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Laptop looking lonely? Under-€20 interiors buys to warm up your home desk for winter

If you’re facing into many more months working from home, here’s how to liven up your space.

Image: Unsplash/Nick Morrison

AS THE LAST of the leaves fall off the trees, we’re hunkering down for a long winter. And for many of us, that means bracing for dark winter days working from home.

During the first lockdown, I had a desk, a chair, a laptop and plenty of natural light flowing through the window opposite my desk. I was all set. But as the days draw in, my charming and sunny work area is starting to feel dark, chilly and charmless, and so I’ve had to think of ways to add to the space to make it a better fit.

Beyond that desk and chair there’s not much room (or need) for extra furniture, but I’ve upped the ante with twinkle lights, a very delicious candle, and some other small items to soften the overall look.

If, like me, you’re facing into more months working from home, some inexpensive items might help to enhance your set-up. Below is a list of pieces to get you started, allowing you to survive and thrive until the days start to get measurably longer again.

1. String of lights, €9, TK Maxx
It’s not always wise to lead the list with the best item, but here we are. Twinkle lights are critical to the enjoyment of a winter work-from-home set-up. They’re cosy and festive and can be kept up well into the new year. And in fact, I’ll speak from experience when I say they make sunset in the dark season of the year something to look forward to rather than dread. 

Untitled design (24) Source: TK Maxx

2. Winter Soy candle from Irish Handmade Soap Company, €15.95
Likewise, it’s time to invest in a new candle to add a little olfactory boost to your days. Scented candles are often too cloying for my liking, but this Winter Soy candle  is winter perfection. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pine will warm up your senses in an instant.

3. Pom-pom Christmas cushion from Next, €18
While I’m not always so keen on seasonal candles, I am absolutely all for seasonal cushions. There’s something extra special about popping down to lean into a cushion emblazoned with a Christmas scene. For something more traditional, try this Nollaig cushion (€9.84) from Helen James at Dunnes Stores.

Untitled design (25) Source: Next

4. Hello Week desk planner from Next, €7.50
I hate to admit it, but pandemic life has taken a toll on my ability to schedule important dates and meetings — the lines are so blurred between childcare and work hours. So I like to make sure I’ve written them down on a desk planner that sits below my laptop. And a desk planner gives me a good spot to doodle during conference calls while giving the appearance of taking notes attentively.

5. Jumbo candy cane mug from M&S, €6.75
There is no season during which I would say no to a new coffee mug, even despite my aversion to collecting junk that later must take up precious storage space. This jumbo candy cane mug from M&S is perfect for coffee, tea, hot cocoa or even soup, and won’t look out of place if you forget to remove it from your workspace after your morning beverage.

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Untitled design (21) Source: Marks & Spencer

6. MYRHEDEN memo board with clips from IKEA, €15
If you can’t situate your desk looking out a window, a pegboard can allow you to bring the outdoors in — or at least spruce up your view with some foliage or photos. The joy of a memo board is that you can change up your view regularly, adding photos or pictures that suit your mood during a given season.

Untitled design (23) Source: IKEA

7. EWA portable bluetooth speaker, €13.29
Since we have to wear headphones for Zoom meetings throughout the day, sometimes it’s nice to listen to music without having something in your ears. This portable speaker is tiny, taking up no desk space, and packs quite a sound punch. It comes with a portable case so you can bring it with you for a five kilometre cycle on the weekends as well.

8. FORSA brass work lamp, IKEA, €18
This affordable IKEA lamp is sitting on my own desk at the moment. It’s bright when it’s turned on, adjustable so you can get the best lighting for your latest video call, and looks lovely throughout the day.

Untitled design (22) Source: IKEA

More: Tight squeeze? 10 kitchen storage items to help you get the most out of a small space>

About the author:

Emily Westbrooks

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