What Is the Best Color for a Desk?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Feb 23, 2022

When you’re designing your home office, you’ve probably gone back and forth between office paint colors and aesthetic styles. But, what is the best color for a desk?

The best color for a desk is largely based on personal preference and an office’s color scheme. Desk color should also be chosen with color psychology in mind. The neutral colors of a wooden desk are calming while certain bold colors can boost energy and productivity. 

Choosing a desk style you like, be it an angular L-shaped desk in the corner or a large stoic desk in the middle of the room, is one of your first important home office decisions. However, the color of your desk also has an impact on your daily work.

Your home office desk can be any color you choose. You are not limited to a wooden desk in a natural color, although wooden desks offer a wide variety of color options from warm mahogany to cool ash. You can use a solid painted desk or a clear acrylic desk. The choice is yours. But, your desk color can actually affect your productivity and mood. Read on to find out what is the best color for a desk.

Color Psychology and How It Affects Work

The fact that the colors with which we surround ourselves can make us feel better or worse is nothing new. Color psychology is the study of how we are affected by the colors around us. Businesses of all kinds use colors in their logos and establishments to invoke certain feelings within customers and clients.

When it comes to a work environment, one should implement principles of color psychology based on the type of work being done. Consider what you do for a living when choosing your desk and office colors.

Type of Work  Goals  Color Choices

Art/Graphic Design Creativity and inspiration Yellows and oranges
Accounting/Editing Focus and precision Greens and teals
Marketing/Business Productivity and harmony Blues and navies

You’ll notice that the colors above are bright, bold colors. However, this doesn’t mean that your home office needs to be awash with loud colors. Instead, utilize pops of color around the office to benefit from color psychology. Additionally, a toned-down version of a bright color can be more useful as an office color because it is less likely to overwhelm you during your daily work.

Color Psychology and Productivity

Let’s look at the colors of the rainbow and examine how they impact productivity, specifically.

  • Red: Red can increase blood pressure and create urgency. Some people might work well in high-pressure situations, but this does not create a productive workspace.
  • Orange: Orange can boost productivity because of its high-energy effects. You don’t want an entire orange office, but an orange accent wall or orange decor and pops of color can brighten up a room and increase productivity.
  • Yellow: Yellow is bright and cheery. It can increase productivity for your home office by creating a happy, positive space. There are different shades of yellow, though, and pastel yellows can be more soothing than harsh yellows.
  • Green: Green is a great home office color, though it does more for ease and balance than for productivity. Green is, of course, aligned with thoughts of money. Green can create focus on economy and finances.
  • Blue: Blue is considered the most productive color. It is the most common color suggested for home office use. Blue is stimulating, which helps with focus and staying on task. Light blue is calming and relaxing.
  • Violet: Purples have always been associated with royalty, but not necessarily productivity. Dark purples can be moody, while light purples are soft and calming. This color do more for mood and elegance than productivity.
  • Pink: Pink is associated with femininity and positivity. It can make a space feel light and airy when utilized well. However, it is not usually thought of as a productive or focused color.
  • Black: Black is a popular color for home offices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the color black itself adds to a productive atmosphere. Black can be oppressive and overbearing, but it can also be chic and stylish. Designing with black takes care and intention.
  • White: Bright white and off-white are two very different colors. A soft, off-white can actually boost productivity because of its warmth. Off-white acts as a clean foundation without being sterile and overpowering.

What Is Your Main Goal for Your Office?

Obviously, the goal for your office is to create a space to complete your work in a timely and efficient manner. There are different ways of going about this, though. You can work in a miserable, sterile room and still get your work done, but you won’t be happy about it, and your work is likely to suffer. Your home office goals should include things like:

  • Productivity
  • Energy
  • Focus
  • Relaxation
  • Inspiration
  • Positivity
  • Stability
  • Balance
  • Creativity

While you are entitled to decorating your home office in whatever colors and styles you choose, data supports that certain colors boost the characteristics listed above. While working in your home office, where do you spend the most time, other than at your desk?

