Your reception desk is the centerpiece of your office’s waiting room. As such, it’s important to find one that will make your guests feel welcome and your receptionists feel comfortable all day. Unsure of what to look for in your new waiting room desk? Read on to discover what you should consider and how to make the best choices for your business.

What Size Reception Desk Should I Buy?

The size of your reception desk will largely depend on the size of your waiting room. If you have a small reception area, we recommend choosing a compact waiting room desk with a small footprint designed to be used by 1 receptionist at a time. If you’re working with a larger waiting room, you should utilize the space by equipping it with a larger reception desk. Just as a large reception desk will make a small waiting room look cramped, a small reception desk in a very large waiting room will make the room look disproportioned.

Modular reception desks are ideal for most offices as they can be larger or smaller to fit your space as needed. We’ve designed our Compass collection with this idea in mind, allowing you to configure a workstation that perfectly fits your waiting room, no matter how large or small. 

What Shape Reception Desk Should I Buy?

Reception desks come in various shapes, and you’ll want to choose one that best suits the needs of your staff and guests.

Single surface reception desks have a single writing surface for the office staff and a transaction counter for guests to write on. These may be straight or curved and come in a range of sizes to suit your waiting area. Smaller versions of this type of reception desk are also commonly used in restaurants and other hospitality settings.

L-shaped reception desks include a main desk and a return, which provides the receptionist with additional space to work. Most l-shaped desks are small enough that they are best used by a single receptionist at a time, though they come in various sizes to suit different business needs.

U-shaped reception desks include a 3rd work surface for receptionists to utilize. U-shaped reception desks can have curved or straight edges, and they can often be used by more than 1 receptionist at a time in a large waiting room.

Round reception desks have a curved or circular appearance. These reception desks are best suited for larger waiting rooms where they can be the center of attention. 

ADA reception desks are ADA compliant to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs. Most ADA desks feature a standard height transaction counter and an attached ADA height surface that measures about 33" high.

What Materials Should My Reception Desk Be Made Of?

There are plenty of materials to choose from! These are the most popular options.

Although laminate can look like it has real wood grains, it is actually made from a form of particle board with or without a wood grain print. Desks with a laminate surface construction are ideal for high-traffic offices because laminate does not scratch or dent easily and is generally easier to maintain and keep clean. Laminate is also affordable, making it a great choice for businesses on a tight budget. 

Wood veneer is a good in-between if you want the look of real wood without paying the high cost of solid wood furniture. Veneer desks have a similar base as laminate furniture (such as particle board) but feature a thin layer of real wood on top of that. Veneer desks can be trickier to clean and care for than laminate, but the veneer layer provides a much richer look that many offices prefer.

Although metal desks are available in all-metal varieties, most come with a wood or glass top with a metal framework for stability and industrial aesthetics. Metal desks are usually made of steel, though the gauge may vary. The desk may come in either a chrome or powder-coated finish.

In the case of glass desks, the work surface is usually made of thick tempered glass to prevent shattering complemented by a metal framework. Glass is easy to clean, but it does show fingerprints. If you don’t want a full glass top, there are wood top options with a glass inlay available.


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