Dull To Designed: A Desk Makeover Under $50

by Meredith Grace
This article was originally published on sparrowsblog.com - a blog that focuses on accessories, home accents, and beauty products - and is re-posted here with permission of the original publisher. 

Depending on your day-to-day work activities, you might be spending the majority of your waking hours at your desk. Yet so many professionals – me included – are living in fabric-walled beige, bland and boring workspaces. We’re content to pin a picture of our cat on the wall, throw some pens in an empty coffee mug and carry on through our day as if our sad space wasn’t sapping our energy with its lack of style.

I recently began a new job in the corporate office of a large manufacturing company. This has been my first taste of life in a “traditional” office, since my last job was set in a converted historic marketplace, complete with exposed brick walls and floating catwalks. I don’t think you could ever have qualified my workspace as “well decorated” or “designed”, but I never felt the need to overhaul.

Maybe I was lazy or too wrapped up in my job before, but sitting at my new desk in corporate-land hit me like a Mack Truck. Everything was beige. Beige walls, beige desk, beige chair, beige cabinets; if I wore an oatmeal sweater and khakis, you wouldn’t be able to find me for hours. Sure, I had a few elements of style here and there: a potted fern I can barely keep alive, a ~wacky~ spiral post-it note stack, a mint desk organizer (from the “Martha Stewart” Staples® collection, I might add), but the overall theme of my desk was bland with a capital B.

After spending seven months in my beige-cage, I put my foot down and decided to step up my cubicle game with a few much-needed improvements. Check out how I did my desk makeover with these simple pieces, below.

I started at Marshall’s where I picked up a few small organizational pieces, including a mint wire basket ($4.99), a recycled glass cup for pens ($1.99), and a gorgeous silver plated dish ($5.99) that I keep little essentials in for easy access (this will be filled with candy ASAP).

I also got this adorable elephant dish, which I’ve filled with a few extra accessories, like jumbo paper clips and binder clips. Best part? This little guy was only $3.99! Cute and cost effective.
Next stop on my desk accessory journey was Target, a store where your personal budget doesn’t matter and all of your money disappears. I immediately hit the seasonal deal aisle near the entrance to the store and picked up a white wire magazine file for only $3.
Now the next thing might be totally unnecessary, but it’s a personal preference of mine. I have an addiction to colorful pens. There – I said it! Yes, I get weird looks when I start taking notes for a meeting in fluorescent green ink, but it soothes me to switch between ink colors and is a great way to segment blocks of writing. Plus, they add a pop of color to my desk-scape.

Along the way to the office supply section, I noticed a blank, striped banner for $4. I knew that I wanted to do something DIY with this and for a while I tossed around the idea of using motivating words or even just leaving it blank. It wasn’t until I was sitting down with the blank pennants that I had the idea to create the Lorem Ipsum lettering that I did. Our company is undergoing a massive website redesign, and I’ve been building out pages from the “lorem ipsum” place-holder text for the past seven months. Not only does it tie in to one of my favorite job aspects, typography, but it also represents the building blocks of a much grander project. Even the most extensive and overwhelming undertakings can be boiled down to simple elements.

When I pieced this all together, I liked the way things were coming together, but I felt I needed something else. That’s where I turned to my go-to platform for quick and easy design projects: Canva. Seriously, it is the simplest, most user-friendly design program. I cranked out three typographic prints in less than an hour to add to be cubicle décor, and it made a world of a difference.

I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve added a personal touch to what used to be a drab, impersonal space. This is a work in progress; I fully expect to continue adding different elements to complete the look and feel of the space. Next on my agenda is to add an accent wall behind my monitor with temporary wallpaper; and (of course) to continue my collection of colorful writing utensils.
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