Materials Matter: Wood, Glass, and Metal Big Desks Compared
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Materials Matter: Wood, Glass, and Metal Big Desks Compared

|Nov 16, 2023

Everyone enjoys using a big desk because it holds all of their tools and equipment and looks grand in any space. However, an adjustable desk is also something you may consider because it has many health benefits. Can you pair them together? Yes! 

However, the material used in big desk construction also matters. For example, you have access to metal, glass, and wood. When choosing a modern executive desk, it’s crucial to make sure you’ve gotten the best materials and options. Today, you’ll learn about all three, focusing on maintenance, pricing, durability, aesthetics, and benefits/drawbacks. Let’s get started! 

Wood Desks

Hardwood is an excellent material for a big PC desk. They’re often praised for being elegant and having plenty of texture. Plus, it can add warmth to the space. The most popular hardwoods used can include: 

  • Cherry – You can find dark and reddish-brown tones for cherry wood. It’s a specialty product because the color will deepen with time. Plus, it features a close and distinct grain and comes in many styles.
  • Black Walnut – Black walnut features a deep and dark tone, and it’s one of the easiest woods to work with. However, the price might be higher than others because it’s in high demand.
  • Maple – Maple woods are often light brown or reddish in color, and it’s very sturdy. You can get many styles of wood grain, which can create a beautiful aesthetic you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Ash – Ash is light-colored and sturdy, so it’s great for crafts and even desktops. You’ll add a contemporary elegance to your space, and it’s cost-effective compared to other wooden options.
  • Oak – Oak desks are highly popular, and oak is a traditional wood type. Therefore, it works well in crafty and artistic projects. Plus, it’s highly durable. 

Typically, wooden desks will be more expensive than metal or glass because of the hardwood used. However, they are very beautiful and visually appealing.

Wood Desks


Wood generally requires more maintenance than metal, but it’s almost the same amount as glass. The goal is to clean it effectively so that it doesn’t warp or crack. You can use a dusting spray designed for wooden materials to help it keep its shine and moisture.

Some people like to dry-dust with lint-free clothes. This is also helpful, and you’ll find many commercial products focused on wooden materials. 

If you need to restore the wood’s shine, Murphy Oil is highly beneficial. However, you can also find scratch cover polish for furniture to get rid of scratches and more.

The best way to avoid stains and spills is to use placemats and coasters, never putting anything directly on the wooden surface of your large desk. 

Overall, you can find different wood for desks, so it’s important to select one that meets all of your needs. 

You might not consider bamboo to be a type of wood, but it is. Therefore, you may want to go with something more exotic. The rubberwood vs. bamboo desk debate is still raging, so it could help to focus on these two products, too.


Pros of Wooden Desks 

Here are the benefits of buying a big L-shaped desk made of wood: 

  • Long-Lasting – Wood will last a long time. Glass often breaks, and metal can rust. However, wood is there forever, it seems like.
  • Looks Great – Wood looks great in almost any setting. If you want a big desk with a drawer, you’ll find that wooden options can help you relax.
  • Value – Though wood might be more expensive than glass and metal, wooden furniture has value. It retains its worth well, so you could always resell it for a higher price.
  • Goes Well with Other Furniture – Whether you prefer leather or wicker, wooden desks go well with other items. 

Cons of Wooden Desks

Now, let’s turn our attention to the disadvantages of purchasing a wooden big desk: 

  • Expensive – As a one-time purchase, wood desks are more expensive. Though MDF options are available, they’re not as high-quality.
  • Weight – Wood is heavier than other materials, so it’s harder to move. Likewise, you might have trouble getting it through the door, so you may have to take it apart and put it back together if you move.
  • Potential Damage – Wood is susceptible to water and stain damage. Therefore, you might have to sand and restrain it periodically or seal it to protect it. This means more maintenance work for you.

Cons of Wooden Desks

Glass Desks

Buying a glass computer desk could be highly beneficial. However, you must choose the right type of glass. Tempered glass can last longer, but you also have to think about how you’ll use it and the thickness of the material. 

Let’s focus on three common materials used in a glass large desk:

  • Annealed Glass - This type of glass is warmed and cooled according to glass-making procedures, so it’s easy to shape and cut. However, it’s not as strong as tempered glass. Therefore, if it breaks, it will shatter into sharp and countless pieces. Consequently, it’s wise to only use it for a glass tabletop and only at 12 inches thick.
  • Tempered Glass - Tempered glass goes through a heating and cooling process, but it also features pressurization and chemical treatments to boost its strength. Once the glass is tempered, it can’t be manipulated or cut. However, if it breaks, the fragments are pebble-like and not sharp.
  • Acrylic Plastic - This is often a great replacement for glass. It appears like glass and is transparent, but it’s suitable for high-traffic or outdoor areas. Plus, it’s readily available, lighter than glass, and won’t break as easily. Still, it could get scratched or stained.

Regardless of the type you choose, it’s generally cheaper than wood and metal. However, it might not be as durable because the glass could break, even if it’s tempered to make it stronger.

Still, most people find that it is visually appealing simply because it’s different than what most have in their offices. Wood is more traditional, so glass speaks volumes.

Glass Desks


You can find tons of glass cleaners on the market, and they will all work to remove fingerprints and smudges from the glass. However, you may also want to consider a vinegar and water mixture. Spray it on the glass and wipe away with newspaper to prevent streaks. 

To protect the glass and keep it scratch-free, you should avoid abrasives of any kind. This includes acid and ammonia. Paper towels can also be too rough. 

