What is a Drafting Table?

Questioning what is a drafting table? Curious about its use and how you might incorporate it into your decor? Many people assume this is a furniture addition reserved for artists and writers, but they also lend themselves well to crafters, and repurposes very well as a desk.

If you are curious about this unique table design and want to know how you might put one to good use, this article is exactly what you need. A drafting table definition, Its various styles, and what you can use it for are all explored below.

What is a Drafting Table?

man drafting on the table

The definition of a tradition drafting table used to encompass a use of tables specifically designed for architectural/engineering drafting and mechanical drawing. They have a rigid leg support, but also have a surface that can be adjusted to rest at various slopes. Occasionally their heights may also be adjusted.

Why are Drafting Desks Tilted?

What truly defines drafting tables from other similar furniture pieces is the tilted table surface. The reason for this is to allow the artist to have a more comfortable working surface, especially when working with small, detailed lines on paper. This helps keep the worker from leaning over or bending towards the surface, and also can also help match the angle of an observed subject.

What is Drafting Table Used For

Drafting tables used to be a staple piece of furniture in almost all offices, and were the influence of the saying, ‘back to the drawing table” when ideas needed to be reworked. However, with the age of technology and the use of computer influences both for artistic expression, blueprinting, and note-taking, they are no longer the centerpiece of an office.

They have multiple uses, especially if you are showcasing an antique option for decor. Take a look at the following ideas for how they are commonly put to use.

Drafting Or Technical Drawing

A smiling fashion designer drawing sketch with a glass of water in the table

This is their original use and they still serve the purpose well. Not much can beat the space and stable surface a drafting table provides. The tilt also is perfect for so many related genres, such as:

  • Impromptu sketching
  • Fashion pattern drafting
  • Painting
  • Theater designing
  • Drawing maps and
  • Storyboarding

All of which occasionally require the raising of your work surface to help with your perspective and control of your creation.

Laying Out Copy

When you need a versatile surface to lay out copy to provide you a big picture of a later creation, the drafting table surface is an excellent choice.

Reading Blueprints

woman drawing a blueprint

Drafting tables used to be specific to the creation of blueprints. Being able to get close and personal with the surface lets you see the details and read the tiny script.

General Reading And Writing

If you like to read and write at a desk, this is the best option ever! It allows you to easily raise the work surface closer to both see, and more comfortably write.


If you want a stable work table to lay out your sewing, create quilting designs, or help pin down patterns- look no further. These tables are amazingly versatile and work with anything you need.

Extra Seating

Score an antique table and are unsure of how to put it to use? Keep it in your kitchen or dining area as a place for extra seating, or even a serving surface!

Different Styles of Drafting Tables

Ultima Height Adjustable Drafting Table

There are a few different styles of drafting tables you can consider if you are purposefully on the hunt for a good, useful piece of furniture. These differences are slight, but may work with your specific needs and are worth over.

Pedestal Based Drafting Table

Pedestal Table Benefits include having great room under your table and not having to worry about knocking your feet or legs against the table legs since they are centered. This is a great choice to allow multiple people to use the table at the same time, or for dining purposes if you are not going to use it in a more traditional manner.

Fold-a-Way Drafting Table

Fold-a-way Table Benefits are obvious! They allow you to fold it up almost flat and store it away for when you don’t need use of it. This is perfect for smaller spaces, when you use a guest room as an office, or when you want to move your table around your house or yard with ease.

Craft Drafting Table

Craft and Hobby Tables are more traditional in nature and are built for more traditional drafting uses. They also often include a LOT of storage options, shelves and baskets to keep your supplies within reach. They also often have a flat surface to lay your materials on even while you have the main top up on an angle.

Four-Post Drafting Table

Precision Four-Post Drafting Table Base

Four-Post Drafting Tables are the heavy, sturdy traditional tables from which all other styles have been born. These are the ultimate work surface and are often made of heavy woods or metals and truly are an excellent addition to any decor.

Tips for Choosing a Drafting Table

There are a few tips before purchasing the perfect drafting table you need to consider. First and foremost is what use you have for it. If it is for decor, then you may have very different expectations for it compared to using it for crafting, drawing, sewing, or even desk work.

  • Measure the space you have for a table prior to purchase. Nothing is worse than getting something home that won’t fit!
  • Determine the table surface area you need. This is dependent upon the use you have for it, and can make a BIG difference when you go to use it.
  • Consider the style you prefer. Do you like a heavy, sturdy design? Do you need the space below and want a more centered balance the pedestal style provides? Need a bunch of space for supplies?
  • Consider accessories such as lights, a cover, and specialized stools or chairs designed for use with the slanted work surface.
  • See our roundup of the best drafting tables here.


Precision Four-Post Drafting Table Base

Hopefully this article has helped provide you a definition of what a true drafting table is, and how you can put it to good use for a wide array of crafts and hobbies. They do come in some slightly different style that may work better for what you want it for, or simply lend itself well to your decor.

We’d love to answer any questions you may have below, and as always, please share.

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