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Moodboarding my office

Help me choose between three (!) moodboards

An office area. There is a desk with a wood top and white drawers. There are two chairs with fuzzy white cushions. There is a large computer monitor on the desk. Works of art hang over the desk. The walls are white.
A House Calls home office from a San Francisco remodel.
Photography by Carlos Chavarria

Welcome! This week, I moved into a new workspace in Vox Media’s DC headquarters, so I’ve got office decor on the brain. Take a gander at my three moodboards below, then stick around for some fun links, plus discussion of a very ~controversial~ topic. —Kelsey

In the mood for office talk

What’s the first thing I do when I hear, “I have good news: We found a dedicated space for the Curbed team”?

I make a moodboard. Or three.

Given the practicalities of furnishing a workspace (budget, mainly, but also overhead fluorescent lighting and lack of window), I had a few priorities in mind: Source ambient lighting, primarily one desk lamp and one floor lamp. Bring artwork from home to personalize the space. Select flexible pieces that can be used elsewhere in the office, if needed. And don’t let my champagne tastes lead me astray when picking out a bookshelf.

Everything I’ve chosen here is under $600, assembled into three directions. (Two of these heavily feature green, so you can probably tell which color palette I’m leaning toward.)

Peachy Keen

A collection of office furniture in a peach tone, including a chair on wheels, hanging pendant light, and planter.
Clockwise from top left: Daily task chair in red from Blu Dot ($599); Line art LED floor lamp from West Elm ($349); Chicago lowboy in cherry from Blu Dot ($599); Ambit pendant light by Muuto x TAF Architects from A+R Store ($229); sage bush from Magnolia Home ($28); Magino clear stool by Umbra at Prism ($200); teakwood desk accessories from LEIF ($32); fine art print from Inaluxe ($169); oval glass vase from H&M Home ($20); Wyn woven planter basket from Urban Outfitters ($29); Rein saddle leather desk blotter from CB2 ($129); chrome task lamp from CB2 ($149).

Organic Meets Industrial

A collection of office furniture with wooden textures and gray coloring, including a desk tray, standing lamp, and foot stool.
Clockwise from top left: Mango wood tray from H&M Home ($30); Big Dipper brushed nickel floor lamp from CB2 ($199); potted faux Japanese bonsai from CB2 ($40); Cement letter tray from CB2 ($25); dark turquoise ceramic planter with wood stand from World Market ($25); Project 62 quilted velvet lumbar throw pillow from Target ($24); Ryder wide bookcase from CB2 ($399); Baxton Studio Lovise walnut wood ottoman from Target ($80); leather upholstered swivel desk chair from West Elm ($799); No. 2 art print from Hotel Magique ($83); Filter table lamp in Ochre from Blu Dot ($299).

Graphic Duotone

A collection of office furniture with a graphic theme, including a black and brown striped ottoman, a wall calendar with large numbers on display, and a zoomed-in green apple print that is framed.
Clockwise from top left: I like my apples green art print from Hotel Magique ($77); 3.14 white bookcase by Mark Daniel from CB2 ($549); Monochrome balans chair by Varier in Glacier ($449); gilded black file holder from CB2 ($25); paper floor lamp from Target ($20); Domes black marble table lamp from CB2 ($249); small bottle bud vase from Urban Outfitters ($29); Jaipur mason pouf from Target ($180); Stendig wall calendar at Amazon ($40); Eeny Meeny Miny trays from Blu Dot ($129).


Which moodboard is your favorite?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Peachy Keen
    (40 votes)
  • 43%
    Organic Meets Industrial
    (54 votes)
  • 24%
    Graphic Duotone
    (30 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

Bonus bookshelf shopping round

A three-tiered brown bookshelf with mesh sides against a white background.
Budget pick: If you’re going to get in on a trend (hello, caning!), you might want to test the waters before shelling out the big bucks. This Minsmere bookshelf from Target does the trick for $114.
A three-tiered white bookshelf with drawers at the bottom and dark blue sides against a white wall. Four books are arranged on the top shelf while plants sit on the middle shelf, and wooden plates are stacked on the bottom shelf.
Baller pick: I love this Ruby bookcase from West Elm. It’s way cuter than it needs to be—check out those cerulean drawer pulls!—and the mix of open and closed storage is very practical. It’s a bit of a splurge at $1,199, but it’s quite versatile.

One more thing

You may have noticed that I’ve linked exclusively to fake plants in the moodboards above. For a few years now, millennials have obsessed over keeping indoor plants (and in fact, a lot of them bought their plants online). Who’s to say if the idea of #plantlife trumps the reality of actually keeping those plants alive, or if an entire generation is suffering from watering fatigue (or if they’re just too busy camping). Either way, artificial flora are eeeevvvvverywheeeerrrrre at the moment, from Pottery Barn to World Market to Urban Outfitters. And I’m actually considering test-driving a few for my office, which, as I mentioned above, is not blessed with an exterior window. Stay tuned!

A woman in sweats lies lazily on her couch clutching a remote control in front of the television. A laptop, snacks, and old dishes lie on the floor in front of her. Illustration by Sunny Eckerle

Today in tabs

  • If you were one of the tens of thousands of people who read and loved our architecture critic Alexandra Lange’s treatise on the kitchen islands of Big Little Lies, well, have we got a treat for you: even! more! design on television! Our August TV Issue explores the homes of the small screen and how they reflect both our own desires and our larger cultural issues. From an obsession with teen bedrooms to a historian’s take on how the television set transformed our homes, there’s a little something for everyone. Binge our feature issue here.
  • If you’ve never selfied in an Ettore Sottsass mirror, have you ever really selfied at all? New York magazine’s Strategist section unpacks the popularity of the irresistible Ultrafragola mirror, designed by Memphis maestro Sottsass in 1970 (it predates the Memphis Group by a decade, if you’re keeping track). Made of vacuum-formed acrylic sheet and a pink neon light, it’s so much more than the sum of its parts: curvy, flattering, and the perfect frame for capturing one’s lewk.
  • Speaking of the Strategist: Yours truly shared some insight on putting together a wedding registry this week.

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