Desk mats may not be something you’ve given a lot of thought to, but they’re a smart buy—they can protect your desk from spills and scratches and/or hide the stains and scratches from BEFORE you had a desk mat. When you’ve got kids, an extra layer of protection is good to have on all sorts of surfaces! (I’ve almost forgotten what our dining room table looks like, as it’s been covered by a tablecloth for more than a decade…) With tons of options for colors and designs—from sophisticated to fun—desk mats are easy to coordinate with any desk organizers or home office essentials you’re using as you work from home.
Whether you keep your workspace pristine or you have messy piles of paper everywhere (hey, no judgment here!), a desk mat can make your desk look nicer, and maybe even brighten your day a little bit. And if you’re still using that ugly mousepad that you got for free at a conference years ago, you can ditch that and use the smooth surface of your new desk pad instead. (In a pinch, it can even stand in as a yoga mat for your kids’ stuffed animals. Maybe that’ll keep them busy while you’re trying to work. #OneCanDream)
Best Desk Mats
If you like the look of a leather desk mat, but not the high price—or the fact that it comes from an animal—this faux leather mat is for you. (Bonus: You also don’t have to worry about your kid spilling something on real leather and ruining it.) The little loop in the back keeps your laptop power cord out of the way and stops it from falling on the floor when you unplug it (so annoying!). The surface is waterproof and scratch-resistant. One reviewer noted that the mat is great “for any work area where you need improved mouse functionality or protection from spills/marks/heat. The leather grain looks and feels amazing.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m getting a cute-B&B vibe from this floral print—maybe with this on your desk, you can pretend for a minute that you’re in a cozy room in an inn all by yourself, free to do whatever you want—after you use the desk mat to write a postcard telling your family how much you “miss” them. Setting aside that fantasy for a minute, this mat is water-resistant and heat-resistant and easy to clean—nice if you’re going to be eating or drinking at your desk. One VERY thorough shopper wrote, “I must have looked at a 100 different large mouse pads before I pulled the trigger on this purchase. I am SO happy I did.”
Feeling unmotivated while working from home? Get this faux-leather world map mat and imagine how you’ll travel to one of the countries on the map someday… Then get back to work and make some money to boost that travel fund! And if your kids are bugging you while you’re at the computer working or paying bills, perhaps looking at the map will distract them … for at least 60 seconds. This mat is waterproof, oil-proof, and easy to clean. Moreover, at least one reviewer found that it does double duty. He wrote, “The map helps me to improve my geography when I get tired of just looking at the computer screen.”
Here’s a nice feature for anything in a home with kids: This desk mat doesn’t show fingerprints. It’s also transparent, so you can use it to protect and display photos, notes, and more (or maybe a motivational message, such as the helpful reminder I saw on a planner cover the other day: “F*ck the inspiring quote, just get your shit done”). The mat is PVC-treated, recyclable, and washable, and it “encourages a fine circulation of air to avoid discoloration of wooden desks,” which apparently is a thing. (It’s also “shock resistant,” which really makes me wonder what some people are doing with their desk mats.)
I have a similar mouse pad that’s inspired by Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom (yes, I had to google the name of the painting), and they’re both really pretty. This non-slip rubber desk mat is water-resistant and easy to clean. Plus, the surface of the pad is “optical friendly,” so both normal and optical mice will work well. One happy customer noted, “These are wonderfully printed, there are no weird spots from the printing like a mouse pad I had previously ordered elsewhere. They are also generously heavy and they stay put.”
In addition to having a clear cover (with a non-glare finish) that you can store photos, notes, and other items underneath, this desk mat has a ruler printed on the top (with U.S. AND metric measurements—well, la di da). The ruler probably isn’t something you’re going to use too often when you’re working from home, but I could see it being pretty useful for crafting. One reviewer wrote that the last mat they bought lasted 18 years! So if you buy one, by the time it wears out, your kids will probably be out of the house and you can wake up any time you want on the weekends, hooray!
