The Best Kids’ Desks Meet All Your Little One’s Scholarly Needs
We would happily work or study at any of these desks ourselves.
Published Dec 21, 2021 1:00 AM
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 to color palettes, organization options to 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-seating set: Buylateral Alena Desk & Stool Set
- Best metal: Pillowfort Metal Desk
- Best modular: Pottery Barn Morgan Leaning Wall Kids Desk
- Best retro vibes: Les Gambettes Régine Kids Desk
- Best plywood: Nuki Flex Handy Desk
- Best small-space solution: IKEA Micke Desk
- Best corner desk: Utex Corner Desk
- Best hidden storage: Crate & Kids Murphy Wood Secretary Dresser Desk
Best Grow With Them: Crate & Kids Canyon Natural Kids Desk
Dimensions: 46 (w) x 31 (h) x 20 (d) inches | Storage: One drawer | Color: Natural | Additional features: 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
Why we chose it: This versatile, playful 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—but 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 (w) x 24 (h) x 18 (d) inches |Storage: No | 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-Seating Set: Buylateral Alena Desk & Stool Set
Dimensions: 30 (w) x 38 (h) x 23 (d) inches |Storage: Two drawers | Colors: Mint/natural and white/natural | Height adjustable: No | Additional features: 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
- Two drawers help with organization
- Approximate weight capacity is 50 pounds; sized for a younger child
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-legged 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 for getting into the creative spirit.
Best Metal: Pillowfort Metal Desk
Dimensions: 30 (w) x 41 (h) x 23 (d) inches|Storage: None | Colors: Insignia blue and white | Additional features: 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 Morgan Leaning Wall Kids Desk
Dimensions: 60 (w) x 39 (h) x 18 (d) inches |Storage: One large drawer and one shelf | Color: White | Additional features: Integrated corkboard, cord cutout, and adjustable levelers
What we like:
- Great storage and display capabilities
- Greenguard Gold–certified materials including durable hardwood frame
- Coordinates with Morgan Leaning Wall Shelves
- Only available in white
- Desk unit is 5 feet tall and may not fit under most lofted beds
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: a large sliding drawer 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 leaning shelving units or combined with other desks for multiple kids.
Best Retro Vibes: Les Gambettes Régine Kids Desk
Dimensions: 21 (w) x 22 (h) x 16 (d) inches |Storage: One front drawer | Colors: White, blue, coral, lemon yellow, khaki, mint green, powder pink, pearl gray, peacock blue | Additional features: Pencil tray
What we like:
- Adorable, retro-inspired design in eight colorways
- Compatible with matching Little Suzie Kids’ Chair
- Laminate beechwood top is FSC-certified
- Designed for children ages 3 and up
Why we chose it: Color us happy with this vintage-inspired desk, available in eight fabulous colorways, complete with fun details.
Few things are as eye-catching and joy inspiring as carefully chosen, vintage-inspired colors, and that’s why we are so in love with the Régine desk from French design company Les Gambettes. The piece, inspired by vintage designs but finished with modern practicality (think: that perfect blend of the past and present in Wes Anderson movies), is outfitted with a single drawer and complemented by fun hardware and a pencil holder detail. It’s available in eight colors (including two neutrals, white and gray), each with white metal legs and black hardware and edges. Its compact size and straight legs mean it’s ideal in small spaces, and we can see it paired with the matching Régine chair in a deliciously contrasting color.
Best Plywood: Nuki Flex Handy Desk
Dimensions: 30 (w) x 50 (h) x 20 (d) inches |Storage: One front drawer | Color: Natural | Additional features: Three 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.
Best Small-Space Solution: IKEA Micke Desk
Dimensions: 29 (w) x 29 (h) x 20 (d) inches |Storage: One front drawer | Color: White | Additional features: 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 (w) x 27 (h) x 27 (d) inches (39 inches high with hutch) |Storage: Movable hutch/shelves | Color: White | Additional features: 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 your cords and cables can be bundled no matter what side the shelves are on.
Best Hidden Storage: Crate & Kids Murphy Wood Secretary Dresser Desk
Overall dimensions: 63 (w) x 36 (h) x 18 (d) inches (desk surface with door open: 34 x 32 inches) |Storage: Three drawers plus integrated shelving | Color: Natural/white | Additional features: Drop-down desk, cord cutout
What we like:
- Fun, arched shape with contrasting white drawer pulls
- Plenty of storage: three cubbies, three regular drawers
- Coordinates with other items in the Domino x Crate & Kids line
- Laptops and computer monitors would need to be stored in a drawer below
Why we chose it: The ultimate answer to storage, shelving, and a hidden workspace—all in one fabulous piece.
It’s not every day that a piece of furniture can surprise you. But we think this dresser desk, a part of our collaboration with Crate & Kids, does just that. We know how important multifunctional furniture is in kids’ rooms, so imagine a Murphy bed, but for a desk. This secretary combines drawers, shelving, cubbies, and a pull-down work surface into a single, design-forward piece. There’s space for crafting supplies, nooks for sorting books and pens, and a cord cutout for electronics or a little task lamp. Your child can pull up a chair, pull down the work surface, and get right to work any day (and at any age!) in front of this desk.
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, design and aesthetics were just as important as the practical side of things such as materials, 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 kids) 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 & 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 the 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 were 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 kids’ desk depends on the child’s 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,” she adds.
But regardless of the room you choose, consider putting the desk as close to the light and fresh air (ideally a window), notes Sara Mosele of Sara Mosele Interiors. When possible, 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 cleaning 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 a 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 them 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 also inspire creativity, house countless toys and books, and even brighten a room thanks to their thoughtful and fun design.
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