The Best Paint Color for a Desk

The color possibilities for painting a desk are only limited to other furniture in the room, location, intended use, who is using the desk and personal preference. You can choose a glossy, matte or flat paint -- or you can pick a natural wood-colored stain.

Neutral Colors

Choose a color to paint the desk based on the intended use and location.

Neutral or natural colors are common desk colors, particularly natural browns, cream, beige, white and even black. These colors are not only common, but also present a professional and inviting environment. Light, neutral and natural colors often match and blend well with other furniture and room decorations. White is a good paint color for desks, although scratches, spots and stains are more apparent on a white desk and it requires cleaning and dusting more often than other colors.

Room Decoration

Consider the look and feel of other furniture, wallpaper or paint, lighting and decorations in the room where the desk is located. You want it to match without blending too much. The desk color should complement the rest of the room rather than clash with it. Home improvement or paint stores provide paint samples in an unlimited number of colors and shades. Before purchasing a color, bring home several samples and compare them with the room’s décor. Alternatively, take a sample of the wallpaper or room's curtains with you and select a complementary color or shade.

Desk Type

Dark colors, such as black, tend to give the perception of less space, while lighter colors appear bigger. If the desk is a large, over-sized desk in a small room, black or dark brown will give it a smaller appearance; the same desk painted white may look crowded in the room. A small desk in a large open room painted white will appear to take up more of the empty space in the room. Consider the location of the desk within the room as well. Bright, glossy colors tend to glare in bright light, especially when the sun shines directly onto the desk. Dull or flat colors tend to give a darker room a dingy feel, particularly when there is a lack of natural light. Also, consider who will be using the desk and the intended use. A child’s desk painted pink, blue or green is suitable for a homework or art desk, although those colors would not be suitable for a professional work desk in an office or home office.


If you prefer a natural wood color rather than a painted desk, you can choose from a wide range of natural wood stains. Stains come in a variety of wood colors ranging in shades of grays, blues, browns, whites and reds. Stains accentuate the wood’s natural grain. Stained desks can then be painted over with a clear gloss to protect the stain and give it a shine.

About the Author

Gabrielle Morgan has authored business documents, manuals, mental health documentation and treatment plans. She also writes for a variety of online publications. Morgan's extensive educational background includes studies in creative writing, screenwriting, herbology, natural medicine, early childhood education and psychology.