The 13 desk accessories we tested
Important features to consider
Type & design style
Finding cute desk accessories starts with knowing what you need for your desk to prevent clutter. These days options for more aesthetically designed organizers and tools are available. During our tests, we found styles that ranged from bold and bright colors to minimal and sleek designs for pen holders, staplers, and more.
Staying with a theme is important to keep your working space from looking messy or chaotic. We chose designs that included acrylic materials, minimalist metal and wood styles, and gold accents.
Build quality & durability
While there are a ton of cute new accessories for your desk to choose from, there are also a lot of poorly made items. Build quality can change based on materials and the overall make of the accessories. For example, monitor stands made of glass might bend depending on the weight of your monitor. Some acrylic organizers are thicker and more durable, while we’ve also seen thinner and more brittle acrylic pieces.
Technically, durability is similar to build quality, but we wanted to further test the longevity of each piece after several weeks of use. What initially could be considered a good quality product could easily break after daily use–this is something we observed with some of the cute accessories we thought were front runners.
Unfortunately, you can’t always tell how durable something is until you test it. We recommend picking accessories with materials known for good quality, like metal, or buying from a trusted brand.
The most important thing when considering cute desk accessories is if it works and is usable. If some accessories offer an aesthetically pleasing design but don’t work as intended on your desk, it takes up valuable space. Will the size and shape of a cute new pen holder fit on your desk? Is it easy to use a new acrylic tape dispenser with one hand? Overall, we kept this in mind and questioned whether or not changing out industrial-designed accessories for cuter tools makes for an effective workspace.
How we selected & tested:
We selected over a dozen different accessories in various designs and materials made of acrylic, plastic, metal, wood, and ceramic. We reviewed any assembly or instructions and the build quality of each piece. Over several weeks, we implemented each of the accessories into our daily work experience to test their durability and usability. Were the aesthetically designed accessories just as well made as commercial or traditional accessories? Did these accessories perform as promised? Did we use them on the desk, or did it just end up as clutter?
Zoocatia - Tissue Box Cover
At under $6, the Zoocatia – Tissue box cover is one of our favorite picks for cute desk accessories because it offers a quick aesthetic change to elevate your workspace. The material is made of vegan PU leather, and the assembly is very quick. Just slip a cubed tissue box under the cover and secure the box with the velcro strap under the box.
While it originally had a plasticky smell, it eventually disappeared in a few days. This accessory comes in seven colors to fit your style and is a generic size that fits most cubed tissue boxes (5.12 x 5.12 x 5.12 inches). Moving it to another part of your home is easy, and it still does its job.
Exputran - Acrylic Desk 4-Piece Organizer
For people who love a glamorous aesthetic, we recommend this 4-piece acrylic organizer by Exputran. Its sleek and durable design comprises thick acrylic pieces with soft, velvety fabric at the bottom, so it doesn’t scratch your desk. This set comes with four pieces that all sit on a rectangular tray and can also be used to organize papers or other accessories.
We like that the Exputran comes with an acrylic ruler that sits easily on a split pen holder, a large post-it organizer, and another smaller tray for accessories like extra staples, paper clips, and more. We thought this set looked great on a desk and helped organize all the small pens and nick-nacks we accumulated.
Nordik - Vegan Leather Desk Mat
We like using the Nordik – Vegan Leather desk mat as a workspace and a mouse pad. The vegan leather is well-made and very durable after several weeks of use. The backside is made with a soft fabric that keeps the mat from moving on your desk.
We’ve placed hot and cold drinks on top, spilled liquids, written over the mat, and used it daily–the finish is still smooth and shiny. There haven’t been any issues with scratching or peeling, even when our resident cat tests the mat by using it as a bed.Read more…
The mat came rolled up in a tube and required a small amount of bending to flatten out. Its large size is great for constant mouse moving while working and large-sized keyboards. There’s also a small strap to hold a keyboard cord. At under $20, this well-designed, durable desk pad comes in over nine colors to fit anyone’s aesthetic.
Anker - Magnetic Cable Holder
Cord management doesn’t have to be ugly. The Anker – Magnetic Cable holder is a good option if you want stable but movable cords on your desk. It has a slim base that sticks to your desk and five removable magnetic cord holders. This comes in three colors (black, navy, and white) and looks minimal and sleek on our desk. The magnets are particularly strong but easy to remove and move around.
One issue with this cord manager is that it doesn’t fit cords thicker than 3.5 mm. While it can easily fit our laptop and phone charging cables, we couldn’t connect our monitor cables. However, we still liked this option for thinner cables on our desks. We also liked that the sticky tab on the back of the base is reusable, so you don’t have to pick a permanent spot.
Three by Three Seattle - Dry Erase Board
Three by Three Seattle’s dry-erase board is probably the underdog in testing cute accessories. We were a little underwhelmed when we first received this board because there was a nick on the edge, it had a generic marker, and could only lay horizontally.
