Desk Styling 101: How To Make Your Desk Cute AND Practical For Everyday Working (Plus A Bunch Of Affordable Accessories)

I read the craziest statistic the other day. It was “the average office worker spends 15 hours a day at a desk” which is truly baffling considering the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and at least 8 of those should be spent sleeping. For many of us, our permanent work or school desk just relocated into our homes and now is in need of a major glow up. So today I’m here to do what I do best –– look through our past EHD archives to create an easy peasy formula for how you can decorate your desk so it’s stylish like you BUT IS ALSO PRACTICAL (cause if it wasn’t functional who even cares).

Quick sidebar before anyone gets VERY worried about storage (seriously, we don’t want that), this post is strictly telling you how to make the TOP OF YOUR DESK a stylish and practical space. So we’re not chatting filing cabinets or any other important document storage that happens under your desk (although that’s an important conversation for another day). We can only tackle so much at a time, so if you’re looking for something more specific check out our recent posts: affordable desk combos (this one has actual furniture shopping options for your desk set up), rugs you can roll your office chair on, kids homeschool desks, or check out what Emily’s hilarious work from home situation looks like (update: it still hasn’t changed). Okay, now let’s get on with the desk accessories and styling (the fun part!)

The Basic Formula:

Alright, everyone. For the simple and practical everyday desk styling, you only need 5 ITEMS OR LESS. You heard this right. That’s IT and we have some real solid affordable options here, so you can a desk set up that won’t force you to work more hours to pay for it. Here’s what you gotta do:

Step One

Grab a lamp (or a sconce). Having an extra light on or above your desk makes your life better and will look nice. It helps in the mornings and at night when it’s a little dark over there, but you still want to be able to see ya know? Function and fashion…desk lamps are a double win. We’d also recommend that you grab one that’s taller to give your desk styling some height (and so it can cast a light overhead versus straight into your eyeballs).

Step Two

Art people!! Now you have creative freedom here, so maybe you want to do a full gallery wall or one big piece of art. Do whatever the heck makes you happy, but I guarantee adding something framed above or on your desk will give it the personal touch you need to keep motivated for 15 hours straight. HOT TIP: This is a great place to add in a family photo if you so please! Check out the post I wrote last week on how to frame your family photos in a cool designer approved way if you need some inspo…

Step Three

A cute plant! This is perhaps one of the less “functional” or “practical” things when compared to a light or mousepad or whatever, but a lil plant friend will add so much life and character to your space that it really will become a necessity. You’ll see. You want the place you spend the most time to feel cozy and warm, yes?? Grab yourself that lil plant baby and pop her in a fun planter and VOILA! Instant happiness.

Step Four

Pencil/Pen Holder/Organizer:) Easy access to a pen and paper is crucial, so you need a place for all your favorite #2 pencils, pens, highlighters, sharpies, and whatnots. Essential and SO useful.

Step Five

Last but not least. We fully believe in the power of a mouse or desk pad. It’s hard to find a good, affordable one (unless you scroll down below and see our roundup), but let me tell you, once you do it’s awesome.

Now that you know the basic steps, you can actually add as many or as few of these items as you want. If you read that last mousepad section and you were like, “No way, I don’t want a mousepad,” here’s the fun thing…don’t get one!! This is the basic gist you can go off of, but if you’re a minimalist, it’s your desk and your house so just do what feels right to you. Here are some inspiration photos for your desk styling pleasures:

photo by tessa neustadt | from sara’s office reveal

Someone recently asked us in our DM’s how we would style a gaming desk…I’ll be honest, gaming desks have way more lights, keyboards, monitors, gadgets and gizmos, so I’d say to style it similar to this one above & try to keep as few items off the desk as possible. That means get creative with you walls by adding art/sconces/etc 🙂

The next desk from one of our past feel good flash makeovers pretty much nails the formula to a T:

photo by sara liggoria-tramp | from the feel good flash makeover reveal

Also, a good idea, if you’re looking for more storage, is to add some shelves above your desk (and add bins). Now let’s say you don’t have a giant desktop hogging up your entire work area…1. Lucky you but 2. Same formula still works:

photo by tessa neustadt | from sylvia’s surprise makeover

This is a great way to set up your desk while still leaving room if you want to bring a laptop over at any point in your life. Also, look at all the cute and personal family photos!! Polaroid and all!

Hot Tip

Vary the heights of the items you put on your desk to add visual interest.

Okay, I think you get the desk gist, so now it’s time to round up some affordable desk options so you can put this formula into ACTION. Lezzgo:

1. Blue Task Lamp | 2. Fila | 3. Dean LED Task Lamp | 4. Valencia LED Task Lamp Brass (Includes Energy Efficient Light Bulb) | 5. Audrey Coulee Desk Lamp | 6. TVÄRFOT | 7. Lemke LED Task Lamp (Includes Energy Efficient Light Bulb) | 8. Chaves 15″ Table Lamp Set with USB (set of 2) | 9. SIMRISHAMN | 10. RIGGAD | 11. Task Table Lamp (Includes Energy Efficient Light Bulb) | 12. TORCH

1. Bigso Steel Blue Stockholm Desktop Organizer | 2. Wood Desktop Storage Unit White | 3. Tulum Ceramic Desk Organizer | 4. Poeland Desktop Storage Organizer | 5. Indigo Desk Organizer | 6. Seville Classics 2-Piece Bamboo Set Desk Organizer

1. Leather Desk Pad | 2. Office Desk Mat Blotter | 3. Galdas Large Mouse Pad Marble Pattern | 4. Two Toned Boho Print Desk Mat, Aesthetic Desk Accessory | 5. Gray Desk Pad | 6. Cork Desk Pad

1. Personalized Leather Mouse Pad | 2. Modern Mouse Pad | 3. Mid Century Arches Line Art Mouse Pad | 4. Mouse Pad Contour Line Art Table Mat Cute Mousepad | 5. Mouse Pad | 6. Hard Silver Metal Aluminum Mouse Pad

1. Bindewerk Mitsuko Pencil Cups | 2. Solid Brass Pencil Cup | 3. Champagne Vegan Leather Nicole Pencil Cup | 4. Concrete Pencil Cup | 5. Gold Dot Acrylic Pencil Cup | 6. Small Cup | 7. Kaya Striped Ceramic Cups by Justina Blakeney® | 8. Ripple Glass | 9. Saco Pencil Cup

1. Kaya Shorty Ceramic Planter | 2. 3 Piece White Loom Planter Set | 3. Whimsy Terracotta Pot | 4. Wyn Mini Woven Planter | 5. Medium Brass Planter | 6. Nandini Vase | 7. Indigo Blue And White Striped Pedestal Planter | 8. Canvas Dot Planter | 9. White Matte Bud Vase

1. Linen Lines # 2 | 2. Face 2 Art Print by Justina Blakeney | 3. Wood Framed Leafy Stem | 4. Hills I | 5. Worthy Print | 6. Colors of the Sky by Claire Duda | 7. Shes Blooming Worth by Theresa Bear | 8. Rua Esmeralda | 9. Letterboard

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: The Feel Good Flash Makeover Reveal (Aka My Favorite Thing I Did All Year)

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