What Is A Secretary Desk? Are Secretary Desks Worth It In 2021?

What is a secretary desk? What seems like a quaint term for office furniture of an era gone by, secretary desks are making a comeback because of their space-saving design and capacity to hold a lot of things.

Place a traveling desk atop a table, and you have a writing desk. One had to organize themselves with this arrangement till the advent of a new idea in the early part of the 18th century. 

They called it the Secretary Desk that would satisfy the storage needs, the purpose for which it was born. There was no containing the surge in its popularity as the table sported a unique design. 

The table could be separated into two. The drawers were placed from the very bottom. The writing surface featured at the top was a drop-front and was named Hutch.

Rolltop Secretary desk MET DP106653

When Did the Secretary Desk Come to Existence?

Even though an exact date or month of when the Secretary Desk was made for the first time, it can be safely said as late 19th century or the early part of the 20th century. Historical references almost relate to the last days of the Victorian Era and the entry of Art Nouveau designs.

Why Are They Called Secretary Desks?

The Word Secretary was derived from the Latin word that means a Writer. As the DeskDesk has space to facilitate writing, the word Secretary Desk came into vogue.

You might also like to read: Coffee Table Vs Cocktail Table

What Is A Secretary Desk Used For?

The Desk can be used for the following reasons:

  • As a writing desk in the bedroom.
  • A commune center around which the family can meet.
  • Perfect substitute for a nightstand.
  • To contrast an art wall or accent wall.
  • The DeskDesk can be used in the living room, bedroom, and even the kitchen (we will discuss these ideas later in the writeup)
Secretary Desk from the Jay Gould House, New York City MET DP341693

What Is the Difference Between a Secretary Desk and a Traditional Desk?

A desk can only be one of the forms of a table. These desks can have a flat top used for writing or a place to keep the book on to read. It would have drawers beneath for you to arrange your papers or books.

A Secretary is a person who is under your command and is a confidant. They are humans and take special care of your papers and appointments.

You might also like to read: Best Folding Game Table

How To Choose a Secretary Desk?

With office-goers resorting to working from home rather than offices, and the fact that there are people who prefer to work from home secretary desks is becoming more popular.

Secretary desks would take less space than a traditional office desk, and the storage space is also more. Special space allocation is not a requirement.

Here are the factors to be considered before buying a Secretary Desk:

Pick your purpose

  • Desk Space
  • Aesthetic value
  • Storage options or
  • Vintage yet modern looks

The Size

  • Since it is best to keep along with the wall measure the wall
  • The Secretary should occupy or run along with one-third of the wall


  • What may seem satisfactory initially may turn out to be a complaint later. We are referring to the Storage Capacity of the Secretary as you may find the storage space lesser and lesser with time passing by. So, it is best first to plan the items stored on the DeskDesk rather than complain later.
  • If planned, the storage space would be enough for several years.

The Finish and Design

Consider the following before choosing a Secretary Desk:

  • The finished DeskDesk should have accents in gold or brass.
  • Match the wall paint. In case it is colored brightly.
  • More uniqueness comes with handcrafted desks. The specialized appeal does go missing in a machine-crafted Desk.


Secretary Desks are generally of wood. Wood is capable of looking classy and is at the same time versatile. Longevity comes with regular maintenance.


It is the storage capacity that determines the height. There can be many secretary cabinets in the top section. In addition to that, you can place works of art, antiques, or books between bookends.

In case you wish to pick up a shorter desk, make sure of space at the top.

You might also like to read: What Is A Drop Leaf Table: The Ultimate Guide

Where To Fit Your Secretary Desk?

Some of the places where you can fit your secretary desk are as follows:

The Living Room

To place a Secretary Desk in the living room requires a lot of thought. Buying secretary furniture that has a cabinet at the top or one with a Hutch is even better. 

Rolltop desk MET DP270772

The cabinet assumes a focal point here. Never hesitate to place artistic jars and works of art over there. In short, Secretary Hutch Desk makes the living room come alive.

The Dining Room

The last place you would expect to usher in a Secretary Desk would be the dining room. Well, the dining room gets crowded only when the food gets served, and you are left with lots of silence and privacy to work. 

However, the best fit would be the Secretary Desk Antiques, and it needs to have a Hutch with a glass door. Display your silverware, jasperware among the candlesticks which sprout from its elegant stands.

The Entryway

The first impression is the best. The scattered articles in the entryway, like dog-leash, unpicked mail, etc., can very well be stashed here to liven up the space, which is typically cluttered. Placing an Antique desk secretary with pigeon holes would be ideal.

The Bedroom

It is no secret that it is the bedroom which plays a perfect substitute for an office. The Desk could also act as the dresser, and any works of art that adorn the walls can become part of the Antique Secretary Desk. 

The bed’s headboard can be lower in the case of a tall secretary or vice-versa, a higher headboard to suit a short secretary.

The Kitchen

Never an ideal location one may feel, the kitchen is not the wrong place to install your Secretary Desk. The pigeon holes and other spaces can hold your recipe books along with all the bills and mails. 

You can place the family calendar too. Rare pieces of kitchenware can be stored away in the spacious cabinets.

The Bar 

You can further honor the Secretary’s furniture when you have exhausted all your official duties on it. Yes! Turn it into a bar! If the DeskDesk is placed somewhere in the dining room or kitchen, it becomes more convenient to host a cocktail party.

The tall desk type can hold the decanters and classy wine glasses with the liquor alongside. The arrangement can be perfected with the line-up allowing the guests to choose their drink and the host willing to mix it with the glass perched firmly on the writer’s pad. The ice bucket and the snacks can be lined up on the mainframe.

You might also like to read: Best Coffee Table With Seating

Secretary Desks Are Perfect For Today’s Needs!

It was convenient in those days to identify women as Secretaries. One should also know that it was the Male Secretary who helped coin the term ‘Secretary Desk. ‘

In the days of the early 18th century, the men worked on the Secretaries Furniture placed in their owners’ homes. After work, they used to close and, if necessary, lock it and leave. 

Thus, the reference to the DeskDesk became Synonymous with the term Secretary Desk.