4 Expert Tips To Choose An Executive Desk

An executive desk is the ultimate centerpiece for any office space. Of course, the desk you choose is primarily a practical decision. You'll need to consider how much working space you have, what storage comes available with the desk and how easy it makes organizing your work. However, an executive desk is inescapably just as aesthetic as it is practical.

Since this is the case, we've put together this list of expert tips to help you make the most practical and aesthetic decision possible.

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What materials are best for an executive desk?

First and foremost, the materials you choose to have your desk made of will determine not only its longevity and strength but also the options you have for finishing. Let's take a look at the commonly available material types and what advantages you'll get with each.


Hardwoods are almost universally considered the best materials for executive desks.  For starters, hardwoods have the greatest longevity of any other type of wood. Their densely packed fibers make them naturally resistant to humidity fluctuations, direct water exposure and temperature fluctuations. All of which cause lesser woods to flake, warp and quickly decay.

Hardwoods are also among the most aesthetically pleasing types of wood available for executive desks. Their natural wood grains make them incredible works of art once finished and lend themselves well to blending into several environments. Natural wood grains look exquisite in daylight or cool white lighting and blend well with both modern and traditional office décor.

Manufactured wood

Manufactured woods offer less than hardwoods do when it comes to longevity, but just as much when it comes to style and finish options. Manufactured woods are made by attaching a (typically) hardwood veneer, to plywood, softwood or MDF core, giving the finished product the appearance of genuine hardwood. Occasionally, this core can be made from hardwood in the highest quality manufactured wood.

If you must choose a desk made from manufactured wood, try to avoid MDF with hardwood veneers. MDF is a particulate wood and because of its porous nature is far more vulnerable to water damage and humidity than other types of wood.

A plywood or softwood core offers a lot more longevity than an MDF core, so we recommend going this route if you need to maintain a budget but insist on high-end style options.

 Rectangular Manufactured Wood Executive Desk
 U Shaped Manufactured Wood Executive Desk
Corner Manufactured Wood Executive Desk
L Shaped Manufactured Wood Executive Desk
Light Manufactured Wood Executive Desk
Modern Manufactured Wood Executive Desk


Executive desks are rarely made entirely of metal, but frame and drawer elements commonly are. Full- sized executive desks are already heavy objects on average, so making one entirely of metal is often unfeasible due to concerns for shipping and handling.

If you are set on having a metal executive desk, there are distinct advantages to having a metal desk over a solid hardwood one. First, metal desks are far more water and temperature resistant than wooden desks, meaning you won't have to be concerned about flaking, rotting or warping even in a home with a lot of temperature fluctuation.

Of course, metal can rust over long periods of time, even when not directly exposed to water, however, this can be avoided by a yearly re-finish.

Metal L-Shape Executive Desk
Simple Metal Executive Desk
Wood and Metal Executive Desks with Hutch
Modern Metal Executive Desk
White Wood and Metal Executive Desk
Industrial Metal L Shape Executive Desk

What styles of executive desks are available?

Now that you know what your desk will be made of, picking a shape is the next logical step. Shape largely determines how your desk will interact with your office and surrounding décor. Here's our expert take on the common desk shapes available.


The standard office desk offers exactly what you'd expect when it comes to both style and space optimization. Standard desk shapes work best when centered in your office as they are designed for display on all sides.

Standard desk shapes can be limited when it comes to leg room and working space, given their design and they don't offer much variety for creative placement. Putting a standard shaped desk into a corner can create a cramped feeling that doesn't necessarily lend itself to long periods of productivity.

Standard Wooden Executive Desk
Standard Brown Wood Executive Desk
Wood and Glass Standard Executive Desk
Grey Wood Standard Executive Desk
Black and White Standard Executive Desk
Dark Wood Standard Executive Desk

L-shaped desks

L-shaped desks offer the best balance of space optimization, style and working surface area. Office corners tend to be very underutilized parts of the room and as we briefly covered in the previous section on standard desk shapes, placing a desk in the corner of your office can feel cramped and thus unproductive. L-shaped desks solve both problems by maximizing the value of office corners and by doubling your working surface area and legroom.

L-shaped desks have the added benefit of offering two options when it comes to working background and thus focus. For instance, if your office features a window, the optimal position for your desk is probably the corner that sits flush against the window. Once your desk is positioned here, your desktop monitor or laptop can be placed against the wall, to facilitate focus, while you can shift to your window view for handling lighter work.

