Looking for a desk that lasts long and looks sophisticated at the same time? If past desks have let you down in terms of durability or design, you’re in luck.
We’ve compiled the finest wood options for desks to help you make the right choice.
From enduring hardwoods to versatile softwoods to distinctive exotic woods, we’ll go into each option and describe its unique set of attributes.
Read on to discover the perfect match for your workspace.
Best Wood Types for Desks: A Quick Look
|High; light to dark color, prominent grain
|High; dark color, elegant grain
|Moderate to heavy
|Moderate; light color, fine grain
|High; medium color, fine grain
|Moderate; light color, fine grain
|Moderate; light color, straight grain
|High; medium color, straight grain
|High; light to dark color, straight grain
|Very high; medium to dark color, distinctive grain
|Moderate; light color, clean grain pattern
|Very high; light color, wavy grain
The 11 Best Wood Types for Desks
Having explored the importance of selecting the right wood, check out our list of the 11 best wood types for desks.
1. Oak Wood
|Light beige, brown, red
|Prominent grain pattern; uneven texture
|Dense; high level of water resistance
Oak wood desks offer a timeless look due to their distinctive grain patterns and warm tones.
Additionally, oak is quite versatile and accepts stains and finishes well, allowing it to adapt to different styles.
Oak is also very durable and can hold up well to heavy equipment.
However, it is a heavier wood type, which might make furniture more difficult to move.
It is workable and can be modified for customization, but its hardness may require more effort to nail or sand. It has good scratch resistance due to its hardness.
As with any hardwood, oak can be more expensive than other materials, but the investment in quality will reward you with a long-lasting and attractive desk.
2. Walnut Wood
|Dark brown color with hints of gray, black
|Tightly grained; medium texture
|Hard and dense
Walnut wood is known for its unique beauty and refined aesthetic. Its rich, dark color adds an air of sophistication, making it a popular choice for high-end office desks.
It’s moderately versatile with finishes and stains, though its darker color can limit lighter finish options.
Walnut is strong and holds up well under heavy use. But like oak, it is relatively heavy, which can make furniture challenging to move.
It’s generally workable and can be customized, but it requires care to avoid scratching, although less so than softer woods.
On the downside, walnut’s popularity and exceptional qualities can drive up the price, making it one of the more expensive options for desk construction.
3. Maple Wood
|Creamy white with a reddish tinge
|Straight, close-grained; fine texture
|Medium density; stiff; with shock resistance
With an optimal balance of durability, affordability, and versatility, maple wood is ideal for desks.
Its light color makes it go well with different finishes.
Plus, maple is dense and durable, making it capable of supporting heavy equipment and ensuring excellent wear and scratch resistance.
But despite this, it still maintains an affordable price, especially when compared to expensive wood types like oak or walnut.
If you want to customize your desk by adding built-in storage, take note that this wood’s hardness can make customization more challenging.
4. Cherry Wood
|Light pink when freshly cut; darkens with time and sunlight; becomes reddish brown as it ages
|Fine, straight grain; smooth texture
|Medium density; good bending; great shock resistance; low stiffness
With a fine, straight grain and reddish color that deepens with age, cherry wood has tons of aesthetic appeal. It even develops a rich patina over time, which gives it a natural, detailed appearance.
Cherry can also handle heavy equipment reasonably well. It’s also workable and fairly scratch-resistant, although not as robust as the harder woods like oak.
However, cherry is moderately dense, so desks made from cherry wood may not be as easy to move as those made from softwood.
Additionally, it may be more prone to scratches and dents, so taking care of the desk surface is crucial to maintaining its beauty.
|Yellowish or whitish color
|Fine grain with knots; smooth texture
|Medium strength; elastic; durable
Pine is a good wood option for desks due to its affordability and versatility.
It has a more rustic appeal that can complement any workspace. What’s more, its lighter color provides a versatile base for a variety of stains and finishes.
However, it’s not as durable as hardwoods like oak or walnut, so it may not hold up as well to heavy equipment.
But it’s still sturdy enough for a basic study or work desk, and it’s easy to move around because it’s lighter.
Due to its softness, pine is quite workable and easy to customize. But this also means it’s more prone to scratches and dents.
|Light brown with hints of red or yellow
|Straight and plain grain; medium to coarse texture with tight knots
|Medium weight and fairly hard; resistant to fungal and insect infestation
If you’re looking for a lightweight softwood option for your desk, consider using fir.
Fir is one of the best wood types for desks due to its attractive grain patterns and smooth surface, which can create an inviting, aesthetically pleasing piece for your work or study area.
You’ll find that fir is also quite affordable compared to some other types of wood, making it a budget-friendly option.
On the downside, fir is not as strong as some other woods, so it may be less durable over time, especially if subjected to heavy use.
7. Cedar Wood
|Reddish brown to pinkish red
|Straight grain; fine texture
|Lightweight; extremely durable; easy to stain
Cedar wood is celebrated for its aesthetic charm, featuring warm tones and a straight grain that enhances its natural beauty.
It adds a rustic yet elegant touch to any space, making your office feel less cold or unwelcoming.
Lightweight and easy to handle, a cedar desk is easy to move around when you’re cleaning or rearranging your workspace.
Cedar’s softness also makes it a breeze to work with when it comes to DIY customization, whether you’re building drawers or creating a cool desktop.
8. Teak Wood
|Light golden to dark brown
|Straight, closed grain; rough texture
|Firm structure; water-resistant; easy to work with
The beautiful golden to medium brown color of teak wood makes it stand out.
Its natural oils provide a lustrous finish that’s appealing even without stains, making it a premium choice for deluxe office furniture.
Renowned for its durability, teak also excels in holding up to heavy equipment and daily use with unmatched strength. It also boasts excellent scratch resistance, maintaining its beauty against wear and tear.
