As a longtime instructional designer, I’ve learned that the space where we create can be as crucial as the content itself. Over my nearly two decades in the industry, I’ve seen the shift from traditional office spaces to more personalized home studios. And as many of us venture into setting up our own recording corners at home, one fundamental piece often takes center stage: the desk.
Creating a functional and comfortable workspace doesn’t have to break the bank. You can get a great recording desk at a reasonable price. Just make sure you factor in more than price in your search — dimensions (making sure you have room for your studio monitors, computer, interface, etc.), durability, and functionality are just a few things you’ll need to factor in when trying to find the right studio desk.
I’ve reviewed a number of cheap studio desks based on a variety of factors, and put together a guide to the top recording desks for every budget, studio size, and purpose from music production to voiceover work and more (click here to learn about our entire Editorial Process & Methodology for product reviews). I’ve also shared my recommendations for additional accessories you’ll find helpful to add onto your desk.
What are the Best Cheap Studio Desks for Home Recording?
Here are my top picks for the best studio desk under $200 to use in your home in 2023:
- Mobile & Compact Workstation Desk
- L-Shaped Desk with Rounded Corner
- Large L-Shaped Desk
- Desk with Extra Surface
- Cyrus Workstation
- Corner Desk
Quick Take: This desk is designed to be space-saving, making it great for home recording studios where space might be limited. Despite being pretty compact, it features a main shelf for a computer or recording equipment, a pull-out keyboard tray, and an additional bottom shelf for storage which is more than enough for most simple recording setups.
Brand: Techni Mobili
Dimensions: The outside dimensions of the entire studio desk with shelves installed are 19.75 inches of depth by 28.25 inches of width by 35.25 inches in height.
The lower shelf has 13.75 inches of depth by 21.5 inches of width by 7.5 inches in height from the floor. The computer keyboard tray has 19.5 inches of depth by 11.75 inches of width by 26 inches in height from the floor.
The desktop surface has 18.75 inches of depth by 27.5 inches of width by 31.25 in height from the floor (3.5 inches above the keyboard tray). The monitor shelf has 9.75 inches of depth by 15.75 inches of width by 35.25 inches in height from the floor (3.75 inches above the desktop).
What’s included: This studio desk is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) panels that are covered by a moisture-resistant PVC laminated veneer with a graphite-colored finish. The frame is made of steel that is finished with a scratch-resistant powder coating. This recording desk comes with casters that have durable, non-marking, nylon wheels.
It ships in one box that includes all the pieces for the desk frame, desktop, lower shelf, monitor shelf, keyboard tray, CD rack space, and casters. This desk weighs 31 lbs.
Top Features: The monitor shelf can be mounted on the right side, the left side, or in the center to allow the placement of the monitor in the area that works the best. The pullout keyboard tray has a safety stop. The casters can lock in place.
The width of this studio desk reduces by six inches if you do not install the CD rack on the left side. It is possible to drill new holes in the inner part of the leg on the right side and install the CD rack space underneath the keyboard tray to be able to use it while reducing the overall width of the desk by six inches to 21.25 inches wide.
Quick Take: This desk snugly fits into corners, optimizing space in the home studio. Its robust steel frame handles heavy equipment effortlessly, and I particularly appreciate the waterproof MDF desktop and the handy iron hook for storing your studio headphones and cables. It’s a blend of practicality and style.
Dimensions: 66″L x 47″W x 28.5″H
What’s included: This studio desk is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF). It comes with the framing, the larger-side desktop, the corner piece, the shorter-side desktop, and a monitor shelf. The steel frame comes with extra metal brackets and cables to ensure stability. The monitor shelf installs on the shorter side. An instruction manual for the assembly and a screwdriver is included. There are no other tools needed for the assembly of this desk.
