Mad About . . .

Six of the Best Desks

8th November 2018

I have been gathering research for the new book over the last few weeks and asking people what their most common interior design dilemmas are. One thing that has come back again and again is how to make a small space feel bigger, or how to create a room than can multi-task. A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on how to zone an open plan space and I thought today we would look at five of the best desks that could double up as dressing tables.

hubsch solid oak desk from designvintage for £595

hubsch solid oak desk from designvintage for £595

Now I appreciate that a dressing table might be seen as a slightly outmoded piece of furniture – I don’t have one and am so used to doing my make-up standing up that the last time I sat down I stabbed myself in the eye with the mascara wand I was so unused to it – but the key really is the idea of multi-tasking furniture.

foldable desk tray from cox and cox

foldable desk tray from cox and cox for £235

The sofa that becomes the bed, the table that works as a desk and a place to put your face on and even, in a studio flat – a table on which you can eat. My kitchen table definitely doubles up as a desk during the day. So with that in mind, I thought I would show you five such tables which work in bedsits, spare rooms – where a dressing table and a desk table might well be interchangeable and eventually, should you move to a bigger house or flat, in the hall as a console table.

at only 40cm deep this is the narrowest option from perch & parrow for £329

at only 40cm deep this is the narrowest option from perch & parrow for £329

Not all of these will do that but I have included examples that have storage as that is always useful when you need to change the look from coffee and toast to laptop and notebook and then over to mirrors and make-up. The one above, for example, is only 40cm wide so it’s fine for a laptop if you’re a tidy worker but probably a bit tight for breakfast. It depends on the amount of space you have. You can always sit on a chair and use the lap top as it was intended – on your lap – and just store it away in the desk drawer. Sometimes if you work and live in the same space it’s about putting the work out of sight to get it out of mind.

leonie compact desk from for £249

leonie compact desk from for £249

The one above has a drawer for storage but the top also slides forward to give you a deeper working space while the cubby holes at the back can be hidden by sliding doors. This is definitely more desk than dressing table but, if you need to have a desk in the sitting room, this one will hide everything away neatly at the end of the day and you can buy a desk lamp that is pretty enough to stand duty as a table lamp in the evening – more multi-tasking.

hiba industrial solid oak desk from la redoute

hiba industrial solid oak desk from la redoute for £475

Now this is also very much a desk but the built in storage which doubles up as the leg is a clever idea and one that could be used to help zone or divide a larger open plan space. You could use it for practical office accessories but you could also stick a trailing plant on the top shelf and left it hang down towards the floor thus hiding the workspace from the rest of the room while also being useful.

hans writing desk by joined + jointed for £695

hans writing desk by joined + jointed for £695

Finally at 65cm this is the deepest and also the most expensive – but it’s made by Joined + Jointed, a collective of designers and artisans brought together by the award-winning designer Samuel Chan, so it’s the most crafted of the six pieces. Note the attention to detail with the little round feet and the angled drawers. This is a piece of furniture to keep for ever and move from room to room and house to house as you move through life.


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  • Anwar 8th November 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Those are all some really cool and really good options. i think I really like the foldable one that you had as your first one. Especially given that I live in a small apartment in the city, something like that seems perfect!

  • Skandic Hus 8th November 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Trust me to like the last and most expensive desk from joined+jointed ….. just lovely, timeless design.

  • Sara 8th November 2018 at 11:37 am

    Thanks Kate, very useful post as always. The hiba desk from la redoute is just what I was looking for to divide up an open plan space, helping a family with older kids move towards ‘broken plan.’

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