Keep in mind that because of its exceptional qualities, teak is often expensive. If you’re willing to splurge for a luxurious desk that can last decades, teak is a good option.
But if you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to explore more affordable options.
|Dark brown to rich red
|Dense grain; medium texture
|Hard and very strong; resistant to wear and tear
Rosewood is renowned for its striking aesthetic, with rich, deep hues and contrasting dark veining that make each piece unique and sought after for luxurious furnishings.
Its natural sheen enhances its visual appeal, often requiring no more than a simple finish.
This dense hardwood is highly durable and resistant to scratches, which makes it a staple for heirloom-quality pieces (including desks). It retains its elegant appearance over time with minimal maintenance.
But it’s also very heavy, so it’s not suitable for those who move around their desks often.
Also, beginners might find it difficult to work with due to its close grain, potentially making modifications and customization more complicated.
|Light, creamy white color
|Fine, straight grain; uniform texture
|Medium weight; strong; elastic and tough; stains well
Featuring a light color palette and fine grain, birch offers a clean and contemporary aesthetic appeal.
It stains well, so it can achieve a variety of looks and work with both natural and richly colored finishes.
However, birch can be prone to blotching, so care must be taken when staining.
Birch also impresses with its remarkable strength-to-weight ratio. This ensures that desks made from birch are both durable for everyday use and conveniently lightweight.
It’s also easy to work with. It cuts, sands, and stains effectively, enabling a smooth finish.
Most notably, while birch mirrors the durability of luxury hardwoods, it often comes at a more wallet-friendly price.
But while birch is pretty tough, it’s not as robust as some other hardwoods. Its surface can be susceptible to scratches and dents, so it may require a protective finish.
|Pale golden yellow with thin streaks of dark brown to black
|Interlocked or wavy grain that makes a ribbon figure; medium to coarse texture
|Strong and stiff; high-density; high gluing properties
For a truly unique and bold desk, consider zebrano wood.
Often called zebrawood, this exotic lumber is characterized by its distinct, eye-catching striped pattern that resembles the stripes of a zebra.
Choosing zebrano for your desk will undoubtedly make a striking statement in your office or home. Its distinctive look makes it an exciting option for those seeking something different!
Zebrano is also a dense, scratch-resistant hardwood, which makes it suitable for constructing sturdy desks for long-term use.
That said, its density makes it difficult to move around, and its rarity may result in a higher price tag.
What To Consider When Choosing a Desk Wood
When selecting the perfect wood for your desk, it’s essential to consider its appearance and texture.
The aesthetic appeal of the wood is influenced by its colors and grain pattern.
Some wood types have rich, warm hues with intricate grain patterns that make them ideal for traditional styles, such as the following:
For a lighter, more subtle appearance that suits contemporary styles, some examples include the following:
Maintenance and Longevity
The wood’s maintenance requirements and life span are crucial factors to consider when choosing the best wood for a desk.
Here’s a summary table to show you which woods are best for certain purposes.
|Heavy everyday use
|Oak or maple
Price and Affordability
The cost of wood plays a significant role in your decision-making process when choosing the right wood for your desk.
High-quality hardwoods like cherry, walnut, or maple often come with a higher price tag due to their durability and appearance. However, they can provide excellent value for your investment, given their life span and minimal maintenance requirements.
For those with a tighter budget, more affordable options are available, such as pine, which can still offer a functional and visually appealing desk.
Tips for Desk Wood Care
Caring for your wooden desk is essential to maintain its appearance and ensure its longevity.
Here are some tips to help you keep your desk looking its best:
- Prevent scratches. Use a desk pad or a protective cover to minimize the risk of scratches from daily use. Also, avoid dragging objects across the surface and consider using coasters for drinks to prevent rings and stains.
- Apply sealant. Applying a sealant, such as varnish or a clear finish, can help protect your wood desk from damage. This will help preserve the wood’s natural beauty and make it more resistant to damage.
- Use coasters and mats. These offer added protection against spills and scratches, especially if you enjoy drinking your coffee or dragging equipment across the surface of your wood desk.
- Clean and polish regularly. Regular dusting and cleaning with appropriate wood cleaners will also extend the longevity and appearance of a wood desk. It’s also vital to polish your wooden desk using a suitable wood polish every so often to maintain its shine and luster.
- Deal with wear and tear: Over time, your desk will inevitably experience some wear and tear. When this happens, consider refinishing or repairing the affected area to restore its appearance and protect the wood from further damage.
By following these tips, you can confidently care for your wooden desk, ensuring it remains a beautiful and functional piece of furniture for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Wood Types Are Best for a Gaming Desk?
Hardwoods like oak, cherry, and walnut are favored for gaming desks because of their robustness and attractive grains.
Cherry stands out with its rich hue and smooth feel, adding elegance to gaming setups, while black walnut is prized for its stability and deep color.
What Is the Ideal Thickness for a Wooden Desk?
Generally, a thickness of 1 inch (25.4 millimeters) is considered a good starting point for most wooden desks.
This thickness provides adequate support and stability for everyday use, including for computer and office desks.
However, if you plan on placing heavier items or equipment on your desk, such as multiple monitors or a gaming setup, you might want to consider a thicker desktop, ranging from 1.5 to 2 inches (38.1 to 50.8 millimeters).
Thicker wooden desks not only offer increased strength and support but also tend to be more resistant to warping or sagging over time.
Choose the Best Wood Type for Your Desk!
Choosing the best wood for your desk is a personal journey, with options like the highly recommended maple that balance beauty and functionality.
Whether for a computer, standing, or DIY desk, the decision should align with your needs, tastes, and budget.
Begin your DIY adventure today and fashion a workspace that’s truly your own.