamine-faced chipboardEco-friendly
Cost effective

$290 - $1500yearsDepends on the original type of wood
1. Solid Wood as Desk Material

Solid wood desk produces study and durable desks with classics look. It has great potential and flexibility to be turned into many designs.

The variety of colorations, grains, and designs allow the creation of varied and beautiful office desks. However, more waste is generated in its making.

Besides, moisture can be a problem for wooden furniture leading to fungi and mold development.

Woodworms are termites that often target wooden furniture, making it look worn out and weakening them.

Solid woods can also be quite expensive compared to other materials.

Did you know? Solid wood can last for 10-15 years with proper care.

Solid_Wood_Best_Desk_Material
Solid Wood Best Desk Material (Source:sc04.alicdn )
2. Ply Wood as Desk Material

Plywood is piled-up wood layers that are covered by veneers. It is a durable and cheaper option than wooden desks.

Being a wooden material, it withstands loads double its design load. Moreover, it is also resistant to most of the chemicals. It can be stained to look more like expensive woods.

However, plywood made out of expensive woods like walnut wood is thinner. Such are not suited for areas with high traffic.

Plywood Desk
Plywood Desk (Source: Amazon)

You can buy plywood desks on Amazon.

3. Bamboo as Desk Material

Bamboo is the most robust material for furniture among all-natural woods.

In fact, it is 40% stronger than solid wood, with a Janaka Hardness score of 1380.

Besides, its water resistance protects it from swelling or rotting. As a result, it is much easier to carry around.

It is generally cheaper than a solid wood desk; you can get a bamboo tabletop desk for about $200-$300 at amazon.

However, Bamboo desks require high maintenance. We cannot use it directly after buying as it requires varnishing for protection.

As insects quickly infest it, bamboo desks are unsuitable for humid climates.

Also, it quickly collects dust and cannot be cleaned with a wet cloth as it becomes a breeding ground for worms, and strong detergents also degrade the quality.

Quick Tip: Use bamboo desks for contemporary interior themes.

4. Cocobolo Wood as Desk Material

Cocobolo wood comes from the tropical trees in Central America, which are rarely found outside of national parks, making it difficult to find.

It is unique for its coloration, which can range from brown to purplish hue. Due to its vintage look and durability, it is pretty popular but also rare. So, it can cost up to $5000 or higher.

The presence of natural oil in it makes it water-resistant and also fragrant. Moreover, it is easy to carve and work it makes it a top choice for woodworkers.

cocobolo-desk-wooden-best-desk-material
cocobolo desk wooden best desk material (Source: spoliamag)
5. Walnut Wood as Desk Material

American Black Walnut trees provide walnut wood for constructing furniture.

In addition, Walnut wood offers a classic look due to its naturally walnut-colored dark pigment, which is a perfect choice for those opting for natural color rather than artificial paint.

Besides, it is strong, dense and grains are packed together, providing a brilliant texture.

Polishing the walnut wood desk is pretty more effortless as it stains pretty well. Also, it is shock, water, and mold resistant.

The Janaka hardness test classifies Walnut wood as medium dense with a 1010 score.

However, the downside of this wood is its rarity resulting in its high price up to. Besides, to preserve its color, it needs to seal annually or lose its dark appearance.

Walnut_Wood_Best_Office_Desk_Material
Walnut Wood Best Office Desk Material (Source: sc04.alicdn)
6. Cherry Wood as Desk Material

Cherry wood comes from the American Black Cherry Tree. It has a reddish-brown to white hue, which provides perfect vibrance for a home office look.

It is has a rating of 950 and is considered less dense by the Janka hardness test. Also, it is effortless to work with.

However, it can be pretty costly, with its boards costing up to $3 to $10 per foot. Also, it is not tolerant to scratch and wears.

You can buy cherry wood tables with storage shelves from Amazon.

7. Oakwood as Desk Material

Oakwood is one of the best desk materials coming from Oak trees (Quercus L.).  White oak’s color ranges from beige to own, and red oak is pinkish or reddish.

Oak is a durable wood material as White oak scores 1360 on Kanka Scale while Red Oak scored 1290.

With proper maintenance, it has a very long lifespan. However, cracks can occur if neglected. Moreover, it is scratch-proof wood material.

It can be pretty costly, costing about $4.10 to $9.25 for every board foot. Along with being sturdy, it’s pretty heavy, so moving it around would be difficult.

