Desk Toy Decorating Ideas
Photo by Chris Schrier

Desk Toys For Artists & Creatives: Fun Décor To Jazz Up Your Workspace

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Nothing’s more fun than decorating your workspace. And when you do creative work you know how important it is to have a lively work environment.

But no matter what type of work you do there’s good reason to spruce up your space and make it your own. The trouble is figuring out how to do that!

I’ve picked some of my favorite desk toys and decorations to share in the list below.

I’m hoping this offers plenty of ideas so that something in here will get you excited to dive in and decorate your desk.

Plushies(Of Anything!)

If you’re a huge fan of any movie, TV show, or video game… chances are you can find a plush toy of your favorite characters.

These make awesome desk toys because they’re soft and inexpensive. Plus there’s so much variety cause these types of plushies have been around for decades.

Want a newer plush from a series like Gravity Falls or Star Wars? No problemo.

But maybe you’re a fan of classics like The Jetsons and you want a Rosie the Robot on your desk. That exists too.

Pretty much anything you can think of related to pop culture likely has a plush doll of some kind.

All you have to do is look around and find it.


Handheld Games

By “handheld” I don’t mean electronic video games. I mean classic tabletop games or little puzzle games you can mess with.

A Rubik’s Cube is the obvious first choice and they even sell with small holders to keep them upright on your desk.

But you might also look around for other puzzle games. Think smaller versions of Tic-Tac-Toe or anything similar.

You could even search around to find miniature versions of full tabletop games.

There’s quite a few travel-sized chess boards out there, although they may be a little too much for a smaller space.

Basically just think of a little toy or game that might spruce up your desk while offering some entertainment when you need a break.

And yes, you are allowed to go with a fidget spinner if that’s your thing.


Desk Puzzles

I was going to lump this together in the general “games” section but I think puzzles are a little different.

Desk puzzles are more like tiny mazes or problem solvers where you have to match up pegs based on hole sizes, colors, shapes, stuff like that.

Those tiny ball maze games we had as a kid offer one nice example.

But there’s also a lot of wooden puzzle games you could look at too.

Again, not really games but certainly fun to keep around! They also look at lot cooler than a Tic-Tac-Toe board so they’re a bit more aesthetically appealing.


Bonsai Tree or Zen Garden

You can find tons of desk-sized zen gardens that would add plenty of life to your desk.

Those tiny zen gardens rarely require any effort and they’re mostly just sand, rocks, and some accessories. These are super easy to find and you can get them for real cheap.

And borrowing further from eastern tradition is the bonsai tree. This is technically just an art form of growing trees as if they’re indoor plants, generally called Bonsai.

However not everyone wants to water and sustain a plant just for ambiance.

So in that case you might look into getting a fake bonsai tree instead.

There’s a ton of cool stuff out there with plastic/silk plants or even LED trees designed to act like small desk lamps.

Not to mention offshoots for different fandoms like this Groot bonsai desk toy.


Small Terrarium

A terrarium is much like a bonsai tree except it offers more variety.

You can even design a terrarium without much greenery, although that is the typical use. But laziness often captures all of us so if you don’t want to care for plants try looking into fake terrariums.

Typically these come in one of three ways:

  1. Just fake plants
  2. Just a glass container/holder
  3. A kit with fake plants & a container

Dig through Amazon to see what you can find in the way of terrarium kits.

I’ve seen some really impressive hanging terrariums and desk terrariums that all look incredibly realistic. Since the plants are fake you can even throw in toys or fake animals like frogs or butterflies to add some color.


Novelty Water Drinking Bird

I have a feeling you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

This novelty dipping bird has been a staple in pop culture for years. And it’s still just as awesome today as it was decades ago.

And yes, they do still sell this crazy bird toy brand-spankin’ new. It’s not even expensive.

Only point to mention is that none of these come with a drinking glass. So you’d have to get one yourself or have the bird dipping its beak into something else.

Maybe a pencil holder or perhaps just dipping into the desk?

You don’t have to keep this going all day long either. It’s just a fun toy to play with whenever you’re in the mood.


An Hourglass

With a small sand hourglass on your desk you’ll have a cute little decoration and something that’s actually useful!

Typical hourglasses range from a timer of 30-60 minutes but you can find plenty of smaller ones that time between 5-15 minutes too.

And they all come in different sizes with a variety of sand colors to pick from. They don’t take up much space but definitely grab the eye making them a fun talking point if you’re decorating a workspace in an office.

Take a look at the variety of hourglasses out there and see what you think.

It’s a practical way to time yourself for getting work done or when taking quick breaks.

And if you look around long enough you’ll find some pretty crazy designs out there.


Collectible Toys & Figures

This is another toy I wanted to combine with plushies, but I really think it deserves its own section.

I think of “collectibles” as more unique or rare pieces that go beyond stuffed animals.

