The 15 Best Affordable Work Desks

Mar 2, 2021

Category: Living

By recent estimates, it’s believed that the average person sits around 6.5 hours a day — most of which, at least here in the United States, is in front of a desk. For all intents and purposes, that makes your desk a kind of focal point in your life. As such, it might be a good idea to utilize one that’s simultaneously good-looking and well-suited to your particular business, since you’ll be spending so much time there.

Unfortunately, as much as we’d love to be able to, not all of us can afford to outfit our workspace — be that in our own homes or in an office — with top-of-the-line, luxury furnishings. Thankfully, desks are so ubiquitous a category that it’s possible to find those that are handsome, functional, and available in a variety of styles, formats, and colorways at a reasonable price. In fact, the following collection encompasses the 15 best inexpensive work desks you can purchase for under $400. Pick out one of these and you won’t need to spend an arm and a leg to properly outfit your post-pandemic WFH and/or office setup.

Ikea Björkåsen Laptop Stand

If you live in a studio apartment that only barely fits a couch inside or you simply want to keep things as minimalist as possible, IKEA’s Björkåsen Laptop Stand might be the perfect WFH desk for you. This ultra-compact desk is built from polyamide-reinforced steel, has plenty of room for a laptop, boasts an integrated cupholder, and has a desktop that flips up for easier storage. For couch jockeys, this might be the best cheap desk around.

Purchase: $25

Ikea Micke Desks

It should come as no surprise that IKEA offers a huge number of accessible, inexpensive desks. After all, that’s kind of their brand. However, of all their desk offerings, the Micke series might be the best for your workspace setup. With four different setups and two additional accessories/add-ons, these aren’t the fanciest of workspaces — but they’re remarkably inexpensive without being too cheaply constructed and they suit numerous office layouts/styles. Truly, for an extremely low entry price, these are some of the most impressive, trusted, tried-and-true offerings we’ve come across.

Purchase: $49+

Sauder North Avenue Single Desk

Proof positive that you don’t have to pay a premium price in order to find a work desk that’s stylish and substantive, the Sauder North Avenue Single Desk boasts a beautiful, minimalist silhouette marked by a smoked oak finish. Along with its 41.5″ x 18.5″ desktop, this handsome WFH desk also has two additional storage shelves perfect for additional supplies, trinkets, a printer, or even a PC tower. Subtle and sleek, this inexpensive workspace comes at a price that’s truly hard to beat.

Purchase: $111

Tribesigns Computer Desk

Sometimes, all you need is something basic to get the job done. Of course, basic doesn’t necessarily have to be boring — as noted by the Tribesigns Computer Desk. Granted, this piece is little more than a solid block of walnut-finished wood and a quartet of legs, but its contrast helps it stand out from the pack without being overbearing or boastful. As a couple of added benefits, constructing this desk takes just 15 minutes and the metal legs have adjustable pads so you can ensure your desktop is level even if the floor is a bit off.

Purchase: $130

OFM Combination Desk

For anyone that needs an excess of storage in their workspace, the OFM Combination Desk might be perfect. Functional on its own, backed up against a wall, or pushed in the corner, this steel and laminate desk has a large primary workspace alongside a trio of additional shelves for all your storage and organizational needs. Not to mention, if you don’t like it in white and tan, it also comes in a walnut and black colorway for the same price.

Purchase: $150

Project 62 Amherst Wood Writing Desk

If you find yourself drawn to the designs of yesteryear, the Project 62 Amhurst Wood Writing Desk might be the inexpensive mid-century office essential of your dreams. Crafted from a lightweight wood composite, this angular beauty boasts a simple 47″ x 18″ desktop and a single under-desk drawer for storing all your necessary supplies. For the price, we’re not sure you’d find a better design-minded WFH desk out there. At the very least, this one stands toe-to-toe with the best of them in its price range.

Purchase: $150

CB2 Go-Cart Rolling Desk

Not everyone has the desire nor the ability to work in the same place all the time — nor can everyone have a dedicated, full-time office area. If you need a bit more fluidity to your workspace, then the CB2 Go-Cart Rolling Desk is going to be perfect for you. As the name suggests, this cheap desk comes on four omnidirectional wheels (two of which have locks), so you can tote it to and fro to your heart’s content but it won’t budge when you need it to stay stationary. It’s also built from ultra-sturdy and durable powder-coated steel — meaning it won’t get dinged up if you bump it into a corner here and there.

