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Office Credenza Desk Basics, Features and Uses

Posted on January 07 2022

office credenza desk basics uses

There are a few titles or terms that come with office furniture pieces, and one of these that can be defined in a few similar ways is the office credenza desk. This is a term typically used for a versatile type of desk that's known for large storage space and a few other qualities, but precisely how it's defined may vary slightly depending on who you talk to.

At Urban 9-5, we're happy to offer a variety of office desk and related products, including urban-industrial credenza/desk options that are second to none in both quality and aesthetics. What exactly is a credenza, where does this term originate from, and what are some features, types and uses of credenzas in the office setting? Here's a primer.

Credenza Basics and Origin

Simply put, a credenza or credenza desk is a piece of furniture with a long, even surface and extra space for storing. Credenzas may come in a range of colors, materials and designs – typically a credenza is shorter than a standard desk – but the storage space it features is usually large enough to fit office supplies as well as books. In some cases, additional cabinets or sections may be added to increase storage even further.

The word credenza comes from the word credential, which in Latin translates to "trust" or "belief." The products themselves date back to the 16th century, where servants had to taste food and drink before it was consumed by a royal -- this would be referred to as the act of credenza. Eventually, the room where this tasting occurred took on the name credenza, and the piece of furniture in which the food was kept took the name as well. The name stuck for some reason, and today is used across numerous forms of office desks and related products.

Types of Credenza

Generally speaking, there are two types of credenza desks: Those specifically meant as office desks, and those meant only for storage and not as a desk at at all. Some basics on each:

  • Office credenza: Any credenza that has file drawers and an actual desktop space is typically referred to as an office credenza. These are popular for cubicle and home offices alike, and can be used as a place to sit and work due to the additional file storage and pull-out mouse pad. The office credenza comes in a huge variety of sizes, styles and materials, from industrial credenzas made of metal or wood to modern computer credenzas with a glass top and refined aesthetic.
  • Credenza as storage: In some cases, a credenza is used more for its storage capabilities than anything else. This type of credenza will not have file drawers, instead focusing on a few shelves and cabinets to keep various types of office supplies. While storage credenzas are often kept in an office, they aren't typically used as desks themselves, but rather kept to the side and used more for storage.

For the rest of this blog, we'll focus primarily on the office credenza for those who want a new desk, but also one that offers quality storage capacity.

Features of an Office Credenza

Here are some of the most important features to consider if you're selecting an office credenza:

  • Long, table-like top: Credenzas can be square, rectangular or long and narrow – whatever you need them to be. The important thing is that the desk has an actual desktop and not a shorter work area like a file pedestal or other desk-style credenza.
  • File drawers: This is the most obvious feature of an office credenza, as it's the whole point of a credenza to have extra file storage. This is typically open-faced, so you can see the file folders inside, but some models may have doors which slide over them to keep documents covered and also prevent them from being seen by prying eyes.
  • Other cabinets: Depending on the type of credenza, you'll have varying numbers of cabinets. Some will include one or two large rows for folders and papers, but higher-end versions may feature several smaller cabinets to hold your various office supplies.
  • Optional hutch: For some office credenzas, you may be able to purchase a hutch stand separately. These typically attach to the top of the credenza, adding more file storage and room for things like your computer printer or other items you'll need nearby.

Uses of the Office Credenza

Here are some of the simplest and most common ways an office credenza is used:

  • As a primary or secondary workspace: This is the most obvious use for an office credenza, as it will have enough room for you to work on your computer, answer mail or read documents. This makes it ideal for home offices and also works well in cubicles.
  • As a storage piece: The credenza's cabinet space makes this one of the best options for storing files, both for its size and long-term storage. You'll find that most office credenzas will be able to hold more than a single file drawer, making it perfect for storing papers, folders and other items.
  • As a style piece: Some credenzas are designed to be used as style pieces in your home. These may not have file drawers or other storage, but will let you put things like flowers on the top and take advantage of the credenza's clean lines.
  • As a conference room piece: If you work in a more professional office and need to use conference rooms for meetings, some credenzas will be used as furniture in these spaces. The long tabletop works well for snacks and other simple refreshments while the file drawers can hold basic supplies like notepads and pens.

For more on office credenza desks and their value, or to learn about any of our vintage office furniture products, speak to the staff at Urban 9-5 today.