Commercial Office Desks: MDF, Laminate or Natural Wood?

From traditional corner desks to standing designs, desks for businesses come in a whole variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. And as if that wasn’t enough, they also come in a range of different materials. This raises one important question: how do you know which office desk is the right choice for your workplace?

While making a decision might seem tricky, our team of experts are on hand to help. Today, we’re taking a look at the different materials on offer for all your office desk needs. Is MDF better than natural wood? What about HPL, or MFC? What are the key factors you need consider? Find the answers to these questions and more below.

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF)

MDF is an engineered wood product that has proved very popular for commercial office desks throughout the years. This material is made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, often in a defibrator, and then combining it with wax and a resin binder. This is then formed into panels by applying high temperature and pressure.

MDF Executive Desk

MDF Vs Real Wood

The main difference between real wood and MDF is that MDF is engineered, while real wood is a natural product.  It’s easy to assume that real wood desks for businesses will always be better. However, in some situations, MDF can actually outperform real wood desks.

The way MDF is pressed produces dense sheets that remain stable in most weather conditions. MDF can also withstand changes in humidity and heat better than solid wood. For instance, real wood tends to expand and contract when temperatures rise and fall. As a result of all this, cabinets, doors, and office desks made from real wood require more maintenance and care.


Jera Executive Desk


Other Advantages of MDF Commercial Office Desks

  • Available in larger foot panels, making it a good choice for projects that require large pieces of wood with no joints.
  • Can be easilypainted or stained, which can be an issue when you use real wood.
  • Much cheaper and more widely available than real wood.
  • Features multiple laminate layers while being protected from harmful elements.
  • Lightweight designmeans that MDF can be easily carried around.
  • Standard MDF can withstand up to 90 kg of weight.

For excellent examples of MDF desks for businesses from our range at BT Office Furniture, take a look at:

Different type of Natural Woods

Differnet types of Wood Finishes

Compared to MDF, wooden commercial office desks have their own pros and cons. While natural wood is usually reliable and comes in a variety of shapes and colours, it also requires proper care. In some cases, it can also be very expensive.

If you are looking for a wooden office desk for your workplace or home office, you should consider oak, walnut, cherry, pine, and maple timber options, among others.  Let’s look at these in more detail.


Oak is known as one of the most popular hardwoods for computer desks. It is a beautiful, hard, and durable type of wood. It has excellent finish properties and can be stained to fit any range of office styles. With proper maintenance it has a long lifetime and is also fire resistant. The downside of oak office desks are that they can be moderately expensive, while cracks can occur with poor maintenance and the stain can get a bit darker overtime.


Probably one of the more expensive types of wood, but one of the most beautiful in terms of grain, colour, and pattern. Walnut has a great performance so you can be sure that your commercial office desk will last for a very long time. It’s environmentally friendly as well as water and mould resistant. As for its cons, it can be relatively easily damaged and scratched, and it will need proper care to extend its lifetime.


Pine is very different from oak. It may not last quite as long as oak but it is a strong, shock-resistant material that can be suitable for furniture, particularly if you like the rustic or country styles. It is easy to paint and stain in order to get your preferred colour and is a more environmentally friendly option. Pine wood is low-cost compared to other types of wood.


Cherry has a beautiful texture and is a white to reddish-brown colour. A cherry office desk can add a dramatic look to your workplace. Finishing properties are great and it is excellent for nailing, gluing, screwing, and polishing. On the downside, it can be expensive and is not water or scratch resistant.


Maple is one of the best woods for a computer desk because of its durability and cost effectiveness. It is incredibly strong, looks great, and stains nicely. It is also lightweight, making it a great choice for woodworkers. Regarding cons, it is not good for heavy use, can be easily damaged from insects, and must be sealed.

HPL Plywood or High-Pressure Laminates

HPL are created by combining multiple layers of the cellulosic fibres extracted from the young wood variants. These fibres are then bonded with the use of phenolic resin. Plywood has better water resistance than MFD and MFC and is therefore used in a variety of areas as a building material, both indoors and outdoors. As well as desks for businesses, plywood is also used for furniture sets, cabinets, and tables. In general, due to its high strength values, plywood is used wherever high stability is required.

Gravity Executive Desk

Other Advantages of HPL Commercial Office Desks

  • Resistant to scratching and impact issues.
  • A natural coating of wood making it ideal for a unique look.
  • Resistant to water infiltration with minimal moisture and water absorption.
  • Hygienic material that doesn’t serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Stain and heat resistant with anti-static design.

MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard)


MFC Material Executive Desk

MFC is made of wood chips from short-lived forest trees, such as eucalyptus, acacia, and rubber. These chips are formed into particleboard, which is then bonded to melamine resin impregnated paper. The melamine layer helps to waterproof the material, make it scratch-resistant, as well as increasing the aesthetics of the surface. Chipboards with a high-quality melamine surface give a wood-like texture and a beautiful visual touch. MFC comes in a variety of colours. It is lightweight and easy to construct. It is water resistance and suitable for home and office furniture, including commercial office desks.

Other Advantages of MFC Commercial Office Desks


Pure Office Desk

  • Heat and stain resistant.
  • Standsup to heavy use.
  • Strong and long lasting.

MFC is one of the most sustainable wood-based products. The bulk of the wood chips in MFC come from trees grown in managed forests, and because the trees are chipped, there is very little wastage.

Here some examples of MFC office desks from our website:

Commercial Office Desks from BT Office Furniture

At BT Office, we stock a range of beautiful office desks made from the materials discussed above. Our collection covers all of your office workstation needs, including 120 degree desks, corner office desks, and much more. Browse our full range online.

Are you interested in learning more about which type of desk to feature in your office? Get in touch today and speak to us today about your commercial office desk requirements. You can reach us at [email protected] or by calling 0800 298 7033.