Purchase: $159

Urban Outfitters Metal Tubing Desk

Ultra-minimalist without skimping on eye-catching style, the exclusive Urban Outfitters Metal Tubing Desk beautifully balances functionality and simplicity. Along with its sturdy silhouette and spacious desktop, it’s also super easy to construct and looks great in just about any surroundings — even if you have to stuff it in the corner of your studio apartment. As an added bonus, the splayed legs will help you avoid bashing your knees during the workday, which is a nice bit of happenstance if not entirely purposeful.

Purchase: $179

West Elm Ladder Shelf Desk

While most desks — inexpensive or otherwise — focus on horizontal space, they’re largely missing out on the vertical aspect. However, the West Elm Ladder Shelf Desk takes full advantage while remaining remarkably space-saving. Granted, this desk is probably best utilized by those that work on a laptop, but it does have the added benefit of under-desk storage and two higher shelves for your tchotchkes and oddities. It doesn’t hurt, either, that it is made from solid hardwood, rather than pressboard or something similarly cheap.

Purchase: $279

Rivet Mid-Century Curved Wood Desk

Believe it or not, you can actually blend throwback styling, traditional materials, and a purpose-driven layout without breaking the bank — so long as you know where to look. And Amazon’s in-house Rivet brand is a pretty good place to start if you’re looking for those things in a cheap desk, as can be seen right here. This mid-century-styled writing desk boasts a beautiful walnut finish, a small and simple storage drawer, and raised back edges to keep everything in order and help you keep from dropping anything over the edge — be that your everyday carry pen, papers, or any other desktop essential.

Purchase: $334

RESPAWN Gaming Desk

Many hardcore gaming-focus desks are well beyond the $400 price limit we’ve set for this guide. However, RESPAWN makes one that’s not just well-under that limit, but also a truly exceptional gaming-ready offering. Not only does it have a tremendous amount of desk space, but the entirety of the desktop is actually covered with mousepad material — meaning you don’t have to worry about ever sliding your mouse onto the hardwood, simplifying your gaming endeavors by making that a complete non-factor. Even if you trade more in digital design than gaming, that might be enough to consider this desk for your own office.

Purchase: $360

PROPR Office Desks

Though not all of the brand’s offerings fall under the $400 price point, PROPR’s offerings do all hinge on the same basic idea and construction: simple elegance and contrasting colors. The minimalist desks are made from a combination of gorgeous maple wood tops with box-style metal legs. Better still, they’re made-to-order right here in the USA. Furthermore, they even have some clever hidden features, like built-in power compartments to help keep the clutter and cords to a minimum.

Purchase: $379+

CB2 Mason Cork Writing Desk

Crafted from a combination of painted cork, engineered wood, powder-coated stainless steel, and brass, this minimalist desk is a modern take on the classic wood writing desk. While the functional space is perhaps a touch limited, as it doesn’t have any shelving or drawers, the beautiful styling is unmistakable and serves to make up for the drawbacks. This is definitely a no-fuss option loaded to the gills with what CB2 refers to as the “cool factor.” Plus, you can always slip a small file cabinet underneath if you need a drawer or two.

Purchase: $399

West Elm Parsons Desk

You might think it impossible to get a solid hardwood desk for under $400. You’d be wrong, of course, as evidenced by West Elm’s Parsons Desk — which is available in engineered wood for the white colorway but also comes in solid mahogany with a walnut finish. The pinnacle of simplicity, this desk hinges on a large, rectangular workspace ideal for all types of work — including this that necessitate both PC and laptop computers or even multiple monitor setups. It also has a single center drawer for a bit of office supply storage — it’s even large enough to stash your keyboard between uses to keep the clutter to a minimum.

Purchase: $399

Orange 22 Hideaway Wall Desk

Simultaneously the most compact and probably the most interesting of the cheap desks on this list, the Orange 22 Hideaway isn’t a standalone — you actually have to mount it to your wall like a shelf in order to make use of it. In fact, when it is collapsed, it functions exactly like a wall shelf. However, with a simple pull forward, it transforms into a useful workstation with its own integrated storage. Available in two colors, this might be the all-around best compact, small-space desk you can get for under $400, especially for anyone that works on a laptop.

Purchase: $399+

The 15 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs

For the most part, a desk — be that in an office or WFH setup — necessitates a chair of some sort. But, please do yourself a favor and consider picking up one of the picks on our list of the best ergonomic office chairs. Trust us — your back will thank you.

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