The Best Kids’ Desks Meet All Your Little One’s Scholarly Needs
We’d happily work or study at any of these picks ourselves.
Updated Aug 21, 2023 6:07 PM
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The end of August signifies the swan song of out-of-office messages and Summer Fridays. Work Week is our one-stop-shopping cluster dedicated to feeling good about getting back into a routine—whether that’s working from home, the office, or a classroom. We’ve got the snazzy task lamps, new desks, and sharp organization tools to help.
A good desk can be a game changer. In fact, it’s hard to overemphasize the importance of having a dedicated space for deep concentration, and this (productive!) piece of furniture—whether it’s tucked in a corner or proudly announcing itself in the middle of an office—is just that. As the centerpiece of a workspace, a desk enables good work habits through its physical aspects, like lots of storage and surface area, as well as its physiological connotations, when your mind intuitively links that space with focus and productivity.
And that applies to kids, too: It’s a place where homework, learning, creating, and playing can happen. So we went on the hunt for the best kids’ desks, investigating everything from materials and color palettes to organization options and extra features. And, of course, we didn’t forget about design and overall functionality. Read on for the 10 that made our cut, from the retro to the modular.
- Best grow with them: Crate & Kids Canyon Natural Kids Desk
- Best colors: Ferm Living Little Architect Desk
- Best desk–slash–craft table: Walmart Zinus Desert Fields Jen Wood Dining Table
- Best seating set: Buylateral Alena Desk & Stool Set
- Best metal: Pillowfort Metal Desk
- Best modular: Pottery Barn Morgan Leaning Wall Kids Desk
- Best retro vibes: Wayfair Flash Furniture Student Desk
- Best plywood: Nuki Flex Handy Desk
- Best small-space solution: IKEA Micke Desk
- Best corner desk: Utex Corner Desk
- Best built-in storage: Ducduc Indi Art Desk and Seat
Best Grow With Them: Crate & Kids Canyon Natural Kids Desk
Dimensions: 46-by-31-by-20 inches | Storage: 1 drawer | Color: Natural | Additional feature: Adjustable levelers
What we like:
- Pull-out drawer provides easy storage
- Solid white oak is FSC® certified
- Coordinates with other pieces in the Canyon Kids line by Leanne Ford
- Caning panels can be more difficult to clean after messier activities like craft projects
- Won’t ship until late November
Why we chose it: This versatile piece is designed to feel appropriate at just about any age.
It’s not every day that we find something that’s designed for kids but is so sophisticated and well considered that it works for adults, too—this desk is precisely that. Its curved shape and legs evoke a feeling of fun and youthfulness, but its solid wood construction with dovetailed joinery means that it will, in fact, likely last from childhood to adolescence (and maybe even into adulthood). It’s the perfect size for a laptop, a notebook, a cup of coffee—er, we mean milk or juice!—with a drawer that provides plenty of room for the essentials, like chargers and writing utensils. The cane panels on the sides add a bit of texture, emphasizing the curved corners, and there’s also a coordinating mirror you can purchase if you want to turn it into a vanity at some point.
Best Colors: Ferm Living Little Architect Desk
Dimensions: 28-by-24-by-18 inches | Storage: None | Colors: Dark blue, rose pink, gray, cashmere, poppy red
What we like:
- Fun colors are designed to work together or mix and match
- Arrives flat-packed and unassembled
- Easy to clean with a damp cloth
- No drawers or storage here—emphasis is on clean, minimalist design
- The desk height is sized for children approximately ages 10 and under
Why we chose it: Clean lines and cute colors make this stained-wood desk a favorite.
As part of the Little Architect series, this desk is included in a kids-oriented furniture line that exudes good taste and functional design—exactly what little architects-in-training would appreciate. The collection encompasses a table, chairs, bench, and desk available in five different colors of stained solid ash, so that you and your budding designer can mix and match as you wish. The raised bar at the back of the desk props up books, and the widely spaced legs can accommodate both a small bench and a chair. We love that it has the benefits and durability of natural wood with the fun color palette of painted furniture.
