Desk & Table Top Material Guide: What to Know Before You Buy

Confused about what makes a quality table last? This guide will help sort out the materials and tabletop design features to ensure your next purchase serves its role valiently!

By description, desks are a type of furniture with a flat work surface and are typically used in schools, offices, and even in homes for different activities. Desks are used for writing, reading, and holding devices such as PCs.

So, make sure that you are going to purchase a good quality desk with perfect tabletop glass for more protection and various benefits. If you are going to use tables for cafes or as coffee tables, we recommend decorating your interior with round tabletops.


You might be thinking why placing a tabletop is highly recommended, is it? Well, that’s because a glass tabletop provides easy cleaning due to its smooth surface and great protection. If your desk or table is used on a daily basis, like in offices, must cover it by placing a glass tabletop because a good quality tabletop will enhance the outlook, brighten up space and protect your table from scratches.

History of Tables & Desks

Before the tables, only chairs and beds were the tradition. The first tables are believed to have been invented by ancient Egyptians. Tables then spread out to ancient Rome. The first tables had four-legged designs, but they were constructed in a myriad of shapes and designs across time. Tables were mainly used for playing games and for dining.

The designs and materials used for making tables evolved with time. Three-legged and one-legged were made in different materials ranging from wood, metal, and even stone. In the process, desks were also invented.

Along with changing modern trends, now bare tables are not used. Most people prefer to cover their tables or desks with a glass tabletop, to lift their appearance.

Material Types

Desks have become standard across the whole world because of their ample use. In offices or schools, they are quite convenient while working and come in various styles and designs such as tables with round tabletops or rectangular ones. There are plenty of materials used for making desks like cement, marble, glass, and much more. The common materials used in making desks include wood, metal, and glass.

Let’s have a look at these materials, their characteristics, and flaws. So, it would be convenient for you to make a choice which one you should pick up for your space.

  1. Wooden Table Tops – a commonly used material

Wooden materials offer greater character but sometimes have unwanted texture

Wood is among the most commonly used materials for making desks. You might have seen wooden desks in offices or dining tables made from pure wood. The reason is, wooden tables or any woodwork lift the beauty of any space, they are widely used to add elegance to any interior. Wooden desks come with a myriad of advantages. At the same time, they possess their share of cons.

Pros of wooden desks include but are not limited to:

  • They express class and bring out professionalism in a space, be it an office, school, or study area at home.
  • Wooden furniture, more so desks, brings warmth and a feel of calmness to the face.
  • Well, with proper care, wooden furniture is durable and long-lasting.
  • It can come in a variety of styles, colors, and patterns.
  • Comfortable to touch in extreme temperature.

Cons of using wooden table tops

  • It is expensive
  • Due to its heavyweight, assembling wooden desks can be challenging
  • Can get damaged by moisture if not maintained timely
  1. Metal Table Tops– a low maintenance option

Metal desks offer better durability and have more resilient edges

Desks can also be made from metals such as steel. Metal desks are used in restaurants or at some open areas, as coffee tables. But, the reason why people don’t prefer these tables is they are quite heavy. Such a table is not a cool option for dining tables or office use, because it will make noise also.

Pros of Metal Desks:

  • It can be made into different patterns, creating a variety that brings about style.
  • Metal desks are sturdy and are less prone to give in to weight compared to other materials.
  • They are also safe and durable as they can withstand extreme temperatures. They also do not rot or chip away.
  • Maintaining metal desks is easy. Also, there is no risk of pest infestation with metal furniture.

Cons of metal desks

  • Metal desks can be heavy depending on the type of metal used and the size of the desk. Hence it can be hard to move around.
  • When finished poorly, metal desks can damage floors and also cause injuries to the users.
  • The difficulty of touching in extreme temperature
  1. Glass Tables – to create a simple aesthetic

Glass desks are easy to clean, modern in appearance, and can help keep you better organized

Glass desks are taking up the trend. As we are living in this modern era, people don’t go for traditional wooden desks or any other material because glass tables are quite convenient to handle in every aspect. If you use a good quality glass such as tempered glass, trust me, you will never regret it.

Glass Desk Pros:

  • Glass desks are sleek and modern.
  • They are durable, as they cannot be damaged by moisture. Tempered and laminated glass desks are also strong and hard to break.
  • Since they are transparent, they enhance elegance and bring airiness to space.
  • Glass desks shimmer when hit by light, bringing glamour.
  • Very comfortable to touch even in extreme temperatures.

Glass Desk Cons:

  • If a glass table is made of ordinary glass, glass desks can break easily compared to other materials.

Desk table tops can be used in different places. Also, the different materials are ideal for other areas in a house. Glass desk tabletops will be suitable if you have your desk in the living room. This is mainly because it will create the illusion of space, and brightness making the room cozy.

Wooden desks are ideal for high traffic areas such as schools as they are sturdy and will not break easily on impact. Steel or metal desks are suitable for the patio as they are less prone to damage by balls being thrown, and of course, the elements.

Glass desk table tops, when used in offices and banks, can bring about sophistication and make the spaces look more professional.

Which material is the best?

The best way to determine the best material to use for desks is by evaluating your needs and the benefits of the different materials. Glass possesses many perks making them the most advanced and preferable options for the office.

The only concern about glass desks is their durability. The good news is that glass that has undergone treatment during manufacturing has the advantage of strength. You can work with plexiglass, laminated, or tempered glass, which is stronger than the standard glass.

Glass desks are easy to cut and can be customized to any design you want; glass is also easy to maintain, and keeping it clean only requires clean water and a lint-free cloth. Provided you get your glass desk from a reliable manufacturer, you will enjoy its service for years without the need for replacement.

Final Thoughts

Many of the best furniture brands on the market are characterized by their attention to detail. Tabletops are among the most overlooked, cheaped-out-on, easily-ruined elements of a piece of furniture. Knowing what your options are and whether the furniture you are buying has a quality surface can save you a lot of hassle. Buying from quality furniture brands should be a joy—not a dread—and knowing which tabletop materials to expect can help you spot the imitators.

William Hardy
New Hampshire native, works as a furniture designer by trade but has a strong interest in style, luxury, and modern architecture. William has been an avid home fashion writer for nearly a decade and continues to enjoy sharing emerging trends, exciting product releases, and inspiring designs with his readers around the world.