Computer Desk vs. Writing Desk – What’s The Difference?

The computer desk vs. writing desk debate is now settled. A writing desk has a more traditional design, often made with a hatch or drawers. A computer desk is larger and more accommodating. Hybrids include desks such as Ikea’s Linnmon.

All computer desks can be writing desks but not all writing desks can be computer desks. Writing desks have their history and they can go way back, to times where electricity was not even being invented. They have a more traditional design as a result.

There’s no need for drawers and storage space for pens for a computer desk. However, this is how writing desks first appeared. They include storage space to a side or both sides. They can even include a set of drawers on the top of the desk. The Dporticus 47″ Computer Writing Desk is a good example of how a modern writing desk looks like, even if many mistake it for a computer desk. Here are a few characteristics of a writing desk.

  • Included drawers
  • Made with a hatch
  • Added storage space
  • Small desktop size
  • Finished back (can be placed anywhere)

If the classic writing desk is not as popular as a computer desk, there are still characteristics which carry over to support technology such as storage space, but it looks different on a computer desk. Here are a few characteristics of a computer desk.

  • Large desktop to accommodate monitors
  • Storage space for the computer
  • Cable management holes
  • Easier assembly
  • Fewer drawers

Which is more durable – a computer desk or a writing desk?

The first concern of someone investing on computer desk is sometimes durability. It is easy to understand why a considerable purchase needs to be durable. But is there a difference in durability when comparing a computer desk to a writing desk? And if so, which one is best?

By its very own nature, a writing desk is more complex. It comes with multiple drawers and it can even come with small compartments featuring opening doors. As a result, there are more moving parts on a writing desk. This is why it also has the chances of being less durable, even if it can last for years.

However, the extra moving parts and pieces have their advantages as well. Apart from offering dedicated storage space, they also improve the stability of the writing desk. This is why the most stable solutions are those which come with multiple drawers and as a result, the desk can feel more professional.

I write on occasion but I’m mostly on my computer, which desk is right for me?

Most workers and home users now use all desks as computer desks, either with laptops or with desktop computers. Even more, they offer one of the greatest drivers for hybrid designs in the manufacturing industry.

Since computers need more space, a computer desk is best for those who write on occasion. There are multiple desks which can be used as writing desks. At the same time, not many writing desks can accommodate computers, a monitor and the keyboard, since they have a smaller desktop, usually.

However, hybrid designs are seen at all times. From the famous movie desks with their popular green lamps to the desk of detectives which serve multiple purposes, hybrids can be used for all lines of work. But not all desks are suited for everyday use, especially those which are known to come with a smaller size.

What about tables, can’t I use a simple table?

Instead of purchasing a computer desk or a writing desk, many people prefer to convert their regular dining tables into a desk. This is why tables are still one of the most popular locations for work. Even those working in coffee shops are still relying on this unorthodox measure to support their work needs.

However, the main drawback of using a table as a computer or writing desk is the ergonomics or lack of it. There is no point in using a table for work if the posture suffers day in and day out. Here are a few drawbacks to consider when the table is used to replace a writing desk or a computer desk.

  • Reduced ergonomics
  • Poor work posture
  • Added strains on the wrist
  • Increased shoulder pressure
  • Feelings of tiredness
  • A great distance to the monitor
  • Lack of storage options
  • Lack of cable management options
  • Size issues in small rooms

While a dining table can be a practical solution for those on a budget, a dedicated space proves to be way better when it comes to posture and even productivity.

I’m unsure of which to choose, are there any other types of desks?

If you’re still unsure of which of the two to consider, there are a few other options which can be more suitable. In no particular order, they are the following.

The height-adjustable desk – suitable for its versatility, this desk is used to offer a different working posture. It can be used both as a writing desk and as a computer desk.

The executive desk – used by CEOs and directors, the executive desk are timeless and they were the staple of the office space for decades.

Corner desk – the classic corner desk is mainly used for its practicality since it offers plenty of storage space.

The secretary desk – this classic design is still used today and it is characterized by a smaller footprint.

The floating desk – installed on a wall, a floating deck can be anything from a simple board to multiple boards and plenty of storage shelves placed directly on the wall.

Glass desks and plenty of other recycled desks are also available, but not as popular due to practicality reasons.

Computer desk vs. writing desk – which is best for posture?

When it comes to the right question, it is not simply about one design or the other, but how they fit the user for better posture. This is where the differences are considerable. A classic writing desk offers little to no adjustability. A computer desk can also be fixed and terrible for posture on the long-term as a result.

Ikea writing desk with hatch

The best desk is the one which facilitates the posture and how it impacts the quality of life or makes life easier. This is why the adjustable desks are those which offer the best results.

If desk adjustability is not a matter of concern, which happens with fixed designs, it is the desks which allow the user to get closer which win as they allow better posture. On the other hand, not many desks can allow the user to come closer if they have drawers underneath the desktop. Armrests cannot slide underneath the desk as a result.

Computer desks are among the best designs when it comes to general office work. Those who simply plan to write might not care about this in the end. But the reasons are surprising and they include the following.

  • A writing desk has no distractions and it allows users to write
  • A writing desk is smaller and it can fit any room
  • A writing desk has storage space for notes, pens, and pencils
  • A writing desk has a timeless appeal and it is not made to suit passing design trends
  • A writing desk is durable as it often made from the best materials.

Final considerations

Some of the most important aspects to remember at the end of the article is that personal preferences often prevail in logic or practicality. By definition, writers are not exactly keen on maximizing practicality over everything else.

Both a computer desk and a writing desk can be used today, even if they are slightly different. However, it is only those who are going to concentrate exclusively on writing that is going to consider writing desks. Even students might choose a computer desk instead, as it can be a better all-rounder.

Are you writing on a writing desk? What’s your experience with it? Can your writing desk support good back posture? Let us know in the comment section below.


What is a writing desk with drawers called?

A writing desk with drawers used to be called a secretary desk or an escritoire desk. Historically, these desks were luxury items. The Ikea Klimpen desk is a popular modern version of a desk with drawers.

What is a desk hutch?

A hutch is considered a shelf or multiple shelves on top of a desk. It was first seen on writing desks of the 20th century. Today, the Ikea Klimpen is a good example of how a minimalistic hutch looks like.

What is the writing table?

A writing table comes with extra drawers and it is usually compact. Historically, the drawers were used to hold the feather quill and ink.

What is the difference between a credenza and a desk?

A credenza desk comes with storage space for items which are not used daily, such as books. Unlike a writing desk, it looks more like a bookshelf and it has the role of ordering and storing multiple office objects.