Best Desk–Slash–Craft Table: Walmart Zinus Desert Fields Jen Wood Dining Table
Dimensions: 47-by-29.5-by-29 inches | Storage: None | Colors: Natural, white | Additional feature: Doubles as a crafting or gaming table
What we like:
- Ships well packaged
- Mid-century modern appeal
- Top is a creamier off-white
Why we chose it: Tap this solid surface for more than homework—it’s big enough for all your little one’s art endeavors.
While this piece is technically a small dining table (it comfortably seats two to four adults), we can easily see this minimalist style working well as a desk. Take advantage of the extra surface area by adding filing folders or other tabletop organizers for everything from pencils and pens to paints in an easy-to-see, easy-to-reach vicinity. It also means that when your kiddo invites a friend over, they can sit together to tackle the night’s assignment before breaking out the coloring books or board games. We also love that this is made with real solid wood and a ceramiclike white top that’s a breeze to keep clean. “I was surprised how nice the table is, as the picture does not do it justice. The thin legs make it look more elegant,” one shopper writes. Reviewers also confirm it comes together in less than 10 minutes and all you need is the tools it ships with.
Best Seating Set: Buylateral Alena Desk & Stool Set
Dimensions: 30-by-38-by-23 inches | Storage: 2 drawers | Colors: Mint/natural, white/natural | Height adjustable: No | Additional feature: Matching stool
What we like:
- Simple and effective design in both the desk and the stool
- Playful stool design helps balance more mature desk looks
- 2 drawers help with organization
- Approximate weight capacity is 50 pounds; sized for a younger child
- Mint is no longer in stock
Why we chose it: Two-tone design plus a two-piece set equals an easy, Scandi-inspired children’s workspace.
Whimsical and compact in design, this set comprises a desk and matching four-leg stool that tucks right under for minimal impact on a small space. The legs of the desk and stool are solid pine, and both are topped with a contrasting laminated MDF in a crisp white or mint green finish. A single funky leg on the stool is carved with three orbs and finished with a metal kickplate, a playful reminder that it’s designed for kids. We’re also a fan of the two colorways, which are gender neutral and would work in just about any space. Two drawers make it easy to stash away pencils, pens, markers, and other essentials that help kids get into the creative spirit.
Best Metal: Pillowfort Metal Desk
Dimensions: 30-by-41-by-23 inches| Storage: None | Colors: Insignia blue, white | Additional feature: Floor glides
What we like:
- Clean and minimal design
- Coordinating pieces like an activity table and chairs are available for purchase separately
- Steel construction means that it’s built to last
- Floor glides help prevent scratches
- No built-in storage
Why we chose it: Simple, effortless, and durable: This metal desk hits all three marks.
Whether it’s for reading, working, scribbling, or crafting, it is hard to go wrong with this simple metal desk from Target’s Pillowfort collection, which is specifically designed for children. The desk embraces simplicity and mess-free living, essentially consisting of three elements: a sizable rectangular desktop and two U-shaped metal legs. The entire desk is made from metal and painted a glossy metallic finish in either white or a deep, moody blue that could bring a little bit of color and flair to a room or work as a neutral. The desk doesn’t have its own storage, but a matching chair with similar clean lines can be purchased to complete the set.
Best Modular: Pottery Barn Cameron Wall Kids Desk
Dimensions: 42-by-21-by-30 inches | Storage: 2 large drawers and shelves | Color: White | Additional features: Integrated corkboard and built-in outlets
What we like:
- Great storage and display capabilities
- Greenguard Gold–certified materials including durable hardwood frame
- Coordinates with cubbies and cabinets
- Only available in white
Why we chose it: Whether on its own or paired with matching leaning shelves, this desk is a great solution for spaces large and small.
