Desks vs. Tables for Your Workspace – Which Is Better?

Our team independently selects, reviews, and identifies the best products. We may earn affiliate commissions on purchases made from links on this page. Learn more

Should you buy a stylish, large table for a desk, or opt for an actual desk with a more functional appearance? We took a deep dive into the options, and compared the ups and downs of each.

Working from home has become pretty popular in recent years with companies even handing out money to their employees to help them create the workspace of their dreams at home. If you’ve made the switch to working from home in the recent months, one of the questions you might have asked yourself is—what would be better, getting a table for a desk or an actual desk for your home office?

Both desks and tables have their pros and cons as a designated office space in your home. This article breaks down their differences as compared to each other and lists the pros and cons of each one. Furthermore, it also guides you towards which one you can opt to get, depending on your needs.

Differences between desks and tables

There are a few significant differences between desks and tables and how you can use them or the kind of functionality they provide you. Check out the table below:

DesksTables
Usually designed for use by one person only.Can be used by more than one person simultaneously.
Some desks can be fitted with screens for privacy.Are wider and more open, allowing access for more people at the same time.
May contain shelves and drawers for you to store your things.Generally simplistic design with no storage spaces.
Some desks have limited leg room.Allow other people to pull up chairs to sit around it.
Makes a dedicated space for working or studying.Can be used for several activities, from working and studying to eating and playing.

Introducing desks (pros and cons)

Electric height adjustable desk with a white metal frame and top with an oak finish
A desk can be perfectly adjusted to your needs, and have a more professional appearance. For more examples, see desks available on Amazon.

If you’ve worked in a traditional office, you’re probably familiar with the idea of desks. They’re the ideal piece of furniture if you need a place to work, store your computer, some documents and paperwork, files, and other supplies. They’re at a comfortable height so you can easily pull up a chair when you work on your desk, and they come with drawers (and sometimes shelves) for organizing your things. Having a desk also sets a defined physical space for work, making it easier to focus and keeping others from disturbing you if you don’t want to worry about distractions.

Pros

  • Having a desk sets a physical boundary, implying that the space belongs to you. This is ideal if you want a space to focus solely on your work.
  • A desk may come with a lot of storage space. Some desks have shelves and drawers for you to store files, office supplies, and other things within arm’s reach so you can easily get whatever you need.
  • Desks come in different sizes, styles, and materials. You’ll definitely be able to find something that will suit the space you have and match the theme of the room where you will put up your desk.
  • It’s easy to pull up a chair—even ergonomic chairs—next to a desk as they will fit easily in. If you work long hours, this is something you might want to have as it helps you be in the correct position while you’re working and also keeps your back and neck from being strained.
  • Desks help you focus more. Whether you’re a professional working or a student studying, desks define a physical working or studying space, making it easier for you to concentrate on the task at hand. In the same way, at the end of the day, when you turn off your computer or close your book and walk away from your desk, it triggers a mental switch, signifying that your work is done for the day. Thus, you can enjoy the rest of the time with your family or doing leisure activities.

Cons

  • Desks don’t have much extra legroom. You can pull up more chairs for others to work with you on your desk, but in most cases it isn’t very comfortable.
  • Desks are usually single-purpose and mainly suitable for working on a computer or with papers. If you set it up with a computer and some paraphernalia, there’s a chance that how you set it is how it’s going to look for some time unless you’re going to move things around all over again. There isn’t much else to do on your desk, especially if you have paperwork and other things on them.
  • If you’re looking for a spacious flat surface that other people can work on for various other activities (not just working or studying), then a desk may not be the best choice for you.

Introducing tables (pros and cons)

Dining table with a rustic acacia wood tabletop and a black metal frame
Dining tables can be used as desks in a home office setting, and offer ample space for more than one person at a time. For more examples, see tables on Amazon.

Tables are very common pieces of furniture around a house. They have a flat and level surface and serve many functions. They come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Tables are commonly associated with dining, but over the years, they have also been used in office spaces or in place of desks since they can be used in so many different ways and by several people at once.

Pros

  • It’s easy to find a space for everyone around your table, especially if you have a big one. You won’t be hindered by limited legroom and anyone can easily pull up a chair, allowing several people to sit down around the table together at once.
  • There are so many kinds of tables to choose from. The options for color, shape, size, and material are endless, allowing you to choose the perfect one that will express your personality or match the theme of your home.
  • Tables can be used in so many ways. Do you need to spread out files for paperwork? Are you planning on having a studying or working session with some friends? Are you thinking of inviting some people over for a game night? A table can do all these and much more.
  • With everyone gathering around your table, it’s much easier to collaborate and get each other’s input on a project. A table also allows you to have several people working around it without anyone getting in each other’s way.
  • Tables are ideal if you have a small space and are looking for a place where you can work, eat, and do other things. It allows you the flexibility of doing different kinds of things all in one area.

Cons

  • Tables don’t have built-in storage. This is so you are provided enough legroom. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a place that will allow you to keep up all your things, you’ll have to get additional drawers and shelves to place on top or underneath your shelf. That can sometimes make your working space look a little cluttered and heavy.
  • Because a table can appear more inviting, it’s easy for people to crowd around a table. If you’re working or studying, this can provide a lot of distractions and keep you from focusing on the task at hand.
  • Tables are heavier and larger than desks, thus you might find yourself with just a few options on where to put it. Lifting a table and moving it around might also require a few extra pairs of hands.
  • Tables don’t offer much privacy. If a person comes back to a table after having been gone for some time, they might find some of their items moved about.
  • If you also use your table to eat, you might find some spills or stains that can affect the appearance of the table. If you’re not careful, they can even stain important paperwork or even your gadgets.

Which is better – a desk or a table?

Which one should you get, a desk or a table? The answer is simple—it depends on your needs and what you’re looking for.

Appearance

Tables appear more comfy and homey as compared to desks, which can, depending on the kind of desk you choose, look imposing and formal. If you’re looking for a place that will give your office space a homey look so that you can work comfortably, it’s best to go with a table.

Functionality

If you’ve got a lot of files, office supplies, cables, cords, and other items, and are looking for a way to store things neatly and securely, a desk is a perfect choice for you. You can opt to get a desk with drawers and shelves so that you are able to store everything in their own little corners so they aren’t hard to find.

Versatility

Desks are usually made for just one person. A table, on the other hand, is a lot bigger and can offer space for two or more people. This is especially helpful if you are working with others to collaborate on a project or if there are several people in your home who need a space to work.

Ergonomics

Desks are designed to be used for work. Thus their height is adjustable so you can be as comfortable as possible. If you have an ergonomic office chair, as well, you can be sure that this will allow you to work comfortably without straining your back and neck.

Capacity

Tables are cheap and give you more space to work. Nevertheless, they aren’t always made of the same sturdy material that desks are made of. If you’ve got multiple monitors and heavy items that you need to place on top of your working area, you might want to get a desk that’s made of durable material as it is able to hold more weight.