ask the strategist

Ask the Strategist: Where Do I Find Stylish Mouse Pads?

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In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and survey friends, call up experts, and draw on our own personal experience to answer them. As always, please email any online-shopping-related queries to strategist@nymag.com with the subject Ask the Strategist — we’re here to help.

Now that we are all WFH all the time, where do I find stylish (not bland) mouse pads?

I actually found myself facing a similar problem the other day. My mouse felt like it was rolling over sandpaper, probably because I’d waited too long to buy a new pad. Many people think that mouses (and yeah, it’s weird, but the plural really is mouses) don’t need pads anymore. Mouse pads were originally very important because of track balls. You needed good traction in order for the mouse to closely track your movement, and a pad gave the track ball a consistent surface to grab onto. It also prevented your trackball from getting dirty. But now most mouses are made with either optical or laser trackers, which use light, not a track ball, to read movement. Nearly any surface works, but if you’re not on a mouse pad, you’re exposing your mouse to a lot more dust, which will reduce its responsiveness over time.

But also, as you point out, pads can be a way to add some style to your desktop. After cracking my knuckles and perusing the interwebs, here are the best options I found.

If you prefer a refined and colorful palette, it’s worth checking out this shop on Etsy called Mousepad Studio Design. There are quite a few interesting patterns in millennial pinks and pastel colors that no one would ever describe as “bland.”

From $14

If you’re going for a more serious, Don Draper–esque office vibe, I suggest a decorative leather mouse pad like this one, which you can get monogrammed with your initials in gold or silver foil. It’s maybe a little gaudy, but who else is going to see it? Besides, office spaces need a touch of fun more than ever right now.

This kind-of-ridiculous-but-dope Persian rug pad reminds me of something you’d see in a Russian oligarch’s house.

The Met Museum store offers more artsy rug options. I’m a big fan of the Pashmina Flowers carpet mouse pad myself.

I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for cutesy accessory sets. This cloud mousepad and raindrop coaster are a nice combo.

The cloud is a good example of how it’s okay to stray from the traditional mouse pad shape. (When did we all get so attached to the rectangle? Our desks don’t have to look like a Mondrian painting.) There’s also a variety of other color options and sizes to check out at this Etsy shop.

$15

I know you didn’t ask, but if I could throw one more knowledge dart at you: Don’t sleep on the mouse mat. It’s like a mouse pad but four times the size. It can cover a larger space on your table and is sleek as hell. It definitely hits that whole Scandinavian minimalist vibe. I picked one up after I saw them on the desks of all the tech–YouTube types, and now my mouse glides around my desk like an Olympic figure skater.

Leather Mouse Mat
From $45
From $45

Another mouse mat option if you prefer a more sophisticated leather style.