Top Features: The desktop surface is waterproof and scratch-resistant. It is 0.98 inches thick. The shorter side placement is changeable to either the right or the left. The legs have adjustable pads used to level the desk on uneven flooring. The steel crosspiece supports, placed between the legs, add stability. This studio desk is strong enough to have multiple all-in-one computers or computer monitors on it.
Quick Take: This desk’s expansive dimensions offer ample space, ensuring your recording equipment fits comfortably. The desk’s solid design is resistant to scratches and friction, making it durable for long-term use. Its L-shape isn’t just a space-saver but also provides an organized setup for multitasking. The added PC stand is a thoughtful touch, protecting your computer from potential moisture. This desk is a blend of functionality and modern aesthetics, making it a top choice for any home recording studio or office.
Dimensions: This desk measures 59 inches by 59 inches wide. The depth of the desktop is 21.7 inches. The desktop surface is 30 inches in height above the floor.
What’s included: This desktop is made from E1-grade particleboard that has a high resistance to scratches. It has an oak wood pattern finish. It comes with the frame, the diagonal brace supports, a metal leveling bracket, the two side desktop pieces, and the corner piece. The included parts list has a link to the downloadable instruction manual.
Top Features: The metal framing is 0.047 inches (1.2 mm) thick, which is one and one-half times thicker than ordinary ones made from lower-gauge steel (8 mm). The diagonal braces for each side provide more stability. The metal leveling bracket that installs under the desktop, toward the end of the assembly process, makes sure all the parts stay in place and that the work areas of the desktops are level with each other.
Quick Take: This desk, with its rustic brown finish, not only adds a touch of elegance to a workspace but also offers practicality with its storage shelves and an ample keyboard tray. The monitor stand is a game-changer, elevating your screen to the ideal height, reducing neck strain during those long work hours. The side bookshelf keeps everything within arm’s reach, and the center shelf, which I can remove if needed, is perfect for storing other items.
Dimensions: The size of this studio desk is 46.5 inches in width by 19 inches of depth by 34.2 inches in height from the floor to the top of the monitor shelf. The height from the floor to the desktop is 30 inches. The height from the floor to the keyboard tray is 26.3 inches.
The keyboard tray dimensions are 23.2 inches in width by 11.8 inches of depth. The monitor shelf is 46.5 inches in width by 7.8 inches of depth. The two bookcase shelves are 9 inches in width and 19 inches of depth. There are 12.8 inches in clearance above the lower shelf and 13.5 inches clearance above the upper shelf. The desktop computer shelf is 9 inches wide and has 19 inches of depth, with 27 inches of clearance above it. This desk weighs 54 lbs.
What’s included: Included are the frame, four shelves, a keyboard tray, and the desktop. This desk is made of CARB P2-class particleboard with a dark oak pattern finish. The metal frame has a powder-coat finish. All the hardware and tools needed for assembly are included.
Top Features: This studio desk can support up to 200 lbs. Metal crosspieces in the back attach to the frame to give it more stability. The keyboard tray slides out and holds a full-size keyboard 2.8 inches below the desktop for comfortable typing. The bookcase shelves on the left side can hold equipment or be a place used to store things.
The large multi-purpose shelf is a good place to put a desktop computer to keep it off the floor. The computer monitor shelf is wide and goes across the entire back of the desk, allowing room for two monitors.
Quick Take: This contemporary desk seamlessly blends into any home office setting. The clear tempered safety glass not only adds a touch of elegance but also ensures durability. What I particularly appreciate is the spacious desktop workspace, perfect for storing various devices and materials, and the pull-out keyboard tray, which generously accommodates both a keyboard and a mouse. The added castors for mobility make rearranging your workspace a breeze. It’s a blend of style and functionality that truly resonates with the needs of an instructional designer.
Brand: Z-Line Designs
Dimensions: The overall dimensions of this studio desk are a depth of 26 inches, a width of 35 inches, and a height of 48 inches from the floor to the top of the monitor shelf.
