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31 Cheap (But Expensive-Looking) Desk Accents

Photo-Illustration: Vendors.

While a comfortable desk and desk chair can go a long way toward making your work setup more appealing, what you put on top of that desk also matters. The best desk accents are both cute and functional, whether that includes tools to help you stay organized, dedicated stations for your devices, or electronics to keep your workspace well-lit and comfortable. We’ve rounded up 31 items, many of which are tried-and-true Strategist favorites. Everything on this list is available on Amazon, and we’ve found some of them elsewhere, too, for those who like to shop around.

This feline Post-it dispenser is guaranteed to make you smile whenever you need to jot down a phone number or to-do list.

This house-shaped holder topped our roundup of tasteful tissue-box covers. The detail of the tissues coming out of the chimney adds a fun, playful touch.

If you’re constantly misplacing your glasses, this quirky eyeglass holder will help you keep track of them.

As seen in our roundup of the best desk fans, this one — a Home Depot best seller — was named a top option. The minimal stand design won’t take up much real estate, and we think the copper-and-white combo is chic.

If your workspace runs cold rather than hot, this inexpensive miniature space heater will keep you toasty.

Bookends with a little heft will make your home office feel more like a capital-S study.

If you want something less weighty looking, these acrylic bookends — one of our favorite gifts for readers — can do double duty as file organization.

Soundance Laptop Stand
From $29
From $29

A WFH-approved laptop stand that will clear up desk space and save your neck.

If looming deadlines stress you out, this handblown, black-sand-filled hourglass, which measures in 15-minute increments, offers a more soothing way to track how much time you have left.

From $27

If you prefer a numerical countdown, this timer is a favorite of Strategist contributor Sean O’Neal and tech writer Jordan McMahon. O’Neal uses it to keep his kids on schedule, and McMahon says it helps him manage his ADHD.

For storing all your little tchotchkes and random items that don’t quite have a home, we love this minimalist steel and wood desktop organizer from Yamazaki Home.

Former Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno swears by the word clock at his desk, which tells time in five-minute increments — and in complete sentences. He says that there’s “something inherently calming” about its “soothing display.”

$40 for 3

These easy-to-install wall shelves will allow you to display your favorite books above your desk and free up some of its surface area.


If you need something to keep your hands busy during an endless Zoom call, try this fidget toy made of rainbow-colored wooden balls. When it’s not in use, it can double as a cheery paperweight.

Photo: Retailer

This banker’s desk lamp is perfect if you’re going for law-library vibes. It exudes old-school charm with its pull-chain switch and green glass shade.

For another space-brightening accessory, you could always try a tabletop mirror, which will reflect existing light and even create the illusion of a bigger space. Not to mention, it would also come in handy for touching up makeup or ensuring there’s no food in your teeth before a meeting.

This happy little all-steel whale stapler is made in Cologno Monzese, Italy.

Pair a modern acrylic tape dispenser with a roll of washi tape in a fun color or pattern.

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness told us about this cell-phone stand that he calls “the most amazing thing.” It frees up your hands, so you can multitask better than ever, and it’s adjustable, so you can get the angle just right.


Recommended as a great “starter” fountain pen and endorsed by architects, the Lamy Safari is a perennial Strategist favorite — and much less expensive than it looks.

According to small-business consultant and stationery expert Caroline Weaver, these brush-tip pens “make anyone’s handwriting instantly look fancier.”

Here’s the perfect (dotted) notebook to write in with that pen. It comes in more than 20 colors and made the top 20 in our list of the 100 best notebooks — which also has lots of lined and unlined styles to choose from.

If you prefer using graphite, one lifelong pencil user told us her desk is never without these. Out of the box, they look like normal pencils, but each pencil has a seed capsule (filled with an herb or flower) at one end. Once all the graphite is gone, simply stick the capsule in some dirt, water it like any other seed, and watch what grows.

These handy little nubs will keep all your charging cords from slipping off your desk or tangling. They also come in blue, dusty pink, and white.

Paper clips are one of those things that can often come in handy but you don’t think to keep around because they’re kind of forgettable. These jumbo ones, in gold, are far less likely to go unnoticed because they look cool enough to leave out on display.

If you’re the type to have a whole array of desk drinks on tap, Strategist kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman says these wool coasters “both absorb and evaporate moisture and thus stay in perfect condition no matter how many drinks sweat on them.”

Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng’s “R2-D2–shaped mini-humidifier” is cordless with a compact design that “releases happy brain chemicals, as does its intermittent setting,” which reminds her of “an alien escaping the air lock (but more soothing).”

There’s something so satisfyingly tactile about punching buttons on a non-phone calculator. This reliable Braun model is a classic — it’s even in MoMA’s architecture and design collection.

Wartzman owns several of these durable, easy-to-clean enameled trays, which she named her favorite purchase of 2022.

A well-reviewed candle that looks (and smells) like a status candle, at a fraction of the price.

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31 Cheap (But Expensive-Looking) Desk Accents