Classic in form and clever in its storage options and ability to be arranged in multiples, this desk makes room for optimal studying and concentrating. We love how it incorporates three types of display and storage: two sliding drawers for notebooks, pens, pencils, and smaller items; a raised shelf for books, note cards, and more; and a corkboard that serves as the perfect hanging spot for a calendar, photos, notes, and artwork. The desk works well on its own, since its height makes it a natural focal point of the space; it also shines when paired with matching shelving units or cabinets, or combined with other desks for multiple kids.
Best Retro Vibes: Wayfair Flash Furniture Student Desk
Dimensions: 21-by-22-by-16 inches | Storage: 1 front drawer | Colors: Black, walnut, gray, black and white, maple and silver, brown and black | Additional feature: Pencil tray
What we like:
- Durable and sturdy
- Adorable, retro-inspired design
- Adjustable height
- The brown and black combo is 71% off
- Assembly can be a little tricky
Why we chose it: Color us happy with this vintage-inspired desk.
Few things are as eye-catching and joyful as carefully chosen, vintage-inspired colors, and that’s why we fell in love with this piece that could easily be mistaken for the very desks we used in elementary school. It’s serving major vintage vibes but modern practicality, outfitted with an open drawer for easy-to-reach storage. One shopper shares they purchased the same unit years ago and it still looks good as new. Others have tapped it to create a homeschool set up for multiple kids. Its compact size and curvy legs mean it’s ideal for small spaces, and the adjustable height means it’s suitable for students of all ages.
Best Plywood: Nuki Flex Handy Desk
Dimensions: 30-by-50-by-20 inches | Storage: 1 front drawer | Color: Natural | Additional features: 3 hooks, raised back
What we like:
- Fun design in a single material and natural plywood finish
- Coordinates with other pieces in the Nuki line
- Drawer with integrated pull
- Designed for children ages 5 and up
- Splayed legs are wider than the desk surface
Why we chose it: Cute as a button and practical, to boot, this desk plays up its plywood construction with fun details and exposed edges.
It’s all about the details with this plywood desk from Polish design brand Nuki, which specializes in children’s furniture—and it shows. The desk boasts a large surface area with plenty of space for spreading out, but thanks to features like a raised back, papers and pens will stay put (instead of finding themselves on the floor). The asymmetric design incorporates three handy plywood hooks on the left side and an open rectangle on the right side for additional hanging, and we love how the exposed edges show off the plywood construction. The curved corners of the drawer and legs make it feel kid-appropriate and safe, and a neutral wood tone means it works with a range of color palettes. The only downside? It ships from Europe.
Best Small-Space Solution: IKEA Micke Desk
Dimensions: 29-by-29-by-20 inches | Storage: 1 front drawer | Color: White | Additional feature: Cord cutout
What we like:
- Simple design that is technology-friendly
- Small footprint can be expanded when paired with other pieces from the Micke line
- Finished back means it can be placed anywhere in a room
- Designed for children ages 7 and up
- Desk is made primarily out of particleboard and fiberboard
- Only available in white
Why we chose it: A fit for even the smallest spaces, this desk is flexible and tech-friendly.
A desktop covered with cables and wires will be a thing of the past when you introduce this tidy, fun-size desk from IKEA’s Micke line. Available in a clean white color, the piece is tiny but effective: It incorporates a front drawer that comprises the width of the desk, a partially open side leg, and a cable outlet at the back for keeping wires and cords out of the way. The asymmetrical legs (one solid, one open) can be mounted on either side of the desk, and thanks to a finished back, the desk could sit comfortably against a wall or smack in the middle of a room. Smaller details like drawer stops that prevent the drawer from being pulled out too far and an easy, straightforward installation (even by IKEA standards!) are other elements we appreciate.
Best Corner Desk: Utex Corner Desk
Dimensions: 28-by-27-by-27 inches (39 inches high with hutch) | Storage: Movable hutch and shelves | Color: White | Additional feature: Cord cutout
What we like:
- Small size and design make it work in most tight corners
- Hutch is sized to organize smaller items like toys and paper clips
- Hutch/shelves can be placed on either side or removed entirely
- Designed for children ages 3 to 8
- Only available in white
Why we chose it: An empty nook quickly becomes a hub of productivity with this desk specifically designed to fit in corners.
