2.5-3m desk/worktop - laminate, engineered or solid wood? & who have the best prices on the latter?

hey folks!

I recently moved into a large semi-detached 3 bed house with my gf and decided to convert one of the bedrooms (3.1m x 4m afair) into a man-cave/office room since I'll be working from home more often soon... I'm on a tight budget since I purged my savings buying the home, so am DIYing everything. I started a shopping list last night and there's one thing I'm struggling with: the desk's "worktop"... I want a 2.5m - 3m desk, preferably solid wood "looking" (lol).

a few years back I wouldn't have looked at laminate for an expensive looking desk, but after buying laminate flooring for most of my home, I've realised that cheap laminate is pretty real & expensive looking compared to back in the 1mm Turkish printed designs.

I've also read about veneered timber (engineered wood) but it's all confusing to me, since I'm only a son of a carpenter.

I guess the main thing, though, is that I don't want to pay over £150 for a 3m desk "top"... every penny extra I spend on the desk will be money I can't spend on the chair (looking to upgrade my old ikea markus from 10 years ago, OC forums old favourite), HD (or 4k if I can go ultra cheap) projector and sofa bed.

I see that many places, from eBay to Ikea & B&Q do "solid wood" for around £150/3m, but is it crap/what are the cons? I'd really love to know the recommended vendors for worktops... a lot of that info is outdated, I saw on OC forums from 2015 that there was £90 38mm solid oak from wickes... not anymore!

another thing, 2.8mm thickness for a laminate (ikea ekbacken) or solid wood (B&Q) worktop isn't a good idea when it'll have at least one of my three 32" monitors, an ultrasonic cleaner, mini-pc, DIY vape stuff and all sorts of other crap on it, right? I'm going to build either a wood or black iron pipe underframe for the worktop to give it enough support to prevent sagging, so maybe it doesn't matter as much? Idk

sorry for rambling, modafinil will do that to ya. have a great day everyone, thanks for everything
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Mar 2008
Posts
10,078
Location
Stoke area
Have you looked at countertops for kitchens?

May work out cheaper. also depends how handy you are, a friend of mine has just built two smaller desks for his kids out of pallet wood. Pulled the slats, filled holes, attached to a frame and then sanded/planed smooth. Varnish to finish.

Also, DIY can sometimes be more expensive. You'll have tools to buy, risk of mistakes, and speed. It's often easier to work the extra hours and pay someone to do it vs spending 3 times as long trying to do it yourself.

I'd also suggest leaving the 4k projector until you've everything else sorted, I'd take a good desk and chair over a projector any day.
 
Soldato
Joined
19 May 2005
Posts
18,047
Location
Lancashire
For a 3m desk in solid oak at £150, you will be looking at "rustic" oak, which basically means it is made up of all the lower grade Oak, so will have lots of knots and some filled holes etc. I personally like this look and have gone for the cheaper rustic oak for my own desk.

There are also different sized staves (the width of the blocks of wood that make up the worktop), the thinner the stave, the cheaper. I personally think 40mm staves look far better than 20mm staves and is worth paying a bit more for.

I'd always go for solid wood for a desk, over laminate. Solid wood will last you forever and looks far better imo. Just have a look in the desk and room gallery int he cases section for an idea of how the wood worktop desks look.

tmc35VK.jpg.png

This is a pic of the rustic oak I used for my desk/tv stand for a rough idea of the look. As you can see there is lots of variation of grain, colour and knots etc. The more expensive 'prime' oak is more even in colour and straighter grained, but imo it's a bit boring.

I bought it from ebay, but can't seem to find the seller
 
Last edited:
Caporegime
Joined
1 Dec 2010
Posts
51,864
Location
Welling, London
hey folks!

