Last updated: August 5, 2021

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You spend a lot of time at a desk, so it is important that it is adapted to your needs. This is often not possible with ready-made desks from the furniture store. With a customised tabletop, however, you can design your study or office according to your wishes and don't have to compromise.

The selection of tabletop in a wide range of materials is huge. So that you are not overwhelmed in your search, we have carried out a tabletop guide and can thus optimally support you in your selection process. We also give you valuable tips on what you should definitely look out for. Let's get started!




Summary

  • There are a variety of materials such as solid wood, glass or melamine that are suitable for a tabletop. It's best to rely on what you like and what suits your taste.
  • The height, width and shape of your tabletop should not be left to chance, because a tabletop that does not meet your needs can be detrimental to your health.
  • Make sure you use a desk mat so that you don't scratch or soil your tabletop and can enjoy it for a long time. This is especially important for children.

The Best Tabletop: Our Choices

Tabletop: buying and evaluation criteria

With the large variety of tabletops, it is easy to get overwhelmed. To make sure that doesn't happen, we explain here which criteria you should definitely look out for.

So please pay special attention to these points when choosing your desk. So that you know what is important, find out about the criteria in detail here.

Material

You can choose from a wide range of materials for your tabletop. Particularly popular are tops made of:

  • Solid wood: Types of solid wood such as maple, oak or beech are particularly popular, while dark wood such as walnut looks very luxurious. With solid wood tops, slats of 5 - 8 cm usually run the length of the tabletop.
  • MDF: MDF boards are medium-density fibreboards with a smooth surface that is particularly suitable for lacquering. Therefore, MDF boards are available in a wide variety of colours.
  • Multiplex: Multi-layered tabletop, such as multiplex boards, consist of several layers of birch wood and are very durable.
  • Glass: Glass tops convey a modern and airy style. However, to look elegant, they need to be wiped down more often to keep them shining.
  • Linoleum: Linoleum tiles are also popular. These have the great advantage of having a slightly softer feel. As a result, writing on them is not felt to be as distracting as on your harder board. They can also be purchased in many different colours.
  • Melamine: Melamine boards are also classically very popular and also very inexpensive. In addition, melamine plates are very solid and can withstand a lot. Another plus point is their scratch resistance.

When buying, bear in mind that thicker, heavier desktops need better support than lighter ones in order to be stable. So don't just match the legs to the top, make sure they can support the weight.

Size

The bigger your workspace, the more room you have for your creative ideas.

Normally, a tabletop that is 160 cm wide and 80 cm long is sufficient for a full-fledged workstation. If you only need a workstation to work on your laptop, a width of 120 cm is also sufficient.

Type Size
Full-sized workstation 160 cm * 80 cm
Laptop table 120 cm * 80 cm

Important items such as the mouse, pens or similar should not be more than 40 cm away from you in order to be able to work ergonomically.

The distance between you and your screen should be at least 50 cm.

Items you don't use often, such as a hole puncher and stapler, can be placed 60-90 cm away from you or stored in drawers.

A filing cabinet or printer, on the other hand, should be a little further away from your desk so that you can move around while you work and not just sit in your chair.

Colour

For your tabletop you should choose colours like white, grey or beige. Dark colours, on the other hand, are suboptimal and should be avoided.

Choose a matt tabletop.

Your tabletop should not be made of reflective materials, as these could blind you while you are working.

Blue or red colour accents on your desk can have a positive effect on your brain by improving concentration or creativity.

Edges

There are usually four different types of edges to choose from.

Type Description
Straight edges This is the classic, most common type.
Natural edges Here, only the bark of the tree is removed and reworked. This gives the tabletop a natural character.
Round edges The edges are usually carefully sanded round with a radius of 100 mm. This gives the tabletop a gentle grace.
Trapezoidal edges The underside tapers to a point, giving it a trapezoidal look.

You can choose any of these edge types for any tabletop. Just make sure you choose the one you like best.

Tabletop: Frequently asked questions and answers

Now that the basics have been clarified, we have collected and answered some more questions that you should definitely consider when buying a tabletop.

What is a tabletop and who is it suitable for?

A tabletop is a board, usually made of wood or similar, that you can attach to the table legs of your choice.
The advantage of this is that you don't have to rely on the existing range of desks in furniture stores.

You can give free rein to your creativity.

And honestly, what could be better than designing the place where you spend several hours a day doing homework or working the way you like?

You no longer have to choose between practicality, functionality and design, but have it all in one.

Schreibtischplatte-1

If you have everything you need to work at your desk, you can work much more productively.
(Image source: Jess Bailey / unsplash)

Choose the material you want your desk to be made of, the size it fits in your room and the requirements it has to meet. Your choice is almost limitless and your new desk will become the new highlight of your study.

What types of tabletops are there?

tabletop naturally come in a wide variety of shapes and forms. A rough distinction can be made between straight and curved desktops.

