With all the time we spend at out desks—not just playing games and working but chatting with friends, watching videos, and hopefully minding our ergonomics—it doesn't hurt to treat yourself to a new accessory, a toy, or other pleasing doodad every now and then. The same way we want a comfortable bed for all the sleeping we do in our lives, we want a comfortable environment at our desks.
Sure, we've got our PCs, our monitors, our headsets and mice and microphones, but have you added anything that makes your desk a more pleasant place to spend time? That's our question this week: What have you used to make your desk nicer?
We've got answers from the PC Gamer team below, and we'd love to hear yours in the comments, too.
A coffee warmer
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: I cannot stress enough that I'm not joking when I say that this silly, very cheap coffee warmer has changed my desk life. A friend got me one years ago and I replaced it with an identical one after years and years of mugs had finally scratched away too much of the heating pad coating. I drink three cups of coffee a morning, but very, very slowly. I used to walk downstairs to my microwave several times a day when I'd inevitably let a cup get cold by accident. Never again.
A monitor stand
Evan Lahti, Global Editor-in-Chief: Apparently this thing costs $60, yikes, but the Fellowes Monitor Stand that I snagged from our offices eons ago remains a big help. It's just nice to have a second tier on your desk, another layer to sit stuff on and under. I put a speaker atop it that I use for general audio playback, when I'm not playing a game that merits a headset. And the drawer is a vault for all kinds of necessary junk: stamps, batteries, chapstick, USB sticks, knives.
A wireless mouse
Tim Clark, Brand Director: In terms of actual computery stuff, Wes turned me on to the joys of a Wireless mouse a few years back and I've been using a Logitech one ever since. It's a bit like the swap from driving a stick shift to an automatic—your former life suddenly feels absurdly primitive. Everything just makes more sense. As for desk frippery, my middle sister bought me one of those plasma balls a few birthdays ago, and though I don't have it on that often, whenever I do it delights me.
A fake cat
Graeme Meredith, Video Editor: There is a fake cat in the office. I have used it to make my desk nicer.
Tyler Wilde, Executive Editor: My last pair of glasses came with an oversized microfiber cleaning cloth and it's now my favorite desk thing. Smudges on your glasses suck (if you don't wear glasses, imagine looking at your monitor through photographic evidence of ghosts) and regular cleaning cloths feel like accessories for dolls once you've used an appropriately sized one. No more swirling a tiny fabric square around, moving the smudge in circles and then accidentally touching the lens while trying to find a cleaner bit of cloth. Now I can cover my whole hand in microfiber and become something more than human. When the smudges start to win against even Large Cloth, I wash it and let it dry, clean my glasses with warm water and Dawn dish soap, and then use the laundered cloth's ample surface area to dry them. I will never return to Small Cloth oafishness.
A whole new desk
Natalie Clayton, Features Producer: Is it boring to say "a better desk"? When Scotland entered a second lockdown and I was forced to stop using my co-working space in Leith, I was crammed into a plate-sized desk in the front room. Keyboard hanging off one end, monitor stand off the other, with a slight wobble to make the entire affair feel extra precarious. Took a minute, but I ended up finally replacing it with a perfectly unremarkable Ikea desk the other month—and beyond the immediate thrill of feeling like a DIY expert, it's the wee touch I needed to make this space feel less like a spare bedroom and more like an actual office.
Just kidding, my real answer is this daft 3D-printed Apex Legends gravity lift I got off Etsy.
Books. Sort of.
John Strike, Art Editor: I'm currently working off a temporary desk which is a few inches too short. The books I've used to prop it up include:
The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide: A comprehensive need to know for new fathers that's also been used as a coaster.
Pompeii: The Erotic Secrets: An inexplicable Christmas gift from my parents showcasing some of the finest pornography in ancient Rome.
No One Home: The tenth book in Tim Weaver's David Raker crime series. Fascinating fact: Tim Weaver used to be my manager, and editor of Xbox World Magazine.
The Every Day Chicken Cookbook: Condemned to a life on the floor by chickens who demand change.
A little fan
Christopher Livingston, Features Producer: This little fan with fabric paddles. It's relatively quiet, it provides a nice little breeze provided you're quite close to it (and since it's on your desk, you're quite close to it), and it doesn't have a grill like most fans so it never really gets dusty or dirty. The fabric paddles mean you can stick your hand right into it and it won't hurt (my dumb cat loves swiping at the spinning blades with his dumb cat foot and even trying to bite them). I like it so much I bought a second one for the end table in our living room.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: This morning I drank some Irn Bru, like most mornings. Does the empty bottle make my desk nicer? Who can say? But my thirst is quenched, and that's nice.