Modern L-Shape Desks

​Everything you need to know about L-shaped desks for the modern office

L-shaped desks are efficient and productive workstations. They are often used by people who need a larger worksurface than a straight desk because they have lots of paperwork and equipment to which they need easy access. L-shaped desks are versatile, as they allow for storage both above and below the desk. They are great in a private office or a home office, but L-shaped desks also have creative uses as workstations in an open office area.

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L-Shaped Desk Buyer’s Guide

What is an L-shaped desk?

L-shaped desks are regular desks with a right-angled extension added to form an additional work area. The L shape creates one workspace for primary work as well as a secondary space that serves as a support. The desk is designed so that you can access any point of the two workspaces without having to move much. An L-shaped desk can also be used as a workstation for multiple people, making it one of the more versatile desks available.

What are the typical sizes for L-shaped desks?

The standard height of an L-shaped desk is 29 or 30 inches, unless it is height-adjustable. The width/length and depth of an L-shaped desk can vary quite a bit based on the desk style. The depth of each worksurface is typically between 20 and 30 inches. L-shaped desks with unequal sides range in length from, roughly, 58 to 72 inches on the longer side and approximately 48 to 60 inches on the shorter side. L-shaped desks with equal sides are often in the 48-to-72-inch range.

static l-shaped desk

How should you arrange the top of an L-shaped desk?

What is the best way to arrange items on top of an L-shaped desk? These days a desk is almost always centered around a computer, so let’s start there.

Computer in the center/corner

L-shaped desk

The corner is the largest work area on the L-shaped desk, which suggests that it should be where you put your laptop and/or monitor(s), keyboard, and mouse. With this setup, you will have lots of space on either side of the computer for decorations, papers, supplies, and whatever else you need. With this arrangement, your chair and body are positioned in the 90° area, which some people like and others dislike.

Computer off to one side or the other

L-shaped double pedestal desk

Another option is to treat one side of the desk like a traditional desk and the other wing acting as a supplemental area. Depending on where the desk is located in your office, the wing could have different purposes. In a private office, if your desk is not facing the corner, the supplemental area can have chairs on the other side for in-person meetings. It can also be used for storage, plants, printers, lamps, or anything else you might need.

Which part of an L-shaped desk is the return?

Some L-shaped desks have a “return.” This is the part of the desk that extends off of the main desk/main working area off to one side. The return often has drawers or shelves for storage.

What is the difference between right and left L-shaped desks?

A left-side L-shaped desk has a left-handed return, with the return on the left side of the main desk. Right-side L-shaped desks have right-handed returns.

Office Design with an L-shaped desk

An L-shaped desk is most often going to be part of a private office or a home office but can also be useful in a more open office area. How would you put an L-shaped desk in an office? Let’s explore some office layout scenarios.

What is the best office layout for an L-shaped desk?

The most common placement of an L-shaped desk is up against a wall. Here are some layout examples to consider:

2-person L-shaped desk

Open Style Cubicle Workstations

Double pedestal desk against walls

L-shaped double pedestal desk

Double pedestal desk against a wall

Global L-shaped desk

Height adjustable L-shaped desk

L-shaped desk

L-shaped desk with fabric screens

L-shaped desk

L-shaped desk with a modesty panel

static l-shaped desk

Can two people sit at an L-shaped desk?

While L-shaped desks are typically single workstations, they could be used in the interior of an open office area as more than one workspace. For this to work, the desk must be clear underneath without any crossbars or shelves. One person sits on the “inside,” using one of the two sides of the desk, usually the primary desk. The other person would sit on the outside facing in, using the secondary or supplementary surface as a workstation.

L-Shaped cubicles

Standing / height-adjustable L-shaped desks

L-shaped desks have options. One option is a fully-height-adjustable L-shaped desk. An L-shaped desk with a 3-leg, 3-stage base can accommodate either one large corner worksurface or two worksurfaces that are bracketed together to make one piece. The entire worksurface rises.

Another option is the ability to adjust the height of half of the desk. In this scenario, half of the worksurface sits on top of a 2-leg base and rises. The other worksurface is static (stationary) and is supported by legs and/or storage.

A last option is to have the entire L-shaped desk static. Whether you use one large corner worksurface or two worksurfaces bracketed together, this desk is supported only by legs and/or storage units.


Storage for L-shaped desks

Do you need underneath storage options for an L-shaped desk but are not sure which one is best? It all depends on how you plan to use the storage. Most popular storage units are box/box/file pedestal or file/file pedestal units. The file/file is best if you have lots of paperwork to be filed; a box/box/file is best if you need drawers for smaller items. If your job involves a lot of paper that you must have at your fingertips, then a 2-drawer lateral might be the best option.

There are also many above-the-worksurface storage options, such as bookcases, hutches, or overhead cabinets. Bookcases and hutches can sit right on top of the desk, while overhead cabinets must be affixed to a wall. Overhead cabinets work perfectly when the L-shaped desk is in the corner of a room.

private laminate office with overhead
l shaped storage

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