L-shaped desks also work well as central office pieces and don't necessarily need to be relegated to a corner. Corner positioned L-shaped desks often necessitate a coffee table or separate set up for having in-office meetings, which can bring additional expenses.

Medium L-shaped Executive Desk
L-Shaped Standing Executive Desk
Black and Brown L-Shape Executive Desk
Modern L-Shape Corner Executive Desk
Light Wood L-Shaped Executive Desk
Reversible L-Shape Executive Desk

U-shaped desks

U-Shaped desks offer an incredible amount of working space and can offer just as much legroom. They are normally secondto none with regard to space but can become cramped if you choose a poorly proportioned model.

U-shaped desks do not offer as many placement options as L-shaped desks and almost always require central office placement to maximize their utility and comfort. On the other hand, U-shaped desks offer a multitude of configuration options for monitor placement, file storage and in-office meeting space, so you're unlikely to need auxiliary meeting space as in the case of L-shaped desks.

Reversible U-Shape Executive Desk with Hutch
Brown and White U-Shape Executive Desk with Hutch
2 Piece U-Shaped Executive Desk
Manufactured Wood U-Shape Executive Desk with Hutch
U-Shape Executive Desk in White and Black

T-shaped desks

T-shaped desks are designed like very minimalist, standard shaped desks. Instead of filled outsides and 1 or 2 drawers, T-shaped desks instead simply have two legs and a working desk area. At most, you can expect one very shallow drawer for storing miscellaneous objects.

T -shaped desks are designed for focused work and don't lend themselves to having a workspace with much variety. On the other hand, they are fantastic for space-saving and work well in offices that are adjoined to other rooms, like a kitchen or bedroom. They also work well in offices that are exceedingly small.

Most desks that can shift between standing and sitting modes are T-shaped, and there can be some health benefits to investing in a standing, T-shaped desk.

C-bow desks

C-bow desks are also remarkably similar to standard office desks but have a bow or curve on the opposite side of the desk, which makes a pleasant surface area for short office meetings. The bow lends itself well to creating an inviting atmosphere when the need for a 1 to 1 meeting arises and eliminates the need for a coffee table or separate meeting space in an office.

If you do choose to have a more relaxed meeting space in addition to your desk, the C-bow design so resembles the standard that it does not lose value as an aesthetic centerpiece.

C Bow Front Executive Desk
Grey Wood Bow Front Executive Desk
Light Wood C Bow Executive Desk
Brown and Grey C-Bow Executive Desk
Bow Front Wooden Executive Desk
Bow Front Executive Desk with Hutch

What finishes should suit an executive desk?

In addition to standard desk shapes, there are a plethora of style options available for executive desks. Chrome finished drawer handles and keyholes are status quo in most models, so expect to find those consistently when searching through styles.

Wooden finishes work well in a variety of environments, but if you have an office with a dark theme and large windows consider a dark driftwood veneer for your desk, matched with chrome drawer handles and legs. The contrast of chrome against driftwood finishes makes a rather bold statement.

Swirl-cut mahogany veneers match well against hardwood flooring and wall paneling, so desks brandishing these veneers tend to be exquisite additions to older office buildings like established law firms. They also do well in elaborate home offices designed with reading and lengthy work hours in mind, especially when matched against darker themed furniture

If your office is designed with a lighter or beige themed décor, then a sandstone desk with a touch of black could be a delicious style choice for you. Sandstone blends well with light colors, like peach, pine or fresh aqua and black accents provide a startling contrast that makes your desk a centerpiece and not a mere piece of furniture.

Cherry Wood Executive Desk
Dark Wood Executive Desk
Simple Dark Wood Executive Desk
Grey Wood Modern Executive Desk
Ash Grey Wood Executive Desk
Dark Grey Large L-Shape Executive Desk

What features should an executive desk have?

There are a couple of features that add a tremendous amount of value to your desk, without driving the price too high, let's take a quick look at them to wrap things up.


A hutch can be a valuable addition to your office space if you are sacrificing storage space for having a larger, more comfortable desk. Hutches increase your available storage space, without compromising extra floor space in your office.

When purchasing an elaborate desk for a home office, a hutch with a natural wood grain finish can give you a feeling of coziness and add some depth to your room.

Power and data outlets

Some desks come with integrated power and data outlets, allowing for easy cable management and an extra level of convenience. Most office jobs and businesses rely on the internet and the use of a computer to some extent, so having a source built directly into your desk can minimize cable clutter and maximize visual appeal.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.