After weeks of testing, we use it every day multiple times a day. It’s super useful for quick brainstorming or daily to-do lists and fits easily under a monitor stand when not in use. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, this minimal and small dry-erase board is not only cute but reduces the amount of paper you use.
WulaWindy - Mirror Digital Alarm Clock
The WulaWindy – Mirror Digital Alarm Clock is a lightweight and unassuming clock for your desk. It’s about the size of an iPhone, so that it won’t take up too much space. The mirror interface is very aesthetically pleasing because it’s not too distracting. This clock also has 24-hour or 12-hour settings, brightness dimmers, and alarm features.
This clock came up short because it must be plugged in at all times. We would’ve appreciated a rechargeable battery option for its price, but since it’s constantly on our desk, we didn’t need to move it around too often.
Rotating Art Supply Organizer
This Rotating Art Supply organizer is much smaller than anticipated but would work well for smaller workspaces. It fits various-sized pens and tools because each section has three different heights. The rotation turns very smoothly, and getting the right tools is easy while working. Since it’s lightweight, we wouldn’t overfill this organizer because it might tip over if you turn it too quickly.
D-Day - Perpetual Desk Calendar
The D-Day – Perpetual Desk calendar works well for those who like daily tasks like flipping dates and have ample space on their desk. Since no specific years are tied to this calendar, it’s considered perpetual. Two sides offer perpetual dates or a countdown option with stickers to customize your calendar. This type of calendar prevents you from throwing away calendars annually and gives you details for today’s date and day of the week.
However, we wouldn’t recommend this type of calendar if you have a smaller desk with less space or don’t want to bother flipping the date every day (something that ended up becoming a bothersome chore during a busy day).
Siebold - Gold and Ceramic pen holder
We were excited about the Siebold – Gold and Ceramic pen holder because it’s similar to a popular plant stand by Modernica. When we first received this holder, we noticed it was much smaller than expected, but it surprisingly held a lot of pens and pencils (over a dozen).
The ceramic cup is well-made and durable; however, the metal stand is poorly made, with rather sharp edges that make it difficult to move around. We also didn’t like how the ceramic cup was much smaller than the stand. At $13, we think this pen holder was a little overpriced for the type of quality.
Gersoniel - Office Desk Accessories
The Gersoniel – Office Desk Accessories six-piece set includes a pen holder, tape dispenser, post-it holder, stapler, staple remover, and extra staples. Made up of acrylic, it’s not as durable as the Exputran acrylic set because the acrylic is thinner and feels like a cheaper material. Some of the items also looked like they weren’t made by the same manufacturer.
We discovered the pen holder had a large crack on the bottom, and the blade on the tape dispenser was bent. Throughout testing, we did find that the bent blade didn’t affect the usability of the tape dispenser, which had more weight and balance than the U Brands tape dispenser. While nothing else broke throughout testing, we wouldn’t necessarily rebuy this set of organizers because it looked cheap.
U Brands - Metal Desk Organization Kit
The U Brands – Metal Desk Organization Kit comes with three accessories to organize documents, pens (or other utensils), and a tape dispenser. This set features metal and wood organizers that offer a simple minimalist aesthetic. While we initially thought these were very well-made materials, we realized they lacked usability after a few weeks of testing the products.
The tape dispenser is imbalanced, and the blade isn’t sharp enough to cut tape. The pen holder was too wide and deep, which caused pens or pencils to fall over. The handle placement was also awkward for moving the organizer around. We liked the document holder the most, but remember that the more folders and papers you add, the less likely you’re to see the organizer, making the aesthetics essentially useless.
WALI - Particle Board Monitor Stand
The Wali – Particle Board Monitor Stand looks better than your typical metal stands and offers more space to place accessories on its 24 x 10-inch surface. It comes in a clean, minimalist design that elevates your monitor to 4.7 inches above your desk. Not only does this help with posture, but it also gives you more space to organize your desk accessories.
Wali states that this monitor stand can support up to 44 lbs of weight; however, we’ve noticed slight bending in the center of the stand when it holds our 25 lb monitor. So we wouldn’t recommend this monitor stand if you have a heavier monitor.
WALI - Rectangular Tempered Glass Monitor (not recommended)
The Wali – Rectangular Tempered Glass Monitor Stand is a product we don’t recommend. While it offers a wide surface area to hold your monitor and elevates your monitor at the same time, its materials were lacking in durability. During assembly, we noticed that the legs were made of plastic, and we were concerned that they would be able to hold the weight of our monitor.
After a few days of using the stand, we noticed a deepening bend in the glass from the monitor’s weight. Even though the company states that the weight capacity is up to 44 lb, our 25 lb monitor was too heavy. We eventually returned this stand because we couldn’t trust it wouldn’t break while working.
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