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Antique Desks

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Vintage and Antique Desks

Believe it or not, your tidiest desk yet doesn’t have to be the most modern or tricked out with tech. In fact, an antique desk can spiff up working quarters quite nicely, especially if you know what you’re looking for.

Antique desks, including roll top desks, writing desks and secretary desks, all possess the sort of doors, pockets and pigeonholes that are needed to keep today’s clutter at bay.

While these little nooks and crannies won’t be enough to endorse antique desks to the staunchest ergonomists, that’s not to say an antique desk still doesn’t have a place in the modern, permanently out-of-office world.

In fact, when partnered with a body-aligning seat (on wheels to easily maneuver it in and out of a neighboring coat closet, of course), a vintage desk can pass virtually any best-desked test.

Which is all to say that if you’re looking to reinvent your at-home workspace, you should leave the document-checked desktop to your laptop and consider investing in a proper antique desk.

This is especially true if you’re trying to integrate a workstation that doesn’t ostracize your other décor. An antique desk can be a stylish savior!


If you’re looking for an antique desk to add to your home or office, Chairish can help.

Let’s discuss four vintage desk options that are sure to enrich any space.

Antique Secretary Desks

If you’re looking to shimmy a desk into a public living space like a family room, why not consider one that was designed precisely for that purpose?

The antique secretary desk, which is essentially a hybrid between a cabinet and a desk, was originally designed to seat male estate secretaries who would have worked out of their employers' living rooms.

Its unique design features a drop-leaf that’s sandwiched between a stack of lower drawers and upper cabinetry. The leaf can be folded out to turn the secretary into a proper desk during the day and can be clapped up at night to convert the secretary back into a more clandestine case piece.

While there’s no denying the secretary is a stately station, it nonetheless epitomizes “business casual.” Drop one into a living room, bedroom or entry and it easily masquerades as a bookcase, a media cabinet or a bar until called upon as a location laptop dock zone for a bit.

Only a few decades ago when monitors and modems ran mammoth in size, the secretary desk was all but assumed obsolete. Laptops, however, sleek and virtually weightless, have brought the secretary back into vogue.

With cabinetry and drawer space to house all modern tech’s trappings and the occasional file folder, an antique secretary might just be the desk of the 21st century.

Antique Roll Top Desks

Those who admire the secretary desk’s now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t wizardry yet who want to do a bit more than peck away at a laptop are likely to be enticed by antique roll top desks.

The antique rolltop desk features a tanker-like base, which makes it perfect for those looking to break out a robust project — presumably of the less digital variety. Its work surface is backed by a corral of pygmy-sized drawers, slots and pockets that can all be concealed by rolling down a tambour-style door.

Ideal for those looking to optimize their organization or for those who are simply looking to revel in the childhood nostalgia of hidey-holes and rabbit-like burrows, the roll top desk is yet another antique desk that (thanks to its shape-shifting capabilities) presents similar enough to a case piece to be seamlessly integrated into any living room or entry.

Play up an antique roll top desk’s excessive conglomerate of cubbies by displaying a special collection near or atop a vintage roll top desk. Try a collection of miniature framed art or a mash-up of pottery to give your vignette enduring appeal.

Antique Writing Desks

Petite enough to be popped just about anywhere, the antique writing desk is really nothing more than a table bestowed with a single undercarriage drawer for stowing the slenderest of writing instruments (which is all to say that despite its pared-down form, your laptops still have a near custom-sized parking space). Antique writing desks come in all shapes and styles, although the most popular tend to be the curvy, cabriole-legged styles that reign largest in our collective consciousness.

Most antique writing desks are table height. This makes them more difficult to disguise than antique desks like the roll top or secretary.

If you are looking to integrate one into a common space, consider a particularly compact model that can function much like a console or a bar when it’s not in use. Forgo a chair when not working and hang a tassel from a drawer handle to lend the piece decorative appeal.

An antique writing desk can also be cozied up to a bed side in lieu of a traditional nightstand — especially if you opt for a small antique writing desk; traditional proportions won’t be toppled. Suffice it to say, an antique writing desk is almost always the “write” stuff.

Antique Portable Desks

It used to be that working from your bed was the ultimate dream. With that now firmly a reality for many, the next best thing is getting busy in the great outdoors. Working en plein air brings its own set of quandaries (mainly, how does one procure power for any length of time?).

For those leaving the house with a full battery charge and bit of Wi-Fi-be-damned determination, the open air can be a rewarding locale to clock a few hours. Those with outdoor aspirations would be remiss not to consider an antique portable desk.

Yes, there are newfangled contraptions that can be packed up and carried with ease, but the antiquated charms of the vintage portable desk run deep. Featuring box-like construction, the antique portable desk is by no means the most practical; it does, however, conjure up the romantic airs of penning a novel amid the swaying pastoral grass.

Look for a model that’s wide enough to support a laptop and lots of under-the-hood storage space for all the accouterments needed for a day of networking in nature, including headphones, phone and snacks.

When it’s not in use outdoors, an antique writing desk can be stowed atop a console or cabinet. For this reason, be sure to look for antique portable desks with exteriors finished in parquets, burnished burl woods and the like.

Vintage Desks for Sale at Chairish

Still on board to purchase an antique desk? Well, you’re in the perfect place to do so.

Here you’ll find a plethora of vintage desk designs that have been expertly curated from across the United States and Europe.

There’s no shortage of amazing finds, so have fun and happy shopping!

Questions & Answers

Does Chairish have antique desks on sale?
Yes! We have 210+ antique desks on sale.
Can I get free shipping on antique desks from Chairish?
Yes! Select antique desks ship for free from Chairish.
Do you carry brown antique desks?
We have antique desks in popular colors including brown, black, and tan.
What are some popular antique desk brands?
We have antique desks from popular brands such as Stickley Brothers, R. J. Horner & Co., and L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc..
Which brand has the largest assortment of antique desks at Chairish?
Stickley Brothers is our most popular antique desk brand, with 10+ items in stock.