Computer Desk Vs Writing Desk: The Differences

Computer Desk Vs Writing Desk

Choosing the right desk is something many professionals and hobbyists have to endure. For those interested, knowing which desk is right for you depends on your primary needs. Are you working with a computer or is this mainly a writing desk? What are the differences between a computer and a writing desk?

Writing desks are designed much differently than computer desks. A desk for writing usually has a more classic look to it, while computer desks are larger and meant to accommodate more surface space. There are also new models of desks that have hybrid qualities.

Understanding the differences between a writing and a computer desk is important. If you require a desk to fit certain work specifications, it is wise to seek out a desk that will fit these specs. Choosing a proper desk does require some forethought. Now that you know there are differences, read on to explore the exact qualities of these desks so you can choose the right one for you.

Specifics of Computer Desks

Computer Desk
Computer Desk

In short, computer desks are primarily used for computer-based work. These desks are optimized for making work on a computer easier. There are certain qualities that computer desks will hold. These qualities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Large desk surface area to accommodate desktop monitors and laptops
  • Storage spaces for desktop processors
  • Holes for cable lines and wires
  • Simple DIY assembly
  • Some drawers or cubbies

The main purpose of a computer desk is to cater to a computer. There are computer desks that will include additional storage spaces and accessories, yet these are not as common. Most computer desks cut down on drawers and other accessories to make more room for the computer. This is especially important when factoring in the size of your computer and its components.

Some computers and their components are large and will require specific accommodations in terms of a desk. Other computers may be smaller and may not require as much accommodation. There are also variances in computer stations that you should be aware of. These variances can occur both at home and in places of business.

Computer Desk vs. Computer Table

There are computer desks and computer tables. There are tables on the market that are made for computers, yet these are quite different from desks. Pay attention to the following when looking for a computer desk:

  • Computer desks will appear like desks you would see at an office or home. 
  • Tables are made and utilized for elongated working areas such as office spaces.
  • Household tables can also be used for computer stations.

It is important to note that tables are not a full-fledged replacement for computer desks. If you choose a table for work-related activities, then it is recommended to specifically use that table only for your work. Try not to use the table for any other activities or social gatherings outside of your work.

This is important to keep an organized work area. If you use a table in lieu of a desk, use it strictly for your work. That way everything you will need can be organized and undamaged.

Specifics of Writing Desks

Writing Desk
Writing Desk

Writing desks are a little harder to strictly define. Writing desks have been around for much longer than computer desks and therefore have had more universal use in the past. Writing desks can be identified by looking for the following features:

  • Small desk surface area
  • Drawers and cubbies are available
  • Additional storage capacity
  • Flat finished back for varied room placement
  • A “classic” esthetic look

As mentioned, writing desks are much older than computer desks. Due to this, writing desks will have an older look to them. A writing desk today will appear like something you would see in an old schoolhouse on the prairie. Their classic look makes them attractive to writers who have an interest in old-world esthetics. 

Writing desks incorporate a lot of storage space for items such as paper and pens. Their surface area is also fairly small, necessary only for writing on paper or laptops. The surface area of a writing desk is not very conducive for large desktop computers. They also lack the built-in utilities necessary to hold large desktop computers.

Can a Writing Desk Be Used for a Computer?

Various factors determine whether a writing desk can also be used for a computer. You may like the esthetic of a writing desk but are curious as to how your computer may fit with it. Writing desks can be utilized for computers as long as you pay attention to the following factors:

  • The smaller the computer the better. Writing desks are not built to accommodate large desktop computers and they also lack the portholes for cables and wires.
  • The best computer to utilize at a writing desk would be a laptop. As long as it can all fit within the limited surface area of the desk.
  • Make sure your writing desk can fit in the space where the computer can be utilized properly.

It is best to use a writing desk primarily for writing purposes. If you have a small computer that can fit on the writing desk then it can be used for such. Writing desks do have unique looks to them that many may find attractive yet will not be writing much by hand. As long as your small computer can fit the specifications of the writing desk in question, then it should be fine.

Differences Between a Writing and Computer Desk

Now that writing and computer desks have been defined, it is necessary to dive into the exact differences between the two. This is especially important in terms of desk utility. When pondering the differences between and computer and a writing desk, keep the following in mind:

  • Computer desks are designed specifically for computers, especially larger desktop computers. 
  • Writing desks, while can be used for small computers, are not primarily designed for computer use.
  • Computer desks will incorporate parts designed to maximize the utility of a computer and its space in a building.
  • Writing desks have a classic esthetic that can be attractive, yet is limited on what its overall utility can be.
  • Computer desks are designed to hold the equipment of a large desktop computer and its corresponding cables.
  • Writing desks are not designed to hold equipment for computers unless modified to do so.
  • A writing desk height between 27″ to 29″ versus a computer desk height range between 29″ and 30″ from the floor to the tabletop.

The differences between a writing and computer desk are not too difficult to see once you know what to look for. It is important to parse out these differences beforehand so you can make a more fully informed decision in terms of the desk you need. As mentioned, computer and writing desks have different utilities based on their designs.

Now that the exact differences have been defined, many may be curious as to what desk will work best for them. There are various factors that may make one type of desk more appealing than another. The first step to making a more informed decision is taking the various factors into account beforehand. 

Is a Table a Good Replacement for a Desk?

