It’s common for Singapore university students to find themselves hunched over projects and assignments, miserably stuck at a desk. In contrast, Rae, a fellow university student, transforms her desk into a personal sanctuary, creating an epicentre for productivity and inspiration within the confines of her family’s communal study room.
From invaluable styling tips to essential productivity-boosting items, Rae takes us through the ins and outs of how to give your desk a “whimsical MUJI” look.
Design inspiration behind the “whimsical MUJI” look
Image credit: Rae
The cornerstone of Rae’s workspace, the desk, was designed by Rae’s parents and custom-built by a contractor as part of a pre-move-in renovation project.
While her parents were not professional designers, they had a very clear vision for the family study room – a simple, woody, MUJI-esque aesthetic. “A lot of my styling decisions were made to adapt to the space, rather than an aesthetic built from scratch,” she reflected, “and I think this helped to shape my style in terms of decorating decisions and content creation as a whole.”
When she first started decorating her space, Rae’s initial wall art concept revolved around a polaroid picture and several postcards. Over time, as she began frequenting art fairs – and admittedly indulging in more frivolous spending – she amassed a collection of trinkets from small artists, ranging from washi tape to art prints.
“I was naturally inclined towards bright colours, and I suppose having such a consistent preference helped curate a cohesive look for my space,” she said.
The young content creator also highlighted the evolution of her Instagram page aesthetic; while her initial posts were taken against a white background with a desaturated and overexposed depiction, she eventually settled on her current warm and maximalist aesthetic.
Desk tour & Rae’s favourite items to supercharge productivity
Rae’s decorating philosophy revolves around the principle of surrounding herself with things that make her happy. As the majority of her time was spent working at her desk, Rae made it a point to adorn every bare space on her wall with her cherished art prints, postcards, and keepsakes.
Additionally, Rae’s love for ambient lighting led her to amass a collection of small lamps to give her desk space a warm glow. Her collection consists of everything from an adorable Tokage night light from Kinokuniya, to a quirky Taobao Mario lamp and even a set of Sanrio lamps from Miniso in Shanghai.
Miniso table lamp (~S$10), Sumikko Gurashi study timer (~S$12), and 4-port USB wall charger (~S$6).
Image credit: Rae
Rae’s essential items for her productive workspace include a Miniso table lamp, Sumikko Gurashi study timer, and 4-port USB wall charger.
Small and wireless with 3 lighting settings, the Miniso table lamp helps Rae maintain focus when she has to work at her desk late into the night. Meanwhile, her treasured Sumikko Gurashi study timer acts as a visual reflection of Rae’s time management, and holds sentimental value due to being purchased on one of her trips to Japan.
Lastly, although she rarely features it online, Rae’s 4-port wall charger is an invaluable device for keeping her cables organised and eliminating desk clutter. Compact and convenient, the wall charger ensures all Rae’s devices are readily charged and within reach as she works.
“I always try to keep my main space clear, so that it’s ready for me to get work done when I need to enter the zone,” Rae said, pointing out her ever-growing washi tape collection, which she displays on her upper shelf rather than within her actual workspace.
Desk DIYS: Sumikko Gurashi acrylic display & custom keyboard keycaps
Image credit: Rae
In addition to art prints, postcards, and keepsakes, Rae enhances her space with creative DIY projects such as her personalised Sumikko Gurashi acrylic light display.
“My university has a makerspace facility with a laser-cutting machine and all sorts of materials provided for free, so I learned how to convert online images into vector files that a laser cutting machine could read, and engraved some clear acrylic with the design I liked,” Rae explained, adding that she purchased the light base separately from Shopee for around S$7.
Reflecting on the cost-effectiveness and uniqueness of her creation, Rae expressed her satisfaction with the fulfilling DIY process, resolving to explore more designs in the future.
Additionally, Rae used an Adobe Illustrator keyboard template to design her own set of colourful keycaps in collaboration with Goblintechkeys. “Unsurprisingly, I went for bright colours,” Rae grinned, adding that she used her own handwriting for the keyboard font in order to create a “fun, homey sort of feel”.
“Whimsical MUJI” desk for under $200
Image credit: Rae
Since many of the items on her desk were acquired through gifted collaborations, such as the majority of her washi tape collection, Rae’s main expenditure was on art prints, lamps, and desk organisers. Although Sumikko Gurashi merchandise was definitely another big expense for her, Rae managed to keep her total spendings below $200.
As a person with strong taste preferences, Rae’s carefully considered purchases for her workspace have left her with few regrets. However, Rae does admit that she was gifted an LED clock that she hardly uses due to the distracting nature of the flashing digits. “If there’s anything I’d remove from my set-up, it’d be that,” she confesses.
Ultimately, Rae concludes by emphasising that the styling of her desk has been an ongoing journey. She strongly advises fellow students to decorate their desk spaces with things that make them happy – in her words, “it’s important to be surrounded by things that make you happy!”
For more home inspo:
- 6 best standing desks to stop backaches and improve productivity
- This HDB bedroom looks straight out of a MUJI lookbook
- 13 best organisation products to buy from MUJI
Cover image adapted from: Rae
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