Use your secretary for a mini office.

5 Ways To Style A Secretary

Hope your week is off to a great start. Today, I have five ways to style a secretary that I think you will love. As you scroll through the photos, you’ll see that the upper shelves of this vintage secretary are now full of books I collected from around the house. It’s great having them organized in one place since we don’t have bookshelves in our home. The books also make a pretty backdrop to styling the secretary.

Over the years I’ve decorated the secretary for holidays, with everything from nutcrackers to pumpkins. Now I have a few more decorating options depending on the time of year and entertaining needs.

Home Office

The secretary was originally designed as a desk for correspondence, keeping ledgers and storage. It makes sense to continue using it for a home office. The normal drudgery of paying bills for me is standing at the kitchen counter. It’s how I roll, but having a lovely place to sit and sort mail is much more pleasant.

Don't miss 5 ways to style a secretary.

I added a couple of baskets for sorting mail and stashed office supplies in the drawers. The desk surface has plenty of room for my laptop, which takes up minimal space anyway. Tucked into the nooks are greeting cards and stationery within easy reach for thank you notes.

The glass mug holds binder clips and the Asian inspired bowl hides rubber bands. You can use your imagination when creating storage containers.

Home Library

Granted it’s not a very big library since so many of the books I read or listen to are downloaded, but I will always have those special novels I want to keep. Yes I turned the spines to the back because I like the monochromatic look of the white pages. A little eccentric, I know.

Style your secretary as a library.

There’s something about an open book that lures me to relax and linger.

Display books for quick reference.


The sky’s the limit when it comes to themes. The Audubon theme was pulled together with bird books, postcards and binoculars.

Several years ago, I found the framed bird print, at the Audubon House & Gardens while vacationing in Key West. It’s one of my all-time favorite anniversary gifts from my husband and I love the way it looks hanging on the front of the secretary.

Audubon inspired styled secretary.

Layering a piece of artwork or photo on a bookcase gives the setting a time collected look. Layering also draws the eye to the artwork that might otherwise be overlooked.

Audubon art on display tucked in a drawer.


Style your secretary with a theme

Mini Bar

I love the idea of an impromptu mini bar, which can be set up in a matter of minutes. Here’s a list of things to pull from the kitchen.

  • Grab a kitchen towel and to use as a bar towel
  • Gather cocktail or wine glasses
  • Use a tray or flat platter to protect the surface of a table or desk (Even a cookie sheet covered with a kitchen towel will do in a pinch.)
  • Don’t forget the cocktail napkins or coasters

Galvanized tray help create a quick bar.

In the cubby storage, I tucked in a few bottles of tonic water, and as for the booze, I selected Scotch whiskey and gin. If wine is more your thing, set up a wine bar or serve sangria in a pretty glass pitcher.

Wooden M hung on outside of secretary.

Display A Collection

Think of a secretary as a cabinet of curiosities. Collections have more impact when grouped together. Ask yourself, what kind of collections do I have that can be revived into a grand display?

Style a secretary with a collection of Limoges boxes.

The photo of Limoges boxes was created for a post I featured last year, when the second season of Outlander ( on Starz) was set in France. To see the full story and more photos click on Outlander Inspiration.

The premier of Outlander’s third season is only a month away. I can’t wait to see how I can incorporate Outlander into another post. Will Claire and Jamie’s reunion be as romantic as I have imagined? I’m holding my breath!

Pretty Limoges tea cup with French inspiration.

Before I go I’ll let you in on a secret on how to hanging artwork on a bookcase. I used a 3M Command hook on top of the bookcase a couple of inches away from the front edge, so it would be out of view. Simple!

If you have a desk or bookshelves, I think these ideas might work for you too or at least inspire you to discover your own style. Thank you so much for stopping by.


Linking up with these parties Wow Us WednesdaysThe Creative CircleFeathered Nest Friday and  The Scoop

©2017 Five Ways To Style A Secretary was first published on Thistle Key Lane™



















2 thoughts on “5 Ways To Style A Secretary

  1. Carol ("Mimi") says:

    Interesting and attractive alternatives for styling a secretary! I like all of the accessories. But, I just can’t see turning all of the books around backwards. I’ve seen this on a lot of decor blogs, Pinterest, etc. I know the decorators are going for a cohesive look in a neutral color palette. But — books are for reading/enjoyment/reference/research. I can’t imagine turning all of my books around backward so that I can’t see their titles and authors and can’t tell them apart. I actually read and re-read my books! Other than that, I really like all of the photos of the beautifully styled secretaries.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi


    • Michelle Meyer says:

      Hi Carol, thank you for your sweet comment. Don’t worry the book arrangement isn’t permanent. Sometimes I enjoy displaying books and accessories in unexpected ways. It all depends on what the camera is focused on at the moment. I hope you will visit again soon!


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