Our design philosophy is simple: Your decor should make you happy. Nowhere is this more important than in your workspace, an area you spend years (if not decades) in, yet one that is rarely prioritized. It’s tough to make office decor feel inspiring, especially when you have a never-ending stack of files and clunky computer taking up permanent residence on your desk.
But to ignore your office decor is to do yourself a disservice. A 2013 workplace survey by Gensler found a positive correlation between workplace design and employee performance. It’s a logical connection: The more inspiring or personal your workspace is, the more likely you are to want to spend time there.
Unfortunately, too many office essentials focus primarily on function. While we’re not suggesting you surrender practicality for style, there are a few easy upgrades you can make for an instantly chicer workspace. We scoured our favorite retailers for these pretty and practical decor swaps.
Ditch: Your Tiny Agenda
Try: 2020 Wall Art Calendar, Poketo, $28
If you’re someone who stays organized by keeping appointments and deadlines readily visible, this is the best way to do it—plus, you get to stare at a new page of modern art each month. It’s a calendar and a thing of beauty all rolled into one.
Ditch: Your Plastic Swivel Chair
Try: BRNO Chair, Mies van der Rohe, $650
Admittedly, this isn’t the most practical (or budget-friendly) option for a professional workspace, but if your home office decor is in need of some TLC, consider this baby blue velvet seat. Its tubular frame is especially great for small-space dwellers who might need extra dining room seating in a pinch.
Ditch: Your Stack of File Folders
Try: Gilded File Holder, CB2, $25
Consider this a sleek, contemporary little piece of desk candy that will also keep your necessary files within easy reach. As an added bonus, it’ll help you declutter. Having all your papers visible on your desktop in one simple holder helps you to toss things you don’t need and make space for only what’s essential.
Ditch: Your Plastic Bin
Try: Round Steel Trash Can, Yamazaki, $50
It may contain the least chic particles of any room, but there’s no reason your desk’s trash needs to look that way. This Scandinavian-inspired bin is perfect for any paper waste.
Ditch: Your Corkboard
Try: Daily Roller, George & Willy, $95
Designed to help you remember things by writing them down, this mounted roll of paper will fast become a staple for brainstorming creative ideas or writing the day’s to-do list. It’s an upgrade from an average corkboard or whiteboard and will help you stay just as organized.
Ditch: Your College Desk
Try: Mid-Century Desk, West Elm, $699
Another big-ticket item to consider if you want to overhaul your workspace? This ash-wood desk, a modern piece guaranteed to last for years. You won’t be sacrificing storage either: It comes with a wide tabletop and three deep drawers to house your office supplies.
Ditch: Your Parents’ Old Stapler
Try: Anything Desk Essentials, Hay, $42
It’s easy for mismatched supplies to look like clutter—particularly when there’s nowhere to hide them. Hay offers a more stylish approach to the essentials. This set includes scissors, a tape dispenser, and a stapler, and it’s available in three muted colorways for peak Scandi simplicity.
Ditch: Your Droopy Task Lamp
Try: Tip Lamp, Muuto, $257
The beauty of this sleek light lies in its versatility. It comes with a dimmer and adjustable head so you can control the angle and brightness according to your workspace needs. Opt for the terracotta hue for a hint of color that won’t overpower.
Ditch: Your Pencil Cup
Try: 4-Tiered Desk Organizer, Yamazaki, $22
Instead of a messy plastic cup filled with random odds and ends, use this sleek organizer to corral items like pens, clips, and papers. Its sloped shelves will help keep things contained and concealed.
See more ways to get your chicest workspace ever:
Inside a Music Company’s Cool, Colorful Studio in Brooklyn
How to Refresh a Home Office for Under $500
9 Items to Spruce Up Your Desk