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The best small desks will transform your work from home set-up, offering a dedicated workspace, a useful storage solution, and – thanks to some well-crafted design – make for a stylish addition to the interior to boot.
As more of us embrace hybrid work types that no longer mean five days a week in the office, making our homes work harder to reflect shifts in lifestyle is high on most of our agendas, whether that's swapping out a guest bed for a sleeper sofa so we can transform a spare bedroom into a home office, or utilizing every square inch of our apartment space to create designated zones for socializing, relaxing, and yes, working.
Whether you need to go super-low footprint with a desk shelf or desk ladder, have the space to combine some hidden storage with a hideaway bureau desk, or just need an option that comes in (well) under the 50" width mark, there is a desk out there for you, with options from MENU, L.Ercolani, Nikari, and many more, providing the answers to small space working.
As such, we've rounded up the best small desks on the Livingetc team's radar; proving you don't need to have acres of floor or wall space to conjure the type of workspace that will make you eager to open the laptop.
12 small desks for the bedroom, living room, or home office
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1. MENU Rail Desk
Size: H8 x W36 x D18" | Finishes: natural or dark veneer-coated oak
If floor space is at a premium then MENU's wall-mounted Rail desk is about as low footprint as you can go, although the 18" deep surface still offers a good amount of space for a laptop or notebook. Available in a light or dark veneered oak finish, you can hang this minimalist number at any height you like to get the right level with your most comfortable chair, and, when the workday is done, just clear the decks and turn it into a place to display your favorite objet.
2. Nikari November Ash Desk
Size: H32 x W47 x D25" | Finishes: oiled ash wood
Finnish brand Nikari is known for its well-crafted furniture and simple Scandinavian style that combines modern design with traditional Finnish craftsmanship. In keeping with the brand's preference for honoring the natural beauty of its sustainably-managed timber, the November desk allows the ash wood grain to shine through, with the clean lines, straightforward structure, and simple design details – like the extended tabletop and handleless drawers – letting the material do the talking.
3. L.Ercolani Treviso Desk
Size: H34 x W48 x D23" | Finishes: oak or walnut
Founded by Italian-born furniture maker, Lucian Ercolani, L.Ercolani is today guided by an appreciation of wood in its most natural form and a commitment to sustainable design and the highest standards of environmental stewardship in its production processes. The solid wood Treviso desk is the perfect example of this, offering a timeless design that combines elegance, heirloom status, and modern functionality, with multiple storage drawers, carefully thought out cable management and plenty of well-considered details that make it a joy to use.
4. Jonathan Adler Bond Desk
Size: H31 x W45 x D20" | Finishes: mappa wood and acrylic
Whilst its size isn't insignificant, the clear acrylic side panels of Jonathan Adler's Bond desk offer some visual-trickery that helps the piece to almost disappear, with the burled mappa wood desk top appearing to float in mid-air; the perfect way to eliminate furniture 'bulk' in a smaller living space. And the design tricks don't stop there, with concealed drawers and hidden pulls offering useful storage space that doesn't disrupt the clean silhouette. Stash your work-from-home essentials away when the workday is finished, and it transforms back into a statement console.
5. MENU Eclipse Desk
Size: H30 x W63 x D31.5" | Finishes: dark-oiled oak
The Eclipse desk might not officially qualify as 'small', but the curved, asymmetrical shape does give you options on placement that a straight-edged desk may not; namely that you can sit this desk angled into a corner, which, depending on your room layout, could enable better use of space. Crafted in solid oiled oak, the pebble-shaped tabletop is fitted with a lid that lifts to reveal a hidden storage bucket in the metal column leg, ensuring the surface of the desk remains clutter-free, whilst the curvaceous lines and playful leg proportions keep your eye roving around its form; eliminating any bulk that the dark and dramatic design may otherwise possess.
6. String Work Desk Shelving
Size: H79 x W32 x D23" | Finishes: multiple
First designed by Swedish architect and designer Nils Strinning in 1949, String shelving is a streamlined system of expandable shelving that offers almost unlimited scope to extend, add, subtract and tailor the configuration to the needs of your home, as well as providing a useful wall-hung option for a workspace. The iconic ladder-like side panels of the String system can be combined with shelves, magazine racks, work desks, folding tables, chests, and cabinets to meet storage needs – and create work-from-home space – pretty much anywhere in the house.
7. Jonathan Adler Arcade Console/Desk
Size: H30.5 x W50 x D20.5" | Finishes: leather and brass
Just because you're trying to squeeze in a small desk without it disrupting the flow of a room, doesn't mean it can't bring its own statement style, and Jonathan Adler's Arcade console table/desk is certainly no shrinking violet. Inspired by the storied arches of the Colosseum amphitheatre in Rome, the table reimagines the architecture's iconic motifs in moody curves and colors, with a top-stitched leather clad frame and arched polished brass base delivering the designer's signature glamorous style.
8. Blu Dot Stash Desk
Size: H30 x W42 x D24" | Finishes: multiple
Small, with welcome simplicity, and relatively affordable, the Stash desk delivers everything a small desk needs to, including – in keeping with its vintage school desk-inspired design – a compact but conveniently located 'pencil' drawer that can be assembled left or right. The compact solid wood desk is available in seven finishes, including colorful marine blue and olive, as well as walnut and white oak veneer, plus several two-toned options for tailoring the look to your home.