Type Features
Rectangular tabletops The most common From of desks. Offers a lot of space on and under the desk and can be combined well with other furniture. However, it also takes up a lot of space and the corners cannot be used.
Square tabletops These are often very inexpensive and space-saving because they are usually very small. This means they fit in every room, but they are not a long-term solution.
Corner tabletop The space can be used optimally and there is plenty of room on the desk. However, they are usually a little more cost-intensive.
Arched tabletop Are particularly suitable for the entrance area and are the highlight of any room. However, they are usually more expensive and cannot be placed next to each other as well.
Kidney tabletop Are mostly used for counselling sessions. They look very harmonious and offer a lot of space. However, they are also difficult to combine with other desks and the arrangement at the desk is often chaotic.
Angled tabletop There is a lot of space on and under the table and they can be integrated well into many rooms. They are also somewhat more expensive to buy.

Experts usually recommend straight desks, as outwardly curved desks can often cause complications with armrests. Tables that are curved inwards, however, are ergonomically very good and have a positive effect on posture.

There are also specially designed computer tables that have pull-outs for a keyboard, cable ducts or cable cut-outs and lighting. However, just like tilting worktops, these ideas are often difficult to realise with a single tabletop.

How do I find the best tabletop for me?

If you're looking for a tabletop and wondering how to find the right one for you, there are a few questions you can consider to help you find an answer to this question.

  1. Think about what you need your desk for.
    Do you work on it every day or is it mainly used for filing letters?
  2. Think about how much space you have for your desk.
    Do you have your own study or will the desk be in your living room or bedroom?
  3. Think about how much space you will need on your desk.
    Will there be a computer on your desk and do you have a lot of documents that need to be stored on your desk?

Schreibtischplatte-2

If you spend a lot of hours in front of your desk, in addition to a good tabletop, a good desk chair is not essential.
(Image source: Alienware / unsplash)

The great thing is that when you put together your own desk, you can design everything exactly to your needs. So don't be afraid to voice all your ideas.

What is the best height for a tabletop?

A rule of thumb is that 90% of people find a desk height of 72 cm (measured from the floor) comfortable. However, if you are very tall or short, you should either add or subtract 10 cm.

However, if you want to know the perfect height at which to fix your tabletop, use this table as a guide:

Height in cm Desk height in cm
150 62
155 64
160 66
165 68
170 70
175 72
180 74
185 76
190 78
195 80
200 82

If you can rest your forearms relaxed on the tabletop and your shoulders are relaxed when you rest your elbows, you have found the perfect height for you.

What does a tabletop cost?

Tabletops come in a wide range of materials and sizes and are available in many different price ranges.

The price depends on:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Quality

However, since you spend several hours a day at your desk, you can spend a little more money so that you are really satisfied in the end and don't lose the desire to work. Your health can suffer from a poor working environment.

Type Price
MDF, Multiplex From 20 €
Solid wood From 80 €

Note, however, that at these prices you only have a tabletop. However, to have a full desk, you also need table legs and a desk chair if you don't already have one.

What are the alternatives to a tabletop?

Instead of a single tabletop, you can of course buy a ready-made desk from a furniture store.

Alternative Description
Ready-made desk A ready-made desk is usually equipped with several additional features such as drawers, shelves or the option of tilting the desk. However, you cannot adapt it to your individual needs and the purchase may be associated with compromises.
Dining table top If you can't find what you're looking for in the range of tabletops available, you can expand your search to include dining table tops. However, these are often a little more specialised and may not be tailored to your needs while working.

In summary, if you value the design of your desk, you should put it together yourself. However, if you want your desk to have many functions or different features, you are probably better off with a ready-made desk.

Schreibtischplatte-3

You should enjoy working at your desk, so set it up according to your taste.
(Image source: Ella Jardim / unsplash)

However, if you live in a small flat where you don't have enough space for two desks, you can also work on your dining table. Just make sure you don't mind having to move your papers and utensils back and forth every day.

Which tabletop is best for children?

Young children in particular are not yet used to sitting at a desk for long periods of time, so it is especially important to pay close attention to their wishes when buying a desk. And what better way to do that than with an individual tabletop?

The table frame under your tabletop should definitely be height-adjustable so that it can grow with your child.

Make sure you choose durable materials such as steel, aluminium or melamine-coated wood. These materials ensure that no scratches or dents occur. In addition, the selected desk should have storage trays for pens and a bag hook for the school backpack.

Why should I use a tabletop?

We have listed three reasons why you should definitely use a desk pad:

  1. Once you have found your perfect tabletop, you will want to use it for a long time. Use a desk pad to protect the top from scratches or dirt.
  2. A soft desk pad also provides a much more comfortable writing experience than a hard tabletop.
  3. In addition, you can use a desk pad to set accents in your study or to increase your motivation, creativity or concentration with cheerful colours.

A wisely chosen desk pad not only protects your desk, but also brings you lots of benefits.

Conclusion

It's much easier to work with a beautiful tabletop! So don't compromise by buying a ready-made desk, but create it according to your own wishes. Material, size and shape are entirely up to you, so adapt them carefully to your needs.

The height should be individually adapted to your height, so choose height-adjustable table legs for your tabletop. This is also especially important if you want to design a desk for your children. Also, make sure you choose the right materials for children or get a desk pad.

Picture source: racorn/ 123rf.com

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