7 Modern Desk Set-Ups and How to Get Their Look (Plus, One Great Idea for a Home Office)

There’s something compelling about a desk area that is not only well organized and clutter-free, but also impeccably designed. It makes sense that when your office space looks great, you’re drawn to work and more inspired from the get-go. Here are seven modern desk set-ups that have that je ne sais quois, with revelations of some crucial elements that make these particular work environments drool-worthy. (Not to mention, one great idea at the end.)

white wonderland

White communicates possibility—it is the blank page that consistently implies a fresh start. It is also the color that helps reinforce clarity, in visual space as well as in thought, which is why it is so popular in workstation design. In addition, it is supremely easy to add accents to white palettes.

Worth taking note: While gold pendant lamps and the sheepskin are very on trend, the decor here emphasizes on trimming down your palette to as little color as possible. Although it may seem unsettling at first, consider having as much white as possible in your furniture, decor, and walls—you’ll be surprised by how much cleaner and clearer everything looks and feels.

embracing comfort

It seems strange that soft, woolly office chairs became trendy recently, as making a desk space as cozy as possible should seem like a no-brainer. A soft chair with a hard backing gets around the dangers of having too comfy a desk chair (siesta time) or too rigid of one (hello, back problems).

Worth taking note: While sheepskin’s most famous role might be in rug form, perhaps there are more clever and rewarding ways to use it. Replace your office chair with a find as seen above, or DIY some sheepskin on your current one.

natural surroundings

What these two desk set-ups have in common is their emphasis on nature as nurturing to an office environment. Incorporating natural greens into your workspace creates a feeling of tranquility and relieves stress. Access to nature is also a key way to getting creative juices flowing.

Worth Taking Note: The ability to put your desk in front of a window with some natural scene is ideal, but not all of us have that luxury. While you’ll still need at least some sunlight for this tactic, adding flora to your desk surroundings is not only an easy and beautiful way to update your decor, but taking breaks to tend to plants during particularly stressful times may help boost your mood as well.

creative inspiration

This one is definitely for the artist in you. An abstract, colorful background in muted tones is engaging without being distracting, and sparks the imagination. Like nature, it encourages thinking outside the box, and since it takes the forefront in the decor, other pieces can be restrained to neutrals.

Worth taking note: An interior designer or artist can easily recreate something like this for you, but for those that don’t want a whole wall or even a portion of one to receive this treatment, a large abstract painting will do (though it will probably not achieve the same effect, unless it is quite large). DIY at your own risk, unless you know what you’re doing—your aspiring Pollock may not achieve the look you’re going for (and may read “messy” over “artsy”).


The industrial look is in—and it is easy to see why. Super organized (a wire rack for visual stacking on the right) and easily transportable (lightweight chair, desk on wheels), this space expresses efficiency and eliminating distractions, all while achieving a chic, contemporary effect. What contributes to the modernity of the design is sleekness—everything is trimmed down to the essentials, and gravitates toward black and metal.

Worth taking note: Silvery metal fixtures and detailing helps to execute this look, with few to no pops of color. Furniture is reduced to light and unobtrusive frameworks, allowing you more space to think.


Browns and blacks against heather gray speak to a quiet, brooding sensibility. Enter a male perspective—with restrained decor that is refined and understated, this space portrays a kind of masculine energy that is authoritative and sensible, the ultimate composite of classic and classy.

Worth taking note: Blacks, browns, neutrals, blacks, browns, neutrals—though you’ll hear it over and over again, it’s hard to argue with the effect of these colors on evoking raw, organic sense in design. What you want to focus on is the shades—the dark chestnut color of the chair here, as well as the faint gray of the wall do wonders for conveying elegance.

the original pinterest

Though the online pinboard is invaluable for storing inspirational items, sometimes the old ways are best. Using the area in front of your desk allows you to visually and physically map out your workspace. Clutter is confined to the board and is scattered into a beautiful, highly illustrative survey of where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Worth taking note: Easy updates to getting these looks are by switching out an office chair for one that’s design-edgy or by simply adding a corkboard. To make boards look more visually appealing, less college-dorm-room, try using graphic postcards or arranging notes and pictures gallery-style (like the one on the right).

…and one great idea

A chalkboard calendar! Erase every month to start over—environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and on trend. A triple win! Kudos to Simple Shapes for this one.

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