I recently moved into a large semi-detached 3 bed house with my gf and decided to convert one of the bedrooms (3.1m x 4m afair) into a man-cave/office room since I'll be working from home more often soon... I'm on a tight budget since I purged my savings buying the home, so am DIYing everything. I started a shopping list last night and there's one thing I'm struggling with: the desk's "worktop"... I want a 2.5m - 3m desk, preferably solid wood "looking" (lol).

a few years back I wouldn't have looked at laminate for an expensive looking desk, but after buying laminate flooring for most of my home, I've realised that cheap laminate is pretty real & expensive looking compared to back in the 1mm Turkish printed designs.

I've also read about veneered timber (engineered wood) but it's all confusing to me, since I'm only a son of a carpenter.

I guess the main thing, though, is that I don't want to pay over £150 for a 3m desk "top"... every penny extra I spend on the desk will be money I can't spend on the chair (looking to upgrade my old ikea markus from 10 years ago, OC forums old favourite), HD (or 4k if I can go ultra cheap) projector and sofa bed.

I see that many places, from eBay to Ikea & B&Q do "solid wood" for around £150/3m, but is it crap/what are the cons? I'd really love to know the recommended vendors for worktops... a lot of that info is outdated, I saw on OC forums from 2015 that there was £90 38mm solid oak from wickes... not anymore!

another thing, 2.8mm thickness for a laminate (ikea ekbacken) or solid wood (B&Q) worktop isn't a good idea when it'll have at least one of my three 32" monitors, an ultrasonic cleaner, mini-pc, DIY vape stuff and all sorts of other crap on it, right? I'm going to build either a wood or black iron pipe underframe for the worktop to give it enough support to prevent sagging, so maybe it doesn't matter as much? Idk

sorry for rambling, modafinil will do that to ya. have a great day everyone, thanks for everything
A few of us on here have bought worktops from Worktop Express. They are really good, well priced and have an online bespoke service to design your worktop as you want it, with cutouts, edging etc.

Very good service who I would highly recommend, I love my dark walnut laminate desk. Just added four ikea legs to it and job done.
 
Soldato
Joined
14 Jan 2018
Posts
14,563
Location
Hampshire
I guess the main thing, though, is that I don't want to pay over £150 for a 3m desk "top"...

If you dont want to spend £150 you wont get a real wood worktop.

Worktop express have some oak, 27mm but a 3m length is £145 + delivery. Then you have your finishing products to buy. Wickes have some at £142 but I wouldnt trust their quality TBH.
 
Soldato
Joined
29 Jul 2004
Posts
6,561
Location
Esher
For a 3m desk in solid oak at £150, you will be looking at "rustic" oak, which basically means it is made up of all the lower grade Oak, so will have lots of knots and some filled holes etc. I personally like this look and have gone for the cheaper rustic oak for my own desk.

There are also different sized staves (the width of the blocks of wood that make up the worktop), the thinner the stave, the cheaper. I personally think 40mm staves look far better than 20mm staves and is worth paying a bit more for.

I'd always go for solid wood for a desk, over laminate. Solid wood will last you forever and looks far better imo. Just have a look in the desk and room gallery int he cases section for an idea of how the wood worktop desks look.

tmc35VK.jpg.png

This is a pic of the rustic oak I used for my desk/tv stand for a rough idea of the look. As you can see there is lots of variation of grain, colour and knots etc. The more expensive 'prime' oak is more even in colour and straighter grained, but imo it's a bit boring.

I bought it from ebay, but can't seem to find the seller

That's gorgeous mate, did you just glue two pieces together to make that shelf? Is it sturdy?
 
Soldato
Joined
19 May 2005
Posts
18,047
Location
Lancashire
That's gorgeous mate, did you just glue two pieces together to make that shelf? Is it sturdy?

Thanks, Its a super simple construction, but i think the rustic oak makes it look good against the modern tech.

I drilled and counter bored two holes to allow for 100mm x 6 screws. I was going to put a couple of dowels in as well, but it was rock solid with just the screws, plus I can always add taller sides in future if I need to. Then put some round 20mm felt feet on the bottom to stop it scratching the desk.

