Ethan Allen is one of the most popular high-end furniture retailers in the United States. They pride themselves on creating custom pieces that precisely match their client’s style and vision. All staff members are trained interior designers, and they are eager to help you make your design dreams come true.
However, walking into a design center can be super overwhelming. And if you’re anything like me, you’d feel much better prepared if you had at least an idea of what you did and didn’t want in a piece. You can look at items online, but you really don’t know until you see them in person how they really look.
Shopping for furniture can seem like an overwhelming task. Often it sits on our to-do lists, day after day, week after week because it seems like such a monumental amount of effort to complete.
Well, you’re in luck, because I’m about to make your life just a little bit easier. I’m reviewing all of Ethan Allen’s display desks, to give you the real information on what they look like in person!
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Related: All Ethan Allen furniture reviews
To bring you the goods, I took a trip to the Ethan Allen Design Center in Austin, Texas. They have an extensive showroom, showcasing examples of all the furniture they produce.
I say samples because, in addition to the immaculately curated rooms around the center, the entire center of the store houses books and examples of all the customization options you can choose. Literally, everything in Ethan Allen’s showroom can be updated and customized down to the finest detail.
The desk selection at the Ethan Allen in Austin featured most of what they have on the website, and I took pictures so you can see how each desk is used in the “office” space designs within the showroom. While most of the desks featured don’t have as many customization options as other furniture pieces, if you do see something you like, definitely take a trip into the Design Center closest to you (or online chat with a designer!) and ask about customization options directly. You never know!
So, because a review is basically another person’s opinion, I want to be as transparent about my expectations when looking for a desk as I can. My priorities and needs may not match what you are. I hope that by disclosing my biases, you can decide whether or not my opinion matters to you. I also tried to imagine a space or style that a particular model would work in, even if it’s not something that I like or would buy.
Now, what’s important to me when buying a desk? Well, I’m redecorating my home office. I work from home full-time, and I need a space that’s conducive to the creativity a writer needs, as well as comfortable enough for sustained work.
I’d like a desk that is large enough to spread out on. I have a 36” monitor, laptop docking station, external keyboard, and mouse, and I always have a notebook, pen, and usually random papers and notes strewn around. I need space to spread out, so a more massive surfaced desk is where I’m headed.
I’d love to have drawers for storage since I do have a lot of supplies and would like to be able to “clean up” by shoving things in drawers. When things get too messy, I find it very hard to be creative!
My home office is a former guest bedroom, with light apricot walls and dark oak natural trim that matches the hardwood floors. My office style is a mix of a classical library with a hint of whimsy – think Professor Dumbledore’s office from Harry Potter.
Now, onto the Ethan Allen desk reviews!
Ethan Allen Desk Reviews
- Dimensions: 62w x 28d x 31.25h
- Available finishes: 4
- Additional Details: Brass plated hardware, 3 drawers, tapered legs with metal ferrules.
Overall Impression: This is a lovely writing desk that has clean lines and smooth design. I love the brass hardware on the three top drawers. The drawers themselves aren’t very deep but would be suitable for holding pens and maybe a journal or paperwork. You’d definitely need to get drawer organizers, though, since things would roll around and become messy very quickly.
The drawers are built with dovetail bindings, and it’s incredibly sturdy. In fact, it looks a lot lighter than it actually is! I like how the bottom is open, and definitely has a more feminine feel to it. While the surface area is decent, it’s not enough for me. I could easily see how crowded the top would get when I put my monitor on it. It also doesn’t have enough storage for what I need, too.
This would look great in a contemporary space, thanks to the simple, clean lines and open bottom. I really like this as an accent piece, but it doesn’t seem functional for my office. I do like that there are a variety of other parts that match, like file cabinets and bookcases, but the style just doesn’t really go with what I’m looking for.
- Dimensions: 57w x 25d x 30h
- Available finishes: 1
- Additional Details: Acrylic sides and nickel hardware; coordinating nightstand also available.
Overall Impression: I love this one! It’s an exciting take on a shell desk, with the mixed media of solid oak and acrylic sides. It makes it look like it’s floating! It really works well together and is a very modern take on a desk.
