Creating a cozy and inviting home office space promotes happiness, creativity, and productivity. Lift your mood, boost your focus, and save some dollars with these fun ideas for how to decorate your home office desk at work on the cheap.
2,080–that’s how many hours many of us will spend each year cozied up behind an office desk.
And how you decorate that home office desk—or don’t decorate it— has a genuine impact on your mood and work performance.
But even so, it can be easy to plop down day in and day out without really giving a second thought to how the vibe of your office space is affecting you.
Stop overlooking the power of personal touches. Start finding ways to decorate your home office! Ways you can combine colour and fun with functionality.
I’d say that most (or all) of the ideas on this list are pretty low-cost decor options — just so long as you don’t go on a shopping spree to buy ALL the things.
Keep this roundup of decorating ideas for your desk—which are perfect whether you work from home or in the office—to freshen up and glam up your space for a nice little boost in workplace happiness and productivity.
1. Adopt a friendly, low-maintenance desk plant.
Indoor plants are known to improve air quality, increase productivity, and boost mood. But it’s essential to find the right plant for the job, primarily if you work from home with your pet or at a pet-friendly office.
Aside from being non-toxic to animals (if this applies to you), the ideal desk plant flourishes in low natural light.
There are several serious contenders when it comes to choosing low maintenance greenery for your workspace, including:
- English Ivy
If you’re looking for pet-friendly options, consider:
- Spider Plant
- African Violet
Is green thumb not so green? If you’re not entirely convinced you can keep a plant healthy— r alive for that matter—a faux plant would be a fantastic alternative.
Plus, considering many living plants need at least a hint of sunlight to thrive, faux plants are also a good choice if you work in an area with low natural light.
My favourite faux plants are succulents or an air plant resting in a geometric terrarium tabletop container. Not only easy to care for but so stinking chic.
2. Inspire your day (and your best work).
There are tons of talented creatives selling unique and inspiring printable art. And if you ask me, Etsy is the absolute best place to find these inspirational prints.
The secret is to find an art print that is printable or instant download. This means that the seller will send you a digital file — no physical product — which you can open on your computer to print out yourself. Easy peasy!
What you’ll want to do is head over to Etsy and type into the main search bar “inspirational art print” or something similar. Then browse the results.
3. Now it’s time to dress up that home office desk.
Just get your print and slip it into an equally charming, classic or funky frame to complete the look.
A-frame size of 4×6 or 5×7 would work well for this purpose. But if you have a decent-sized office desk, then an 8×10 could look quite chic.
I LOVE to go shopping for frames at my local thrift store.
My favourite look? Find a gold frame, take it home, paint it white. Then, once the paint is nearly dry, distress it enough to let some of that gold shine through. I tell you, if there’s ever such a thing as thrift-store-find-frame-perfection, that would be it.
4. Light it up.
A desk lamp is a unique way to add character and warmth. Not only that, but poor lighting may lead to low productivity and eyestrain.
So go ahead and buy that uber chic—but still reasonably priced—lamp you spotted last weekend!
5. When in doubt, accessorize.
It never fails. Every time I visit a craft store or place like Target, I am amazed at the slew of adorable—yet practical—supplies and decor that are just waiting for me to take home.
Fruit-shaped push pins, floral tape dispensers, golden pencil holders–say goodbye to the days of boring trash cans and unsightly business cardholders. Now’s your chance to add a burst of colour with new accessories.
6. Plan your workday right.
Maybe you already keep track of your tasks, projects, and meetings on your computer, which is doable as helpful as technology are.
But there’s something different about writing down everything I need to do using pen and paper. I find using a physical planner makes tracking my days and weeks so much easier. Do you feel the same?
And sure, you can certainly use the planner you found tucked away on your first day on the job. But, on the other hand, I think planning your day in style with a PRETTY planner (one that you enjoy using) is something special.
Think about the key features you want in a planner. You’ve got the calendar, of course. But what’s your ideal calendar layout? Do you need a section for notes, somewhere to jot down goals or a place to check off to-do items? Then get one that has all these.
7. Make it smell friendly with something pretty.
Keeping your office desk clean is one way to keep it smelling fresh. But of course, there are other fun ways to invite amazing smells that can also double as decor!
Know that some of these ideas may or may not work for your working situation, depending on factors like working in an office or from home accompanied by a cat, so choose what works best for you.
My favourite scent options are candles and essential oils:
Light a candle. So many smells, so little time. What is a good candle smell for work? I’d say go for what scents you like best. But here are some suggestions just in case: vanilla for a warm and comforting vibe or citrus to feel energized. Consider a 100% soy wax candle if you want something non-toxic.
You could try:
- Lavender for relaxing vibes
- Rosemary to improve concentration
- Bergamot for a mood booster
There are many options when it comes to burning your essential oils, including water diffusers, candle diffusers or reed diffusers using reed sticks.
8. Go thrifting.
There’s no telling what treasures you’ll find at your local thrift store. And because goods cycle in and out of there pretty quickly, checking back every week or two will most likely guarantee you’ll find something new every time.
You might score a desk accessory that’s in primo shape — I once found a brass vintage table lamp that was in excellent condition for only $5 — but you can also spruce up a piece that could use some TLC. A little paint can go a long way!
Keep an eye open for desk accessories like:
- Decorative vases — to me, a beautiful milk glass vase will always be in style
- Letter holders — or napkin holders that could be used for holding letters
- Lamps — if you can test them on the spot
- Wire baskets
- Small plant pots
- Picture frames — for photos or to make a corkboard
- Anything else that catches your eye!
9. Rehome your dust bunnies.
Dusting and wiping down your desk and belongings (I like to use Clorox wipes) isn’t technically decorating or personalizing. It’s also a chore and not any fun.