There’s nothing more fitting for a space dedicated to hard work than a solid wood desk. No one likes to be deep in the flow of productivity only to be snatched away from it by a creaking, wobbling desk. Unfortunately, we’ve all been victims of a low-quality piece of mass produced furniture: whilst they’re not all bad and will do the job for a short time when you’re in a bind, those desks certainly won’t survive for long.
Whether you’re tapping away at a computer, putting pen to paper, or using your desk for a whole manner of things, solid wood furniture provides a stable base for your work. A high-quality, handmade, reclaimed wood desk can be a sizable investment, so it’s important to do your research before you make the purchase to ensure you’ll be getting the perfect desk for you which has the potential to last for the span of your career.
In this buying guide, we’ll be taking you through a variety of considerations, including popular types and styles of solid wood desks, how to care for your handmade desk, and the reasons why we think a solid wood desk will be the best addition to your home office.
This versatile solid pine desk with natural steel hairpin legs can be used as a vanity.
Types of Solid Wood Desks
Desks don’t have to just be repurposed dining tables: there are many types of solid wood office desks, each designed to serve a specific purpose and cater to different preferences and needs. When choosing a desk, consider your work habits, available space, and the specific requirements of your tasks to find the best fit for you.
Writing desks are generally simple and compact, with a large, flat surface for writing and minimal drawers or compartments. Writing desks are ideal for - you guessed it - writing, as well as the use of a laptop and other basic office tasks.
Executive desks are large and impressive, often with a prominent design, and are designed with both functionality and style in mind. Like writing desks, executive desks typically feature a spacious desktop with plenty of space for working, but they also benefit from more built-in drawers or filing cabinets.
These desks are tailored to the needs of those with computers, and include considerations for things like cable management and equipment placement. They will generally feature designated spaces for the equipment, including the computer tower, a keyboard tray, and a monitor stand. Solid wood computer desks are ideal for those who regularly use a PC and thus need it permanently homed atop the desk, rather than a laptop which can be moved.
Standing desks come in a couple of different forms: some are designed solely for use while standing, whilst others are adjustable in height, allowing users to sit if needed. Standing desks are designed to reduce health risks associated with prolonged sitting and are used to encourage a more active work routine.
Corner desks are a great choice for when your space is limited, as they can slot seamlessly into the corner of the room for maximum space utilisation. They usually have an L-shaped design, providing a large surface, and often include drawers or shelves either above or below the desktop.
Benefits of Reclaimed Solid Wood Desks
Our solid reclaimed pine desk with light grey steel hairpin legs fits right into this rustic-style office!
Durability and Longevity
Solid wood desks are extremely durable. They’re made from high-quality materials that are designed to last for many years, and are built to withstand decades of wear and tear. There is a high level of craftsmanship that goes into building reclaimed wood desks, so whilst there may be a higher upfront cost than if you bought a desk made from MDF or veneer, their long lifespan helps to save you money in the long run.
Aesthetics and Beauty
Reclaimed wood furniture provides a certain type of timeless beauty which instantly elevates your space, and it’s no different for solid wood office desks. The natural grains, colours, and textures of the wood shine through, and this is even more significant in reclaimed wood desks which feature historical scuff marks, nail holes and hammer indents which have been lovingly restored.
Our high-quality solid wood desks benefit from the fact they are not mass produced, and are instead carefully handmade to order. Whilst we sometimes offer ready-to-ship handmade furniture, most of our pieces begin their transformation from planks to products after you’ve placed your order. This means we can customise it to your desires, including the dimensions, shape, finish, and even the desk legs.
Every piece of bespoke reclaimed wood furniture is made from repurposed planks of quality wood which would otherwise have ended up in landfill. A huge amount of waste is also generated when low-quality furniture is made from non-recyclable, non-durable materials, so choosing a solid wood desk which will last a lifetime is the eco-friendly choice in more ways than one.
Things To Consider When Buying a Solid Wood Desk
Room Size and Space Planning
Solid wood office desks can be quite chunky, especially executive desks with lots of storage. It’s important to figure out exactly how much space you have before you buy, but don’t just think about the measurements - consider how much space you’ll need to sit comfortably at the desk, easily get around it, and carry out your tasks. Smaller rooms may benefit from cleverly placed drawers which slot underneath as opposed to taking up valuable surface space. You also may want to consider installing shelves on the wall above the desk for even more storage space.
Set a budget for your solid wood desk purchase. Keep in mind that solid wood and high-quality desks can be an investment, but they tend to be durable and long-lasting. Don’t forget the age old saying - buy it cheap, buy it twice!
Solid wood desks are special in that they can fit seamlessly into virtually any style of room. They’re timeless and versatile in their most natural states, but there’s also a whole plethora of customisation options available to make your desk uniquely yours. This includes different colours of stains as well as various desk leg options - and there’s no limit to how much you can decorate your solid wood desk once it’s at home in your office!
A super stylish office space with our solid reclaimed pine desk with black steel hairpin legs.
Traditional solid wood desks
This style of desk embraces traditional, classic features including ornate details, carvings, and brass hardware. The wood is often dark, whether through the naturally deep hues of mahogany or rich stains applied to lighter woods like oak and ash. Traditional solid wood desks evoke a sense of formality and sophistication.
Modern solid wood desks
Modern style desks can vary greatly in actual design, often utilising a variety of wood finishes including lighter or more natural tones. Modern desks are all about clean lines and simple shapes, focusing on functionality and a sleek, uncluttered appearance through the use of hidden storage.