The three drawers are useful for holding pencils, and I like the nickel hardware – it really adds just another element to the mixed-media feel. It’s a sleek desk, and I think it would be awesome in a small space. The openness of the acrylic lends not only makes it look like the desk is floating, but it opens up the area that would otherwise be covered by legs. It’s an inspiring way to create an office!
While the Archer doesn’t fit with my personal aesthetics for my home office, I think that this would also work in a bedroom as a vanity or accent piece. The matching nightstands would be a nice touch to bring the room together in a really sleek, clean way, too!
- Dimensions: 35w x 18d x 47.5h
- Available finishes: 1
- Additional Details: 2 interior drawers, back panel cutouts for cords, made of mahogany
Overall Impression: This is Ethan Allen’s version of the classic secretary desk. It reminds me of the one my grandfather had in his den, where he paid his bills out of! There’s definitely a certain kind of nostalgia when you see this desk.
The updated version is slimmer than I remember, and the folding desk surface has an intricate diamond pattern that’s very midcentury. It updates the secretary desk to have a more modern aesthetic. There are lots of storage cubbies behind the drop-top desk, so you can hide your “mess” when it’s closed up.
While this is a great piece that can work in a variety of different rooms, it’s not something I would put in a dedicated home office. This works more for a home that doesn’t have a dedicated space, but you need a dependable, beautiful piece that can work in a living room or dining room, but also functional for when you need it. It’s definitely not big enough for my purposes, but it’s a great piece of nostalgia, especially if you have memories of growing up with a beloved family member’s secretary desk!
- Dimensions: 60w x 30d x 28.75h
- Available finishes: 5
- Additional Details: Oak top with steel base
Overall Impression: This writing desk is very industrial-inspired, thanks to the saw-horse design. I really like the mixed media look, especially the washed zinc finish on the legs. I love how it looks against the solid oak top, and you have so many different finishes that you can choose whichever you want. I personally like the grey finish.
As a traditional writing desk, there aren’t any drawers or anything for storage. It makes me feel like it’s more of a table than a desk in this regard, but that also might be appealing to a more minimalist aesthetic. Personally, it’s not something I’m head over heels for, because while it is a lovely, high-quality desk, it doesn’t work for my purposes.
If you occasionally work at home and primarily use a laptop, this would be a great choice since you don’t need to worry about hiding cords or clutter. I see this working really well in an open concept living area, where you wouldn’t necessarily have a separate home office, but need a space that can function as a workspace.
Custom Writing Desk
- Dimensions: 58w x 28d x 30.25h
- Available top finishes: 5
- Available base finishes: 7
- Available leg styles: 3
- Additional Details: Drop-front center drawer
Overall Impression: If you can’t find anything on the floor that really speaks to you, don’t worry about it. You can literally create your own design, which is then custom created by artisans specifically for you.
The one in the showroom was beautiful, and I loved that you can customize the different finishes on the top and the bottom. It’s made from real maple, expertly carved, and I think the idea of customizing the type of legs is so cool! You can choose from tapered, turned, or cabriole, to create the desk that is perfectly styled to fit your room.
One of the things I love about Ethan Allen is that they will redesign a room for you using the current furniture you have. In cases where you’re just looking for the right desk and aren’t redoing an entire room, the Custom Writing desk is the answer to find that perfect fit!
There isn’t enough storage space for me, and though I’m a writer, I have a lot of equipment that I need to set up. You’d think a writing desk would be useful, but it’s actually not for me. However, I do believe this is a great piece, it’s high quality, and just the simple fact that it’s custom made precisely to the customer’s specifications is pretty amazing!
- Dimensions: 52w x 22d x 30h
- Kneehole space: 45.75w x 24.73h
- Available finishes: 6
- Hardware finishes: 1
- Additional Details: Fluted legs
Overall Impression: This reminds me of the writing desk my mom put in my room when I was a kid. It has the same fluted legs and rounded corners. I remember thinking that it was a great idea because I was quite clumsy and constantly walking into the protruding corners of furniture.
