How to Decorate an Office Desk: An Ultimate Guide

Whether you’ve gone back to the office, committed to working from home full-time, or just opened a home business, the way your office desk is decorated and laid out will have a serious impact on your productivity. Considering an overwhelming majority of the American workforce indicates they aren’t fully engaged with their work (with some are not even engaged at all!), it’s more important now than ever to have a desk setup that works for you. Here’s your ultimate guide to decorating your office desk so it looks great and keeps you productive while on the clock! 

empty desk with lamp

Create a System That Works for You

Your desk should have a system. Whether you use custom coffee mugs to organize your pens and paper clips or you invest in acrylic organizers, you should create a system that works best for you. The system should make sense — have your pens and highlighters in easy access to your dominant hand, and the same with your desk phone (if you have one). Your chair should face where your computer is, but you should be able to easily access all your necessary files without having to disrupt a flow.

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Utilize the Space You Have

When it comes to office desk layouts, it’s all about utilizing the space you have. You’ll need to evaluate your space. Are you in a coworking area, where you share desk space with others? Or, are you in your own office, tucked away from all the people as they come and go? 

Some desks are shared between shifts, such as in call centers or even police precincts. In that case, you might not have much flexibility in how you set your desk up — but, if you know who sits at your desk when you’re not there, you can always connect with them to see if you both can work out an arrangement that works best for both of you. 

cubicle with office chair

Decorate Purposefully

While you might be tempted to fill your desk with lots of decorations, that might not always be the wisest idea. Decorate your space purposefully. If you have an office, consider using the wall space to hang your picture frames instead of putting them on your desk. This way, you’re maximizing your desk space for things that you might need — pens, files and even notebooks or tissues, depending on your line of work. 

If you do a lot of virtual work, then having space for a ring light and audio equipment is essential. If you really like to show your personality through decorations, consider rotating your decor through the seasons. This way, you have a fresh space multiple times a year but you don’t feel overcrowded in your space.

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Consider Natural Light

As we navigate a virtual work world more and more, it’s important to know where your light sources should be. There’s lots of evidence that shows that natural light is great for your productivity, but if it’s in an awkward place while you’re joining a Zoom call, then you might as well not even have any natural light sources. Get yourself a ring light to place in front of you or situate your desk so your window is in front of you or to the side. This way, your face won’t appear shadowed and the rest of you backlit. 

bright office with desk and laptop

Add a Plant — or Two

Succulents make for great desk plants because they’re small and easy to maintain. Lots of studies show that adding greenery makes offices more productive, so why not add some to your desk? Even if your office overall seems a little like a desert, at least your desk will have some green! You could plant them in vibrant planters to give your desk space some color and fun. 

Give Yourself Space

A cluttered desk is an unproductive one. Plus, it just looks bad. Make sure to give yourself space to work on your desk by clearing out the things you no longer need. That way, you can add the items you know will help you be more productive. Business card holders, coasters, mouse pads and a variety of other great gifts for professionals are all items that you’ll need to make space for on your desk. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll get one of those items from your company during a retreat or special employee event — so you should have space to use them!

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