How to Measure for a Reception Desk

Measurements for a modern reception desk should consider the size of your space and your functional needs—both in and around it.

The distance outside a reception desk is called the transaction perimeter. A line drawn from 36" to 42", entirely around the outside of your reception desk, surrounds the transaction area. A line drawn inside your reception desk is called the functional or user perimeter.

Transaction Perimeter

The circle is divided into 360 degrees of arc if it is a circular modern reception desk. Each section of 45 degrees equals an eighth of the circle (ninety degrees of the arc equal a quarter-circle, etc.)

Transaction perimeter circular

A line extending from the center of the transaction side of the reception desk, backward toward the user side, and ending where the curve ends (if it has a circular front), is called the radius front. The radius front consists of two imaginary lines running from the front center to where the curvature ends. The distance between the two lines is the size of the radius.

Measuring a Rectangular Modern Reception Desk Without Attached Returns

The distance from the left side of your reception desk to the right side is called the width. The width in your plan should allow space for your transaction perimeter. If you plan to place your reception desk against a wall or in a corner, you will only need to allow for a transaction perimeter on two sides: two for the visitor as well as a functional space for the user.

Calculate desk radius

Adding a Return Extension to Your Reception Desk

A return is an extension added to your primary reception desk. Measuring for your reception desk return should allow for two things: additional surface space for the user and transaction space for your visitors.

While seated at your reception desk, you’ll need to know which side to place your desk return extension on—your left or right. In most cases, the length of your return will influence the user and visitor transaction spaces.

Desk measurement with return

A return extension for your reception desk will not usually be less than 24" in depth. Make sure the width of your primary desk is wide enough so as not to sacrifice functional chair space. Normally, in this case, functional width is about 72". Otherwise, ask your 90 Degree Office Concepts design consultant to build you a return with smaller depth.

Measuring for Functional Space for Your Modern Reception Desk User(s)

Two functional criteria should govern the size of the reception desk: the amount of surface space a user needs to perform the work detail and the number of users needed. Measuring for desktop equipment, i.e., computer monitors, calculators, laptops, and functional performance and organizational space, should be a key consideration in determining size selection.

All of the measurements listed above, together with the number of users, will give you a broad indication of how much space to allow per user. Consider a minimum width of 42" to 48" per user.

Measuring for Circular Reception Desks Without Returns

Nevada Modern Reception Desk

Nevada Modern Reception Desk

At 90 Degree Office Concepts, we can build your modern reception desk to size, but we need to know the distance around the desk. This is called the girth or arc. As with all measurements, this can be taken to fit either the convex or concave face of the projected reception desk—but always specify which. If you don’t know these numbers or have difficulty obtaining them, provide your design consultant at 90 Degree Office Concepts with the length and width. We can help you find the perfect fit for the space. If you do it yourself, this measurement MUST be taken with a flexible tape.

If you require a specific fit, you will need to tell us the radius of the curve you would like. The radius of a circular reception desk is one-half of the diameter of the entire circle. If you find it challenging to find the exact radius measurement, give us the chord and the depth measurements you envision for your desk.

Circular measurement

The chord is the distance straight across the curve, measuring from point to point. This measurement should be made with a flat ruler. To measure the depth of the curve, take one-half of the chord measurement, and at that point, measure to the top of the curve. With the chord and the depth, we can mathematically determine the radius.

Circle depth - chord

Selecting a Modern Reception Desk With a Reverse Curve

Reverse curve measurements

For a reception desk with a reverse curve, measure the girth by allowing your flexible tape to follow the line of the curves. If you want to get the measurement of the radius, or the chord and depth, measure each of the curves individually. Measure as you would for a circular curve.

Newport Contemporary Reception Desk

Newport Contemporary Reception Desk

90 Degree Office Concepts is a full-service provider. Call us now if you need help getting the best fit for your space and your business!