The best desk accessories 2020: organise and optimise your workspace

Dress your desk with the best bits of stylish storage and handsome tech around

The best desk accessories

Depending on what kind of person you are, your definition of what constitutes a ‘desk accessory’, let alone the best desk accessories, can vary wildly. 

Cactus garden? Fairy lights? Full-to-the-brim swear jar? All good things, but occasionally you’re going to want something with a little functionality to it, so we’ve rounded up the best desk accessories offering a happy union of form and function, from organisational gadgets to good-looking cubbies for all your bits and bobs.

Of course, your first priority will be to pick up one of the best office chairs and a stylish desk to go with it (maybe even one of the best standing desks, to help improve your posture). But after that, why not invest in making your workspace a little more pleasant and functional?

Putting aside your trusty computer, arguably the best ally you can have when it comes to home office tech is an assistant-enabled speaker. They can’t make the perfect cup of tea or make excuses for you on the phone, but they can do pretty much everything else – Alexa, what time is my next meeting? Alexa, take a letter. Alexa, find me a focus playlist that isn’t 99% piano instrumentals. You get the idea.

Before you even get started, there’s a lot that goes into making the perfect working environment, and we’re not talking about reordering your bookshelf by colour for the purposes of feng shui – that’s procrastination, and we’ll get around to talking more about that after we’ve dusted every individual item on our desks – but rather making sure you’re not distracted by the fact that your office is hotter than July on Mercury. For that, a cool-looking fan with near-silent operation and enviable efficiency is the way to go.

So far, so potentially unsurprising, but there’s yet more to creating a fine desk landscape that you might not have thought of. Handsome wooden storage accessories for a touch of style or whimsy (or both); a sleek riser to keep your monitor at eye level and your posture impeccable; a six-way power port to keep you juiced up and ready to go without turning your laptop into some kind of hideous USB octopus, and more besides.

The best desk accessories

1. Dyson Cool Desk Fan

We might just be this number one fan’s number one fans

Best for: Regulating temperature
Size: H55.2 x W35.6 x D10cm
Colour: White and silver
Weight: 1.8kg
Reasons to buy
+Thorough, effective cooling+Quiet operation
Reasons to avoid
- Attracts masses of dust 

This most futuristic of desk accessories might look a bit like a portal to another world, but it is, in fact, just a fan – or is it? The cool design is just the start, and this is probably the best desk fan out there thanks to its host of functions and low-key operation. 

According to Dyson, the AM06 is 75% quieter than the original AM01, meaning it won’t distract you while you’re focusing on the finer details of that spreadsheet. And as for what it does, it does it very well indeed, quickly summoning up and expertly directing everything from a gentle breeze to a force-9 gale as and when it’s needed.

Desk accessories

2. Amazon Echo

Not just for fun, this assistant-powered speaker can get you organised too

Best for: Getting organised
Size: H14.8 x W8.8 x D8.8cm
Colour: Charcoal, heather, oak, sandstone, walnut
Weight: 821g
Reasons to buy
+Looks great+Loads of ways to keep on track
Reasons to avoid
- Sound better than first gen but still not amazing 

Arguably the ultimate accessory, and almost certainly the ultimate organiser, the Amazon Echo is a high-tech addition to the desktop indeed. 

As well as all the fun but potentially distracting bits you see on the adverts, this Alexa-enabled speaker can do a lot to keep you on track during the working day, including hands-free calling and messaging, setting alarms and timers, sweep your calendar for meetings, and even saving notes to Evernote. Plus, this new edition looks better than ever, with a choice of swappable wood-effect or tweedy-look fabric wrappings.

3. Kalibri Monitor Stand Riser

Keep everything in its right place with this stylish riser

Best for: Health and safety
Size: H10.5 x W53.3 x D25.6cm
Colour: Walnut, bamboo
Weight: 1.7kg
Reasons to buy
+Very stylish design+Non-scratching cork sliders
Reasons to avoid
- Not as functional as mstand360 (below) 

If you’re working with an all-in-one iMac or monitor plus processor setup, chances are you’ve either ignored the advice about optimum eye levels completely or made a token effort at shoving a few books under there. 

