Of Desks, Bullets, And The Queen Of England

by Terry Cray

I had a friend in college whose father was an outstanding businessman and eventually, a gazillionaire. He could’ve had the best furniture that money could buy for his home office, but he had simple needs when it came to his desk. It was a regulation size ping pong table, and while it wasn’t a conventional choice, it met his not-too-demanding criteria. It was big, and it kept his stuff off the floor.From a ping pong table to an old door on beat-up sawhorses to a high-end executive double pedestal nod to extravagance, desks come in many shapes, sizes, and configurations. Here are the three most popular.



1.jpgStraight Front Desk

A majority of desks are simple rectangles commonly referred to, not surprisingly,as straight fronts. Available in a variety of sizes, the most popular are 72” wide by 36” deep, sometimes called an executive desk, 66” wide by 30” deep, and 60” wide by 30” deep. The 66” wide desk muscled its way between the others along the way,and it’s a good compromise when space is a concern, and a smaller desk won’t do.


 Bow Front Desk

This type builds on the executive desk model by curving the front and extending it 6 inches. The sides of the top remain 36” deep, with the middle now at 42”. The reason behind this bump is to have extra space where guests can confer with the sitter without having to move to a table or other work surface.


D-Top Desk

D-top desks, also known as bullet top desks, offer another way of looking at conferencing. It’s an open configuration with a rounded end that some see as more inviting to the person sitting in the guest chair and a little less intimidating than a bow front. The sitter and the guest now have the option of meeting at the rounded end instead of just the middle. (Or...the user may simply prefer ammunition-shaped case goods.) Normally there are no drawers under a d-top due to the lack of space. The base, usually comprised of a column leg and modesty panel, runs down the middle of the desk claiming the room usually reserved for them.


With changes to the workplace coming at an ever-increasing pace, the very nature of desks varies from generation to generation. Older workers may be more comfortable with private offices stuffed with furniture while those new to the labor force often embrace a radically different approach. They’re happy with their laptops, any adequate horizontal work surface, and a comfortable chair.

Even as the workplace evolves though, there will always be a market for what most people think of as desks, and in certain situations, nothing else will do. Take the Resolute desk for example, arguably one of the most, if not the most, famous desks in the world. Built of timbers from HMS Resolute and given to Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880, it commands center stage in the Oval Office. When I think of what it stands for and consider the history it’s witnessed over the years, I can’t help but wonder what a different nation we’d be if the Queen had presented Pres. Hayes with a desk made from HMS Ping Pong. 


Call Terry Cray, Office Furniture Guy, with questions or comments you may have.

M 773.908.0462

E terryc@rework-furniture.com