Hello all! Welcome to a grand 2-day blog hop/EVENT that will give you plenty o’ tips for styling any table you come across. Kicking off day one is yours truly, and I’m here to talk to you about DESKS.
Most of us have at least a couple pieces of furniture in our homes that are mostly just aesthetic–a console table or book case that is only used to display favorite objects. But a desk isn’t usually one of those pieces. A desk really has to serve the dual-duty of looking good and providing functional workspace.
Today I’m going to share with you my 5 principles for putting together a desk space that is easy on the eyes and helps create a pleasant space for taking on sometimes unpleasant work (mmm, paying bills, anyone?).
All you have to do is think SMALL:
S – Storage
M – Movement
A – Art / Accessories
L – Layering
L – Lighting
A desk is just a horizontal space, so in many ways, styling a desk is no different than styling a shelf, console, or table top. Because of this, M for movement and L for layering are just applying basic shelf styling tips to your desk area. Let’s talk about what each of these letters means.
- Storage – Storage is part of what makes your desk a functional space and can take many forms. A glass jar or small vase can store pens and pencils. A decorative canister can hide supplies or organize small tools. A tray can corral bills and paperwork you may not want to put out-of-sight in a drawer.
- Movement – You can create movement through styling in a lot of different ways. Incorporating objects of different heights and varying colors, patterns, and shapes are just a couple examples of how you can keep the eye moving through all the elements in your vignette.
- Art and/or Accessories – Art and accessories look nice for styling, but they also give you something to look at and enjoy while you’re working. There’s a reason why desks in front of windows seem so logical and office cubes seem so deadening. Humans crave visual stimulation! Art and other accessories can also do a lot of heavy lifting in the movement/layering aspects of the styling equation, and smartly chosen accessories double as storage as well..
- Layering – Layering objects in any vignette creates interest. It provides depth within a horizontal surface and adds interesting tension between what is concealed and revealed. You can layer objects literally on top of one another (like leaning one piece of art on another) or simply by arranging objects at different depths front-to-back so that they appear layered.
- Lighting – You need to see when you’re working, right? A light is functional necessity for a desk, but it can also help add height and bring in color, texture, or a sculptural element, depending on the type of lamp you choose.
Here are three different examples that show these principles in action.
Desk Setup 1
You guys may remember this vignette from the New Year, New Room reveal. I’m going to let you in on the secret that this is probably my favorite of today’s three examples. I just love everything in it, especially the paint-by-numbers and the vintage tin (+ storage!). This has clearly got all 5 principles going on, but my best tip here is that some items can double to cover more than one category. For example, I used a vintage brass canister as a pencil-holder. I couldn’t fit the lid on it, but it was interesting enough that I was able to use it as an accessory in its own right.
Desk Setup 2
Setup 2 uses a big piece of art that fills the space and unifies the other, smaller accessories. A bulletin board would also serve this purpose well (and could be used for storage/organization). In lieu of art, you could also do a wallpapered or stenciled wall (or canvas, for less commitment) to provide visual interest. It’s not always possible (or preferable) to keep your papers away and out-of-sight, but here’s a tip if using a tray for random stacks of paper–use a small (and preferably heavier) art object on top to distract from your mess. Vintage ashtrays are cheap and plentiful in flea markets, and they make great paperweights. Sometimes they can function as coasters, too!
Desk Setup 3
Clearly I am a fan of mirrors in this (or really any) styling equation. At a desk you can look up and recite positive affirmations while talking yourself out of sending a really nasty email. 😉 Mirrors are a great alternative to art, though, and are often more cost effective for their size. Another tip — don’t forget to include some greenery in any good desk setup. Sanseveria and ZZ plants are super easy-care plants that will grow nearly anywhere (the plant in the yellow pot in pic 2 is a Sanseveria), but fake plants can work well if you want to avoid the hassle. For fresh plants, flowers are lovely on occasion, but simple branches off of small trees or shrubs will last longer and dry out less conspicuously.
Think you would try out any of these tips for your desk situation? Let me know in the comments!
Now, hop on over to Up to Date Interiors and visit Kathy for some sofa table styling tips! And PS, come back tomorrow for even more goodies!
Day One Bloggers
Britt Kingery – Desk Styling
Up To Date Interiors – Sofa Table Styling
Pretty Practical Home – Console Table Styling
Domicile 37 – Bar Cart Styling
Casa Watkins – Coffee Table Styling
Day Two Bloggers:
Monica Wants It – End Table Styling
Shabby Grace Blog – Buffet Table Styling
Vintage Romance Style – Round Coffee Table Styling
Iris Nacole – Entryway Console Table Styling
This Is Our Bliss – Mantel Top Styling