Design

Eight ways to upgrade your desk

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From a candle that boosts concentration to the ultimate noise-cancelling headphones, fill your office space with things that ease your day in as many ways as possible

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,’ declared William Morris in a lecture in 1880. Over a century later, it’s a motto that’s still just as relevant – and as we spend more and more time at work, one that you can apply especially well to your desk, too. Whether that’s an open-plan workspace, your own corner office or home study, you should fill your space with things that ease your day in as many ways as possible. From a candle that boosts concentration to noise-cancelling headphones, here’s how to make the most of your workspace.

Bowers & Wilkins PX noise cancelling wireless headphones

Open place office space means a calm environment comes at a premium. Block out your noisy neighbours on their never ending tea break with these wireless headphones. They not only cancel out a range of outside irritants, but are intuitive to your needs: you put them on, they turn on; you hang them round your neck to chat, they pause the music; you take them off, they turn off; you get the idea. Add to this a 22-hour battery life and state of the art sound quality, and they basically give you all the privacy and peace of a corner office in headphone form.

£329, bowerswilkins.com

Laboratory Perfumes amber candle

Amber is the essential oil connected with boosting focus, improving mental cognition and stimulating the brain for a productive work day. This candle from Laboratory Perfumes is made in the UK with environmentally friendly and socially conscious ingredients, and features balmy layers of wood, earth and ambergris with green spicy top notes. Plus, once you’ve burnt the candle down, that glass beaker is going to look great populated with pens.

£45, libertylondon.com

Mondaine Globe desk clock

Modelled after the clocks used on the Swiss railways, this Globe timepiece’s striking red and black design (originally created in 1944) will add some serious design kudos to your desk. It also has a mineral crystal dial and, since it was made in Switzerland, a highly accurate quartz movement.

£189, amara.com

Patch Plants ‘Zey’ snake plant

Desk-side foliage isn’t just for decoration. Choose the right greenery and it’ll actually work to make your office air cleaner and more oxygenated. This snake plant is recommended by NASA for its capacity to remove toxins for the nearby environment, and absorb harmful carcinogens such as benzene. Plus, its height makes it a good one to hide behind on less productive days.

£20, patchplants.com

Ettinger leather tray

Desks tend to attract clutter and various accoutrements that will inevitably get forgotten (and hoarded) in the desk of your pedestal – paperclips, spare change, those 17 half-full coffee stamp cards you’ve been meaning to cash in. This leather tray from Ettinger, made from superb waxed cowhide on the outside and lined in soft suede, and is a smart way to keep all that mess confined to one suitably stylish place.

£100, ettinger.co.uk

Leitmotiv copper table lamp

A statement lamp is a must if eye-burning strip lighting isn’t your thing. Contemporary yet timeless, Leitmotiv’s Z-shaped table lamp is a statement addition to your desk space. Its 345-degree swivel head also means you can point it where you need it most.

£38, trouva.com

Eva Solo flask

If you’re the type of person who likes to brew their own special brand of single origin Ecuadorian coffee at home every morning, this flask is for you. Its insulating double vacuum walls will keep your coffee piping hot for hours, meaning no cold cup of the caffeinated stuff left languishing on your desk when you hit your flow with that next project.

£30, johnlewis.com

Carl Auböck brass paperweight

The only helping hand you’ll need. Carl Auböck was a leading light of the Bauhaus in the early 19th century, and developed his own signature modernist style of metalwork. Each of these brass paperweights is made over several days by a skilled craftsman, who hammers, shapes and polishes the piece until it’s the perfect weight and form.

£155, matchesfashion.com