What Color Desk Should I Get?

When you shop for a home office desk, you will have all kinds of options in front of you. Design choices include desk colors, desk shapes, desk materials, and desk styles. These questions and more will also affect which desk you decide to purchase:

  • Are you designing your home office around your desk, or are you choosing your desk based on how your home office is already designed?
  • Have you already painted your home office walls their final color?
  • Does your home office have strange square footage requirements that call for a specialized desk shape?

When looking for office desk colors, you will find that there are many materials from which to choose. There are wooden desks, glass desks, metal desks, laminate desks, and acrylic desks. While you might imagine the usual black, brown, and white desks, there are more options for colors.

You should choose a desk color that is comfortable to look at for hours on end since you will likely spend a great number of hours working at your desk each day. A great desk color will not detract from your work. It should not be so flashy that it pulls your eyes away from your computer or your other tasks. Your desk color should be pleasant. It should be a color you enjoy. Additionally, it should pair well with the interior design of your home office as a whole.

Wooden Desks

Wooden desks can be finished naturally or covered with paint colors. A white desk or a black desk aren’t the most effective colors for productive workstations. In fact, naturally finished wood and pops of color are much more likely to increase energy levels in an office space.

Natural wood finishes can be separated into light colors, dark colors, warm color temperatures, and cool color temperatures. When it comes to an office environment, a warm color temperature is comforting and more likely to reduce stress levels.

Light colors of wood include:

  • Ash wood
  • Maple wood
  • Oak wood
  • Walnut
  • Light cherry wood

Dark colors of wood include:

  • Black walnut
  • Dark cherry wood

The most common color for an office desk is a natural wood tone. Light or dark, a natural earthy color creates a stable, calming feeling while working. Whether your job is to create content or manage accounts, a natural wood desk is always a solid choice. You can also choose faux wood instead of solid wood as a more affordable choice.



In general, the more solid and heavy the wooden desk is, the more stability it provides to a room and workspace. The earthy neutrals and browns of wood and composite wood create a sense of grounding. Brown is professional and strong. When mixed with a brighter color, it can create appealing and energizing contrast.

Painted Desks

While wooden desks are far more common than any other type, laminate, plastic, and other painted types are very popular as well. Consider common desk colors and how they affect a space.

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SHW Home Office 40-Inch Computer Desk, White
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Teraves Modern L-Shaped Desk Corner Computer Desk Home Office Study Workstation Wood & Steel PC Laptop Gaming Table
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SHW Home Office 40-Inch Computer Desk, White
Title
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Price
$69.87
Rating
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Thumbnail
ODK Computer Writing Desk 47 inch, Sturdy Home Office Table, Work Desk with A Storage Bag and Headphone Hook, Teak
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ODK Computer Writing Desk 47 inch, Sturdy Home Office Table, Work Desk with A Storage Bag and Headphone Hook, Teak
Price
$89.99
Rating
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Thumbnail
Teraves Modern L-Shaped Desk Corner Computer Desk Home Office Study Workstation Wood & Steel PC Laptop Gaming Table
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Whether these desks are painted wood or acrylic, white, black, and gray desks are popular in commercial offices and home offices alike. These cooler color temperatures are popular because of how sharp and clean they are. However, when it comes to colors to use in a home office, these cool colors shouldn’t take over the entire space. Adding useful pops of color, a natural light source, indoor plants, and warm color temperature into the mix can boost the sense of balance and sense of comfort in a home office.

Next Steps

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Robert David Orr

I'm an award-winning web designer & developer, creator, an all-around digital marketing guy and, most importantly when it comes to this site, a long-time veteran of the working from home life. My work from home life spans more than 10 years, and I've experimented with just about everything you can think of when it comes to getting the most out of my home office, how to work from home without going crazy, and found solutions to the numerous challenges that those of us who work from home run into in this life.

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