11 Practical Tips for Styling Your Office Desk

From tips on metal accents to personal photographs.
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Desks are natural extensions of our home—we work there, eat there, occasionally nap there (hey, it happens!), and spend up to forty hours a week there. And just like our home, we get the most joy from our desks when it's decorated and organized to meet our daily needs. The problem is that decorating your workspace can often seem like a chore or come across as frivolous. We wanted to find the best way to style a desk that was both aesthetically pleasing and completely functional and looked no further than Katie's. Katie has mastered the art of having it all—not only is her desk the neatest in the office, but she's artfully incorporated personal touches, without it feeling like its overflowing with family photos and mementos. Here are her tips for creating a beautiful, practical desktop:

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1. Add personal touches: Sometimes work can feel like a place where you are expected to hide your personal life entirely. However, there is nothing wrong with adding select personal touches on top of your desk to make you feel more at home and in charge of your space. Try placing out framed photographs of loved ones or cards you've received. The nod to home will brighten your day in more ways than expected, just be wary of going overboard. One to two frames that you can swap photos out of is plenty. 

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2. Concentrate on pops of one or two colors: Most offices incorporate the standard shades of white, black, and grey. In order to refresh your space, focus on one to two colors that can play off the monochromatic space and accessories. At my desk, I've incorporated millennial pink and charcoal gray throughout my accessories. Although my items are entirely functional (mouse pad, trinket dish [similar here], water bottle and matching headphone case), they feel incredibly elevated and intentional. 

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3. Stylize the "everyday": A day without coffee, a water bottle, or headphones at work is just about impossible, though they can often be an eyesore. Try buying everyday products that fit with your aesthetic theme. For me, that means my rose gold coffee mug corresponds with my millennial pink computer pad, and my marble-printed water tumbler and headphone case play off the grey desk accessories. Even when everything is out on my desk, it still looks chic.

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4. Invest in paper goods and writing utensils you want to use: When you invest in something that fits your personal taste, you're less likely to forget about it in some drawer. Try using a leather or printed planner to organize your day (it goes without saying, we're biased towards our line, but can you blame us?). Further, by having two planners, one larger version can stay at your desk all the time, while a little one goes to and from the office. Try looking on Amazon for additional paper goods and accessories, like ombre sticky notes, bright highlighters, and metallic pens.

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5. Add an under the desk organizer: Obviously, this is not something you can do at every office, however, if your office is flexible, buy (or ask your manager for) a small filing cabinet. This is the perfect place for unsightly things that are necessary but would otherwise clutter up your desktop. The best ones have three differently sized drawers, perfect for housing irregularly sized things from Popchips to design books. 

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6. Trinkets are your friend: Whether it be a jewelry dish or a small mirror, trinkets really bring your desk from a place of work to an interior design moment. My catch-all tray (similar here) is the perfect spot to leave beloved hair scrunchies or jewelry samples since it's cute and keeps my desk from being messy. 

7. If you work in a pod, get cohesive elements: Incorporate a singular style and color throughout a group of desks. In our office, we all have the pink mouse pads that act almost like a "table cloth" on our desks. We also have the same stainless steel lamps (similar here), monitors, and laptop trays. It makes the space look neat, even when it's definitely not. 

8. Avoid being too cluttered or neat: An empty space is just as bad as a desk with a lot of clutter. You want your desk to feel lived in and loved. If something is reached for several times an hour, leave it out. Otherwise, feel free to hide your snacks and sweaters in your hidden desk drawers. 

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9. Stainless steel and white brighten a space: At most offices, you have no control over your technology and tabletop. However, if you're lucky enough to pick these things out, select white desks and stainless steel accents instead of brown and black features. The white reflects more light, and the stainless steel looks sleek rather than cumbersome. 

10. Containers & dividers are essential for organization: Within your desk drawers, dividers and containers can keep your random essentials from getting all mixed together. Invest in pencil trays, hanging files, paper clip catch-alls, and tech dividers. Your drawers will thank you.  

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11. Build an "emergency" bag: Everyone's "emergency" bag looks different, but it often is composed of similar elements: health, beauty, and hygiene. I recommend having a zipped bag on hand with medicine, hand sanitizer, makeup essentials (coverup, mascara, lip balm), a hairbrush, deodorant, perfume, tampons, and bandaids. This way, on your worst day, you're covered at work, and so are your surrounding deskmates.

Work should be a place you look forward to going to, especially if you're sitting in the same spot all day. By following these steps, you can elevate your every day and enjoy checking off to-do items, all from the comfort of your little oasis. 

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