Go for Chic and Affordable
An ideal setup has warmth and style that’s on par with the rest of your place. (In other words, you’ll actually look forward to settling in with your coffee.) But you don't have to spend a fortune. Consider this IKEA desk, with its soft-gray finish and molded trim. It’s a far cry from standard-issue office furniture, but it gets the job done with six shallow drawers, plus two deep ones for files. More mindful touches: gray frames that echo the desk and unify a gallery wall; plants; a small, sleek printer that passes for a lacquered box; a good table lamp instead of a blaring spotlight; and an upholstered chair that’s adjustable, so you can keep your knees at a comfortable 90 degrees and protect your back while you conquer the day.
The Details: IKEA Klimpen light-gray desk, $250, ikea.com. Pier1 Imports Devon Collection Flax desk chair, $450, pier1.com. Aerin Darina large table lamp, in Volcanic Ivory (similar to shown), $629, circalighting.com.
Try a Stylish Small Space Solution
Kitchen-island entrepreneurs and dining-table campaigners, meet your new assistant: a pretty leather tray with handles that can handle it all. It doesn’t necessarily take the sting out of paying bills or excavating your inbox, but it makes it a breeze to bring out the stuff you need (and it can be quickly stashed afterward, on a shelf or in a sideboard). High sides keep your business contained; sleek pouches conceal pens, receipts, and other ephemera. Wherever you put this system to work (ottoman-top offices included), keep the palette consistent to create harmony and calm. And to take your show on the road, pack essentials into a genius Japanese zipper binder with pockets that guarantee productivity.
The Details: Made Goods Dusty Rose Lenora tray, 20.5" by 14", $700 for a 2-piece set (with a matching 16" by 12" tray), shopcandelabra.com. Mochithings Better Together A4 zipper pouch v3, $60, shop.mochithings.com. Paperthinks leather file folder, in Ivory, $15, paperthinks.us. Delfonics Quitterie pen case, in Cream (similar to shown), $18, needsupply.com. Poketo Shape paper clips, in Gold Square, Copper Pyramid, and Silver Teardrop, $14 for 20 each, poketo.com.
Insider Tip: Turn Your Favorite Basket into a File Cabinet
This wicker hanging-file box is well crafted and attractive enough to leave out—letting you access papers with ease.
The Details: Peterboro Basket Co. file basket, in Honey, $59, peterborobasket.com.
Transform a Closet or Kitchen Nook into a Command Station
For an expansive vibe, we hung an oversize photograph rather than a group of small ones. A clear work surface begets a clear mind, so we masterminded smart storage: This slim desk, made of solid white oak, has a cubby (just like in grade school) to hold your laptop and supplies, while matching accessories pick up the slack: A magnetic knife bar works to secure metal clips and spiral notebooks, and a jewelry box hides stationery. A footprintfree pendant lamp hangs two and a half feet over the desktop to light it well, and covered cords, secured to the wall circuit board– style, reach a faraway outlet without tangling underfoot.
The Details: Akron St. Reader desk, $395, akronstreet.com. Blu Dot Daily Task chair, in Red, $599, bludot.com. Color Cord Company small tapered metal shade, in Black, $35; Standard plug-in pendant light-cord set, in Black & White ZigZag, $25; and cloth extension cord, 20', in Black & White ZigZag, $25, colorcord.com. Ester M. Nersisyan Balboa Park print, 30" by 40", in Raw Wood frame, $410, minted.com. Williams-Sonoma wooden magnetic knife-holder bar, 22", in Maple, $140, williams-sonoma.com. Poritz & Studio jewelry box, in White Oak, $220, poritzandstudio.com.