You can buy a selection of Oakwood office desks from Amazon.

Oak_Wood_Best_Desk_Material
Oak Wood Best Desk Material (Source: Amazon)
Why does the color of Oak Wood Vary after a Long Time?

Oxygenation and UV light exposure causes the coloration of oak wood to change to darker amber tones. However, the change is very minute and does not affect the overall appearance of the desk.

How to Maintain an Oak Wood Desk?

The finishing and polishing of the wood dictate its need for maintenance. However, it is advised not to use polishes or harsh cleaning agents to harm the finishing.

8. Maple Wood as Desk Material

Maple wood is a robust and durable desk material having reddish to brown shades. It comes from Sugar Maple Trees ( Acer Saccharum).

This wood is moisture resistant and cheap as its board costs only $3 to $8 per foot. Also, it has a hardness score of 1450 on the Janaka scale.

The disadvantage of using this wood material is that the furniture would be pretty heavy, and it is prone to insect infestation if left unsealed. Rustic Aged Maple Wood desk can is found on Amazon.

Is Hard Maple and Soft Maple the same?

Soft maple refers to a wide variety of maple, whereas hard maple only refers to the lumber from maple species Acer Saccharum.

9. Ash Wood as Desk Material

Ash Wood comes from White Ash Tree (Fraxinus Americana L.) and ranges from beige to light brown. It rates 1320 on the Janaka scale.

The ash wood boards only cost $2.50 to $7.00 per foot. In addition, there are a variety of ash wood desks available on Amazon.

Can the Ash Wood Desk be Placed Outdoors?

We can place no wood furniture outdoors as the maintenance would be high. Moreover, ash wood is more likely to rot when placed in moisture.

How to Maintain an Ash Wood Desk?

Ashwood desk can be varnished, waxed, or lacquered for finishing. However, care should give the maintenance to keep it dry and not use polishes and cleaners.

Ash_Wood_Office_Desk
Ash Wood Office Desk (Source: Amazon)
10. Birch Wood as Desk Material

Birch Wood comes from Yellow Birch Tree ( Betula alleghaniensis Britt. ). It is a durable and cheap desk material costing only $3-$6 for its board per foot.

It has a Janka hardness score of 1260. However, it is not decayed and moisture resistant, needing more care. Also, it can crack if left in dry conditions.

Quick Fact: Birchwood is decay-resistant.

Is Birch Wood an Eco-Friendly Option?

In general, all woods are eco-friendly. However, Birch trees are abundant and grow throughout North America, making them an eco-friendly choice.

11. Cedarwood as Desk Material

Cedarwood has a pinkish and red hue and is a pretty durable wood with a Janaka hardness score of 320. Also, it is lightweight, being a softwood.

Moreover, it is resistant to decay and rot. It also has the advantage of being moisture resistant.

However, We should seal it or be damaged by the absorption of chemicals and oils as it is a porous wood.

12. Pinewood as Desk Material

Pinewood is a reddish-brown shade in color and has large knots, contributing to its possible scratching and denting.

It has a Janaka hardness score of 300-400. It is considerably cheap.

However, it requires good maintenance and finishing. You can get a simple white pine wood desk for your home office.

Pine_Wood_Best_Desk_Material
Pine Wood Best Desk Material (Source: Amazon)
13. Elm Wood as Desk Material

If you look for strength and a dark hue on a desk, Elm would be a perfect choice.

Although it is expensive, it has excellent tensile strength and flexibility with a Janaka score of 830.

Its flexibility allows it to be made into curved structures. However, the same property causes it to lose shape quickly. Besides, it is resistant to insects and splits.

Its disadvantage is that Elm is difficult to dry.

14. Teak Wood as Desk Material

Teak comes from the teak tree (Tectona grandis) and is high-quality wood. The teak has a golden coloration with high strength. It has a Janka score of 1155.

It is resistant to insects, fungi, water, and many chemicals. However, this wood is scarce.

Besides, it can fade if exposed to sunlight. So, it needs to be sealed before finishing.

Teak_Wood_Office_Desk
Teak Wood Office Desk (Source: teaklab)
15. Rosewood as Desk Material

Rosewood is a rare type of wood that has dark purplish coloration with beautiful black streaks along. Overall, it adds a classy and modern look to your home office.

