How to Decorate a Secretary Desk

Are you looking for a stylish and functional piece of furniture to homeschool in style, use as an at-home office desk, or just tuck away in the corner of any room? A secretary desk may be just what you need.

How to Decorate a Secretary Desk

From its large workspace to its multiple compartments for storage, this traditional favorite is also perfectly suited for modern interiors, with pieces able to fit into all types of spaces. In this blog post, we share tips on how to decorate a secretary desk, so it fits seamlessly into your home’s style while providing practicality and plenty of storage space. Let’s get started!

Why Is It Called a Secretary Desk?

The term “secretary desk” was originally used in the 18th century to describe a piece of furniture that provided storage and work space with a particular design—a slant top that could be opened to provide writing or working space. The name comes from the French word secrétaire, which means secretary.

This type of furniture was popular because it allowed people to work in a relatively comfortable, organized environment within the home. Today, secretary desks are still popular and remain a stylish addition to any room. Not only do they serve their original purpose of providing storage and workspace, but they also make a beautiful design statement in any home.

Decorating and styling a secretary’s desk is an ideal way to bring a touch of classic charm and sophistication into your home. Modern secretary desks come in a variety of styles—from traditional to mid-century modern and even more contemporary designs.

Styling a Secretary's Desk

No matter what style you choose, decorating a secretary desk allows you to express your personal style while also adding visual interest to the room.

10 Methods How to Decorate a Secretary Desk

1.  Hang a Wreath

One of the easiest ways to decorate a secretary’s desk is to hang a wreath on the door. Wreaths are available in a variety of styles and can be made from real or artificial plants. Fabric and ribbon wreaths can be used to create a festive and welcoming atmosphere. Hanging a wreath over the desk is also an easy way to add color and texture.

While wreaths can be hung year-round, they are particularly popular during the holiday season. Make sure to measure the door before hanging a wreath to ensure it is large enough to cover the entire surface.

2.  Add some Greenery

Another easy way to decorate a secretary’s desk is to add some greenery. You can use real or artificial plants, as well as cut flowers. Place the plants and flowers in pots or vases of different sizes and arrange them around the desk. You can also hang some plants from the wall near the desk to give it a more natural look.

Be sure not to overcrowd the space with too much greenery, as this can make the room look cluttered. Additionally, you should choose plants that are suitable for the lighting in your space; some plants require more light than others. Place the greenery in different locations around the desk to create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look.

Place the Greenery in Different Locations Around the Desk

3.  Use Candles

Candles are a great way to add both light and decoration to a secretary’s desk. Choose candles that complement the other colors in the room. For example, if your desk is white, you could use red candles for a festive touch. Place them around the desk for a warm, inviting look.

Adding scented candles can also be a nice way to make your space feel even more inviting. Be sure to blow out the candles before leaving the room. This will help prevent any potential fires or other safety hazards.

4.  Display Family Photos

One way to personalize your secretary’s desk is to display family photos. Choose photos that are special to you and frame them in matching frames. Arrange the photos on the desk or hang them on the wall above the desk. This will add a personal touch to the décor of your secretary desk.

Another great way to decorate is to hang a decorative mirror or wall art that is meaningful to you and your family. You can also place a vase or other decorations on the desk to add a touch of color and beauty. Finally, hang a few family photos on the door for a special finishing touch.

5.  Collect Antique Desk Accessories

If you want your secretary’s desk to have a more antique look, collect some vintage-style desk accessories. Look for items made of brass, bronze, or other metals. Try to find items that match the overall look of your desk, such as paperweights and letter openers.

If you have a modern secretary’s desk, look for accessories with a sleek, contemporary design. You can also add some traditional elements, such as desk lamps and bookends, to give your desk a touch of classic style. A set of antique inkwells is another great way to add a unique, vintage look to your desk.

Collect Some Vintage Style Desk Accessories

6.  Use Decorative Storage Boxes

Storage boxes are not only functional but can also be quite decorative. Look for storage boxes that match the style of your desk and fill them with items such as stationery, stamps, or other office supplies. For a more ornamental touch, add a basket of fresh flowers or plants to the top of your desk. This will give the area a pop of color and an air of sophistication.

7.  Hang Curtains

If your secretary’s desk is located near a window, hang curtains on either side of the window to add privacy and decoration. Choose curtains that match the color scheme of the room and hang them high enough, so they do not obstruct your view when you are sitting at the desk.

If the room doesn’t have a window, hang curtains on either side of the desk to add color and texture. Although you can use store-bought curtains, you may also want to make them yourself. This will allow you to customize the color and pattern to match the décor of the room. 

8.  Paint or Wallpaper the Backdrop

Another way to decorate a secretary’s desk is to paint or wallpaper the wall behind it. This will create a backdrop for your desk and make it more visually appealing. Choose colors that complement the rest of the room’s décor, or go for something bolder if you want your desk to really stand out.

If you’re feeling creative, you can even add a custom mural or painted pattern to the wall. This will give your secretary desk an eye-catching, unique look. Make sure you use paints or wallpapers that are designed for interior surfaces, so the results will last for years to come.

9.  Add Area Rugs

Area rugs are another great way to decorate a secretary’s desk. They can add color, pattern, and texture to the room and help protect your floor from scratches. When choosing an area rug, make sure it is large enough so that all four legs of the chair fit on top of it when you are sitting at the desk.

Additionally, choose a rug with a non-slip backing if it will be placed on hardwood floors. Finally, consider the color, pattern, and texture of the rug to make sure it complements the other elements in the room. With a few easy steps, you can easily add a rug to your secretary desk for a more finished look.

Add a Rug to Your Secretary Desk

10.  Decorate with Banners or Flags

Banners and flags make great decorations for any type of desk, including a secretary’s desk. You can find banners and flags with all sorts of designs, including ones that represent your favorite sports team, country, or holiday. Simply hang them on the wall behind your desk or on either side of your computer monitor.

For an extra special touch, choose banners and flags that feature your family name or a meaningful quote.

What Type of Furniture Is a Secretary?

A secretary is a type of furniture typically used to store personal items and paperwork. It is usually tall and narrow, with several drawers, and sometimes has a hinged drop-down or pull-out writing surface. Traditionally, secretaries have been large pieces of furniture that take up a significant amount of space in a room.

However, modern versions are often designed with the same functionality but on a smaller scale to fit into smaller living spaces.

When looking for a secretary desk, it is important to consider its materials, size, and design. Many are made of wood, but there are many other options available, including metal and plastic. They can also be found in various sizes, shapes, and colors to fit the style of any space.

Once you find the perfect secretary desk for your home, you’re ready to get started on decorating it!


A secretary desk is a stylish and practical addition to any home office or living room. By following these simple tips on how to decorate a secretary desk, you can easily transform an ordinary piece of furniture into a beautiful and functional work of art.

With a little bit of creativity and some elbow grease, you can decorate a secretary desk that suits your unique style and needs.

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