Nearly triangular in shape, this white desk was created to make the most out of a tight corner—and turn it into a study space with plenty of storage. We like the combination of flexibility and shelving here, thanks to a little hutch that provides four cubby spaces (one large, three small) and can be mounted to either the right or the left side. A handy cable outlet is centered at the back of the desk, so cords and cables can be bundled no matter what side the shelves are on.
Best Built-In Storage: Ducduc Indi Art Desk and Seat
Dimensions: 30-by-40 inches | Storage: 5 shelves | Color: Midnight blue | Additional feature: Matching bench-syle seat
What we like:
- Made in the U.S.
- Easy to assemble
- Adjustable storage shelves
- Final sale
Why we chose it: A compact catchall for all your kids’ supplies.
Constructed from Baltic birch, this wood desk-and-bench combo is designed to bring order to unruly art and school supplies that are likely overflowing elsewhere. Take advantage instead of the five built-in storage shelves that are adjustable based on your child’s needs and corral tall paintbrushes, scissors, and crayons. Each of these desks is made by hand in northwest Connecticut with nontoxic paint and glue that’ll last beyond the toddler and perhaps even the teen years. While it definitely skews on the pricier side, it also ships with a matching two-seater bench that easily slides in to take up less space when not in use.
More Kids Desks Worth Checking Out
How We Chose These Products
Here at Domino, design and aesthetics always play an important part in our decision-making. In fact, when we vetted our selections for the best kids’ desks, both were just as important as the practical side of things such as material, storage, dimensions, and proportions. Special features that make working easier and more flexible, like cord cutouts or integrated shelving and hooks, were also top of mind for us. And experts, from parenting and education experts to interior and furniture designers, agree: It’s not form over function, but instead form and function when it comes to the best workspaces for children.
Our Shopping Checklist
“When looking for a kids’ desk, there are a few things I consider: One, they’re going to grow, and two, it’s going to get messy,” says Emily Yeates, principal designer at interior design firm Urban Revival. With that in mind, she advises that you’ll want to pick something that is durable and age-appropriate, both in terms of the height of the desk and materials and special design features. A desk for a 3-year-old might not need, say, a cable cutout for a laptop charger, but a pencil holder and an easy-to-clean surface are key. On the other hand, if you’re shopping for a child who is about to enter middle school (and maybe also a growth spurt!), look for a desk that could pass as an adult version in size and maybe even design, with more sophisticated materials or color palettes. Bonus point: It will make them feel a little more grown-up (and maybe even inspire some very serious study sessions).
While most desks for adults are designed at a standard height range of around 28 to 30 inches, kids’ desks can range from significantly shorter than that (for desks designed for younger children) to desks right in that range. Know that if you’re hoping for a desk that will grow—literally—at pace with your child, you’ll want a full-height desk from the beginning, or one with adjustable legs or extendable leaves for more workspace. In terms of surface area, make sure that you’ve figured out how your child will be working. Is the desk mainly for arts and crafts or does it need to fit a computer, notebook, and maybe even a caffeinated beverage for late-night paper writing?
Drawers and Storage
Everyone we spoke with agreed: Storage is key. At least one drawer is desirable, notes Malka Helft of Think Chic Interiors, but the more, the better. Interior designer Mary Beth Christopher of MBC Interior Design explains that plenty of storage is particularly important if your kid’s bedroom is on the smaller side. “A desk is a great place to tuck extra things away and keep them off the floor,” she explains. “School and art supplies can be stored in drawers, so the work surface stays clean, making it a distraction-free zone.”
While our experts cited a range of materials for their favorites, from easy-to-clean laminate to hearty hardwoods and durable metal, they were in agreement about what not to use. Surfaces like leather or glass are easily damaged or scratched and should be off-limits, as should textured desk surfaces that won’t allow for easy writing. Noted Australian children’s furniture designer Sally Dominguez also cautions against desks made of melamine products, which can contain formaldehyde. When in doubt, she recommends going for natural materials.