Oh and I finished it with Osmo Acacia tinted worktop oil, which gives a lovely warm honey colour to the Oak. Much nicer than the usual danish oil, that turns the Oak too yellow for my liking.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Posts
5,354
Location
Derbyshire
Just got myself an Ikea Eckbacken (sp?) in dark oak. 246CM worktop for £55. Used a Kallax 2x2 and 4x2 at either end with a few of the adils adjustable height legs to stop it sagging in the middle (2 at back and 1 at front middle) and have filled a wall in my cave:
48874406831_a66daaea18_c.jpg
 
Caporegime
Joined
1 Dec 2010
Posts
51,864
Location
Welling, London
Just got myself an Ikea Eckbacken (sp?) in dark oak. 246CM worktop for £55. Used a Kallax 2x2 and 4x2 at either end with a few of the adils adjustable height legs to stop it sagging in the middle (2 at back and 1 at front middle) and have filled a wall in my cave:
48874406831_a66daaea18_c.jpg

My setups a bit like yours. Long desk, 2 PC's, monitor on the wall and two gaming surfaces. There's also a PS4 pro tucked away at the end of mine.

3pvqI3oh.jpg
 
Soldato
Joined
19 May 2004
Posts
2,928
For a 3m desk in solid oak at £150, you will be looking at "rustic" oak, which basically means it is made up of all the lower grade Oak, so will have lots of knots and some filled holes etc. I personally like this look and have gone for the cheaper rustic oak for my own desk.

There are also different sized staves (the width of the blocks of wood that make up the worktop), the thinner the stave, the cheaper. I personally think 40mm staves look far better than 20mm staves and is worth paying a bit more for.

I'd always go for solid wood for a desk, over laminate. Solid wood will last you forever and looks far better imo. Just have a look in the desk and room gallery int he cases section for an idea of how the wood worktop desks look.

tmc35VK.jpg.png

This is a pic of the rustic oak I used for my desk/tv stand for a rough idea of the look. As you can see there is lots of variation of grain, colour and knots etc. The more expensive 'prime' oak is more even in colour and straighter grained, but imo it's a bit boring.

I bought it from ebay, but can't seem to find the seller
Youd be amazed at the quality and variation of laminate available now if you're willing to buy it in sheet form and make your own worktop.
Take a look at lawcriss website
 
Soldato
Joined
19 May 2005
Posts
18,047
Location
Lancashire
Youd be amazed at the quality and variation of laminate available now if you're willing to buy it in sheet form and make your own worktop.
Take a look at lawcriss website

Yeah laminate is getting better and better all the time. I noticed on some laminate flooring I was laying for a customer a while back that the embossed grain even matched up with the grain in the wood image, so knots actually looked real from a distance. I think laminate definitely has a place, but for me i'd always choose real wood, especially for something i'll spend a lot of time at/using. I also like knowing that in 10 years time i can take it outside and sand it all down and re-finish it to bring it back to looking new again.
 
Soldato
Joined
19 May 2004
Posts
2,928
I have had a look on worktop express a few times. I'm never sure what colour/wood choices are any good though..

Any recommendations?
Depends what else you have in the room or is it an empty shell. Oak is always a favourite for good reason as it can look lovely with the right finish
 
Soldato
Joined
25 Mar 2004
Posts
15,582
Location
Fareham
Went for a Ikea Hammarp solid oak desk on top of 2 Alex drawers, mine is 186cm wide, but they also did 240cm odd at the time. I went for the smaller one so I could fit it into more places if needed, and it's wide enough just for me.

Not done any cable management yet, so it's still a bit of a mess :)

FvSb2S1.jpg
 
Joined
12 Feb 2006
Posts
17,179
Location
Surrey
Is everyone in this thread blind, or do they love being in the screen when at the desk? 600mm work tops aren't deep enough for a screen to be at the correct distance from your eyes. I'd love to get a worktop, but some of these photos put me off. There's no room from back of desk, screen, keyboard and front of desk.
 
Back
Top Bottom