Product Reviews

Warm Up Your Workspace With These Organic Office Accessories

Dann Albright 07-10-2014

There’s a certain office style that seems to dominate over most others at the moment: lots of angles, sharp lines, and hard, artificial materials. Lots of glass, chrome, and very dark, cold colors. But it doesn’t have to be that way! These products will help you bring in an organic influence to warm up your office without losing the sleek look that’s so popular.


Grovemade Apple and Desk Accessories


Walnut is a gorgeous wood, and Grovemade combines it with the nice lines of Apple products to make an absolutely stunning mashup of technology and nature. The keyboard tray ($79) fits the Apple Bluetooth keyboard like a glove, and gives you some extra storage space, and the monitor stand ($119), mousepad ($79), and wrist pad ($49) will work with any sort of equipment that you have. And the varied dishes, planters, and a desk lamp ($119) round out the collection.


But you don’t have be at your desk to appreciate the beauty of Grovemade products: they make cases and bumpers for iPhones, cases and backs for Macbooks and iPads, and even a watch ($239). If you appreciate leather, you can also pick up a notebook or an iPhone case with a leather front, and if walnut isn’t your thing, most of their products come in maple, as well.

Pfeiffer Woodbase Collection by Evernote



Evernote has been getting into the branding game lately (with things like a Côte&Ciel backpack and the Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Review and Giveaway Adonit is a well-known stylus maker, and the Jot Script is their newest product. Unlike most stylus makers, most of Adonit's styluses have unique tips which you won't find on other styluses. Read More ), and my first thought is usually, “Wow, that’s expensive.” However, I was struck by the Pfeiffer Woodbase Collection‘s simple design and multi-material look. Eric Pfeiffer has done a phenomenal job of creating desk accessories that work extremely well with the things you use every day: the slotted cup holds your phone or business cards and has a secret compartment in the bottom; the tablet stand has a cutout through the bottom so you can plug in your iPad without cluttering your desk with cables.


If you want all three pieces, you’ll be dropping $110, which is a lot for desk accessories, but the walnut accents are beautiful, and will definitely help create a warmer, more natural feel in your office. If you like the design and convenience aspects, but not the price, you can also purchase three colors of the slotted cup and stacking cups from the Brightbase Collection (including, of course, Evernote green).

Glass Terrariums



Although I’m trying to get you away from the steel-and-glass look of the office, there’s definitely room for some of its influence. There’s no denying that concrete, metal, glass, and hard plastic have a sleek look that’s connected to the minimalist-tech-startup vibe. Combining this aesthetic with the most “naturey” of office decorations, the desk plant, gives you a super cool way to add some green without cluttering your office with those little terra cotta planters.


There are tons of options for glass terrariums, but I especially like Cube Terrarium from West Elm, pictured above. It’s a bit of an investment at $49, but the fact that it serves as several small terrariums makes it a better deal than it sounds at first. You can also go for a more natural shape, like the shell terrarium pictured directly above ($17 from Dot & Bo).

There are tons of options for housing plants in your office — find one that works for you! And if you think plants just take up space, try an herb terrarium — you’ll have fresh herbs to bring home for cooking. And if you’re looking for more great ideas, check out this Fun Office Plants board on Pinterest!


Canvas Storage


Not all of the best ways to make your office feel more organic have to do with plants and wood. Materials like canvas and linen can make a big difference too — they look and feel quite a bit warmer than plastic or metal, and they’re generally a lot cheaper than wood, too. You can find canvas boxes and bins in a lot of different shapes: the one shown above is actually a kids’ art supplies organizer ($15), but would work perfectly for desktop storage.


Rubbermaid also makes a series of canvas- and cloth-covered storage options, that come in a number of sizes and colors; above are two bins that could be used as letter trays or temporary file storage ($12) for your office. There are others that include flexible dividers that can be removed to create different storage configurations. A quick search on Amazon will show you a huge range of bins that will solve just about any office storage need.