I’m definitely getting a Sound of Music vibe from this desk mat. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to break into song when you need a break from work. (I’m sorry if you now have “Do-Re-Mi” stuck in your head. OK, not really.) If you’re not inspired to sing, you can still gaze at the pretty photo of mountains and daydream of a place that is the complete opposite of your home office. What makes it convenient is that it’s waterproof and easy to clean (if you do spill on it). If you’re looking for a large mat, you’re in luck; one reviewer wrote, “The size is HUGE. … I can fit my monitor, keyboard, mouse and numerous other desk items all over it.”
Best Desk Pads
The golden age of Millennial Pink may have come and gone, but that’s no reason to pass up this pale pink desk mat. If you’re NOT a fan of pink, no worries—this faux leather, reversible mat is available in several color combinations, including navy/yellow and black/red. It’s also water-resistant and heat-resistant and comes in three sizes. One of the thousands of positive reviews offers a testimonial to how this can provide serious protection for your desk: “In the midst of changing a printer cartridge, not thinking, I set it on my desk! The ink bled through everything down to this lovely little desk pad! Not only did it prevent the ink from getting on my new desk, it cleaned up with little effort and remains like brand new!”
I don’t care if the “galaxy” trend is basically over; I still really like the design. (The other day I admired a space-print backpack a student was carrying at my kid’s school; obviously, she doesn’t care either!) This space-themed desk mat, which is an Amazon bestseller, has a non-slip surface on the bottom as well as stitched edges that prevent fraying. One customer raved, “So long little mouse pad. Hello beautiful computer desk. Just the right thickness. Lays flat right out of the box. So much easier using [a] mouse without a defined small space.”
So, maybe you don’t have marble countertops in your kitchen. (Or granite countertops. Or non-hideous countertops.) But hey, at least you can have a desk mat that looks like marble. This mat has several color options for marble patterns, including some that may not actually exist in nature. But unless you’re a geologist (in which case, you rock—and I immediately and sincerely apologize for the pun), who cares? They just look pretty! The product description notes that the mat is machine washable, but for your sake I hope you don’t encounter any desk-related mishaps that necessitate machine washing.
If you’re NOT looking for something colorful and eye-catching and would rather your desk mat blend into the background and simply do its job of protecting your desk, this mat would be a great choice. It’s available in black and brown faux leather and is slightly cushioned. In case you want to give this desk mat as a gift (presumably a “Wow, you are hard to buy for!” sort of present), the mat comes with a nice gift box. It also has a lifetime replacement warranty, which isn’t exactly what I’d expect from a desk mat—so, bonus.
I totally need this desk pad, because I use WAY too many Post-its, including for doodling on during phone calls. (I wish I could also doodle during Zoom calls.) If you are a fellow phone-call doodle artist or just want to make sure you have paper handy at all times, this would also work for you! The mat includes 50 sheets of 100% recycled paper, and refills are available. One reviewer is clearly a woman after my own heart; she wrote, “I am notorious for … taking notes while I’m on the phone and then I can’t find the sheet of paper I wrote it on. Problem solved. … I love it.”
This clear mat comes in many, MANY sizes, and it’s waterproof, oil-resistant, and scratch-resistant. If you’re searching for something that will cover your entire desk and protect it from, say, your kids, this is it. Besides the size options, you can also choose between 1.5 mm and 2 mm thicknesses and either a clear or frosted look. (For smooth surfaces, such as glass, the company recommends the latter.) One super-specific reviewer noted that they bought the mat to protect their “1780s pine antique poker table,” so it sounds like it’ll do just fine in safeguarding a run-of-the-mill desk.
Tie-dye is big right now, so why shouldn’t the trend extend to desk mats? If you’re a fan of tie-dye—and rainbows—you must check out this one. It would be perfect for somewhere in your home that needs a pop of color—you know, that room you’ve been meaning to paint since you moved in five years ago and still haven’t? (Pro tip: Paint BEFORE you move in, or it may never, ever happen. Ask me how I know.) This mat is water-resistant and easy to clean; one reviewer wrote, “I’ve spilt water on it and it completely dried up. There aren’t any spots where I’ve made messes and it looks just like it did when it came in.”
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