It Doesn’t Take Much to Make Over Your Desk
BY: Amelia Buzzell | Jun 9, 2014
Chances are you do more at your desk than just work—it’s probably also where you lunch, binge on Pinterest, and try to guess when 5 o’clock is coming. But if the place where you’re spending 40 hours a week is “decorated” only with a tape dispenser and some lidless pens, you’re missing out on making your home away from home a bit more homey. As it turns out, with a little help from things you already own (and maybe a few paper crafts), it’s easy to design a space that’s functional, themed, and personal. Last week, my coworker Jorie and I staged our own desk makeovers. Jorie’s Desk: Feng Shui Forest Before: What's on your desk: Too much clutter: random photos tacked up, a tape dispenser floating in the middle of nowhere, more pens than I know what to do with. It feels like the inside of my seventh-grade locker. Your desk’s worst quality: It’s unforgivably dusty. I swear I keep a clean home, but I’ve let my desk go. Its reputation around the office: Like a wallflower at the prom, it has gone largely unnoticed … which only makes its She’s All That–style transformation even sweeter. After: Why you picked this theme: I’ve been attracted to the philosophy of feng shui ever since I was young. As a grownup, I figured I should bring some of that good juju to my workspace. Changes you’ve made: I applied the feng shui principle of dividing a space into nine equal “boxes”—each one corresponding to a facet of your life and represented by a different color: I had to bid adieu to a few items that just didn’t jibe with the principles of feng shui, but I did get to add some great stuff: * A faux terrarium (my desk doesn’t get enough sun to nurture a real one) * A picture of my fiancé and I hiking in Wyoming and a photo of our dog, Winnie * The Elements of Style, an important reference book for my job as a writer * An issue of National Geographic for travel inspiration Do you like the new space? I feel calmer and lighter. You could chalk it up to the decluttering process, but I like to think my chi feels safe and happy in this workspace now. Do your neighbors like it? Soon after I finished redecorating, I had several coworkers oohing and ahhing at my bountiful garden and adorable puppy pic. Freddie Prinze Jr. would totally take this new desk to the prom. My Desk: Wes Anderson Nap Pod Before: What's on my desk: A lot of paper ephemera and bumper stickers that I can’t bear to part with, a wax ear I got as a gag gift and display to scare passersby, and a lot of pop tabs that I keep meaning to put in our office’s donation box for the Ronald McDonald House. My desk’s worst quality: The crumbs of a thousand lunches. If I’m going to eat at my desk, you bet I’m going to act pathetic and slovenly to match the occasion. Its reputation around the office: I keep the dismantled parts of my long-retired standing desk beneath my current desk. It’s very crowded, and my neighbors have asked me if I have a junkyard dog living under there. After: Why I picked this theme: I’m envious of Google’s nap pods, but I figured a George Costanza–style nap situation was more attainable. As for Wes Anderson, I’ve always loved the Scalamandre wallpaper print (as seen in The Royal Tenenbaums) and knew the theme would be a great excuse to make little paper crafts, too. What changes I made: * The wallpaper (which was painstaking to line up) * A “Lobby Boy” hat and Mendl’s box like those in The Grand Budapest Hotel * A Latin book cover as a nod to Rushmore * A Fantastic Mr. Fox mask * A miniature Camp Ivanhoe from Moonrise Kingdom * Turned my yellow tablecloth into Steve Zissou’s
Jacqueline Deep Search submarine, which now conceals me when I dive down to take a nap
* A lamp and decoy duck from home. They felt appropriate, even if they don’t have any Andersonian meaning.
What I think of the new space:
I worried this project was a little on the twee side, but I’m pleased with it. It’s clean, it’s cohesive, and it saved Latin—what did your desk ever do? I haven’t taken my first nap yet, but just knowing I have the option makes me feel peppy already.
What my neighbors think of it:
Several of them have already worn the Lobby Boy hat, and others have stopped to ask about my wallpaper or high-five me for my Mendl’s box. Nobody has complained about the missing junkyard dog.
Photos: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon. Illustration: Jorie Larsen, Groupon.
BY: Amelia Buzzell
Guide Staff Writer
Amelia is a Senior Writer who owns about 600 houses' worth of housewares. She daydreams about throwing parties and amassing more housewares.