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How I styled my desk

Home office setup ideas

I believe that we often underestimate how much of an impact styling, organization, and design can have on how we behave in certain environments. A really good example of how design can drive behavior is the way a grocery store is designed and organized; it’s literally organized in a way to drive sales and make you spend as much money as possible (i.e. impulse buys near the checkout). It’s incredibly interesting, of course, but can also be applied practically. I think a great example of designing to drive behavior is your desk surface, and since I was recently told by a friend who was visiting how much they loved the “cozy home office” portion of the apartment, I thought I would share how I approached styling the area. I have outlined the styling approach and the items I have found to be essential in keeping my desk space tidy and a driver of both inspiration and productivity (and no, I haven’t purchased a standing desk just yet…)

Ambient Lighting:

I know it’s a bit obvious, but I will give you some information on the basics of lighting. There is a reason why every desk ever has a Task Light/Pendant style light. I wanted a design that was stylish, but would still get the job done, so I went with  copper pendant lights. Task lighting is so important because good lighting in general is important so that you can actually get stuff done. Natural light is recommended in terms of productivity, but even if you don’t have an office with a window – task lighting can help. Reading lamps can also provide a good natural light for your eyes. I also purchased some cluster pendant lights for my office space – very industrial, with a steampunk vibe, this combination gives a well balanced light all around the room. Check out my portfolio about some DIY lighting we did for some clients.

Office Essentials:

Pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, notebook, planner, headphones – these are practical items that I typically leave on the desk surface. To me, these items are necessary to have within easy reach – I don’t want them buried away in a drawer. Consider the items you use all the time and consider their placement. If you don’t already – you need to get down to your nearest office outlet with your office essentials list.

Maybe for you it’s a pile of reference books, a calculator, and pens. Whatever the case may be, having these items within easy reach ultimately just saves time. It’s not clutter when it’s useful.

Best office layout for productivity

Since I had the space (my desk surface is rather large, which is lovely), I sort of split my desk by halves. When looking at it, you can see that the left hand side is more focused on everyday items, while the right-hand side has more of a focus on creative items. I use these items often enough to have them on the desk, but not every day.

I like having it broken up this way and think it gives a little bit more flow and organization to the desk as a whole. I also have my snake plant on the right of my desk and a large office plant on the left. My colleagues call it my ‘office desk garden’…

Home Office Inspiration:

The small gallery wall above the desk, along with some of the decor like the fresh flowers, fox candle, and miniature Eames chair, not only help to give the space more personality, but also help to serve as sparks of inspiration. The grid photo wall that I customized features two of my favorite color palettes, photos I took in England, a photo of Reggie, and a picture of the home where one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen, wrote many of her novels. The other images around the center grid include a decorative plant, a motivational quote, and a diffuser. While some of these things may seem a little stereotypical, they are honestly things that I find really inspiring and that’s why I added them to the space. Yes, I totally get that quotes especially can come off cheesy and so many people have diffusers, but I picked these items because of the personal stories and the personal sentiments they hold for me and encourage you to do the same when it comes to creating your own sparks of inspiration.

If these wall hangings aren’t your thing, and you prefer a cleaner look and wall in front of you; you could try and change things up by putting up some minimalist wallpaper. Staring at a completely white blank wall can be maddening for those 8 hours a day, so this wallpaper just gives it that extra bit of something. Not too garish but something to think about when you are having a break from staring at the screen.

Man sitting at desk

Comfortable naturally lit modern desk.

How to organise a desk without drawers:

This is vital for actually keeping your desk surface clean. I installed a keyboard tray which gives another layer to dot things around on. It also hides away my keyboard and mouse when I am not using them, and maybe jotting something down in my notebook instead. Thankfully, I do have some trays on the desk where keep items, such as paperwork, calligraphy supplies, charging cords, etc.

Hope this gave you some ideas on your workspace! Have a great day