Tambour Desks

tambour desk from Arhaus

A Little History Lesson

Did you know the first time tambour was introduced was on a desk for King Louis XV in the 1790s?

The King wanted something that kept his important papers secure and also looked gorgeous, naturally. So he instructed his official cabinet maker, Jean-Francois Oeben, to create a desk for him. Oeben got to work making the very first rolltop desk with a locking mechanism.

From start to finish, the desk took 9 years to complete. Sadly, Oeben passed away before the work was completed and his protégé Jean-Henry Reisener had to pick up where he left off.

Hard to believe it took that long and that the King patiently waited! Makes lead times seem super short by today’s standards. Note to self – mention this to clients when they complain their sofa is taking 20 weeks to produce…

But hey, they got it done. And the rest is history, as they say.

The Bureau de Roi, aka The King’s Desk, became one of the most celebrated furniture pieces of the eighteenth century thanks to it’s ingenuity and craftsmanship. Today, it is still replicated.


Today’s Tambour at Work

If you want to incorporate a little tambour inspo into your workspace, then I’ve got you covered! Below are options for some super cool desks that bring in this design element. Luckily, you won’t have to wait 9 years to get it either.

And if you want to create some tiny tambour pieces for your dollhouse, be sure to check out this tutorial!

Full disclosure – some links contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small commission when you purchase a product from the link. This is at no additional cost to you and supports the creation of miniature dreams on this blog.

The Finnley

This writing desk by Arhaus features a marble top and contrasting dark wood tones on the tambour body. Brass details on the hidden pencil drawer hardware and base add another layer of sophistication.

Size: 56″W x 26″D x 31″H

The Quinn

West Elm is to thank for bringing us the perfect desk for a small space. It has pently of storage in a compact footprint and also comes in another wood/paint combo finish with dark metal accents. 

Size: 52″W x 24″D x 30″H

The Reid

The Reid DeskThis curvy desk by CB2 definitely won’t go unnoticed in your home. It can also be used as a console or as a sofa back table in case that is more your speed.

Size: 69″W x 28″D x 29.5″H

The Athena

The Athena Desk This desk by Rove Concepts appeals to the aspiring minimalist in each of us. Available in two sizes and multiple finish options for the top and base, it can double as a console or a dining table as well.

The Gabby

This petite powerhouse of a desk can be found on Kathy Kuo Home. While it only has one drawer, it packs a punch with a shagreen leather front, gold hardware, and soft close mechanism. 

Size: 48″W x 16″D x 31.5″H

The Deluxe

tambour desk from Anthropologie

This desk by Tracey Boyd for Anthropologie features a little bit of everything – warm rosewood tambour veneer, marble and brass hardware, coordinating Volakas marble inlaid top, and midcentury vibes.

Size: 63″W x 19″D x 29″H

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