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What is a Partners Desk?

A Partners Desk is a substantial, double-sided desk that enables two people to work simultaneously, facing each other. It's a symbol of collaboration and status, often crafted from rich woods with ample space for storage. Its design reflects a bygone era of partnership and prestige in the professional world. How might such a desk transform your workspace dynamics?
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

A partners desk is a large office desk that's designed to fit two workers facing each other. Partners desks are mostly associated with the United Kingdom and Victorian styles are considered valuable and desirable antiques. One of the most well known partners desks is the rectangular, elaborately carved desk given to the 19th American president, Rutherford B. Hayes, by Queen Victoria in 1880. The desk was built from the timber of the British ship Resolute and it's used in the Oval Office or sometimes in a president's private residence. A partners desk is also called a pedestal desk since two lower units or pedestals support the table top.

Basically, partners desks look like two single desks pushed together back to back, except the desktop isn't split, but is instead one complete surface. The two pedestal bases are also doubled and offer storage options on each side. While a partners desk may have exactly the same type and number of cupboards, shelves and drawers on each side, some partners desks have a different combination of storage options on each side of the desk. Since this desk is very large in size, the hollow space between the pedestals is usually more than big enough to comfortably fit each worker's legs.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Because a partners desk is complete with closed cabinets and drawers on both sides, it looks great in the middle of a room rather than pushed against a wall like regular single desks. This type of desk also needs enough office space so that all the storage as well as the desk top can be properly accessed by two people. Partners desks also suit one person who works with clients regularly or who needs a lot of desk storage as well as a large work surface.

The top of an antique Victorian partners desk is often made of leather in a golden or greenish color. The wood used may be mahogany or walnut. Dark finished oak is also popular on 19th-century antique partners desks. These desks are classically elegant and often feature brass drawer pulls.

Not all partners desks are rectangular or square. Some are elegantly oval shaped and have rounded cupboards. An oval partners desk can look very glamorous and may feature a series of small drawers around the top edge.

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