Desk Makeover on a Budget
We all get a little overwhelmed sometimes, and that’s okay. If you change your environment and your mind, you’ll create a relaxing desk space in no time. But if you work at a desk, you know it doesn’t take long for it to get as jumbled as your mind. So give these little tweaks a try to make your desk an oasis!
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How I Created a Relaxing Desk Space on a Budget
It’s only common sense that a messy space can cause stress. With a little effort, and a few minor changes, you can make a relaxing desk space on a budget that promotes a healthy mind. I definitely felt more organized and clear-headed when I was done!
I’ve got some amazing hacks to show you today that I did to my own desk. Some are pretty well-known, while others deserve more credit, in my opinion. Here’s exactly what my desk looked like the day I decided to redo it:
I know it’s not that bad compared to other desks, and it’s definitely been worse. I’m pretty lucky that I don’t have mounds of papers laying around (yet). But this is where I make Essential Moves to Wellness happen, so I need to treat it better.
Most of the stuff you see, like the massive pen holder with the fake rose in it, are recycled from my college work desk. Now I don’t really need that many pens, and I was ready to rearrange my decorations for a fresh start.
The desk itself I got at a thrift store for $15.00 when I was moving into my first apartment in college. And believe me, it is small! It’s a blessing and a curse, because it makes me extra aware of when I have too much clutter.
I’d love to have a bigger desk with lots of space for me to be creative. But like any recent college grad, that’s just not in the cards for me right now. So I did some research on little changes that can go a very long way for desk productivity.
Make Your Desk a Zen Space with Small Changes
These little changes are surprisingly cheap as well, if you know where to shop and what sales to hit. I’ll admit, when I was shopping around for ideas, this post quickly went from a $20.00 budget to a $60.00 budget.
But my husband wouldn’t have been thrilled, and I had to remind myself that affordability was key for this post. If you can afford to make some big changes to your desk, go for it! But this post has taught me that you don’t have to make massive changes to refresh a space.
On that note, here’s what I ended up buying.
- Small hourglass on sale for half-off at Michael’s—$7.00
- 2 sheets of decorative paper at Michael’s—$2.00
- Small succulent plant from King’s Soopers—$5.00
- Matching pot for succulent from King’s Soopers—$5.00
The grand total for everything I bought came to $19.00, just one dollar under budget! And I’m pretty happy with the results. I know that all of the things I listed can’t specifically be bought, but I found some great, in not better, substitutes of equal pricing.
Let me walk you through my reasoning for buying each item.
I did some research on some little known stress-free desk hacks, and I was intrigued when I came across this article that mentioned a timer. The hack is that it’s easier to get work done if you put your tasks in batches of certain time lengths.
Some options for a timer include a traditional stopwatch, tomato timer, or an hourglass. Whenever your timer goes off, take a break for a few minutes and get back to work. When the timer goes off four times, take a longer break.
I found this cute little hourglass on sale at Michael’s a couple weeks ago, so I went back and bought it (here’s a similar one). I knew that I personally wanted an hourglass because they look nice, and they don’t beep when they’re done. I’m also one of those people that will jump at just about anything remotely unexpected, which doesn’t do well for stress.
It sits nicely in my peripheral vision on my desk, and so far it’s been working great! I love that it says “15 minutes” so I know how long I’m working for each interval. I’m using it right now to budget out time for writing this post. It’s slowly teaching me to pace myself so I don’t burn myself out later.
My Decorative Paper and Desktop Hack
Now this choice of decorative paper can vary from person to person, depending on what you have available (here’s a good choice). You can see in the before picture that I have my mac set on a bright red box. I did this a few months ago to help with some tension and neck issues.
Although I love my mac, it was really taking a toll on my posture, which contributed to my stress. So to help, my lovely MacGiver husband put it on a box we had lying around so I wasn’t hunching forward so much. I completed the look with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
Voila! I give you the poor person’s desktop transformation! This little relaxing desk space on a budget hack helped me make huge improvements on my posture and overall tension that was gathering in my shoulders.
So what’s the decorative paper for? I bought some cute wood pallet-looking paper to cover the box and make it look nice. This box also makes a great storage space! If you have a laptop and any small boxes laying around, decorate a box however you like. You’ll be amazed at how you feel with your laptop propped up a few inches.
If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, you can also opt to get one of those cute patterned boxes. You can find them at just about any craft store, and they’re not too expensive if you catch a sale.
Small Succulent and Pot
One trendy piece of decor that has been everywhere lately are indoor plants. And I’m not saying just one or two plants, I’m talking plants on plants on plants! And it’s a really good trend too. Numerous studies have been done on how plants help us, and now we’re learning to bring nature safely into our homes.
Certain houseplants, such as succulents, can clear the air and leave us feeling happy. Having greenery nearby also increases concentration and productivity. I would love to one day have an office (and eventually a house!) full of green plants. But I made due with the little space I have.
My local King’s Soopers had a sale on succulents, and I bought the biggest one they had (you can get some on Amazon here too). I was even lucky enough to see that they had matching pots just the right size for the succulents. Now I have a little green friend to clear the air when I work and lift up my mood. Yeah, it may be a bit of a hipster trend, but it’s a pretty smart move overall.
Revealing My Rejuvented Desk
After some rearranging and organizing, this is the final product! Mini had to photobomb and present it to you.
The picture on the left stayed where it was, and I put the hourglass in front of it so it’s just in my peripheral vision when I work. The paper turned out very nice on my box, and I put a few necessities inside to free up space.
I decided to get rid of my pen holder and go through it. I kept only a few pens and put them in my fancy new box for storage.
Another tip for creating a relaxing desk space on a budget is to decorate it with things that make you happy. Which is why I decided to take out some of my favorite essential oils from Rocky Mountain Oils and store them on top of my “all you need is love…and a cat” sign.
Now whenever I need some quick aromatherapy, it’s within arm’s reach. The oils I chose are rose, frankincense, orange, peppermint and lavender. I also love having them easily accessible for my diffuser on another table nearby.
Of course, I couldn’t let go of the smalll clay cat I painted to look like my other cat Oreo. She makes me happy, so she’s worth it. What I have on my screen is a bird ambience video that I’ll sometimes listen to when I’m trying to give my mind a boost. You can read all about it on 5 Easy Ways to Improve Concentration Right Now.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Relaxing Desk Space on a Budget
I know that everyone has their own unique style and desires, so don’t use my makeover as a strict blueprint! Changing a little-used part of your desk out with a plant alone can make an amazing desk space. And maybe you’ll enjoy all those tedious tasks a bit more!
The key concepts I want you to keep in mind is that you should get rid of things that don’t give you joy (except work papers, you kind of need those). Think Marie Kondo from Netflix. Give yourself a break and fill your life with things you enjoy! In my case, it was essential oils, cats, and plants.
So if you’re feeling stressed, carve out some time to revamp and organize your desk with things that will make you more productive or happy. You won’t regret it, I promise.
What tips do you have for creating a stress-free desk? Let me know in the comments below!
Related to Stress-Free Desk Hacks:
- Meditation Not Your Thing? Try Binaural Beats Instead!
- Stay Calm and Grounded with Meditation for Beginners
- The Ultimate Calming Nighttime Routine for Better Mental Health
- 10 DIY Self-Care Kit Ideas to Rejuvenate Your Mental Health
- 5 Wellness Techniques to Manage Depression Without Antidepressants
- How to Feel Grateful Even When Life Seems to Suck
- The Dangers of Melatonin—Why You Shouldn’t Take it Long-Term
Stress-Free Desk Space