The return of the writing desk

pink floral writing paper with cup and saucer

floral note pad and cup of tea on a white writing desk

Desks first appeared in the 1600’s when they were designed more like a bureau with a sloping front. In fact, this sloping writing front had originally been attached to the top of a chest of drawers, but in time it went on to become a wholly separate piece of furniture with the front of the bureau lowering down to create a ledge to write on and a storage area for paper and pens etc.

white and blue writing bureau with blue dining chair

By the early 1700’s the writing desk started to include a kneehole with narrow drawers on either side of the kneehole. By the late 1700’s the office desk as we know it, was born. Mahogany was being imported from the Caribbean at this time making it the preference of the rich and wealthy who wanted furniture items to be very decorative, they loved the luxurious rich shine that could be achieved by polishing mahogany.

industrial desk with black steel legs, two drawers and grey faux leather office chair

Then comes the industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the entrepreneurs of the time start to succeed in business so the desk is not required only in the libraries of the county homes of the rich, but in offices, warehouses and factories, where previously a table had been used, a more functional and less ornate wooden desk was the order of the day. Now, of course, they are to be found in a variety of different shapes and sizes in many modern homes as well as the workplace.

reclaimed wood writing desk with orange velvet chair and cardboard filing case

So why would people opt for a writing desk rather than a large office style desk? Below there are a couple of things to think about before taking the plunge and purchasing a new reclaimed wood desk for your home.


This is probably the most important consideration and depends on what space you have available to put your desk in. If you have a corner in the living room or an area on the landing, a space in the spare room or in your bedroom then a smaller writing desk is the ideal choice – remember you will need roughly an additional metre to place your best desk chair. A writing desk can also double as a dressing table with storage for cosmetics and jewellery in your bedroom, or used by guests in the spare room, simply hang a wall mirror above it!

white painted reclaimed wood writing desk with wooden chair

The Worcester writing desk is just right for the corner in a bedroom or smaller space – being mainly white it will also tie in with other reclaimed wood furniture you may already have in the room.

What it will be used for?

If you like the personal touch of handwriting letters, or your journal, or are starting out on a book then a small writing desk is really all you need. You will only need a couple of drawers for storing writing paper, notebooks, paper and pens etc. Even if you just sit at the desk to check your emails and do the occasional bit of work on a laptop then the smaller writing desk is perfect – no need to take up the whole room with a full-size office desk!