What’s included: This is a contemporary style desk in a cherry finish and it has black accents. The desktop is clear, tempered glass with a black edge for safety. The cylinder supports for the frame are chrome-treated metal. They are very strong and weigh over 73 lbs. This desk comes with a pullout keyboard tray that is big enough for a large keyboard and a mouse. Castors are included with this studio furniture.
Top Features: This recording desk is very attractive. It is a nice size with plenty of working area, without being too large. The castors allow the desk to move around easily. There are strategically-placed cable pass-through openings in the back panel at each shelf height to make it easy to connect equipment and keep the cables neatly organized. The cables can all run down the back panel, which keeps them cleverly hidden and out of sight.
One caution, if you are thinking about this studio desk, is the glass desktop is a very sound-reflective surface. It will dramatically change the sound quality when placing a microphone on the glass in a south booth for recording. Perhaps, you want to have this brighter sound when recording. However, if you want a more regular sound for your voice-overs, then you will have to cover the glass with a thick pad that absorbs the sound to stop the reflections from happening.
Best for: those who want a very attractive look and who are not bothered by the effect of a glass-top desk on sound recordings. It works well for an editing desk but not so well as a recording desk, with a microphone placed on it.
Quick Take: This desk has a small footprint, but I like that it’s very strudy and has a little bit of storage with its top and bottom shelves. It’s a great choice for a very simple recording setup.
Brand: Calico Designs
Dimensions: The desktop area has 23.5 inches of depth by 46 inches of width. The top monitor shelf has 15.5 inches of depth and 46 inches of width. The bottom shelf has 23.5 inches of depth and 43 inches of width. The height from the floor to the top shelf is 42.2 inches. This desk weighs 52 lbs.
What’s included: It comes with the frame, the desktop, the two shelves, the back metal mesh pieces, and four floor-leveling attachments to use on the legs for leveling the desk on uneven surfaces.
Top Features: This recording desk has an attractive design with a sleek look and clean lines. There is plenty of room on the bottom shelf for desktop computers and other equipment. The desk has a nice large work area. The monitor shelf could hold one large computer monitor or two smaller ones up to 20 inches each.
This studio desk comes in many colors of blue, pink, purple, silver/black, and silver/maple. The brighter colors look like something for a kid’s room and may work for you if you plan to do children’s audiobooks or animation. The silver/black combination looks very professional and I think makes the nicest choice for a home recording studio to do voice-overs.
Best for: areas where space is limited and there is no need for extra bookshelves to store or hold things.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Budget Studio Desk
When setting up a home studio on a budget, choosing the right studio desk is crucial for optimizing your workspace and enhancing productivity.
Here are some essential factors to consider when selecting a cheap and budget-friendly studio desk:
- Size and Space: Assess the available space in your home studio and choose a desk that fits comfortably without overwhelming the area. Consider the dimensions of the desk, including height, width, and depth, to ensure it accommodates your equipment, such as a computer, monitors, MIDI controllers, speakers, and other studio gear, while leaving enough room for you to work comfortably.
- Ergonomics: Pay attention to the desk’s ergonomics to maintain a healthy and comfortable working posture. Look for a desk that allows you to position your monitor(s) at eye level, keeps your arms at a 90-degree angle while working, and provides adequate legroom.
- Build Quality and Materials: While seeking a budget-friendly option, don’t compromise on build quality. Look for desks made from sturdy materials like MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) or solid wood. Check customer reviews and ratings to ensure the desk is durable and can withstand the weight of your studio equipment.
- Cable Management: An organized and tidy workspace contributes to a more efficient workflow. Choose a desk that offers cable management solutions to keep your cables and wires neatly organized and prevent tangling.
- Storage and Shelving: Consider your storage needs for items like headphones, microphones, cables, and other accessories. Some budget-friendly studio desks come with built-in shelves or racks, which can help keep your essentials within reach. A slide out keyboard shelf is another nice feature that can help you save space in your studio.