How to put a desk together isn’t going to be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re shopping, but it’s an important point to consider. Some of the best kids’ desks arrive flat-packed in a single box or two and can be put together in a matter of minutes, while others (particularly those that feature drawers) can be more complex and require some elbow grease or handiness.
Q: What is the most essential feature a children’s desk should have?
Our experts were divided on this, saying that both storage and a cutout for cables and cords are both essential. “Whether it is a desk with drawers, wall-mounted folders, a supply caddy, or a few glass ball jars for their pens and pencils, it’s important to give kids a place for all of their school supplies to live,” says Shawna Percival of Styleberry Creative Interiors. On a similar note, keeping visual clutter from various cords and cables for electronics or even lighting in check can, like organized storage, help kids concentrate and keep them on task.
Looking to go one step further? “Find a desk with a built-in outlet/charging station. Many desks now come with this feature and it is definitely a bonus, since so many kids are using technology to complete and submit their work,” says Kristin Bartone, creative director and principal of Bartone Interiors.
Q: Where should I put the desk—in their room, a playroom, the kitchen?
The ideal location for a child’s desk depends on their age and, to an extent, the temperament and ages of siblings. “If you have elementary school–age children, we recommend placing the desk in a communal space like a first-floor playroom or den,” says Tracy Morris of Tracy Morris Design. The central location in the house makes for easy responses to the many homework questions at this age. On the other hand, if you have junior high– or high school–age children, “placing their desks in their rooms is the best bet,” recommends Morris. “They can have quiet for concentrated work, and if there are Zoom classes, it will not drive the rest of the family crazy.”
But regardless of the room you choose, consider putting the desk as close to the light and fresh air (ideally a window) as possible, notes Sara Mosele of Sara Mosele Interiors. It’s also a good idea to place the desk in a space or zone of a room that’s separate from the bed or play area, so that there’s a clear spatial (and mental!) separation between functions, she recommends.
Q: Holy crayon scribbles: How do I clean a kids’ desk?
Most manufacturers of kids’ desks are familiar with their targeted user, so durable, easy-to-clean surfaces abound. The majority of desks, whether they’re laminate, wood, or metal, can be wiped down with a soft, damp cloth. Got some particularly stubborn “art”? It might be time to pull out the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but be sure to clean a test area first to check for colorfastness. Looking for a more natural solution? Karen Aronian, Ed.D., a parenting and education expert, recommends getting off markings and grime with a vinegar-and-water solution, followed by a spritz of alcohol to remove germs and stains. And if all else fails, “you can always repaint a marked-up desk,” she says. “However, you might just want to hold onto the graffiti, marks, and stickers that celebrate your child’s development.”
Q: How many drawers is enough for a kids’ desk?
When it comes to drawers, our experts note that it’s not so much the number of drawers that’s important; it’s proportions and dimensions. “If you’re opting for a smaller desk, shallow drawers are the best use of storage for kids,” says Sarah Sain, designer for family-run renovation company Sain Homes. Shallow drawers are ideal for storing laptops, pens or pencils, and other creative tools without having them get lost in deep, seemingly bottomless drawers that inevitably fill up with all sorts of toys, games, markers, and maybe even the odd snack or two.
Q: Are all kids’ desks height adjustable?
In an ideal world, all kids’ desks would be height adjustable to accommodate children as they (and their piles of homework) grow. However, the reality is that most aren’t height adjustable. Many may come with adjustable levelers that help keep the desk from that ever-frustrating wobble on uneven floors, but don’t expect them to be able to be lowered or raised significantly unless that’s clearly stated as a major feature.
The Last Word
When it comes to picking out the best desk for your child, the name of the game is storage and style. Whether you’re giving your kid their first workspace as they start school or purchasing what may be their last desk at home (sad face), providing them with their own workspace is a great way to encourage good study habits. Here, we’ve done the legwork to prove that the best kids’ desks not only provide the physical location for work to be done, they can inspire creativity, house countless toys and books, and even brighten a room thanks to their thoughtful and fun design.