How to Bring Your Office Desk to Life

Date Published: 31-01-2019   Published By: OfficeStationery

Office desk ideas

Your office desk is your second home, so it should be a place of inspiration and reflect your personality. A tidy, organised and personalised workspace enables you to work happily and efficiently. Yet with little spare time, your desk can easily become cluttered. This clutter is bad for your concentration, makes it difficult to stay organised and can make you feel stressed.

We’ve researched the best ideas so you can bring your office desk to life.


Why have a tidy desk

A survey on clutter by the National Association for Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the US division of musicMagpie, Decluttr, found that:

  •         54% of respondents consider their workspace to be cluttered
  •         76% find it difficult to keep paper documents organised
  •         42% have difficulty organising their general workspace layout

Paperwork is a big cause of office untidiness and personal stress. A previous NAPO study revealed the average person spends 4.3 hours a week looking for paperwork. The time lost searching for missing information is a massive 10% of the working week.


Desk clutter reduces productivity, as demonstrated in a 2013 study by Harvard University. Researchers created two work rooms, one that was neat and one that was messy. Participants were exposed to one of the office environments and given a fiendish puzzle to complete, which was actually unsolvable.

People in the tidy environment persisted with the impossible puzzle 1.5 times longer than those in the cluttered room. Researchers concluded that clutter depletes people’s mental resources and ability to self-regulate, creating a real obstacle when trying to do something.

Having a tidy desk is the first step towards revitalising your workspace and reducing stress.


Keeping your desk tidy

  • Go paperless

Only print when it’s essential, scan or file away important documents and shred hard copies when they’re no longer needed.

  • Use storage space

Keep as much as possible in your desk drawers. If there aren’t any, look for an in-tray, box file or space in a filing cabinet for extra storage.

  • Clean your desk

Dedicate five minutes daily or weekly to ridding your keyboard and surfaces of sneaky crumbs and splashes.


How to organise your desk

  • Keep important things handy

Store your essential stationery and paperwork at the top of a drawer or in a container for quick access.

  • Categorise documents

As soon as you receive it, tidy paperwork by sorting it into categories like projects, mail and receipts. Organise each category into date order with the most recent on top and file away. If there are documents that need your immediate attention, keep them in a letter tray on your desk.

  • Raise your monitor

Get a stand for your computer monitor or laptop. This keeps it at the correct height for ergonomic viewing and frees up valuable space on your desk.


Ergonomic viewing

-        Your eye level should be roughly in line with the top of your screen

-        Your monitor should be around arm’s length away from you, or further if it’s a big screen

-        If you have a second monitor or laptop, place it next to the main monitor at the same height

-        Keep your elbows close to your body and support them with chair armrests to prevent aching shoulders

-        The keyboard and mouse should be at the same height as your elbows

-        Keep your forearms and wrists straight when using the keyboard

-        Try not to slouch and ensure the chair backrest is providing good lumbar support

-        Your knees should have a 90 degree angle

-        Your feet should be flat on the floor, or on a footrest if they don’t reach the ground



How to decorate your desk

You don’t need specific decorations to bring your office desk to life. Start off by colour coordinating the items you use on a daily basis, then add some personal touches and accessories.

Colour coordinating is an easy way of making your workspace feel more homely. Bring in a mug or flask in your favourite colours to set your colour scheme. Build it up by adding colour coordinated essentials like stationery. You can even use files, sticky notes or bowls of fruit to maintain the theme.

Add a personal touch by bringing in a framed picture of a loved one or your favourite artwork. And breathe actual life into your desk by introducing a houseplant. Studies have indicated that office plants reduce stress and increase productivity.


In 1996, researchers at Washington State University conducted a study on the impact of indoor plants on stress and productivity. Similar to Harvard’s desk clutter experiment, two work areas were set up. In one office there were no plants and in the second, plants were placed around the sides of the room. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the rooms and monitored while performing a slightly stressful computer-based task. When an image was displayed on the screen, a corresponding key had to be pressed as quickly as possible.

Those working in the room with plants had 12% faster reactions on the task and lower blood pressure than people in the room with no plants. When asked to rate how attentive they felt, participants in the room with plants felt more attentive than those in the other room. The researchers concluded that these findings are consistent with claims of increased productivity in the presence of plants.



Office desk accessories

You can use accessories to further colour-coordinate and personalise your desk:

  • Newton’s cradle

An endless source of inspiration, the tiny swinging balls look sophisticated on any office desk. As a bonus, the rhythmic motion is said to be great for stress relief and boosting concentration. Considered the original executive toy, there are now light-up LED versions available if you’re not keen on a traditional silver one.

  • Quirky pencil pot

A pencil pot is a stationery staple for your desk, so opt for something unusual and fun. There are multifunction ones that hold your phone and ones in unusual shapes including animals and giant pencil sharpeners.

  • Metallic accessories

Shiny metallic items look striking in the workplace, adding light and interest to your desk. Copper desk accessories are on trend right now, so there’s an extensive range of copper stationery and decorations available. Alternatively, glossy gold items are a good way to add a glamorous feel.


Decorating your desk on a budget

Cheap desk accessories like staplers, scissors and paper clips look cool in a fancy finish, so they’re ideal on a budget. There are other useful products such as desk mats and calendars that are cheap, practical and let you personalise your space. Items like these come in different colours or with beautiful photographs to inspire you. Shop around and you’ll find affordable funky desk accessories like removable keyboard stickers in woodgrain or colourful patterns.


Office cubicle décor

A top tip for decorating your office cubicle is to remember to utilise any vertical space you have, like a partition. You can use hanging trays and pockets on office dividers to save desk space and add a pop of colour. For a dramatic effect, attach wallpaper or thick wrapping paper to the screen to create a chic background for your pinned notes. Try pinning other things to your partition as well. Inspirational or funny quotes are perfect for getting through a long day. And you can get artistic pinning up stationery like pens and highlighters in different patterns.


Using Pinterest to drive your inspiration

If you’re stuck for ideas, using Pinterest is a good way to start. Here, you can search for ideas on colour themes, desk accessories and office decoration. You’ll be able to browse hundreds of pictures and see what other people around the world have done. Once you’re feeling inspired, narrow your searches down to specific areas like desk toys, pen holders or letter trays. Then unleash your creativity and start bringing your office desk to life.

You may also be interested in...

All news and blogs
How to Bring Your Office Desk to Life we are proud to supply:
  1. University of Oxford
  2. UKTV
  3. Police UK
  4. NHS Logo
  5. Barclays
  6. BBC
  7. ITV
    with orders over £48 £40✤
    upto 14 days after purchase
    2054 customer reviews
Call Us Call on 01376 809 140
office stationery
✤ Free standard delivery when ordering eligible items for delivery within Great Britain excluding Highlands and Islands. ©2004 - 2024 All rights reserved , E & OE. Part of the Stationery UK LTD group.