Four Maximalist Desk Spaces and Why They Work

Four Maximalist Desk Spaces and Why They Work

Laura E. Hall
Apr 25, 2011

Messiness and clutter can be a problem for those of us who tend to keep a busy desk. We've embraced the fact that we'll never be minimalists, and now we're constantly on the lookout for desk inspiration that shows ways to balance having a lot of stuff with efficiency and tidiness. These four desks have a lot going on while still looking and working great. Below, we show you why.

Cryptik's cool blue workspace has a lot going on, with all its supplies out on the surface. But it works because everything is meticulously organized. Multiple trays on the left side of the desk hold folders, notebooks, supplies and writing utensils, while boxes on the open shelves could hide away anything unsightly. There are a lot of images on the wall behind the desk, but their lined-up arrangement reveals the method to the madness.

Pajamie's cute cluttered desk packs a lot into a small area by keeping things compact, and drawing on matching colors and patterns. The pinboard and shelf to the right hold a ton of pictures and items, but the black and white of the desk, the computer, mousepad, desktop background and magnets means the colors and images don't overwhelm. The simple, graphic designs of Domo-kun and Hello Kitty complement the busyness.

fyngryz's multi-screen setup is utilitarian to the max, serving as a place to program, write, edit pictures, monitor servers and conduct business. While it may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the other selections here, it's a good example of getting the job done without a lot of fuss: cables are routed around the backs of monitors and desks to mounted power strips on the left, leaving the desk space clear, while equipment that must be nearby but isn't used frequently is still visible, but moved to the side, hidden under shelves and the desk, or raised above eye level. Finally, because the surface is kept free of paper clutter, it remains functional and ready for work to take place.

maureen mae jewelry's reclaimed work area is a masterpiece of textures, with everything from the iron stand on the desk, to the moulded shelves, to the desk surface itself -- an old painted door with a piece of glass on top -- bringing something to the table. Keeping everything white (the computer, lamp, storage, shelves) or clear (desk surface, jars) keeps things from becoming overwhelming, and punches of color from the shelf brackets, collections in jars and picture frame make it personal and lively. Last but not least, lots of natural light makes it a beautiful and peaceful place to get things done.

The key seems to be keeping the work surface clear, and if supplies are visible they must at least be corralled. Do you have any tips for having a visually busy but still functional desk setup?

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