The Secret to Designing an Aesthetic Desk Setup

aesthetic desk setup mood board

This ONE tip is the secret to designing an aesthetic desk setup or any home office setup, where you actually smile when you enter the room. It ensures your own style and that your elements fit together.

This is not your typical “copy this setup to be the best” or “do this, do that, and dominate the world”-post. This is a simple approach loosely borrowed from general design practices. “Real” designers may call this a mood board but you don’t need to be a professional or insanely creative to do it.

The idea is simple. You find setups and things you like and clip them into a board. Then you write down what you like and the result is your own design concept. I will show you.

Why you should use this approach

Although the web is packed with setup ideas, usually copying an idea 1:1 is not possible. Your room may be too small, the items are too expensive, custom-built or you only like parts of the setup. Since you’re also gaming, the beautiful interior magazines do not have much to offer and we can’t all afford Mac Studio Displays. This approach gives you the flexibility to tailor it to your own room layout and budget.

Moreover, aesthetics are highly subjective. You may feel at home in a man cave, while your friend likes a bright room with a view. You can use this approach to find what you like and don’t like before you waste your money.

Also, sometimes you can enter a room and feel something is “odd” but maybe don’t know why. A good chance is that some of the elements don’t fit together. They’re simply two distinct styles. Doing initial research into your style and writing it down ensures harmony between the elements you pick out.

My designer paper bin and my son’s gaming keyboard – not really a match …?

How to do it

The process generally involves 5 steps, which I will show in the following.

Get a tool for web clipping

There are lots of free tools to get you started. I recommend the free layer of either Raindrop or Canva, which is more than enough for our purposes.

The easiest to use is Raindrop. It has a mood board view that does all the work for you.

If you want more customization, I recommend Canva instead. It is also easy to use, but you must copy the images instead of just bookmarking a link.

Start gathering ideas for your desk setup

Then you start gathering inspiration and clip it onto your board. It can be anything that conveys the style and feeling that you like. Setups, peripherals, accessories, colors, and materials – only your creativity sets the limits.

As a good starting point, you can find setups on Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Unsplash, or of course Google Image Search.

Here are some Instagram sources I’ve compiled to give you inspiration.

A few remarks:

  • Instagram has a lot to offer in both workspace and gaming if you find the right tags. However, it rarely elaborates on the items and the setups can be very expensive.
  • Reddit has more realistic setups but some may be too simple for your taste.
  • Pinterest has a good selection but is a bit limited on gaming. A nice feature is that your front page gets tuned to your taste with similar styles as you browse.
  • Unsplash is not really focused on setups but you can get some really aesthetic images that may convey the feeling you’re after.
  • Google Image Search depends on your own imagination in searching but may also show you more commercially oriented images, which is not really what you’re after.

Make your board that conveys your aesthetic

When you have found the ideas you like, it’s time to finish your board. Having clipped everything, you can also see what doesn’t fit into your style and remove this. Your final board should give you the aesthetic feeling you’re looking for. You don’t have to think a lot – if you like what you see, then that’s it!

Here are some examples I made in Raindrop. Please note that I am severely limited in choice due to copyright.

The creative workspace setup

creative aesthetic desk setup ideas on mood board

The RGB and gaming setup

rgb aesthetic desk setup ideas on mood board

The clean desk setup with accent colors

minimalistic aesthetic desk setup ideas on mood board

The minimalist and natural desk setup

minimalistic aesthetic desk setup ideas on mood board

Write down your design guidelines

Based on your final board, you simply write down your observations that will serve as the basis for picking out elements when you’re shopping. This will ensure that your elements belong to your style and fit together.

Unfortunately, I am again not allowed to share my own mood board for copyright reasons, but this is what I came up with for my own setup.

My design guidelines for my own desk setup

  • Minimalist with white as the base color and grey as a secondary color.
  • Careful use of orange and yellow accent colors.
  • Oakwood.
  • Green-only plants with palm-like appearance.
  • Natural materials in accessories, e.g. flowerpots without shiny finish or plastic.
  • Use natural light as much as possible.
  • Use books as decoration.
  • Organize everything logically and where I need it.
  • Hide gaming elements but keep them near at hand.
  • Store as much as possible in drawers and cupboards.

Go shopping

With your new, personal style and list in hand, it’s time to go shopping with a smile.

This series consists of several posts that you should also check out!

This Is the Ideal Clean White Gaming Setup Equally Suited to Work

How to Build an Easy DIY Desk Shelf and Monitor Stand in 5 Minutes!

The Secret to Designing an Aesthetic Desk Setup

The Best Peripherals for Your Gaming and Work Desk Setup

How to Make Cool Posters for Your Desk Setup

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