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How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

By: Sarah Beaumont

September 1, 2017

Back-to-school season is kind of like an unofficial new year. Though most adults don’t get a lengthy summer break to reset, it’s a good time to prioritize career goals and reorient ourselves before a fresh season begins. Whether you’re starting a new job or continuing on your current path, there are small things you may be overlooking that can help you achieve your work goals. To show you how it’s done, we paid a visit to our friends at The Zoe Report to style three team members’ desks with their individual goals in mind. So just as a kid gets ready for the season with school supplies, we’re helping you get ready to work your hardest with these designer-approved styling tips!

Want a little style overhaul of your own? The Zoe Report is offering $10 off their Fall 2017 Box of Style with code FALL10.

GOAL: De-Stress 

It’s impossible to perform at your highest capacity without a clear mind. But that can be difficult if the space where you spend the most time working is cluttered and disorganized. This was the issue for Nicky Deam, Editorial Director at The Zoe Report.


How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

Nicky’s goal was to streamline her productivity and not get so stressed out. So with that in mind, Laurel & Wolf designer James Tabb got to work making her desk a stress-free, healthy work space.

“When I first saw Nicky’s desk, it was a bit all over the place. So I started redecorating by introducing some organizational elements like a catchall tray, a pen holder, and closed storage boxes to eliminate some of the visual stress,” James says.

On the left, a contemporary tray stores makeup products and a candle. Adorable succulents cover the desk area.

“Her work space was also lacking pieces that promote mindfulness, so I added an aromatherapy candle, a full spectrum daylight lamp, which mimics natural sunlight, and a little bit of plant life. Items like these will hopefully remind Nicky to take a break and breathe sometimes while working.”


“Trying to keep a completely clear desk is always impossible for me. Instead, having polished, designated places for everything is great for keeping me organized and focused,” says Nicky of the new streamlined design.

How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

GOAL: Get Organized

Liana Falcetti, who does brand marketing and functions as the office manager, has a lot to handle. Her space is also the first thing you see when you walk through The Zoe Report’s doors, so it’s important that it makes a good impression.


How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

“A goal of mine is definitely to get more organized,” Liana says. “I sit at reception to manage all the many things that come up throughout the day and get overwhelmed with packages and items in my desk area while greeting guests at the same time.”


James swooped in to give Liana dedicated zones for items such as mail, packages, magazines, and bags. “Originally, there was a lucite console on the wall to the right of the desk. It looked nice when it wasn’t covered in stuff, but it wasn’t very functional. So I moved that behind the desk in exchange for a labeled set of open shelves where Liana can keep packages sorted in a clean and organized fashion,” James says.


“Since Liana’s space needs to be very streamlined for her to be able to work functionally, I provided neon lucite paper trays, closed storage, and cord managers to keep charging devices neat. Her desk needs to be clear for incoming papers and packages so I turned the original console into a display area for art and decor,” James says.


For Liana, James’ organizational tactics have made an enormous difference. “The redesign set me up with the tools to stay organized throughout the day. I’ve already put the lucite paper trays to use for slips and paperwork, and the labeled shelves allow me to sort everything across the many different divisions I assist.”

How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

GOAL: Enhance Creativity

For Deirdre Kennedy-Villanueva, the SVP of Marketing for Rachel Zoe Inc., her office is a meeting space, work space and home base all rolled into one. “I interface with all divisions of the company, so I’m frequently hosting meetings and traveling constantly. I’m tasked with a lot of big-picture strategy, so my work space needs to be inspiring and uncluttered,” she says.


How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

Deirdre felt that her office was missing personality — a necessary element for someone in such a creative role. She also needed a pair of chairs for meeting with potential partners, and storage to keep all of her various projects compartmentalized. James started by brightening the space up with a light-colored cowhide. He then added a cork board where Deirdre can keep all of her ideas organized and in view.

A corkboard and framed photographs decorate the stark, white walls while a light-colored cowhide adds subtle warmth to the space.

“As a designer, I find that it’s helpful when I can visualize the things I’m thinking of. I think that goes for most people, no matter what kind of creative field they’re in,” James says. “The cork board functions as a vision board for Deirdre, and the art surrounding it can help provoke ideas.”

How to Style Your Desk to Achieve Your Work Goals

James lessened the starkness of the office by adding a few natural elements like a large fiddle leaf fig tree in a rattan planter. “A little bit of nature is inspiring, especially when you’re stuck behind a desk all day,” he says.

A large fiddle leaf fig tree in the corner of the office makes the contemporary space more airy and fresh.

Stocked with pieces that aid in organization and items that add a lived-in touch, the office feels much more welcoming. “The space now looks creative and inviting, which is exactly how my office should look,” says Deirdre.

Photos by Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf




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