- Aesthetics: While not directly related to functionality, the aesthetic appeal of the desk can impact your motivation and creativity. Choose a design that resonates with your style and enhances the ambiance of your home studio.
- Assembly: Check whether the desk comes with clear assembly instructions and all the necessary hardware. A straightforward assembly process can save you time and frustration.
- Weight Capacity: Verify the weight capacity of the desk to ensure it can handle the combined weight of your equipment without sagging or causing structural issues.
Accessories for Your Studio Desk
Here are a few other options and useful accessories to consider when getting a desk for your home recording studio:
This is a terrific accessory if you have a regular table edge and space underneath and you want to place a keyboard there.
The depth of this adjustable keyboard tray is 12.25 inches and the width of the smaller size is 27.5 inches. A larger size that is 33 inches wide, which is big enough to accommodate a keyboard and a mouse is also available.
There are three hanging height settings of 2.69 inches, 3.44 inches, and 4.19 inches below the desktop.
This is a brilliant way to increase the work area of your studio desk and have the keyboard held underneath at a more comfortable height for typing.
There is a non-skid surface and stop guard that securely holds a keyboard in place. With its thumbscrew clamps, it attaches easily to any desktop that is up to 1.5 inches thick.
There are no tools required to attach it and this sliding keyboard tray comes off easily to use elsewhere.
Sit or stand at this desk with easy height adjustment that is nicely powered by a hydraulic pump to change the desk height in seconds. The height is adjustable up to 20.5 inches.
It can sit on top of your existing studio desk or worktable (not included). It comes fully assembled right out of the box. Just set it in place and lift it by the two built-in handles to adjust it to your eye level.
The durable metal base is strong enough to support up to 35 lbs of weight on its shelves. The feet each have a level adjustment to remove wobble caused by uneven surfaces.
The lower shelf/desktop is 37 inches wide with plenty of room for a keyboard and mouse. The monitor shelf is the same width and that allows plenty of room for two large monitors.
Proper cable management is essential for optimizing studio desks and workstations.
This is a kit of 16 differently-sized wire holders with self-sticking adhesive backing. The backing will stick to almost any surface that is clean and dry. These are useful to hold cables in place (such as cables from your studio monitors) and keep everything organized around your recording desk. They can hold anything small that fits in them.
Besides cables, they work for toothbrushes, as a penholder, or to hold tools such as screwdrivers.
This is a four-pack of cable sleeves used to hold many cables together in a stretchable neoprene fabric sleeve that wraps around them and then zips up. The outside dimensions are 1.2 inches after a sleeve is zipped with the cables held inside. The length of each sleeve is 19 to 20 inches. Each one can hold eight to 10 cables, depending on the cable thickness. These sleeves are easy to remove and reuse and are great for organizing studio desks.
This is 50-pack of reusable cable ties that are Velcro. They wrap around any cables and hold them together in a neatly organized fashion. They come in many colors, which can be helpful for using as identification by the color coordination of the audio pathways. The colors are black, blue, bright yellow-green, orange, purple, and red. They help keep cables neatly untangled when the cables are not in use.
Want to Build a DIY Studio Desk?
What does it take to build studio desks yourself?
Here is a link to a YouTube video for a DIY studio desk for those who prefer to build their own. This is more about having a custom solution for your recording desk than about saving money.
The video producer Richard diZerga chose to make his custom desk instead of buying a platform desk from Output for $800. Richard estimated that the cost of materials for his custom studio desk was about $250. It took him three days of his labor to create the desk from birch plywood that he used.
He used the design of the Output desk for his inspiration but ended up making his platform desk from his custom measurements and made some improvements in the design for his needs.
He finished the wood by giving it three coats of shellac and sanding with fine-grain sandpaper between each coat. Then he polished the finished desk using beeswax furniture polish to give it a nice glossy look.
How do you choose the right studio desk?
With so many studio desks out there, it’s important to be sure you’re choosing the one that’s right for your space.
