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Interior Design

Different Styles of Desks

While sending texts and emails may have largely replaced writing long letters, a desk remains an essential item in every home.  A great desk can be the focal point of any space dedicated to a hobby, academics or a job. Lucky for every home, there is a wide range of models. The following desk guide and design tips will leave the work behind when adding to your home’s style.


Ideal for the modern home, a secretary’s desk features a set of drawers for storage, a folding writing surface and a small cubby for display purposes. This classic also goes by the names secretaire, bureau, and escritoire. Whichever name you prefer, this charmer serves many purposes for almost every room. The desk typically comes in low or high heights. A low one would be exceptional in a bedroom, standing next to a leather, velvet or faux fur chair. Nautical themes that harness the wealth of drawers that some believed was a nod to a sea captain’s desk work well with those placed in the living or foyer. Glass-fronted options allow for ample display of vintage finds and essential reading materials. If a study is not available, create a reading nook with a cozy chair that can fit into any corner of your home.  


A writing desk is perfect for those who prefer a minimalist approach. While not known for expansive storage, this open desk has a large top/counter that is perfect for spreading out, if a laptop is the computer of choice. The conservative style works just as well in a bedroom or living room. To add visual interest, consider using a patterned or boldly hued rug. Create a gallery wall that inspires. Include framed motivating quotes done in calligraphy and photographs of famous authors to act as muses. Plants are also a great way to inspire the written word. Choose leafy selections that will not get in the way of your craft.  

Executive desk

An executive desk offers an abundance of drawer storage and surface space. They also provide a canvas for intricate designs and grandeur on their panels. Their timeless appeal encompasses an array of styles and shapes. They can be rectangular, L- or U-shaped. Choose gold trim and light work for a look that would fit in on Mount Olympus. Go for dark wood if the rest of the room is kept all-white or neutral. One way to add a touch of style with this type of desk is to play with lamps. Choose one in an unexpected color to showcase creativity or a unique shape, such as an oval or a salt lamp.

Roll-top desk

Featuring a moveable top crafted from horizontal wooden slates, the roll-top desk is a delight. Small cubbies or drawers are hidden by the covering, giving the homeowner privacy in their affairs. It is also an ideal canvas for a bold or varnish. Consider bright shades like apple green, rose gold or Living Coral. If feeling adventurous, paint the desk one color and the hood another. Put down a tarp to catch debris from sanding and cleaning the desk. Apply primer from the top down. Once dry, use latex enamel paint, avoid painting the track or slates. Find the right desk for your home, inspired by the April 1958 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.