Best Types of Wood for Desks

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Choosing a suitable home office desk is a rather personal affair. Your desk at home is the focus of your individual, private space. When you sit at your desk, you want to be comfortable and practical with all your stuff at arm’s reach.

Your desk should also be sturdy but look good as well so that it complements your surroundings. The most critical factor in all of the above will come down to the species of wood you choose.

As the cost of wooden furniture rises, it’s not surprising that many DIYers opt to build their own work desks. But whether you end up making your own desk or are in the market for buying one, this article will help guide you to decide which type of wood is the right choice based on your intended use, budget and personal style.

Choosing A Suitable Home Office Desk

Wooden desk and chair (Image: StockSnap)

Functionality Aspect

Ask yourself what you want to do at your desk. Are you into heavy design work or gaming where you need to use multiple monitors? Or do you need a writing desk with perhaps a small laptop on the side? Do you work with an assistant who needs a bit of space when they sit opposite you? What about your storage requirements? Your desk should meet your specific requirements.

Defining Your Tasks

If you use a desktop computer with several accessories, you need to provide it—wiring holes and channels, a pull-out shelf for your keyboard, and so on. In case you deal with a lot of paperwork, then you need more work area on your desktop. If you refer to books, an attached bookshelf helps.

Space Considerations

Select your desk with the available space in mind. You need to plan where to put your desk, then allow for movement, doors and windows opening, and so on. You also need to leave a 3½-foot gap behind the desk for pulling out your chair.

Types Of Desks

In line with the above points, you can have the following types of desks:

Regular Desks

Monarch Specialties Computer Desk with File Cabinet - Left or Right Set- Up - 48" L (Brown Reclaimed Wood Look)
Brown Reclaimed Wood Computer Desk. See on Amazon.

These desks come in different shapes and sizes depending on the available space.

Corner Desks

Bush Furniture Cabot L Shaped Computer Desk in Harvest Cherry
Harvest Cherry wood corner desk. See on Amazon.

A corner desk is a good option for use in a compact room.

Floating Desks

Walnut Floating Desk
Walnut Floating Desk. See on Amazon.

We fix floating desks to the wall, and you need to stand up at them.

Credenza Desks

Bush Business Furniture Series C Elite 60W x 24D Desk Shell, Credenza, Return in Hansen Cherry
Hansen Cherry credenza desk. See on Amazon.

A credenza desk may stand in a dining or sitting room in a small space or passage due to the non-availability of space elsewhere.

Recommended Types of Wood for Making Wooden Desks

The selection of material is an essential factor that enables you to express your style through your desk.   Let us then embark upon the details of the different varieties of wood that we can use for wooden desks.

Oak Wood

Oak Wood
Oak Wood (Image: William Warby)

Solid oak is a common choice of wood for making desks. Oakwood is sturdy and durable, and you can enhance its looks through some great finishes and colors. Although oak can be expensive, the wood lasts a lifetime literally, if appropriately maintained. So when considering the price, keep in mind the extra money spent on oakwood furniture is often justified in the long run.

Salient Features Of Oak

  • Appearance: Medium to dark brown
  • Durability: Extremely durable if maintained properly
  • Hardness: 1290 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.6-0.9 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: it responds well to both hand and machine tools
  • Cost: Expensive in most regions of the US because it’s considered imported

Cherry Wood

Cherry Wood
Cherry Wood (Image: CG Masters)

A desk made of cherry wood creates a dramatic effect in any office space. Your choices of finishes may get limited because of the darkness of this wood. However, it is this same dark reddish-brown that makes it such sought-after lumber. You need to take care while working cherry wood and also while maintaining it as it quickly shows scratches due to wear and tear.

Salient Features Of Cherry Wood

  • Appearance: Reddish-brown
  • Durability: Highly-durable if maintained properly
  • Hardness: 950 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.38-0.56 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easily workable, and takes nails and screws well and glues well, too.
  • Cost: Moderately expensive to highly expensive

Maple Wood

Maple Wood
Maple Wood (Image: HRYMX)

Maple is a popular choice for making desks due to its durability and reasonable price. It comes in a variety of finishes, but all in lighter shades. If a maple desk is not subjected to heavy abuse, it will last for several years.

This wood takes dark stain quite well but tends to be splotchy, so you need considerable skill while applying it. Although moisture-resistant, maple is susceptible to attack by insects. Hence, ensure that your maple desk is treated with an insecticide for longer life.

You also need to keep in mind that maple is a softwood so the wear and tear show up more quickly. You need to maintain a Maplewood desk regularly for the best results.

Salient Features Of Maple

  • Appearance: Light, yellowish-brown
  • Durability: Highly durable if treated with insecticide
  • Hardness: 1400-1500 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.71-0.85 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work by hand and machines, but the tendency to burn by high-speed cutters.
  • Cost: Medium-priced

Walnut Wood

Walnut Wood
Walnut Wood (Image: Geraint Morgan)

If you want to create a stunning impression, you can do so with a walnut desk, preferably with a high polish.

Walnut wood is renowned for its strength and good looks. It enjoys a highly durable rating, but can still fall prey to insect attacks, so insecticide treatment is in order.

With a clear varnish, the beauty of walnut gets enhanced. This wood takes on furniture wax easily so that you can get a glossy, natural-looking desktop.

Salient Features Of Walnut

  • Appearance: Straight grain with natural luster in deep brown
  • Durability: Highly-durable if treated for insects
  • Hardness: 1,000-1,100 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.49-0.70 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with but with a tendency to planer tearout
  • Cost: Expensive


Pinewood (Image: decar66)

You will find no difficulty in working with pinewood due to its extreme softness. However, it is this softness that brings in the need to be careful about how you work it. This wood is prone to dents and scratches, so you need to handle it with care. Even the finished product needs to be maintained carefully for the same reason.

Pinewood has a yellowish, light brown color and you get many knots and reddish-brown striations in the grain. However, if you are careful about how you finish it, you can have a great-looking desktop in no time.

Salient Features Of Pine Wood

  • Appearance: Yellowish, light brown with several knots and striations
  • Durability: Needs careful maintenance as it is susceptible to dents and scratches
  • Hardness: 380-410 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.35-0.51 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to cut and machine
  • Cost: Cheap


Choosing a suitable home office desk poses quite a challenge. You have to take into consideration so many factors to get a suitable desk. However, whether you live in a rented space or your own property, your desk is your haven. It’s a place where you go to be on your own. To work things out. To plan and strategize.

You need to have a desk that looks good, has all that you need at hand, and offers physical comfort. Using all the information that we have provided here; you should be able to find an excellent desk for your needs. We hope you find this post useful and you find your ideal desk from which you will do many great things!

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