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A Roundup of 30 Affordable Desks

Back to school is right around the corner (if it hasn’t already happened), which means lots of empty nesters, lots of moving into dorm rooms/first apartments and lots of studying, right college students? And although the first few weeks of college life might not actually involve a lot of time at a desk (Ha! I remember my college days) – it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared for when those late night cram sessions take over your social life and your red solo cup turns into a coffee mug. So in honor of the collegiate life we have pulled together a roundup of some of our favorite affordable desks, all coming in under $500 with a handful under $150.

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And while yes, not everyone is going back to school, all of these options can work in other rooms as well – whether it be a little girl’s room like the one above, a work space in a first apartment like Sara’s below, or incorporated into a living room like we did with Sylvia’s living room makeover.

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This desk below is from Target and was simple and modern enough that it worked well into the living room design as a place for them to work when needed or for Ricky to do his homework at night. The concealed storage drawers meant that it didn’t have to actually look like a desk when you weren’t working from it, and it has built in plugs hidden behind a little door on the top so you can plug in a desk lamp or charge your phone without having to have a million cords running behind the desk. Talk about smart and stylish design.

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So without further ado, here are some of our favorite options available for purchase right now. All of them have a little bit of storage and while we haven’t seen all of them in person, stylistically for the price these all get an A+….. Pop Quiz – Which ones are your favorite?

Emily Henderson Home Office Affordable Desks Under 500 Roundup

1. Leon Mid Century Desk | 2. Mid-Century Fold Out Desk | 3. Threshold Gilford Desk Gray | 4. Penelope Mini Desk | 5. Hairpin Desk Walnut | 6. Parsons Desk |  7. Herringbone Wood Wayde Desk | 8. Mid Century Mini Desk | 9. Wrightwood River Blue Desk | 10. Alex Desk | 11. Hampton Classic Desk | 12. Darley Secretary Desk | 13. Lyndale Helix Legs Office Desk | 14. Eila Writing Desk | 15. Darley Writing Desk | 16. Josephine Desk | 17. Windham Desk | 18. Stash Desk19. LISABO Desk | 20. Campaign Desk | 21. Blue Campaign Desk | 22. Lawerence Writing Desk | 23. Mahogany Desk | 24. Guapo Desk | 25. Natural Stonewash Desk | 26. Lewis Writing Desk | 27. Sidney Desk | 28. Wood and Metal Teagan Desk | 29. Anthracite Mod Desk | 30. Basic Desk

So which ones are your favorite, or if you have tried any of them before let us know below? In the meantime if you are headed off to college this fall be sure to read through our recent post where we chatted all about the things every single one of the EHD members wishes they would have done in college and our best advice for those of you still in college.

***Photography by Tessa Neustadt, David Tsay, Zeke Ruelas

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Emily s
6 years ago

Affordable/attractive desks are hard to find! We’ve had the #24 desk from CB2 for a few months now and are pretty happy with it. The metal is all one solid structure so it feels sturdy.

6 years ago

We have the Land of Nod one (#9). It’s really lovely and seems well-made. The size is perfect for our tiny house, and the color is unique enough (and not yet another wood tone in my mis-matched living room) that it works well for us. Our oldest is in first grade this year (and I think gets a few homework assignments) and I work from home 2x a week, so it’s going to get plenty of use.

6 years ago

Some of these desks look way too flimsy and I’m wondering if they’d be able to hold up under heavy use. Sometimes no matter how inexpensive a piece of furniture is, it’s just not worth purchasing in the long run. Better to spend a little more and get something you know won’t fall apart within a couple of months.

6 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

I agree with you. I had gotten something that was very functional, but it was a veneer and fell apart quickly. I learned my lesson. My current desk is a piece of finished wood with hairpin legs screwed into it. I then put a cabinet/secretary right by it to house the printer, modems, supplies, and paper. But for a college person that might move every year and has no idea where they are going after college, I think that these could all be good options.

6 years ago
Reply to  lisa

I tend to agree. From a decor standpoint, many of these are lovely, from a practical use and function standpoint, I’d rather have something ugly, but well built. Now if only there was both at a decent price…

6 years ago

I love these! however my bf is 6’5″ and claims he needs a larger desk than those I typically find. Any resources for this? At this point, I’m tempted to buy a small dining room table for him to use!

Denise Thomas (@seattlejune)
6 years ago

Another great round-up. Thank you! On a side note: I am now obsessed with Younger. I’m not sure if thanking you is the right thing to do, since I have already lost hours to binge watching. No, thanking you is the right thing! Oh. my goodness. And there are 4 seasons…..

6 years ago

We got number 10 to put in our guest room for my husband when he went back to nursing school and we love it. He loves it because it’s big enough for him to spread out and has two generously sized drawers and I love it because it sort of fades away into the light gray walls and doesn’t take up a lot of visual space in the small room. It has an area for plugging in cords as well so they aren’t all hanging down behind the desk. Can’t recommend it enough, and it’s cheaper now than when we first bought it!

6 years ago

While I haven’t tried this one #4 from west elm caught my eye and is soooo cute! Planning on it for one day…

6 years ago

That Target desk is definitely gonna be my go to. We are starting WFM 2 days out of the week and I am excited about that.

6 years ago

Thanks for roundup; I will be desk shopping soon! I don’t suppose you have any recommendations for desks with keyboard trays? I’ve found that I absolutely need one, but the cute desks virtually never have one…

6 years ago

I’ve have #20 for 3-4 years and it’s held up during at least 3 moves, lots of studying during med school and also serving as my makeup vanity each morning 🙂 I’d say it’s a normal width but it’s really long so great for people (like me) that love to spread out. I also love the wood tone. Definitely not good for storage as there’s only that one small drawer but I would definitely recommend it!

6 years ago

In desperate search of an L shape. Tall order I know. Please come correct for me! #roundup PLEASE E!

6 years ago

Nice list! Thanks!

6 years ago

Some of these really are cute, but for me desks are definitely on the list of Craiglist furniture items. There always seem to be lots of sturdy, quirky options for under $200; I don’t know why, but it works out for me!

6 years ago


Gary White
6 years ago

This is one of the best articles I have come across. Keep up the good work.

6 years ago

We have some great table legs for a desk but would love to find a long white table top to span the length of the room for a long desk space (approx 11 ft) but we aren’t struggling to find the right material to use (don’t really want to just have a painted wood surface. Any affordable recommendations?

6 years ago

We got #19 IKEA LISABO for our tween daughter’s room. It has great proportions for a small condo bedroom (wide enough but not as deep as most desks). The lines are very pretty and the wood colour is soft and neutral, good for a bright feminine space. Study and great price.

6 years ago

How about a roundup of desk chairs! That’s where I’m struggling — something that is comfy but doesn’t make your home office feel like a corporate conference room!