As you use your big PC desk with a glass desktop, you should avoid putting anything directly on the glass. Use placemats and coasters for plates and beverages, and consider doilies or more placemats for keyboards, in/out trays, and everything else. 

Pros of Glass Desks

Let’s turn our attention to the benefits of having glass desks:

  • Inexpensive – You can often find a glass desktop for under $100, so you don’t have to spend as much to get something beautiful.
  • Classy Style – Glass is distinctive in its appearance, so you’ll get something sleek and beautiful. It can be just as elegant as wood and more aesthetically pleasing than metal.
  • Easy to Clean – You can use a soft towel to soak up messes, and it won’t absorb into the material. Plus, nothing will stick, and you could wipe up water stains or cup circles with ease.

Pros of Glass Desks

Cons of Glass Desks

Though glass is beautiful and offers many benefits, there are a few drawbacks, such as: 

  • Potential to Break – Through tempered glass is strong and less likely to break, there’s always the possibility that it will. If you hit it with something heavy, it might shatter. Therefore, if you live in a busy household or are in a large office setting, you might want something else.
  • Messy – If you have a lot of items on your desk, you might find that the glass makes it look more cluttered. You’ll see all the cables and everything under the desk, too!
  • Heavy – Glass, like wood, weighs more than metal. Therefore, you might not be able to move it easily or scoot it out of the way to clean behind it. 

Metal Desks

If you’re searching for a work desk for home offices, a metal option might be ideal. Compared to wood and glass, it features a middle-of-the-range price. Plus, it will be durable enough to handle just about anything you could put on it, though the aesthetics might be lacking slightly.

Many people feel that metal is cold, which doesn’t fit in with their overall style. However, you could add a few metal furniture pieces, such as a coat rack or filing cabinets, to tie it all together.

Here are the most common metal desks on the market: 

  • Reception Desks – Companies often use metal in high-traffic areas because they’re low-maintenance.
  • Gaming Desks – Metal features an industrial style and is very durable.
  • Computer Desks – A large desk made of metal will often be painted black or white and features a steel base. You can add whatever top you like, including glass or wood!

Metal Desks


You might also consider a metal desk because it’s easier to maintain. In fact, you won’t have to buy furniture polish or glass cleaners. Here are a few tips for maintenance: 

  • Consider the Metal Type – Steel is often used most for a big L-shaped desk, but you could find aluminum. Therefore, rust is a big concern.
  • Avoid Abrasive Items – You shouldn’t use abrasive scrubbers or cleaners because they could scratch the metal. Not only will this expose it to moisture, but it will ruin its appearance.
  • Dust with Soft Cloths – Before scrubbing the metal, make sure you dust it with a soft cloth to avoid scratching the surface.
  • Use Warm Water and Mild Detergent – You don’t want to use harsh chemicals. Instead, grab your favorite mild detergent and some warm water to create suds, washing it down thoroughly.
  • Only Use Soft Cloths/Sponges – Never use abrasive tools to clean the metal. Instead, use a sponge or cloth to remove dirt.
  • Rinse with Clean Water – When you’ve removed the dirt, make sure to wipe down the metal desk with clean water to prevent residue from forming.
  • Wipe Dry – Metal can get rusted, so it’s wise to wipe the water away with a dry, soft cloth. 

If you do notice rust, you will need to remove it promptly so that it doesn’t overtake the entire desk. Use one cup of white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Put that on the rusted area and leave it for about 15 minutes. Then, scrub away the rust. Dry the area and repaint it with a rust-proof indoor paint!


Pros of Metal Desks

Here are the benefits of having a metal desk: 

  • Versatility – You can find various finishes and colors to match your décor.
  • Durable – It won’t deteriorate for a long time if you maintain it.
  • Sturdy – Metal can be sturdier than other materials because you can put heavy things on them and don’t have to worry about water rings.
  • Flame-Resistant – Metal won’t catch fire or melt. 

Cons of Metal Desks

Though there are many advantages, here are a few drawbacks to consider: 

  • Scratching – Metal can be susceptible to scratching compared to wood and glass.
  • Denting and Bending – Metal could be dented or bent if you set heavy things on it. 

Which One Should You Choose, and How Can Autonomous Help?

When buying an L-shaped standing desk, it’s important to choose the right materials. All Autonomous desks feature a steel frame. For the surfaces, you can find bamboo, wood, or use your own glass desktop. Therefore, you can get exactly what you want without a problem.

Overall, standing desks are highly beneficial, and it makes sense to buy one for yourself. Now that you understand the benefits/drawbacks of the top materials (glass, wood, and metal), you can decide which fits your needs best.

Which One Should You Choose, and How Can Autonomous Help?


Which Materials Are Autonomous Desks Made of?

Autonomous desks are made of many materials. For example, the frames are often steel, but you can choose bamboo, wood, glass, or laminate for the desktop surface. 

What Should I Consider When Choosing Desk Materials?

When buying a curved desk or any other style, it’s important to consider these things: 

  • Durability and sustainability
  • Other matching furniture
  • Guarantees and warranties
  • Computer monitor accessibility
  • Storage options
  • Organization options
  • Adjustability
  • Size
  • Style 

Which Material Is Strongest?

Wood and metal are considered to be the strongest materials for a desktop. They’re easy to clean and sturdy, and they look great. However, some people prefer glass because it’s transparent, looks unique, and can be robust if you choose tempered glass. 

What Is an Eco-Friendly Material Instead of Wood?

There are many eco-friendly materials to use as desktops. Wood is one of them, but metal is sustainable if you choose something made of recycled metal. Bamboo is another option, and glass is also eco-friendly.

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