In this portable-electronics age of laptops in bed and BlackBerries at dinner, there is something lovely about a stationary place to jot a note. But beyond that, these multitaskers work overtime—in the bedroom as vanities, in the foyer collecting mail, pretty much anyplace an extra table (with storage!) would be welcome.
Don't let the fun blue paint job fool you—this beadboard desk means business with a file drawer and keyboard tray.
$720, 48 by 30 inches; Maine Woodworks, from Cottage Home, CottageHomeMaine.com
Touches of whimsy—a scalloped wood frill on top, recycled glass knobs—improve upon the Little Cay's Shaker lines.
$1,900, 48 by 30 inches; Russell & MacKenna, RussellMacKenna.com for stores
The attention-grabbing Good Student gets an A+ for its capacious drawers and maple construction.
$2,790, 64 by 30 inches; Maine Cottage, MaineCottage.com
In true colonial British-plantation style, the Rangoon Writing Table's rattan frame supports a raffia top.
$798, 38 by 34 inches; Bauer International, from Carolina Rustica, CarolinaRustica.com
Finished in bright white, the wood-and-rattan Pagoda Console rests upon trellis-like fretwork.
$1,500, 54 by 30 inches; Jardins en Fleur, JardinsenFleur.com for stores
Built for bibliophiles, the Asian-inspired Brighton Writing Table incorporates four bookshelves.
$3,038, 56 by 30 1/2 inches; Baker, BakerFurniture.com for stores
Made of powder-coated steel, the Desk 51's birdlike legs provide a surprisingly sturdy perch.
$699, 56 by 31 1/2 inches; Blu Dot, from Velocity, VelocityArtandDesign.com
The Swag Leg desk still looks as cool as when it debuted in 1958, with plastic shelf dividers and totally tubular metal details.
$1,799, 39 by 34 inches; George Nelson, from The Conran Shop, ConranUSA.com
With a modelesque, legs-up-to-there look, the Riga shows off a matte-lacquer finish and a kidney-shaped top.
$8,531, 55 by 29 1/2 inches; Marc Newson for Cappellini, 212-966-0669
This unadorned, not-bulky block blends with any style and virtually disappears against white walls.
$299, 48 by 30 inches; West Elm, WestElm.com
The Cabana's simple shape gets an infusion of Hollywood Regency glamour with brass hardware and a flamingo-pink finish.
$1,295, 47 1/2 by 30 inches; ducduc, DucDucNYC.com
Ideal for his-and-hers spaces, the drawers of the Halcón Collection Partners desk are accessible from both sides.
$5,250, 60 by 32 1/2 inches; Richard Mishaan Design, at Homer, 212-744-7705
Resting on dainty gams, the solid-pine Anne Secretary looks appropriately petite in a bedroom.
$300, 33 1/2 by 40 inches; Ballard Designs, BallardDesigns.com
An 18th-century Venetian shape meets the Gilded Age in this showpiece. Hand-painted, it's a useful work of art.
$1,950, 46 by 37 inches; Decorative Crafts, Inc., 800-431-4455 for stores
Made in France, the Scriban Chest's hunting-dog hardware evokes the countryside. A drop-leaf front hides a blush of color.
$6,495, 39 1/2 by 46 inches; Grange, GrangeNY.com for stores
A-frame supports give the Style-It desk extra storage below. Six drawers keep things organized up above.
$593, 62 by 35 inches; PBteen, PBteen.com
For adventurers on the move, the leather-topped, brass-trimmed Navigator's desk disassembles quickly.
$1,400, 55 by 27 1/2 inches; AM USA, from Cottage & Bungalow, CottageandBungalow.com
The sprawling 13 3/4-square-foot desktop suits those who like to spread out. And the style? Perfectly restrained.
$2,430, 60 by 30 inches; Harden, Harden.com for stores