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Pedestal Desks – 10 Practical Tips

Large Mahogany desk with black leather

To help you make a good decision when purchasing one of our mahogany pedestal desks we have put together some useful tips and things to keep in mind when making your decision. In fact many of these will apply to buying any desk but here we focus mainly on our twin pedestal desks.

The great thing is that, because we custom make our desks any restrictions that a certain design may cause can be overcome. For example if the kneehole is too narrow we can increase it by reducing the pedestal width whilst maintaining the overall width.

 

As a quick guide here is a list of topics. Further down the page is more detail about each topic. Click the topic heading to jump to the detail.

Overall Size

Desk Height

Kneehole

Top (the working space)

Layout of Desk Storage

Filing Drawers

Cable Holes

Design & Style

Access

Other Options

Overall Size

  • It is pretty obvious that one of the first things you need to know is what size desk fits the space you have in mind. Of course this will also be influenced by price but assuming this is not a factor there are still a few points to note.
  • It is a good idea to make up a paper template and place it on the floor to see if your chosen desk size actually fits and looks ok in that space.
  • For alcoves ensure you have taken account of the skirting board, electrical sockets, pipes, boxing etc.
  • Look at the design of the desk. Many have tops that have a 3 to 4 cm overhang which is the widest point of the desk. Is this a factor?
  • Other desks are straight edged such as the Campaign Desk. This is the same width, top and bottom.
  • Pedestal size: what storage needs do you have. You may wish to store sheets of papers or files, is the internal cupboard or drawer space large enough?

Desk Height

  • The normal height for a desk is 76 cm / 2ft 6inches which is fine for most chairs and in any case many office chairs are adjustable so there is no issue.
  • If you have a static chair which does not adjust this height should be fine but worth checking.
  • It is mentioned elsewhere in this article but as a reminder the central drawer takes up some of the height of the kneehole so should be taken into account when deciding on your seating height and that your legs will fit comfortably. This applies especially to tall people.

Kneehole

  • The kneehole width obviously reduces as the desk width gets smaller but this can be minimised by reducing the width of the pedestals to compensate.
  • If width of the kneehole is really important you can look at having a single pedestal desk leaving the left or right side open.
  • If you are a tall person please note that the kneehole height is reduced by about 15 cm because of the central drawer. We can remove the central drawer and/or make the desk taller. Warning: if the desk is made taller some office chairs may not work and the working height can be an issue, however 4 to 5 cm increase in height is generally not a problem.
  • Consider the width of the chair if you wish to store the chair under the desk.
  • Remember chairs with arms will not fit under the desk. Even if the kneehole is wide enough the arms will be blocked by the central drawer.

Top (the working space)

  • Being the actual working space this is perhaps the most important aspect of the desk. Basically bigger the better! Especially if you intend to use some of the space to put a printer or other device.
  • To keep the top clutter free it is worth considering a separate office storage unit, such as a filing cabinet. The top of the filing cabinet can be used to place the printer.
  • What finish do you want the top to be? We offer faux leather (leatherette), real leather with gold border stencil, plain real leather or wooden tops.
  • There are also a couple of different designs for the top. The Partners Desk top is split into 3 sections giving it a distinctive look or the Colonial Pedestal Desk has a single, one section top.
  • Note: sourcing leather hides large enough to cover a large single section insert can be a problem. Please discuss with us when ordering.

Layout of Desk Storage

  • By this we mean the layout of drawers, cupboards and so on. The standard layout in the feature image of the desk may not fit your needs. But this is not a problem as we can change the layout to suit.
  • The storage in the pedestals can be any combination drawers, keyboard drawers, file drawers, cupboard or even open shelf spaces. Consider what best suits you?
  • If you are intending to use the desk away from a wall why not add drawers or cupboards to the back for extra office storage. Indeed our Partners Desk has cupboards and drawers both sides.

Filing Drawers

  • This type of drawer has to be a certain size in order to fit standard suspension files, hence there are some restrictions in where and how they are fitted.
  • Only one file drawer each side can be fitted per pedestal, so a maximum of 4. See the Partners Desk with File Drawers.
  • Normally the files will have to be portrait. That is the rods to hold the files are located at the front and the back of the drawer and the suspension file runs front to back. This means the pedestal with can be varied without affecting the file drawer…well apart from how many files it can hold.
  • If you want the files to hang landscape, which is from left to right across the drawer (like a normal metal filing cabinet) then we have to ensure the pedestal is wide enough to allow this. On the big desks this is possible; on the small desks this is impractical because the kneehole will get very narrow. One way around this is to consider moving to a single pedestal desk. In this way you can have one wide pedestal to accept landscape files but of course storage in the second pedestal is sacrificed.

Cable Holes

  • We don’t put cable holes in desk as standard because most of our desks are traditional and were not designed with them – there were no computers in Georgian or Victorian times! It is no problem to have them added on request but a little care is needed in placing them.
  • First decide where you want to place your monitor, laptop, printer, scanner etc and then select the best place for the cable hole(s).
  • Then consider what is below or behind that hole. It maybe that the hole drops directly into a drawer so the position will need to be adjusted so it is nearer the space behind the drawer.
  • Of course if the cable hole is more important than the drawer we can make the drawer a false one.
  • Next consider where the cable will exit the desk. Do you want it into the kneehole, out the side or back? This will normally be governed by the position of electrical sockets.

Design & Style

  • This will mostly be a matter of taste and what works well for you, so there is little to say with regards to the practicality of the desk. However if you have chosen a pedestal desk there are a couple of points worth mentioning.
  • Design can have an impact on storage especially for the smaller size desks. For example the Partners Desk and Colonial Desk have carved columns running down the edges of the pedestals. These are very handsome and an integral part of the overall appearance of the desk, but they use up part of the width of the pedestal hence reducing the drawer size. On large width desks, from say 160 cm upwards this does not matter at all, but is a consideration on smaller width desks.
  • Desks with a plinth base means you don’t need to vacuum under the desk and you can’t miss place any pens etc in hard to get places.
  • On the other hand having feet such as the Sherwood Pedestal Desk (Mahogany) may allow for easier access to electrics and running cables under the desk.

Access

  • Pedestal desks are normally always delivered in 3 sections. 2 pedestals and a top which simply fits onto the pedestals. SEE
  • Single pedestal desks are normally delivered in one piece. No assembly is required but please check doors and hallways are wide enough.
  • We don’t anticipate any problem with delivery but it is still worth thinking about any access restrictions and letting us know.

Other Options

  • Pedestal desk also come in other shapes such as our L Shaped Mahogany Desks and Corner Desks which are well worth considering as a different option.
  • Writing Desks offer a simple open solution with large work top area.
  • Bureaus pack a surprising amount of storage space into a relatively small piece of furniture, keep the office neat and tidy and they look fabulous!

We hope this information has been useful and if you have any questions or want some more information please call or email and we will be happy to help.

Finally, just to say our mahogany pedestal desks are beautifully crafted and will look absolutely magnificent in any office. The style is timeless and although not designed for 21st century living with all its gadgets, we think that, combined with the custom made service they will do the job extremely well…and anyway it’s not all about practicality is it!?

SEE OUR FULL RANGE OF DESKS