I Will Make My New Desk Look Snazzy If It's the Last Thing I Do, Dammit

Help me shop for cubicle decor that I will inevitably knock over several times a day.
Publish date:
November 13, 2015
cubicle, work spaces, etsy, plants, decorating, mirrors, target, glasses, tchotchkes

Unless you've been living behind my refrigerator like the mouse my friends and I have named Charlie "Peanut Butter Sham-Sham" Racehorse, you know that xoJane and xoVain have been scooped up like beautiful little fraternal twin babies by big mama Time Inc.

We've been in our new offices in the Financial District (though it's rapidly becoming the unofficial Publishing District, with Condé Nast, Refinery29 and others having moved down here recently) for a week, but virtually everyone else on our floor got here only one week before us as Time Inc. starts transferring its folks from their midtown building.

Despite the surrounding publications' editors getting only a five-business-day head start, many of them have succeeded in making their desks look like stylish, personalized, practical-yet-playful creativity hubs. I'm really feeling the pressure to decorate my own posthaste, even though I've never even painted my own apartment walls after almost four years there.

So far, other than a slew of beauty products that have already found their way to me, this is all that's adorning my desk:

I hadn't bothered decorating my previous desk once I came back to the XO team full-time since I knew we'd be leaving soon, and I found literally nothing else that I wanted to bring from my apartment to bedazzle this new desk, so now I'm a-shoppin' for stuff to make this workspace of mine a little less stark.

Here's what's on my wish list:

A picture frame

It's surprisingly difficult to find a four-image collage frame that a) doesn't look like something I had in my dorm room in 1998 and b) fits square photos. Don't frame makers know I live my life on Instagram?!

Luckily, after some searching, I came across an inexpensive option on what appears to be a wholesale-type site called Get Smart Products, even though their URL is

Yeah, I don't know what's up with that either, but this classic, non-cheesy frame is only $10.50. And if you happen to need 144 or more, they're a dollar less!

Also, I can't remember the last time I had a photo developed on actual photo paper. I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I have to Google how to do that.

A mirror

Assuming I don't get sick of casually glancing at the same two pictures of myself throughout the day, I'll need a mirror to look at my face and hair and whatnot, since trying out makeup, skincare and hair products is part of my job.

I found this whimsical yet simple mirror on Target's website, begging Zooey Deschanel and other put-a-bird-on-it types (not gonna lie: me) to buy it.

Described by a disappointed reviewer who thought she was getting a floor mirror as "Barbie-sized," this $40 online exclusive sounds like the perfect fit for my desk.

An eyeglasses holder

I wear my glasses to do just about everything except look at a computer screen, so I want to get a cute, little object to place them on while I'm at my desk. I found several options out there—some sufficiently creepy—but it was the description of this kitschy $8 vintage item on Etsy that made it my frontrunner.

Estelle made this little guy in her "ceramics class." It's handy if you are always misplacing your specs. Since my glasses are always on my face and in no danger of being misplaced, I am going to have to part with Mr. Dawg. He would also make a fine paperweight or just a nice, quiet pet. GLASSES IN PHOTO NOT INCLUDED. They're on my face, remember?

I have so many questions.

An electric fan

I tend to be uncomfortably warm for about a half-hour after commuting, even when it's cold outside. Something about making the switch from outside, to inside the subway stations and trains, to back outside, to inside a building confuses the hell out of my internal temperature, and I just default to sweat mode.

I love this tiny desk fan as a way to cool off each morning. At least I think I would love it.

Another Target online exclusive, it's in the Sculptures & Figurines section making me wonder if it's just a sculpture of a fan, which would be super-weird; but it clearly has an on/off switch, so maybe it works, but it's so tiny that all the bigger fans in the Table Fans section made fun of it and it ran away to the Sculptures & Figurines section...? There's literally no information in the description about whether or not it's a working fan, but I do know it can be cleaned with a dry cloth.

A plant

The description of these succulents on Wayfair is just as helpful as that Target fan's. I love how they look, but I have no idea if they're real or faux. Can real succulents be sent through the mail?

But honestly, I've been known to kill even the most death-resistant real plant, so maybe I'd be better off with a faux one. Guess we'll find out!

A pen holder

Virtually any open-topped container that's under five inches tall can be used for a pen holder, but I'm leaning towards this ceramic beaut.

This is technically a vase—and the cutest vase in the whole wide world, right? IT HAS A PETER PAN COLLAR. At under four inches tall, it's perfect for keeping my pens and pencils in one place, not to mention it can serve as a place to try not to kill any small flowers anyone misguidedly sends to me.

An iPhone stand

I don't keep my phone's sound on, and I'm too scared to set up iMessage on my new work laptop, but I tend to forget to look at my phone throughout the day if it's just lying flat somewhere. I need a way to be able to see important text notifications on my phone, and keeping it propped up near me on this lovely, made-to-order stand from Etsy seems like a perfect solution.

In addition to being printed with a really cute floral design, its shelf is cut to allow the phone to charge as its just chillin' there, subtly begging for my attention.

These seem like a good start for getting my desk feeling a little cozier. All I need now are arbitrary tchotchkes and bunch of Pinterest-esque printouts.

By the way, I put this article in the DIY section because I asked Amber what section I should put it in and she said DIY, and I was like, "Why? I'm not DIY-ing anything," and she was like, "Well, you're not hiring an interior decorator; you're doing it yourself." I suppose she has a point—insomuch as I DIY breathing because I'm not on a respirator—but now I'm wondering if anyone has ever hired an interior decorator to zhuzh their cubicle.

Anyway, SHOW ME YOUR DESKS! I need inspiration!