Some factors to consider are the size of your space, the layout of your studio setup/creative space, the type of recording you’ll be doing (e.g. voiceover work, music production, podcasting, etc.), what equipment you need the desk to hold (e.g. computer monitor, studio monitors, interface, etc.), and your budget.
There is no single “best studio desk” for everyone. Your creative space is unique. It all depends on finding the right desk for your unique needs and your home studio setup.
What makes a good studio desk?
When looking for a good recording desk for your home studio setup, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The desk should be large enough to accommodate all of your equipment, and it should be made from a sturdy material that can handle the weight of your gear. You want to make sure the desk is made from quality, durable materials that will withstand daily wear and tear.
It’s also important to choose a desk that has a lot of storage space, so you can keep all of your cables and accessories organized.
How much is a studio desk?
Studio desks come in a wide range of prices — from under $100 to several hundred dollars. However, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on a recording desk. You can easily get a high-quality, cheap studio desk for $200 or less.
How big is a studio desk?
Studio desks come in all different sizes — from smaller desks to fit in cramped home recording spaces to large desks to fit in a big professional workspace. A typical recording desk for a home studio might be around 30″ tall, 47″ wide, and 25-30″ deep.
How deep should a studio desk be?
The ideal recording desk depth depends on how much equipment you have (e.g. studio monitors, computer monitor, interface, music production equipment, etc.), but in general, you want to make sure your desk is 20-30″ deep.
Where should a home studio desk be placed?
While many people are limited by the size of their room in a home studio, ideally you don’t want your recording desk to be too close to the wall as sound from the studio monitors can reflect off the walls and cause issues.
How do you put together a recording desk?
When setting up studio desks, there are a few things to consider. First, locate the manual from the manufacturer, and make sure you have all the tools you need. If the desk is going into a small space, you may want to bring the individual pieces into that room and assemble it inside your studio so you don’t have to worry about squeezing the desk through a small doorway or other tight spaces once it’s fully assembled.
How do you organize studio desks?
Keeping your studio desks organized is essential to being productive and effective at recording. There are many things professionals do when organizing their studio desks, including proper cable management to keep cords from getting tangled, cable labeling, removing clutter/unused items, using shelves and drawers on desks, using hooks to hang items like headphones, and cleaning up regularly. Take the time to make sure your studio setup is just right.
Can you build your own recording desk?
Building your own studio desk can be a great way to save money, and it allows you to customize the desk to fit your specific needs.
However, there are some downsides to building your own desk.
It can be difficult to find the right materials, and it can be time-consuming to put the desk together. If you’re not experienced in carpentry, it’s likely that you’ll run into some problems while building the desk.
Overall, building your own studio desk can be a great way to save money and get exactly what you need. Just make sure you’re aware of the potential challenges involved in the process beforehand.
A Final Word on Studio Desks
The prices for these manufactured studio desks were all under $200. Many were under $100.
For those low prices, it is not worth the effort to make a recording desk from scratch unless you have very specific customized needs. It’s totally doable to find a great desk with enough room for ample workspace at a reasonable price.
Be careful if you plan to use a desk in a sound booth for voice-over recording because if the studio desk surfaces are too reflective, this can distort your sound in ways you may not like. You may have to cover the desktop surface with something like thick padding, carpet tiles, or other sound-deadening materials if you want to put your microphone on it to make a nice sounding voice-over recording.
Remember, measure everything carefully, if space is tight. You want to make sure the desk actually fits in your workspace and has room for all of your equipment, like your computer, studio monitors, interface, voiceover and music production equipment, etc.
If you are building a studio desk outside of a small sound booth and then want to place the desk inside, be sure to understand any challenges for getting an assembled desk through a narrow door.
If you anticipate that this is a problem, consider assembling your recording desk in place, inside the booth instead.
Have a question about choosing the best cheap studio desk for your home setup? Leave a comment below.