What Materials Are Desks Made Out Of?

Modern desks are made from a wide variety of material such as wood, plastic, metal and even tempered glass.

The materials used in the manufacture of a desk often determine its design, much like other furniture.

Where the desks will be place is also a factor, as they might be required to blend in with the surrounding décor.

But, no matter what size or style your space is, there is a desk that will be able to stand up to the demands you place on it.

Desk frames and legs

These support the desk top itself, so are an important consideration.

Most modern office desks use a tubular (hollow) metal frame because it offers a level of strength and integrity that is hard to replicate using wood or plastic.

This type of metal desk frame design can also be very lightweight despite its rigidity.

With that said, pedestal desks do obviously have wooden frames and legs, but in the form of pedestals.

While you get more storage space with a pedestal desk, there’s less room underneath them for your legs, so it’s a balancing act to find one that suits your seating preference.

And you can also get desks with tempered glass legs if you want a desk that really stands out from the crowd.

Desk tops

Desks and desk tops can be purchased separately and made of different materials, allowing them to fit in with any type of decor.


The material you’ll find most often used in modern office desks is a laminated wood surface.

Laminated desk surfaces are usually made from plywood or a composite of different wood types that are compressed together under very high pressure.

The end result is a desk top that is tough but also lightweight.

The final stage of the laminate process is where a thin layer of wood, or a synthetic material, is then glued to the surface of the desk top.

Laminate desk tops provide an affordable and relatively environmentally friendly solution to using hard or freshly-lumbered wood.

Tempered glass

Another popular desktop material is glass.

These surfaces are modern and functional, and they can be frosted, clear, or even tinted in specific colors.

They are easy to keep clean, and they look great in most office spaces.

Personally, I’m a bit weird about glass desk tops. I know the glass used is literally bulletproof but they still make me nervous.


Veneer wooden desk tops are another choice.

Veneer is a thin layer of wood that is high-quality glued to a lesser type of wood. They are usually more expensive but can last that bit longer than a laminate finish.


You can find desks with a metal surface, although they do seem to be quite rare.

Metal will obviously provide a sturdy and durable work surface, but an entire metal desk is going to weigh several hundred pounds.

But they are utilitarian and resist stains and scratches better than pretty much any other material.

So if your previous desks took a lot of punishment before collapsing then a metal desk might be exactly what you need.

Wooden desks

Wood is the most common material used to make many types of desks and 90%+ of all desk tops.

A wooden desk is available in many different finishes and colors, with the most popular ones being natural, black, white, and gray.

Natural wood is very popular because it can be stained to whatever color you need.

You can make it dark wood or light, and it is a classic look that fits into any home or office.

You can use a less expensive wood and stain it the color of a fancier wood such as mahogany.

Wood desks with a white finish have become popular in recent years because they have a clean look that brightens up the room.

The finish can be stain resistant so that they are easy to clean.

Black desks are considered to have a more modern look, but they are still formal and stately.

They offer a bridge between formal and modern styles, and are quite popular.

People who want a calming mood in the room choose a gray wood finish. It is soft and a bit modern, and it works well in a home office environment.

What types of wood are best for a desk?

Some woods are more popular than others. Hardwoods are ideal because they are sturdy and beautiful.

Cherry wood is a popular choice, and it comes in a deep reddish brown color. The color tends to deepen over time, and it has a distinctive grain.

So your desk will actually look better as it ages.

Another popular choice is maple wood.

It is strong, and it is usually light brown in color. It has a grain that can be straight, curly, quilted, bird’s eye, or wavy.

Oak wood is very commonly used because it is so strong.

Another type of wood that people use is ash wood, which is light in color and strong enough to hold up.

The moral of this story is that you’ll find a wood finish that you’ll love.

What is the best material for a desk?

Any of the materials above are great for a desk.

You’ll need to choose one based on your personal style and décor preferences, as well as the amount of space you have in your office.

I personally use a large veneer-finished wooden desk that I’ve had for 20 years. It measures 72-inches x 36-inches, which is probably a lot bigger than I need.

But it’s like a comfortable pair of shoes now – I’m not sure how to replace it.

Any desk you find for sale online (from a mainstream retail outlet) will have had to pass pretty rigorous safety standards and testing.

The thing is that with computer or office desks you do most definitely get what you pay for.

So a $50 desk is always going to look and feel like a $50 desk.

That’s why it’s a good idea to not cut corners when purchasing a new desk for your office.

Summing it up

So, as you can see, desks are made from a wide variety of different materials.

And they’re not all created equal.

But you will be able to find one that suits your specific needs both in terms of what it’s made from and how well it will fit in with both your working style and your office décor.

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