Time for a desk upgrade? Before you splash the cash, you might want to stop and think a little.
Freelancers, home-workers, gamers, artists, musicians…this list of people who now have a computer desk in their home goes on and on. Desks are even a fun topic for psychologists. But for each person who uses a desk, there’s a different desk size that fits their needs.
So how to work out which size is right for you? Below, we’re taking a look at some of the key factors that will help you decide.
What’s the Use?
You don’t want to spend more than you need on something you don’t use.
First, think about what you use your desk for. That’ll help determine your desk size.
If your computer desk is somewhere you briefly set up a laptop while you do paperwork, you probably don’t want to go crazy with it. On the other hand, if you’re an artist you might want something larger or more complex.
Even “gaming” isn’t a straight-forward answer. A mouse-and-keyboard die-hard will have different needs than someone who wants all the peripherals.
Start out by deciding what you need out of your desk. That’ll give you a general sense of the desk size you’re aiming for. Then you can get to the more specific needs.
Of course, the hard limiter on your desk size will be the available space.
Opting for a massive L-shaped executive desk will leave you scratching your head when it’s time to install it in your tiny apartment. That’s obviously an extreme example, but it’s better to take the measurements of your intended desk space than risk embarrassment.
Don’t just consider the length of the desk, either.
Measure out the space you want your desk to occupy – height, width, and depth. Take note of any other piece of furniture or equipment that might limit you, like a radiator. The more information you have, the more likely you are to get it right.
The Feng Shui
It’s not just about the physical space you have, however. You’ll also want to consider the general look of your room.
If you have a home office, it’s not a problem if the desk dominates the room. But that’s not likely to be popular in a living room set-up.
A real executive type might choose a floating desk. That’s a free-standing desk in the middle of the room. If you opt for one of these, you may as well go as large as the space allows – it’s the centerpiece of the room anyway and more space is always useful.
The most common option is the wall desk. In a home office space, you can get away with something larger. But if it’s part of a multi-purpose room, you’ll likely want something that doesn’t aesthetically dominate.
Monitor the Situation
Second and even third monitors are increasingly popular with gamers and home workers.
Multiple monitors offer a few advantages over a single-monitor set-up, with the biggest being their multitask potential. But they also take up a lot of space.
If you’re running multiple monitors, you’ll want to factor that into your desk size considerations. You’ll need a bigger desk surface, and one not cluttered with features like raised plinths and shelves.
It’s not ergonomic to have your central monitor at an angle, either. That does mean a two-monitor setup can be an inefficient use of space – instead of two side-by-side, you’ll have one in the middle and the other at an angle. Be sure to take that into account when picking your design.
Whatever the case, if you have a multi-monitor set-up then you’ll want a wide, flat desk area. Aim for a larger surface unobscured by additional features.
Not a Lazybones?
Studies are slowly convincing many people of the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Bad news for gamers: clicking a mouse isn’t exercise. Anyone who spends a lot of time at a desk needs to think about what they’re doing to counteract its problems. That’s why many people are turning to adjustable desks as a partial solution.
If you are using an adjustable desk, you’ll have to put more thought into the desk’s height. A standing desk won’t be much use if furniture like overhead shelves gets in its way.
You might also want to give some thought to what you’ll do with your chair when you’re not using it. Make sure your desk leaves some room for it and you could cut down on the potential for clutter.
As we mentioned earlier, some people will use more peripherals with their set-up than others.
If you’re an artist, you might want a larger desk, or even one with drafting desk elements.
Gamers will want to base their choice on their niche. If you’re a flight-sim enthusiast, a bigger desk with modular, pull-out areas might work better. Driving enthusiasts will also want to factor in space for a wheel, as well as pedals in the footwell area.
If you do a lot of paperwork, you may be able to save a little on the overall desk size if you opt for a desk with better storage opportunities.
Of course, we haven’t even mentioned the most basic concern: the computer. If you’re using a desktop computer, you have the computer’s tower unit to consider. You’ll want to leave space beside your desk, under it, or get a desk with a compartment for it.
Anyone using their computer for a significant amount of time will probably want a good set of speakers, too. That means making sure you have enough surface area for a decent set-up, along with space on or under the desk for subwoofers.
Decide Your Desk Size
So there’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a desk. But if you think about these points in advance, you should save yourself from spending more than you need or buying a desk that doesn’t suit you.
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