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House by John Lewis Cuthbert desk review

  • Assembly - 9/10
  • Build quality - 10/10
  • Features - 4/10
  • Ergonomics - 5/10
  • Value for money - 7/10

Quick verdict

For anyone looking for a small, stylish and sturdy little desk to sit in the corner of a bedroom or dining space, the House by John Lewis Cuthbert desk is a fantastic choice.

Assembly is extremely easy, as the desk is such a simple design. It consists of side legs, a single horizontal bar at the back, the desk surface, and just one drawer. You’ll have this desk built and ready to use in no time, without spending hours assembling fiddly drawers, cupboards and keyboard trays.

When properly assembled, the build quality is excellent. The desk is sturdy and stable, with no noticeable wobble while in use.

Features are extremely limited. In fact, the only feature is a single drawer. However, the single drawer runs the full width of the desk and provides an impressive amount of storage space. Just be careful not to overload it, as it can jam easily.

In terms of ergonomics, you will need an adjustable chair to use with this desk, as the desk itself is a fixed height. The desk also lacks a keyboard tray. While understandable given the drawer position, this is still a little unfortunate, as it may encourage the user to type in a way that risks strain injuries.

At the time of writing, the Cuthbert Desk is available for £159. While not the cheapest desk on the market, the build quality, stylish design and spacious drawer make the Cuthbert desk a good value choice for the small home office.


Easy assembly and great build quality

Stylish look and feel

Small size: Perfect for the corner of a bedroom or dining room

Large storage drawer that is well hidden below the desk surface

Lots of leg room 


No keyboard tray

Drawer can jam easily, particularly if overloaded




Read on for our full review of the House by John Lewis Cuthbert desk. Available from John Lewis.

Why you can trust Homeworker HQ: I purchased this desk several months ago and have used it almost daily. This review is therefore completely independent and written from personal experience.

Assembling the Cuthbert desk

The Cuthbert desk from John Lewis arrives flat-packed, with customer assembly required. However, the simple nature of the desk makes the assembly task far less painful than it is with some larger, more complex, desks.

The legs are two solid A-shaped pieces, while the desk surface is a single panel of oak-veneered rubberwood. This makes assembly as simple as connecting the horizontal bar between the side legs, the desk surface on top, and the large drawer which sits easily just below the desk’s surface.

With so few pieces involved, you really can’t go wrong when assembling the Cuthbert desk.

When properly assembled, the desk really is very sturdy. The desk does not wobble and has a more premium feel than your typical item of flat-packed furniture.

Features of the Cuthbert desk

This minimalist desk is so simple that it really only has one feature: it’s large storage drawer.

Large drawer

The drawer sits below the desk surface, blending seamlessly into the desk design. The drawer doesn’t even have a handle – and one isn’t needed, as it is easy enough to open using the front panel.

Cuthbert desk by John Lewis in a home office

Pleasingly, the drawer of the Cuthbert desk runs the entire width and most of the depth of the desk surface. This provides a surprising amount of storage space for such a small desk with just one drawer and no cupboards.

Our only criticism of the drawer is its tendency to jam. This is due to two plastic hooks located inside the drawer to help hold it in place. Unfortunately, these hooks can easily snag on papers or other items inside the drawer, which makes it stick in place.

The jamming problem is only really a problem if the drawer is overloaded. If you just want to store a few pens, a notebook, headphones, etc, then you won’t have any problems at all. However, if – like me – you tend to build up more and more papers in your desk over time, you might run into this issue.

Small size and lots of leg room

Not a feature as such, but it is worth mentioning that this desk really is very compact. It offers a decent amount of desk surface space, while remaining small enough to fit into the average bedroom alcove or dining room corner.

The Cuthbert desk measures just 90cm wide by 48cm deep. I found this to be perfect when working in a small home office. There is plenty of room for a screen, speakers, a keyboard and a mouse, with some space to spare for a notebook, or for a small laptop to sit when not in use.

The desk also offers plenty of leg room, with no desk legs, cupboards or drawers to stop you from finding a comfortable seating position. The back of the desk is open, so cables can easily be stored behind the desk without getting in the way of your feet too.

Ergonomics of the Cuthbert desk

The Cuthbert desk is 75cm high and not adjustable. Whether this works for you ergonomically will depend on how you use the desk, your height and your office chair.

As the desk itself is not adjustable, I’d highly recommend using an adjustable chair. The odds of 75cm being the perfect height for you are quite slim, so you will almost certainly need to make some adjustments. The desk doesn’t enable you to do this, so you’ll need to adjust your chair instead.

A key ergonomic feature missing from the Cuthbert desk is a keyboard tray. Keyboard trays can be very beneficial to your ergonomics, as they correctly position your keyboard below wrist height.

Even using an adjustable chair, you may find that the height of the desk, and the lack of keyboard tray, means that you cannot achieve the ergonomic setup you would ideally like.

Value for money

At the time of writing, the Cuthbert desk is available for £159. You can certainly pick up desks for less than this, but you won’t get the same level of quality and style.

In my opinion, the Cuthbert desk is great value and an all round good choice for anyone looking for a sturdy, stylish desk for the small home office.

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