Rustic solid wood desks
Rustic desks are all about enhancing the natural characteristics and blemishes of the wood rather than removing them or hiding them. They’re often made from reclaimed wood to give an authentic, aged appearance, and you’ll often find features like live edges, visible grain, and wrought iron hardware.
Industrial solid wood desks
Industrial style furniture combines metal and wood to create a vibe reminiscent of old factories and warehouses - rugged and raw. Industrial solid wood desks often feature exposed hardware and raw edges, as well as old hammer marks and nail holes. These desks often utilise sharp, clean angles to provide a striking look without losing functionality.
Minimalist solid wood desks
Minimalist desks favour clean lines and simplicity, focusing on functionality. They often feature lighter wood tones or even monochromatic colour schemes. Minimal decorations and ornaments, hidden storage and an overall streamlined appearance are all features of this popular design.
Customising Your Solid Wood Desk
One of the best things about solid wood desks is how well they take to a variety of stains. At The Bespoke Carpentry Co., we offer the following stains on our handmade reclaimed wood furniture:
Cool-toned finishes like Belgium Grey are a fantastic choice for industrial or minimalist styles of desk. Stains like dark oak and walnut bring a layer of sophistication to your office. For more ideas and inspiration regarding your table’s finish, view our full Finish & Colour Guide as well as our Guide to Stained Wood Furniture.
As well as finishes, you also have a choice of desk legs when designing your perfect desk. Our range of table leg designs include those both made from wood and metal, and include:
- X-Frame table legs
- Farmhouse Pedestal table legs
- Hairpin frame table legs
- Square table legs
- Trapezium table legs
- A-Frame table legs
- V-Frame table legs
Caring for Your Solid Wood Desk
Why is it important?
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your solid wood desk will ensure it looks beautiful for longer, preserving the charming aesthetic of the restored wood. Dust and dirt can build up on the surface, and if not properly removed, it can cause scratches. Reapplication of protective oils and waxes prevent the wood from drying out or cracking. This proper maintenance means you get the most from your investment, as well as making the most of this sustainable resource. It can also save you money on expensive repairs or restoration work later down the line!
Dust your solid wood desk regularly with a soft, dry cloth to keep it free of dust and dirt on the surface. Less frequently, perform a deeper clean with a damp cloth and a mild soap: it’s important to avoid using any harsh chemicals, as these can damage the wood. For particularly stubborn dirt, gently use a soft brush. After cleaning, dry your solid wood desk thoroughly to prevent any water damage.
After a deep clean, we recommend applying a hard wax oil. All of our furniture is finished with this protective, water-repellent product, and we suggest this is reapplied at least every six months. This quick drying blend of natural oils and waxes offers exceptional durability, especially when followed by an application of a polishing wax.
Other ways of ensuring your solid wood desk lasts as long as possible include:
- The avoidance of direct sunlight or heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators where possible - these can cause the wood to warp
- The use of coasters to prevent water stains from forming on the surface of the wood
- Keeping your desk in a stable environment - wood expands and contracts based on the level of humidity or the temperature
Restoring and Refinishing
Every few years, it’s a good idea to re-oil or re-wax your reclaimed wood desk entirely to keep the wood nourished and sealed. The original protective layer will naturally wear down as you use the desk, and you’ll find redoing this process will give your furniture a new lease of life. Check out our full range of reclaimed wood furniture maintenance kits for more information!
FAQs About Solid Wood Desks
What is the average lifespan of a solid wood desk?
On average, a solid wood desk can last between 10 and 15 years before you start seeing visible signs of ageing such as cracking, fading, or shrinkage. However, with the proper care and maintenance, a high-quality, handmade solid wood desk can last decades.
Can solid wood desks be customised to fit my space?
Yes! At The Bespoke Carpentry Co., our solid wood desks are handmade to order, which means we can customise them to your exact dimensions.
Are solid wood desks more expensive than other types of desks?
High-quality, handmade solid wood desks tend to come with a larger upfront investment than other desks which may be mass produced, poorly constructed or made from low-quality materials. However, solid wood desks have much longer lifespans, and can even be passed down as an heirloom when properly maintained. During this time, you’ll likely have needed to purchase multiple new low-quality desks.
Is it better to buy a pre-made desk or have one custom-built?
Custom-built solid wood desks can be more expensive, but this investment is worth it to have a desk which perfectly fits you, your needs, and your space. If you can find a pre-made desk which fits your desired dimensions, then go for it - however, sometimes it’s nice to know your desk is totally unique and made for you.
How do I choose the right wood variety for my desk?
Choosing the right wood variety for your desk depends on how often you’ll be using it, what type of desk you’re looking for, plus the final style you’d like. Hardwood furniture made from varieties such as walnut, oak, and ash are more durable than other woods, making them more suited for high traffic areas in the centre of busy family life. On the other hand, lighter woods such as pine can be stained more easily, making them a good choice for those desiring a monochrome colour palette. If you’re not sure what’s best for you - get in touch!
Are there eco-friendly options for solid wood desks?
Absolutely. The most eco-friendly type of solid wood desk is made from reclaimed wood. At The Bespoke Carpentry Co., every single piece of our handmade furniture is made from carefully selected reclaimed wood, keeping it out of landfill and giving these beautiful trees a new lease of life. Read more about our reclaimed wood process here.
Our experienced carpenters take our hand-selected pieces of genuine reclaimed wood and rework it into stunning pieces of office furniture, perfect for any home. Each piece is made to order, providing you with a piece which fits right into your workspace.