The easier – and far more stylish – way to get around posture complaints is to go for a monitor riser like this sleek walnut-look option from Kalibri. Most of its charm comes from its modern, minimal design, but the cork sliders underneath hide some surprising virtues, namely non-scratch and non-slip.

Desk accessories

4. Anker PowerPort+ 6

Make sure nothing’s running on empty with this six-way power port

Best for: Charging
Size: H9.9 x W2.6 x D7cm
Colour: Black
Weight: 190g
Reasons to buy
+Quick charging+Generous 5ft cord
Reasons to avoid
-Not gorgeous looking

If the number of screens in your home office setup is starting to rival the Batcomputer for sheer ridiculousness, you’ll probably want something to power them all in the most tangle-free way possible. 

This PowerPort can charge up to six USB-powered devices at once, and according to Anker, it can do it up to four times faster than standard chargers, citing 80% charge in just 35 minutes. 

The five-foot detachable power cord also comes in very handy: no more ducking under your desk to check a phone that’s plugged into the processor with the world’s shortest USB.

Desk accessories

5. Rain Design mStand360 Laptop Stand

With 360 swivel and futuristic looks, this is smarter than your average laptop stand

Best for: Practical stand
Size: H23.2 x W25.4 x D15.88cm
Colour: Silver
Weight: 1.63kg
Reasons to buy
+Sleek design+360-swivel base
Reasons to avoid
- Only really made for Macbooks 

Transform a lacklustre desk plus laptop combo into a proper setup with this swiveling laptop stand from Rain Design. Unlike most laptop stands out there, the mStand360 could win awards for both its good looks as well as its functionality, thanks to a handsome, Macbook-matching brushed silver finish and minimal design. 

That’s not to say the functionality isn’t there in full force though: the patented design allows the base to swivel a full 360 degrees, meaning it’s easier than ever to collaborate, whether you’re running someone through a presentation or just collecting opinions on whether you should buy that wacky shirt from ASOS.

Desk accessories

6. Wooden Letter Rack

A superbly stylish way to store invoices, receipts and other admin

Best for: Old school organisation
Size: H15.6 x W29.6 x D15.6cm
Colour: Brown
Weight: Not listed
Reasons to buy
+Looks great+More functional than simple in-tray
Reasons to avoid
- Colour can vary 

This distressed-look wooden desk organiser from Cox & Cox wouldn’t look out of place in a post office in a Wild West frontier town, which is entirely to its credit. 

It’s a little retro to have a dedicated letter organiser, but while the march of the digital age waits for no-one, in the not-entirely-paperless meantime, it’s nice to have somewhere to store reminders, invoices and the like – and with its solid wood design and label holders, this is one of the most stylish options out there.

Desk accessories

7. Ntonpower Cable Tidy Box

Keeps eyesore tangles out of sight and out of harm’s way

Best for: Cable management
Size: H18.4 x W43.6 x D16.8cm
Colour: Grey
Weight: 1.06kg
Reasons to buy
+Big enough for four-way extension+Stops overheating
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a bit corporate for home

Cables are a minimalist’s sworn nemesis, so to avoid a viper’s nest of tangled wires messing up your carefully organised desk or becoming an irresistible temptation to marauding house-cats looking to pick a fight, go for a cable tidy box like this one from Ntonpower. 

There’s enough room inside to hold a four-way extension or bulky laptop battery pack, and the strategically placed exit points make sure everything’s lined up, while the vented bottom panel allow air flow to keep things from overheating.

Desk accessories

8. SUCK UK Pencil Sharpener Desk Tidy

Looks sharp and maintains order

Best for: Whimsical storage
Size: H11.7 x W8.5 x D8.5cm
Colour: Natural or dark wood
Weight: 263g
Reasons to buy
+Cute design+Real quality build
Reasons to avoid
-Just the one section

We’ve all put a pencil in a pencil sharpener before, but this novelty pen and pencil holder from SUCK UK takes the concept to new novelty heights. 

In the form of a giant pencil sharpener, it might seem as if it’s been engineered specifically for the lols, but not only does that oversized shape comes in handy for storing an entire set of coloured pencils or a handful of chunky board pens, it’s also beautifully made, with a sturdy solid wood body and loads of cute details like engraved faux stationer branding and an enormous screw.

And finally... do you need a new desk to put your accessories on? Then check out our rundown of the best desks for your home or office.