Desk Design

A Brief Guide to Desk Design

The standards relating to desk design and construction are BS 6396 (wire management), BS 7179 (design ergonomics for VDU workers), BS 4875 (strength and stability) and BS EN ISO 9241-5:1999 (ergonomic requirements for office work with VDU screens).

The desk footprint.

With the older type of Computer Monitors (VDUs) which were large and bulky, in order to arrange the workstation to comply with the regulations, a desk with a large corner section was required like this:-


However, with today's flat screen monitors the desk footprint    can be much smaller with 'Wave' shaped desks being popular, such as these.

Desk Design
Or where space is a premium , such as in call centres, rectangular desks                            


The desk construction.

Type: Panel end, this is where the back and sides of the desk are constructed from the similar laminated materials to the top.

These desks are usually the least expensive type.


Type: Framed, with these desks the main structure is a metal frame, usually in a powder    coated finish.


These desks usually cost more, but then you gain some leg room and the design can have additional features such as:-

Cable Management                              

Power and data/telecom cables with flyleads can be incorporated within the metal frames, minimising trailing leads and similar safety hazards.




Laminated boards - The most durable and also least expensive desk top is constructed from particle board with a melamine laminate, often in a simulated timber finish.

However, beware, the cheap office furniture is often constructed from 18mm thick boards which are rather flimsy and hardly up to the job.

All desks that we recommend are constructed with 25mm minimum thick tops.

Veneered boards - When quality furniture is required, furniture is constructed with particle boards with real wood veneers which are finished with a tough polyurethane (or similar) wood sealer. The veneer finish has a far superior appearance, but is much more susceptible to mechanical damage and may stain if, for instance, a hot coffee cup is left on it for long.


The least expensive type of desk pedestal is fixed to the desk top and side and is therefore known as a Fixed Pedestal.


Underdesk Pedestals provide more flexibility and are usually fitted with castors for ease of movement.


Desk Height Pedestals can provide additional desk worktop space, whilst incorporating the largest capacity style of pedestal. These do not usually have castors.