It is a sturdy wood with a Janaka hardness rating of 1220. Besides, it has flexibility similar to teak wood and excellent cold tolerance.

However, it can be pretty heavy and costly.

16. Wood veneer as Desk Material

Wood vanner desks are made of thin layers of wood shavings glued to cheap core materials to make them look aesthetic.

It is usually chosen by those who like the wooden finish but need cheaper alternatives to solid wood.

Venner is an eco-friendly option due to less wood consumption and can be recycled. It is also used to add strength to weaker desk materials.

However, it is costlier than other options like laminates. Also, it is easily scratched and gouged and can’t be fixed by sanding due to the thin layer.

Finally, exposure to water damages its seams as moisture enters the core material causing the veneer layer to peel off.

17. Reclaimed Wood as Desk Material

If you prefer to use eco-friendly products, then a reclaimed wood desk is the best choice for you. Reclaimed wood desks are made using used and old wooden planks.

This wood material gives your desk a vintage look and is a versatile option. Also, it has 40% more strength than new wood pieces.

However, it is not as eco-friendly in terms of energy as the energy used in its construction is more than the amount used in making a new desk. It also poses risks as old woods are often infested with termites, mold, and insects.

Reclaimed_wood_office_desk
Reclaimed wood office desk
Does Reclaimed Wood Contain Lead?

Lead-based paint was most popular in the USA around the 1970s. Unfortunately, these lead particles can mix with dust and the environment over time, risking the chances of people breathing them in, which can cause deadly lead poisoning.

So if you are planning on using the reclaimed wooden desk, it is advisable to use a lead paint test kit before buying it.

Remember, the red color of the test result means the presence of lead in it.

18. Melamine Faced Chipboard (MFC)

Melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) is an eco-friendly option that is also sturdy compared to medium-density fibreboard (MDF). It comes in several thicknesses but is generally 25mm thick.

Its quality depends on the density of the board, but it is pretty lightweight. MFC is also cheaper than other particle boards.

Melamine_faced_chipboard_L_Shaped_Office_Desk
Melamine faced chipboard L Shaped Office Desk (Source: img.edilportale )
19. Medium-Density Fibre Board (MDF)

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is generally made from wood waste but has a smooth texture. As a result, it is superior to other particle boards.

It is moisture-resistant and is aesthetically pleasing. However, it releases formaldehyde, which is a harmful carcinogen.

2. Glass as Desk Material

Glass is the best desk material for those that look for an aesthetic appearance on the desk. Different varieties of glass are available for furniture; Clear, tinted, black, or frosted.

The glass mainly used are of two types Annealed glass and tempered glass.

Annealed glass is an untreated glass slab used for strong tables, but thinner slabs require extra protection.

Tempered glass, also called safety glass, is used to increase the strength of glass desks.

However, they protect against shear force and pressure even if the glass breaks, tempered glass cracks in chunks rather than completely starring, which can pose hazards.

You can find glass office desks of a wide price range on Amazon.

Glass_Office_Desk
Glass Office Desk (Source: Amazon)

Advantages of Glass Desk

  • Glass desk offers a professional and aesthetic look can place the glassed over any material to match your office interiors.
  • Glass is lightweight. So, we can move the desk around quickly.

Disadvantages of Glass Desk

  • Glass tables are weaker as compared to wooden tables, even with metal frames.
  • It is pretty expensive, costing around.
  • The dust can be easily seen on it, and it smears easily, making cleaning difficult. Moreover, cleaning products can create more smears on them. So, cleaning using a dry cloth is recommended.

3. Plastic as Desk Material

Plastics like PVC, Polypropylene, and polymer plastics are used for making furniture. Plastics are relatively cheaper than other desk materials.

At the same time, plastic is perfect for the cafeteria, restaurant tables, and home use. However, it does not offer the professional look required for the office.

office-computer-table-plastic
office computer table plastic (Source: indiamart)

Advantages of Plastic Desk

  • It is lightweight.
  • Plastic is resistant to mold and insect infestations.
  • Also, it requires low maintenance.
  • It is a good choice for the outdoor office.

Disadvantages of Plastic Desk

  • Plastic furniture looks cheap and unprofessional.
  • It does not provide comfort to employees.
  • Also, it has limited functionalities.
  • It is not eco-friendly.

4. Metal as Desk Material

Metal office desks are also in trend for their versatility in design. These desks are often of steel, aluminum, or iron.