9. Lemieux et Cie Brenne Burl Console Table
Size: H30 x W52" x D24" | Finishes: burled wood veneer
Designed by Lemieux et Cie in collaboration with Anthropologie, the Brenne Burl desk encapsulates designer Christiane Lemieux's 'artisanal modernism' approach, drawing influence from 20th-century artisan ateliers and the storied history of curvilinear furniture. A bleached burl veneer emulates the much sought after decorative appearance of the burled wood that forms from overgrown knots and outgrowths found within a tree's trunk, whilst oversized column legs add stature. Use as an alternative to a straight-edged desk to create a focal-point workspace, or utilise the organic curves to set up a corner desk layout.
10. Design Within Reach Risom Desk
Size: H29 x W42 x D22" | Finishes: walnut, oak, ebonized oak plus six leather options
Originally dubbed “the little one” by designer Jens Risom for its scaled-down size, the eponymously named Risom desk does indeed scale down the classic desk into a more compact form. Crafted from solid wood – in one of three options of walnut, oak, or ebonized oak – with a leather-clad top that's protected with a stain-resistant finish – in six color options ranging from forest green to plum – the contemporary yet mid-Century influenced design forms the perfect writing or working surface. It also includes a discreet drawer with a removable solid wood tray for desk accessories.
11. Arhaus Sullivan Hideaway Desk
Size: H63 x W37.5 x D17" | Finishes: black, dark or light oak wood
Despite its small footprint, the cleverly designed Sullivan unit offers a vast amount of storage space, alongside its ingeniously concealed 'hideaway' desk, which makes it a great multifunctional investment. Handcrafted from sustainably sourced, reclaimed European oak wood that is salvaged from wooden beams, the three finish options are complemented by oversized iron hardware. However, its rustic origins are combined with plenty of modern detailing, including cord management holes to accommodate electrical devices in the hinged desk compartment, drawers under-mounted on glides, and adjustable storage compartments designed to house both legal and standard-size files.
12. Case Celine Desk
Size: H30 x W43 x D22" | Finishes: black, oak and walnut veneer
Inspired by the clean lines of mid-Century architecture, and with more than just a nod to Sixties Atomic styling, Nazanin Kamali's Celine desk is pared down just to the essentials; a streamlined desktop with a slim drawer and an open cubby for storage, all atop some dramatically tapered solid wood legs. Available in four colorways, including a striking all-black option that makes the most of the distinctive silhouette, a softer oak or walnut-veneered finish with contrasting white drawer, and a statement black and walnut combination, this desk looks as good in a modern condo as it does in a true mid-Century home.
Small desks: a buying guide
It goes without saying that the biggest consideration when shopping for a small desk to squeeze into a tight space is going to be size, so before you invest, measure, measure, and measure again!
However, dimensions aren't the only thing worth considering when shopping for a small desk for the bedroom, home office, or living room. We've compiled some top tips to help you source the right design for your home.
Floor-based or floating?
If you're really pushed for space then it can often be best to think outside the box when it comes adding a workspace. Multifunctional furniture is most certainly the friend of any apartment or tiny home dweller, so consider options that offer a desk component alongside other useful functions, like shelving or storage space.
String's modular shelving systems are fantastic for providing endless configuration options, whether you opt for a single section, or build out an entire wall to create a bespoke storage system tailored exactly to your needs.
Ladder desks can be another useful option, offering one of the smallest footprints, or consider a dedicated piece of storage furniture that opens up to reveal a desk that can then be closed up and hidden away when it's not in use.
Straight lines or curves?
Whilst you might think that limited floor space means you need to look for the desk with the tiniest proportions, it can sometimes work to be a little bolder in your vision.
A curved desk won't push back against the wall, but it will enable you to make full use of a – potentially otherwise unused – corner space, or an awkward alcove. Plus, those organic lines will create a focal point that will make your desk feel a lot more statement than squashed-in.
As this will be a centerpiece to the room, pay attention to materials, and look for a desk with a striking color, patina, or wood grain.
More small space living ideas...
If space is at a premium, then you need to work smart when planning your interior decor. But, thankfully, that doesn't have to mean compromising on style. Browse our small bedroom ideas for some clever tricks to help you to maximize every inch of your sleeping space, our small living room section for design tools to maximize a less-than-spacious lounge, and discover our experts' top tips for turning a small kitchen into the heart of the home.
The Livingetc Newsletter
For style leaders and design lovers.
Amy’s eye for colour, form and composition was honed in the design studio, creating surface patterns for the interiors industry. Here she developed her knowledge of key design principles and gained a deeper understanding of how a space can influence our sense of wellbeing.
Amy’s own style is considered, contemporary and timeless, with a strong interest in contemporary craft and homewares that champion collaboration between traditional makers and innovative technologies. A belief that design must exist in balance with the natural world fuels her interest in exploring sustainable, circular, and regenerative design processes and underpins her passion for natural materials and responsible craftsmanship.
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