The Evolution of the Desk


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Cartoon courtesy of Caveman Love


We have come a long way from the origin of the primitive desk.  It has been said that the earliest signs of an example that is close to a desk system, dates back to around 3100BC in Orkney, Scotland.  This site shows the first signs of an organizational system of shelves and preparation areas.

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Photo courtesy of BT Group


We can find other early examples of desks from the medieval period.  Many of these desks were used specifically by scribes (also known as modern day accountants), writers, and letter keepers.

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This figure of St Jerome, from a 12th century Bible, gives a meticulous picture of the tools of the scribe. Courtesy of Medievil Writing


These desks eventually evolved into what is known as the bureau during the 1700s.  These desks began to incorporate drawers into the design.  Eventually this progressed to what is known as the secretary desk, which had items incorporated into it such as a hutch.  As time moved on, desks started to incorporate more items that made them more ornate with storage for inkpots and blotting sand.

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Pennsylvania Slant Lid Desk, ca. 1770, courtesy of PBS


During the 18th and into the 19th century, the pedestal desk was introduced.  This became popular with everyday workers and Presidents alike.  One of the most famous desks that was produced during the 1880s is “The Resolute”.  This desk was introduced into the White House as a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes.  Can you imagine working at this executive desk every day?

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“Resolute Desk”, picture courtesy of daniellesuniquestory


New production techniques introduced in the 20th centuries allowed for professional office furniture to be mass produced for the first time.  This mass production was triggered by the growth of more and more white collar workers.

The growth of technology continued to create innovations for desks.  The introduction of the typewriter, telephone, and the computer all required designers to incorporate new ideas into their desk designs.

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Typewriter Desk from Northwestern Furniture Co, courtesy of Collectors Weekly


Today we have many different designs and options for our executive desks.  From contemporary to traditional, to power accessories and standing desks, we have many different options to choose from for our modern day desks.  What is next for the desks of the future?  It is anyone’s guess.  New technologies are sure to be created, and the redesigns of desks are likely to follow.

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Kaysa Desk, Executive Desk Company


Use the Force for Your Furniture & Desk Accessory Needs

In honor of the new Star Wars movie being released this month, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some very creative designs desk designs and desk accessories.  Can you picture using any of these designs for your professional office furniture needs?

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Han Carbonite Desk, courtesy of Tom Spina Designs

This desk is made with metal and fiberglass with a heavy glass top which helps to create one very unique executive desk!


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Star Wars Desk, courtesy of Dave’s Geeky Designs

From the designer, Dave:  ” I came across this old idea where I mentioned the landing pad from Return of the Jedi would make for a cool desk. I thought I’d put together a basic concept.

Not only would you have a nice big surface area for your computer, but you’d have several fancy lights, a couple of neat desk grommets, and a system for organizing cables in the “walkways” below.

And yes, you could adorn this with figures and vehicles, making this a play set too.”


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TIE Fighter Desk, Courtesy of Biology of Technology

“You can feel the Force with this geek desk/PC.  It is a scale model of a Star Wars TIE Fighter, and it has a computer (PC) built right into the cockpit.”


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This R2D2 desk vacuum will help clean up any desk sized mess.  Powered by a USB cable, R2-D2’s third arm acts as a powerful vacuum for pencil shavings and more.”R2D2 Desk Vac”, courtesy of Firebox


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This business card holder is made from metal and is spring loaded, it’s the perfect thing to grab all of your client’s attention from around the galaxy. “Han Solo in Carbonite Business Card Case”, courtesy of Think Geek


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I am your father.  Use the force. These No. 2 pencils include the many Star Wars fan’s favorite and iconic quotes.  Star Wars Pencils, courtesy of Etsy


Whether you prefer a traditional executive desk, or if you see a Star Wars themed office in your future, these items are sure to inspire!

Designing a Unique and Enjoyable Reception Area

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Goodland Reception Desk, Edeskco

Designing a reception area with a modern style, can seem like an intimidating task.  Especially since this area is the first thing your customers and clients see.  Because of this, it is important to make a good first impression.  Keep the following tips in mind when you are in the process of planning your reception area.


Focal Modern Reception Desk

The centerpiece of your reception area should be a beautiful and unique receptionist desk, as it is likely the first thing your clients will notice.  Make sure the design you choose is suitable for your business.  It is also important to choose a large enough desk for your employees to comfortably work at, but is still the appropriate size for your office space.

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Shreveport Reception Desk, Edeskco


Clean and Contemporary Guest Seating

Another important element to your reception area is guest seating.  It is important to find furniture that is comfortable for your guests, yet still makes a statement within your reception area.

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Gavin Office Sofa, Edeskco


Matching Coffee and End Tables

To help coordinate and pull together the overall feel of your room, it is beneficial to select a coffee and end table to match your guest seating.

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Gavin Coffee Table, Edeskco


Practical and Interesting Accessory Pieces

Accents and accessory pieces are a good option to customize your office space, and to make it feel more warm and welcoming.  Items such as coat racks, accent pillows, or lighting is a good way to make your reception area its own unique space.

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Hi Tripod Contemporary Coat Stand Rack,  Remodelista    Greek Key Emerald & White,  




Reception Desk Basics

Reception desks come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Choosing the best configuration for you depends on your office space, and the needs of your business.

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Bridgeport Reception Desk, Edeskco


Reception Desk Shapes

There are many modern reception desk design shapes such as rectangular, circular, or semi-circular.  Depending on your needs, reception desks can be made larger to accommodate multiple receptionists and guests at the same time.