Metal is frequently used for furniture legs, table bases, and frames. Metal is also being employed as the main material for general desk furniture these days.

Sheet steel is frequently used in this type of furniture. When choosing metal furniture, the thickness of the sheet must be taken into consideration. It shouldn’t be too thin since it won’t be able to hold up.

The thick sheet is tough, long-lasting, and resistant to dents and deformities. Metal furniture is more costly than wood furniture, but it also lasts longer.

Advantages of Metal Desk

  • These desks can last longer than wood or glass ones with proper care.
  • It is flame-resistant, which makes it safe to fire hazards.
  • Metal is usually durable and is scratch resistant.
  • It is available in a range of prices to suit your budget.

Disadvantages of Metal Desk

  • Sometimes moving the metal desks can scratch up delicate floorings.
  • Some metal desks can be pretty heavy.
  • Metal desks are available in variety, and those that have rough ends can cause injuries.
  • It can heat up quickly, leading to discomfort.

1. Aluminum as Desk Material

Aluminum is composed of metal plates having high durability. In addition, it is pretty lightweight among metals.

Moreover, it is fire and moisture-proof, along with being resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is also an eco-friendly option being recyclable.

However, it can easily dent and scratch.

gold aluminum executive office desk
gold-aluminum-executive-office-desk (Source: furniturestorelosangeles )

2. Steel as Desk Material

The process usually makes steel desks of galvanization, electrostatically spraying, or epoxy resin spraying. These make the desk durable and dent-free.

In addition, steel furniture is light and has a wide range of functionalities like being foldable and compact. Using steel desk is also a cost-effective option as they are rarely outdated and lasts longer.

Its downside is that the edges can scratch floors and walls if roughly finished.

5. Laminate as Desk Material

Laminate is composed of fine slices of wood or synthetics. It is a cheap option to make a desk look like wood without using much of it.

They are low maintenance and increases the durability of cheap materials. They are either thermofused or high-pressure laminate.

Thermofuse laminate has a particle board with paper laminate which mimics the wood appearance. A high-pressure laminate is a particle board of paper bound by kraft paper.

Its disadvantage is that if the spills are left uncleaned for a long time, they can form stains.

Laminate Collection OfficeDesk
Laminate-Collection-OfficeDesk (Source: rcsinnovations)

Advantages of Laminate Desk

  • The laminate desk is affordable and durable.
  • Using a laminate finish will preserve your furniture from scratches, chipping, and other defects while lowering your costs.

Disadvantages of Laminate Desk

  • They are not strong as solid hardwood.
  • Laminate desks don’t look aesthetically pleasing.

Related Article: What is the Right Size Desk for your Home Office?

Frequently Asked Questions About Desk Material

Which Desk Material is Best for the Study Desk?

Overall, wood provides buyers a wide range of options regarding appearance and cost, making it the best desk material for the study table.

Since wooden desks are durable, cheap according to their types, comfortable, and provides a classic look to your study room, they check most of the criteria buyers search in study desks.

What Kind of Plywood is Best for a Desk?

Plywood of thickness 19mm is ideal for plywood desks. This thickness provides enough strength to withstand extra weight.

Among the types, Birchwood plywood is most recommended due to its appearance and cost-effectiveness.

Is Plywood Strong Enough?

Plywood is the strongest among desk materials because the grain layers in plywood are joined by glue using high pressure, which results in its strength.

Also, this process makes it split-resistant.

What is the Best Wood for a Desk?

Walnut hardwoods are best recommended among wooden desks for their impeccable coloration and strength.

It makes your home office appearance look more classic and professional.

Is Bamboo a Good Desk Surface?

Bamboo provides desks durable work surfaces. Using an inch thick bamboo slab can withstand the great weight of desk decors and equipment.

Now that you know what the finest material for a home office desk is, you might be pondering what the best color desk is.

Read more: What Color Desk Should you Get for Home Office?

Home Office Desk
Home Office Desk (Source: Amazon)

Final Thoughts

Choosing the desk material for your office desk can affect the overall working experience.

Therefore, one should assess their needs well before buying the desk.

There are a wide variety of desk materials available in the market to choose from.

However, the coloration, functionality, durability, and appearance make wood the best choice for an office desk, followed by metal materials.

Read More: Is Floor Desk Ergonomic?

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