Instead you can collect action figures, bobbleheads, or more hard-formed figures that come in collections. I often think of the old Burger King & McDonald’s toys that used to come out as special promos.

But there are so many crazy collectibles across every type of fandom imaginable. This makes it far easier to find something you like related to your favorite TV show or video game.

For example, animation lovers may enjoy these SpongeBob figurines or even this Bmo action figure.

The Funko catalog also sells tons of Pop! Vinyl toys with characters from basically every series.

So there’s a lot of collectibles out there and many are pretty cheap. These can offer lots of creative inspiration and help spice up your desk with visuals from your favorite series.


A Human Skull

Let me clarify: a fake human skull.

Cause yeah, that’s pretty important. You don’t want a surprise visit from the local crime lab.

But really this is a fun decoration especially for artists who should be practicing their skulls frequently.

These come in many different styles with human skulls and even some animal skulls. They seem to be a lot more popular around Halloween but you can buy these miniatures any time of the year.

Just be sure to look around and read reviews on each one. They’re all built differently and some will be more sturdy than others.


Word A Day Tear-Off Calendar

Here’s a pretty creative addition to any desk that also has a lot of variety.

The word-a-day calendars are built for desks and nightstands so they won’t take up much space. You don’t even need to get calendars focused on vocabulary.

I typically call these tear-off calendars and you can find them on basically every topic under the sun.

Some of my favorites are the trivia calendar designs which also have brand-named calendars for game shows like Jeopardy!

Or if you’re a comic fan you might like some variety with New Yorker comics or Dilbert comics in your calendar.

Although if you work in a typical office space Dilbert may be a touch on the nose.


USB Cup Warmer

OK so I can’t really say this is a clear decoration for your desk. But it does offer a practical use in your day-to-day life.

With a small USB cup warmer you can keep your tea, coffee, or Cup O’ Noodles heated to the perfect temperature for hours. These are certainly safer than a hot plate and they can draw less electricity too.

The risk is, of course, that you don’t want open liquids near electronics.

But if you have a container with a cover then you’re all set. These things are pretty cheap and you can even find some cool designs if you look around hard enough.


A Colorful Slinky

Ah, the slinky.

Another beloved childhood toy that seems like a distant memory with today’s iPhones and PS4s.

But these things are still pretty darn fun and they even come in a variety of colors.

If you’d want one for your desk have a quick look around to see what’s out there.

I’ve never found any crazy novelty pop culture slinkies but I bet they exist somewhere.


Desk Globe

Here’s a neat decoration that can really spark creativity.

The Earth is a huge place and it’s tough to memorize all the countries, oceans, capitals, lakes… but with a small desk globe you don’t have to!

A small globe gives you the entire world at your fingertips.

You can quickly flip through the continents and find interesting geographic areas. These come in a variety of colors so you can likely find one to match any office or studio.

Anyone who enjoys traveling will certainly want one. And anyone who adores the world at large will be happy to add a small desk globe for some creative inspiration whether designing, writing, or drawing.

Just make sure you get measurements first. Desk toys are fun but you never want them crowding into your productive space.


Magic 8 Ball

From the classic pool-styled 8 balls to the newer emoji-style 8 balls there’s a lot of fun to go around.

You can pick these up for dirt cheap and use them for making those tough decisions. Or to help you decide which restaurant to order for lunch.

I always loved these things as a kid and they’re sure to grab attention from other co-workers if you’re in an office.

Or if you have kids yourself they might barge into your office to play with these magical fortune telling spheres.

But have a look at all the 8 ball designs and see what you think. There’s a bunch of fun styles to wade through if you want something beyond the standard black billiards ball.


Etch A Sketch

This childhood classic never gets old and you can make some beautiful artwork on this bad boy.

Regardless of what you do at your desk or your level of artistic ability, anyone can learn to maneuver two knobs. Granted you may not get a lot of work done… but that’s another topic.

Nowadays they still sell classic Etch A Sketch toys along with newer models for younger kids.

I’m partial to the classic red myself, and if you grew up with one of these things you’ll probably feel the same way.


Newton’s Cradle

I couldn’t write this article without mentioning the lovable cliché toy with the hanging metal balls. Otherwise known as a Newton’s cradle.

These are often a bit pricier than other desk toys but they’re a classic for a reason. These things are so fun and they’re great for home offices or work offices alike.

Have a look at the variety of Newton’s cradles out there and see what you can find.

They all come in different styles with different colors, base styles, and sizes. If you’re adamant about sprucing up your desk décor then a Newton’s cradle is a great piece to add.

As an alternative you might check out this similar toy called a “decision maker”.

It’s magnetic and designed to swirl around until it stops on a specific answer to any question you have. Kinda like a magic 8 ball except… swirly.

But I certainly hope there’s at least one thing in this list grabbing your attention.

Most of these ideas are pretty affordable so you can redesign your desk with fun desk toys without breaking the bank.