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            Neo-Berlin Large Reception Desk, Edeskco

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            Ares Reception Desk, Edeskco


If you have certain size restrictions, or if you have a unique space to work with, it may be best to  go with a customizable reception desk.  That way you are able to make it to your exact specifications, and do not have to settle for a standard reception desk that won’t work perfectly within your space.


Reception Desk Accessories

There are also many accessories that you are able to add to your desk.  Add-ons such as a pedestal or storage cabinet, is a good solution for additional storage needs.


*Edeskco add-on options.  From left to right:  3 Drawer Pedestal, 2 Door Storage Cabinet, and 2 Door Lateral File Cabinet


You are also able to add options such as a return or a bridge to your reception desk.  If your receptionist requires more workspace, this would be a good option to consider.  Returns are also able to used for ADA requirements.  Please keep in mind that ADA Requirements are based upon local governances.  It is best to check local legislation to find out what the regulations are in your area before ordering your desk.


            *Pictured left to right:  an example of a right return and a right bridge


Reception Desk Materials

Our modern reception desks have a variety of materials to choose from, and can be extremely customizable.  Our reception desks are made with real wood veneer, painted MDF in satin or high gloss lacquer finish, melamine, tempered glass, and chrome steel/ stainless steel/ aluminum which enables us to serve your needs.


*Examples of our finishes. From left to right: Walnut & Maple veneer finishes, High Gloss Black & White finishes, and Dark Grey and Black Wood Paint finishes


Reception desk counters are typically made with wood or glass.  Glass tends to be more durable,  although a wood veneer finish can have a very refined look.

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There are many things to consider when looking at a reception desk.  To simplify the process, it is best to determine essential items such as the size and shape first.  You can then decide on additional factors such as add-ons, materials, and style.

What Color Should your Office Be?

When you imagine a typical office, you will most likely picture an office with white or neutral walls. However some studies have shown that white or neutral walls create dreariness, and a lack of energy or excitement for employees. Therefore research has been done to investigate what colors are best for your office space, and what the characteristics are of each.


Blue is known as the universal color for productivity, because of its stable and calm nature. Many find that their focus increases in a blue room versus other colors, and in turn they find that their day is much more productive. Blue inspires the mind by promoting concentration.

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An influential color, red stimulates the pulse and can raise blood pressure. It has been said to be a very good color for detail oriented tasks, as well as a good color for any job that involves any physical activity.

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Well known as an optimistic color, yellow creates energy and inspires the imagination. This color is best suited for designers or employees who require creativity as a main part of their job. Use yellow sparingly, however, as too much yellow can cause anxiety.

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Green is a very calming color that promotes harmony and balance. A reason for this is because green is a very prevalent color in our natural environment. This is a good color to use for those who tend to work long hours, as it defuses stress.

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A Guide to Desk Returns

If you are not familiar with desks or returns, trying to decide on a desk configuration may seem like a complicated task. This is especially true if you are the one entrusted with the responsibility of selecting your office’s furniture. To make this process less stressful, we have put together some helpful guidelines to help you select the desk configuration that will work best for you.

A desk return is the part of the desk that attaches to the main desk, and extends outward to one side. On a U Desk, this can often be referred to as the bridge. There are three types of desk returns: left return, right return, and reversible. To determine a left or right return, envision yourself sitting at your desk. If the return is on your left side, it is considered a left return. If the return is on your right side, it is considered a right return. Finally, a reversible return means that the return is able to be configured on either side of the desk.

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*Courtesy of ADT American


Determining what type of return would work best for you often depends on your preference. In some cases, however, there are room restraints that may force you to only be able to go with a left or right return. The type of return you select also tends to correspond with your dominant hand. For example, if you are right handed, it may be best for you to select a right return for your desk.

Lastly, it is also important to keep in mind the overall dimension of the desk you are looking at. The depth of the main desk plus the length of the return equals the overall dimension of the return. For a U-Desk,  the total depth is equal to the length of the bridge plus the depth of the main desk, plus the depth of the credenza.

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Gavin Executive Desk, EDESKCO

If you still have questions regarding your desk configuration, or you are unsure of what desk return would work best for you, please call our qualified staff at (800)-376-0652.

Uncommon and Unique Conference Table Designs

Here at Executive Desk Company, we are truly proud of our designs and ability to customize any of our contemporary conference tables. For a little fun, we decided to take a look at designs around the world to see what other unique conference table ideas are out there:

Swing table

Swing Table by Duffy London

Adding a playful element to the traditional conference table design, is the “Swing Table” by Duffy London. Supported by four posts, each seat moves freely much, like a swing set. Made from walnut and oak with steel beams. According to the manufacturer, “also makes vacuuming a breeze.” We can only imagine!


Polypod Conference Table by OMC Design Studios

This impressive table has 100 metal tube legs, with a solid wood tabletop. Although this boardroom table has the illusion of being foldable, it is not. Still an impressive and fun design in our eyes!

Cat grass table

Cat Grass Table by Emily Wettstein

This unique table was created by Emily Wettstein, a 25-year-old designer from Brooklyn, NY. Why not bring the outdoors to the comfort of your inside office environment? The center part includes a removable planter, and therefore you are able change to a different plant of your choosing. The tabletop is made of solid walnut with steel legs.

Illusory Dripping Paint Table

Illusory Dripping Paint Table by John Nouanesing


Though only a concept at this point and not currently in production, we would love to see this table design by John Nouanesing come to life.

Viking conference table

Viking Conference Table by Wildetecture

A South African architectural firm, Wildetecture, designed this bold Viking inspired piece. If you’re looking to invade and conquer from the comfort of your conference room, this may be the right table for you.

These office conference tables help bring a new meaning to the word creative. What do you think of these innovative designs? Feel free to post your comments below.