Organic Writing Implements


Now that you have storage, organization, and plant life covered, you can focus on the really small, day-to-day things. I mentioned some of my favorite pens in this article about great notebooks 3 Paper Notebooks Worth Shelling Out For We do a lot of writing about high-tech ways to keep track of things and manage your life. But sometimes a plain old notebook is the best thing you can use. Read More , but I didn’t mention some of the more stylish ones that I like, including almost the entire range of E+M’s pens and pencils, pictured above. They use multiple different types of wood (including the awesome zebrano wood seen in the Shaper ($6), center, and the Sketch Pencil ($27), right).


And if you’re writing with a wooden pen, you might as well go all-out and get one of these wood-covered notebooks from Franklin Mill ($9.99 for 5″ x 8″, $11.99 for 7″ x 10″). The covers are 100% wood, but they’re designed to flex and are reinforced by laminated webbing. You can also get a really cool reclaimed wood version.

Let Nature In

We’ve been striving to push nature out of our buildings and offices for a long time, but the synthesis of nature and technology makes for some beautiful, warm spaces that will help you be productive 9 Ways To Be More Productive If you feel that you're just not achieving enough with what little time you have, perhaps you should refocus: beginning with this list. Read More and make you feel more comfortable at your desk Don’t Break Your Back: 5 Tips For Using A Laptop In Comfort Laptops are small, light and portable. They are also, in a strange twist of fate, often far more uncomfortable than the bulky desktops they replace. Being forced to place the screen, touchpad and keyboard in... Read More . Embrace nature!

How do you let nature into your office? Have you taken any steps to make your office or home feel more organic? Share your thoughts below!

Image credit: laptop keyboard and sticky notes on rustic wooden table (edited) via Shutterstock.

Related topics: Buying Tips, Workspace.

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  1. John Williams
    October 23, 2014 at 12:44 am

    This reminds me of the walnut burr dashboard on the 60 thousand dollar car that now has the "old" iPhone dock. It looks spectacularly crappy with the socket adapter and now the phone wobbles about too much.

    That Apple keyboard holder in the first pic has a lifespan of 50-60 years made of real wood. Sadly, Apple will redesign the keyboard next year ....

    Finally, if Apple provided proper height adjustment on the iMac, monitor stands would be a relic of the 90's

    • Dann Albright
      October 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Fortunately, you don't have to spend $60,000 to get these accessories. In fact, you can get quite a few of them for less than $60. I'd say the difference in scale makes for a pretty poor comparison. Also, if you own a $60,000 car, you can probably afford to have the 30-pin replaced with an Apple connector. Can't be too difficult.

      However, I do agree that a lot of the Grovemade stuff is dependent on Apple designs. That's a bit of a drawback. The fact that wood is often recyclable, though, and that Apple accessories seem to be pretty long-lived, helps a lot. Apple might redesign the keyboard next year, but that certainly doesn't mean that you (well, most people, at least) have to buy a new one.

      And yes, if iMac monitors could be adjusted, we wouldn't need to worry about monitor stands. But they look gorgeous as they are . . . and I don't see Apple messing with that design anytime soon.

      Thanks for reading and chiming in!

  2. Scott
    October 8, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Great, so we're going to be cutting down *more* trees to accommodate an 'organic' office look?!

    • Dann Albright
      October 9, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Well, that's one option. Another is to choose recycled wood products, like the Miro notebook. Another is to choose the things listed above that aren't made of wood, like the glass terrariums and the canvas storage. Another is to keep using things like plastics, which require fossil fuels to make, don't decompose, and introduce toxins into the environment when they're manufactured.

    • dragonmouth
      October 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      How about NOT using any of these gewgaws and frippery?

    • Dann Albright
      October 13, 2014 at 8:08 am

      That is, of course, another option.

  3. Zisu Saar
    October 8, 2014 at 12:59 am

    ya sure why not? lets go buy these things? also, on the same note, where can I buy tissue paper made of gold foil to wipe my ass?

  4. NotoriousZeus
    October 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Correcto Mundo!!

  5. dragonmouth
    October 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    All this stuff is for people who have too much disposable income and don't know what to do with it.

    • NotoriousZeus
      October 7, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Correcto Mundo!