Is there anything more marvelous than a vintage secretary desk? We think not!
With their towering silhouettes, antique stylings and ingenious hideaway designs, few things come close to these versatile workhorses.
If you’re shopping for an antique secretary, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Chairish, we carry hundreds of modern and vintage secretary desks!
Our extensive selection ranges from classic Chinoiserie and Art Deco to Danish Modern rolltop designs.
The expertly curated cut you’ll find here has been gathered by our stylish team of vintage experts with a keen eye for secretary desk designs. Each team member is well-versed in the traits and quality standards that top designers are looking for when they shop for antique secretary desks.
Need an Antique Secretary Desk with a Hutch? Start Here!
Secretary desks came into fruition in the 18th century as a means to accommodate administrative secretaries — generally males — who would work out of large estate owners’ homes, typically in their living rooms or parlors.
In order to camouflage secretary desks amongst their existing furniture pieces, they were designed with fashionable details that harkened to the trends of the day. Secretary desks with hutches generally consist of a hutch or a cabinet placed atop a dresser-like structure that comes equipped with a center drop-leaf. The drop-leaf can be extended to create a desktop and can be folded up to create a synchronized unit.
Part of the appeal of antique drop-front secretary desks is their cache of slots, shelves, drawers and pigeonholes. Originally utilized to stow everything from letter openers to almanacs, these hideaways now serve as storage space for life’s more analog components, including packing tape, papers, pencils and pens. If you snag a vintage secretary with solid wood hutch drawers, upper shelving can be used to warehouse bulk office items like printer paper (or even less glamorous items like paper towels or glass cleaner).
Vintage secretary desks that feature glass front doors may require you to get a little crafty with your storage. However, filling the shelves with books, pottery or china on loan from the dining room is an easy way to make your arrangement look pulled together while still touting function.
Shop a Sophisticated Collection of Ready-to-Ship Secretary Desks
Not only are secretary desks a smart way to tuck a functional workspace into a larger living room or bedroom, but they’re also multi-functional pieces that can be used as storage cabinets, bars, nightstands — even vanities.
At Chairish, we strive to make it as easy as possible for you to locate the perfect secretary desk. Use our custom filters to easily narrow down our inventory by price, style or size.
Have your heart set on something specific like a black and red secretary desk? Use our color filters to easily view only those antique secretary desks that fall within your color parameters.
Need a secretary desk in a specific style?
Use style filters to edit our inventory down in seconds flat. Apply general styles like Mid-Century Modern or go super-granular with uber-specific filters like Safari or Hollywood Regency.
3 Ideas to Refashion a Vintage Secretary
So, you’ve scored a fab antique secretary desk and you’re looking for an out-of-the-box way to use it.
We’ve got you covered. Here are some super-cool ideas to refashion a secretary desk with some unexpected uses.
A Bar: Bar carts are certainly fancy-schmantzy, but riddle me this: Where does one actually assemble a drink? If you’re among those who’ve been turned off by a bar cart’s brevity, consider refashioning a vintage secretary desk with a hutch as a bar.
A secretary desk’s surplus of shelves is ideal for housing spirits and liquors, while its extendable drop leaf is perfect for perching tonics and tools to mix your fave cocktail from start to finish.
An antique secretary desk with a drop-front is the ultimate DIY bar setting for entertaining. Components for a specialty cocktail can be assembled on the extended drop-leaf along with shakers, jiggers and a step-by-step assembling card.
Those guests who prefer to mix up their own unique concoctions can make use of the reserves stored overhead behind the secretary’s cabinet doors. Have bottles you’d rather not share? Stow them in your antique secretary’s bottom drawers under lock and key.
A China Cabinet: Consider a vintage secretary the less committal version of the dining room china cabinet. A secretary desk’s thin profile means it will go over easier than a hulking China cabinet in most scenarios — especially in space-challenged rooms.
The top of the secretary can be used to store stacked plates and bowls (or, if you have glass-paned doors, artfully displayed ones), while the bottom can be used to squirrel away accouterments like linens, candles, barware and silverware.
When entertaining, a secretary desk can be unfolded to create a makeshift buffet. While the drop leaf won’t support an entire dinner spread, it can be a lovely place to display your labored-over dessert for the duration of a meal.
Alternatively, use a secretary as a utensil or condiment station for a stately buffet. Since guest drizzling sauces and dressings tend to be the cause of most buffet-related gridlock, annexing the condiments to a separate secretary can be a winning move.
An Entry Hutch: Console Tables may dominate the bid for entryway furniture, but with its slough of drawers, it’s hard to deny the appeal of working a vintage secretary into the foyer.
Unfold the desk flap to house essentials like mail, keys (procure a pretty bowl for them to keep things looking spick and span) and wallets. When entertaining, the unfolded desk makes a hospitable surface for displaying a vase of flowers and a tray of champagne, as well.
On the day-to-day, the bottom drawers of a vintage secretary can be used as a mudroom of sorts. Draft out a few drawers to store outdoor essentials like dog leashes, umbrellas, mittens and hats. The very bottom drawer can even be designated for shoes.
If you have glass doors up top, use this opportunity to stow accents that set the tone for your home. For instance, pottery or vases can be added in a color scheme that complements your home. Or you may pepper in a series of small vintage paintings or framed family photos.
Styling a vintage secretary with a bench or an ottoman off to the side can also provide an apt place to perch while suiting up (or down) for the elements.
There’s no denying that a versatile secretary desk is a must-have décor piece in your home. And with so many vintage styles to choose from, it may be tough to choose just one.
Questions & Answers
- What are some popular secretary desk brands?
- We have secretary desks from popular brands such as Baker Furniture Company, Ethan Allen, and Henredon.
- Do you carry brown secretary desks?
- We have secretary desks in popular colors including brown, tan, and black.
- How many vintage secretary desks does Chairish have in stock?
- We have 1,900+ vintage secretary desks in stock.
- Which brand has the largest assortment of secretary desks at Chairish?
- Baker Furniture Company is our most popular secretary desk brand, with 20+ items in stock.
- New & Custom Secretary Desks
- Mid-Century Modern Secretary Desks
- Chippendale Secretary Desks
- Asian Secretary Desks
- Cherry Wood Secretary Desks
- Oak Secretary Desks
- French Secretary Desks
- Mahogany Secretary Desks
- Queen Anne Secretary Desks
- Federal Secretary Desks
- Empire Secretary Desks
- Wood Secretary Desks
- Walnut Secretary Desks
- Chinoiserie Secretary Desks
- Traditional Secretary Desks
- Victorian Secretary Desks
- Black Secretary Desks
- French Provincial Secretary Desks
- Rosewood Secretary Desks
- Georgian Secretary Desks
- White Secretary Desks
- Scandinavian Secretary Desks
- Teak Secretary Desks
- Blue Secretary Desks
- Danish Modern Secretary Desks