Again, I think this is a writing desk that works really well in a general living space and not just a home office. It doesn’t have enough storage for me, though I do like the three drawers it has. My things would be stuffed in there. The surface is also much smaller than I’d like, and my big old monitor would take it over.
While I think this is an exceptional choice for a bedroom writing desk, or even as a console table behind a sofa in the living room, I think it would also make a fantastic vanity! The details are so feminine, and I can see a really cool bench underneath it for dressing and getting ready in the morning. Or you could put this in a bedroom, and it would function as both a desk and a vanity.
Either way, I love it. I love how traditional it is, but still feminine. It definitely has a classic feel to it and would work in a variety of different spaces and styles.
- Dimensions: 66w x 30d x 36h
- Available finishes: 1
- Hardware finishes: 1
- Additional Details: Features drop-front keyboard drawer, left and top right drawers are sliding surfaces for writing or a mousepad; 2nd drawer features removable dividers; bottom drawer is a deep, lockable file cabinet.
- Available configurations:
- Executive with Bookcase
- Leather top
- Leather Pedestal
Overall Impression: Now, this is a desk! This reminds me of one of my university professors. He taught Shakespeare, and his office was piled with papers and books from floor to ceiling. In the middle was this giant, mahogany desk, also piled with articles and books. As cluttered and claustrophobic as it might seem, it actually was really homey.
I love that there are so many drawers with dividers and removable trays to keep my things. Plus, the bottom drawers are locking file cabinets, so I can keep sensitive information and data locked up and safe. I have a lot of contracts that I work with, so this is a great feature for me.
The size is a bit larger than I wanted, but it certainly makes a statement! While I’d like to choose which finish I want, I do love the dark cherry it comes in. I’m not sure if you have any other options, but if you’re interested in this design, you should definitely ask!
My absolute favorite part of this executive style desk is the detailing. From the intricately carved woodwork to the hand-tooled leather top, it’s an incredible work of craftsmanship! The quality is really the best you can get!
As far as style is concerned, this is definitely a desk that is meant for a home office or any office for that matter. It has a distinguished, scholarly feel that really elevates a room. I can envision floor to ceiling shelves of books and photographs, creating a cozy study with a very intellectual vibe!
- Dimensions: 58w x 27d x 30h
- Available finishes: 1
- Hardware finishes: 1
- Additional Details: 3 drawers; steel base
Overall Impression: There are so many geometric lines going on in this writing desk, that it lends itself nicely to a variety of different spaces. The mix of mahogany and stainless steel works with an industrial style, while the champagne brass finish and hardware, give it a bit of modern styling.
I love how the thin, diagonal lines are carried from the very surface of the desk, down into the pinstripe banding, and the decorative X in the legs. The three drawers are deeper than some other writing desks I reviewed, too. They are also soft close and have dovetail joints.
This is an extremely solid piece of furniture, and heavy! While it isn’t necessarily my style, I do love how it can work with a variety of different forms: from traditional to contemporary, transitional to modern. It doesn’t scream home office to me, though, and I think it would be best suited as an addition to a living area or bedroom, where it can really make a statement or bring everything together.
Ethan Allen Desk Round-Up Winner
While Ethan Allen had a variety of different desks for the home office of your dreams, I really only found one that meets my requirements: the Buckley. This was the most substantial desk they have in their showroom, and it really did make an impact on me. In fact, the moment I saw it, an audible “Ooooo!” came out of my mouth!
The surface is large enough for my monitor and laptop stand, and I like the fact that I can hide away my mouse and keyboard when they’re not in use. There’s a ton of storage for my files and notebooks, as well as the included pencil box for all of my pens.
Even though there aren’t many customizable options with this desk, it’s really perfect just the way it is. I love the cherry finish, and how it brings that professional, scholarly statement. However, I like that I can use the rest of my space to create that whimsy with bookcases full of books, and jewel-toned upholstery. I can already envision how productive and peaceful my home office is going to be!
Which Ethan Allen desk is your favorite?