As mentioned, tables can be used as replacements for writing and computer desks. Tables bring more challenges with them, however. Keep the following in mind if you are considering a table instead of a proper desk:

  • Tables enable bad sitting posture for working
  • Increased strain to the wrists and shoulders
  • Longer distance to a monitor if using a computer
  • Little to no storage availability
  • No cable ports 
  • Sizing for small spaces need to be taken into account

Tables can be used as replacements for desks, yet there are many drawbacks to doing so. If you need a reliable workstation with organization and accessories for your work, a desk is the best route to take. Only use a table for your workstation if absolutely necessary. 

Which Desk Will Work Better for You?

It may seem straightforward, yet some may struggle with knowing which desk will be right for them. It really depends on what you will be doing the most at a given desk in question. When deciding on the right desk for you, consider the following:

  • What is the main body of work you will do at the desk? If you are mainly working with computers and need the necessary equipment, then a computer desk is likely the best option.
  • Do you need extra storage or accessory space? If the desk will not be used mainly as a computer station, then a simple writing desk can suffice.
  • How much space do you have available for a desk? Computer desks take up more space than writing desks.
  • How much time will you be spending at the desk? Computer desks tend to be suited better for long sitting periods, though some writing desks also do well for this.

There are quite a few things to consider before choosing a computer or writing desk. Some may see a desk as a dull workstation that will work well with just about any situation. Desks work well for specific purposes, however. It is always wise to know what specific purposes said desk will be used for. 

By taking the following factors into account, you will know which desk is best for you beforehand. The more research is done the more informed a consumer will be. The more informed a consumer is, the happier they will be with their purchases.

Working at a Computer or Writing Desk

Perhaps the greatest factor to consider is what you will be doing at your desk. If you are someone who works mainly with computers, then a proper computer desk is the best option. The following work and careers will likely do best with a computer desk:

  • Graphic Designers
  • Software Developers
  • Gamers
  • General Office Work

There are fields that can be a little more intricate, however. What if you work at an office with computer equipment yet also need handy storage space for hand-written documents and notes? Your desk will need to accommodate both a computer and writing station in this case.

  • Secretaries and administrative assistants often need both computers and storage space for hand-written documents and notes.
  • Professional writers also require desks with considerable storage space for documents, notes, and print-outs of their work for hard-copy reference. 

In this case, choosing a good desk may seem more challenging. There are desks that can utilize both spaces for computer equipment and storage for written materials. It is best to check the specs of a desk beforehand to ensure it can accommodate both needs. 

Room Space for Computer and Writing Desks

You should always consider the space your desk is intended for before purchasing. Homes and offices will have finite spaces and other furnishings must also be considered. Consider the following about your spaces before purchasing a computer or writing desk:

  • How big is the space (either home or office) intended to hold the computer or writing desk? Computer desks are often larger than writing desks and may not fit in small spaces.
  • Can you make do with a smaller desk if your space is limited? If you need computer equipment in place, then you will need to make sure it is small enough to fit.

Finite space is a challenge many will deal with when considering a writing or computer desk. As mentioned, make sure to take your spaces into account before settling on a specific desk. A nice desk will do you little good if you cannot fit it into the space you need it in.

Time Spent at a Computer and Writing Desk

It is good to look into desks that will fit your schedule needs. Many who work at desks find themselves doing so for considerable amounts of time a day. If you are planning to spend long amounts of time in a day at your desk, it is best to consider the following:

  • Will the desk be suited for your comfort and support? Some desks are better suited than others for certain people and their comfortability. 
  • Does the desk offer enough space for legroom? Taller people may need to stretch their legs every now and then.
  • Is the height of the desk surface conducive to your arm and shoulder height? Desks can be fitted for certain people’s sizes and heights.

Spending long amounts of time a day at a computer will strain your back, shoulders, and wrists. It is always wise to make sure your computer or writing desk will offer maximum comfortability when working long hours there. The more uncomfortable you are, the less productive you will ultimately be.

Where Do You Put a Writing Desk?

Writing desks often have a different esthetic than computer desks. Due to this, writing desks will have different requirements for room placement. Many computer desks are built with flat backs designed to fit against walls and corners of a room. Writing desks are slightly different. 

  • Some writing desks are suited for walls or corners, yet others are made to be the centerpieces of a room. 
  • Picture when you walk into the manager’s office during a job interview. Your interviewer is not sitting at a desk in the corner with their back facing you. Their desk is usually centered in the room, facing you as you walk in.
  • This is a style of writing desk known classically as escritoire, or secretarial. These desks are designed to be centerpieces to the room.

In this case, your writing desk should be situated in a space with enough room to accommodate the desk in its center. Many writing desks on the market are made in escritoire style and therefore will likely not work against a wall or room corner. It is designed to face the entrance to the room, facing anyone directly as they walk in. This style of design is intended for specific uses, however.  

Escritoire writing desks are usually meant for places of business. You can utilize one for a home, though its practicality may be in question unless you run a business out of your home. In general, these desks are usually for formal business purposes rather than recreation or hobby work. There are always exceptions, of course. 

Not all writing desks are made in escritoire style, though many are. Research the desk specifications carefully. It is wise to know exactly where you want to place a writing desk before purchasing one.


Computer and writing desks are distinct from each other. Each desk offers different utilities specific to their intended use. Some writing desks can be used for small computers such as laptops, yet are not built to store heavy computer equipment. 

Computer desks are designed primarily for desktop computers and their equipment. Writing desks are primarily designed for storage and hand-written work. Some work may require the use of both desk types, however. 

Always research the specifications of a desk and know their intended uses beforehand. Certain work requires certain workstations and conditions and it is always wise to take every factor into account before committing to a purchase.



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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