Skip to content
  • Find My Standing Desk - Take Quiz
  • 10% OFF STOREWIDE: USE CODE EFFY10
  • Find My Standing Desk - Take Quiz
  • 10% OFF STOREWIDE: USE CODE EFFY10
learn how cardboard can use for your home office decor

9 Cardboard Upcycling Ideas for Your Home Office

If you’ve bought a standing desk recently, chances are, you’ve got a stack of cardboard and other packing material left over! But before you stick all these materials in a blue recycling bin, take a second to see if you can repurpose these at home. 

Repurposing materials is an effective way of contributing to a circular economy, where the goal is to use and reuse products as much as possible before disposing of them. This “upcycling” of materials helps us cut down on consumption of raw materials.

Recycling is a more eco-friendly alternative than throwing things in the trash, but upcycling and reusing materials is even better. This is simply because the recycling process still creates an environmental impact, as it requires energy to turn materials into new products. 

In fact, recycling should be seen as a last resort: recycle materials that you can no longer reuse or repurpose.

unorganized computer table
A Customer's #EFFYSETUP featuring an upcycled tabletop book organizer on the Business Office Standing Desk, courtesy of Angela. 

So, let’s talk about materials! 

Our Home Office, Business Office, and Executive Office standing desks all include styrofoam for extra cushioning during shipping. But our climate-positive, carbon-negative TerraDesk has 100% cardboard packaging! The special honeycomb structure helps protect the desk. 

Side note: while styrofoam can be upcycled and repurposed, it can be pretty difficult to find good uses for the small, leftover bits. When you get to that, make sure you find recycling depots that accept styrofoam for recycling. The styrofoam recycling process is quite fascinating--check it out!

Today we’re here to give you some upcycling inspo to help you repurpose the packaging that came with your standing desk! The best part is that most of these DIY projects can be done in just one weekend crafternoon. 

Let’s turn these boring boxes into unique home decor, cool organizing solutions, and more. 

(Don’t have cardboard on hand? Most grocery or department stores have a surplus of boxes in the back--they’ll be more than happy to hand some off to you!)

Top Nine Cardboard Upcycling Ideas for Your Home Office

1. Faux Wood Wall Decor

Faux Wood Wall Decor is one of the stylish decor for your office

With just a few coats of paint, you can turn your cardboard pieces into stylish decor for your office! Corrugated cardboard gives the finished product a rugged, “distressed” look, and you can paint the cardboard with a colour that suits your office. Full how-to guide here.

2. Faux Metal Letters

Faux Metal Letters is perfect for your Home Office

Can you believe these letters are made out of cardboard? A shiny spray-paint finish gives the completed project a metal-like look. Because they’re made of cardboard, you can stick these to the wall with small Command Strips! Full tutorial here.

3. DIY Cardboard Photo Frames

Pick your favourite photos and DIY Cardboard Photo Frames

This project requires more precise measuring and cutting, but the finished look is so worth it! It’s also easy to customize, as you can pick paper colours that match your office decor. Or use old newspapers on top for a different look! Instructions here.

4. Cardboard Bear Figures

Cardboard Bear Figure is a simple decor for your office

Making these adorable bear figures is as simple as tracing, cutting, and assembling! You can paint the cardboard for different “kinds” of bears, too. All the templates and instructions can be found here

5. Lantern Lamps

Lantern Lamps is a way to add colour for your office

Need more light on your desk? Or maybe just a little geometric flair? These lanterns are sure to add a pop of colour to your home office. You can make them in a wide variety of sizes and colours, too! Find the full guide here.

6. Decorative Plant Pots

decorative desk plants can delight your home office

Do your desk plants need a little spice? These cute cardboard planters ought to do the trick! They’re super easy to make, and the finished result is a stylish pot for your plant friends. Check out the full tutorial here.

7. Cardboard Drawer Dividers

great Cardboard Drawer Dividers make your office supplies organized

This might come as a no-brainer to some, but large pieces of cardboard make great drawer dividers! Keep your socks and gloves separated nicely with just a few measurements and cuts. Read a detailed how-to guide here

8. Cardboard Desk Organizer 

DIY of Cardboard organized

For some stylish desk organization, turn your cardboard pieces into a pencil cup! The simple design complements any office, and it keeps your desk tidy as well. Follow a step-by-step guide here

9. DIY Pet Toys

cardboard can DIY Pet House for your cats

Finally, why not make some toys for your furry friends? Whether it’s a cardboard palace for your cat or a small maze for your gerbils, cardboard is an inexpensive way to construct toys that your pets may tear apart in a few weeks. Find instructions for this cat house here

Looking for an eco-friendly home office solution? EFFYDESK can help!

TerraDesk is an eco friendly wood desk for your home office

Here at EFFYDESK, we've partnered with Canadian manufacturing company, ChopValue to bring you the TerraDesk — an eco-friendly standing desk with a butcher block tabletop that's made entirely out of recycled chopsticks.

Locally sourced and locally manufactured, each TerraDesk is sustainably-made from 10,854 recycled chopsticks in a process that is carbon negative and great for the planet!

You can also browse our signature Office Chairs, and Monitor Mounts designed to boost workplace productivity, so you can get more done, more comfortably. 

Don't forget to check out our FAQ page or browse the blog archive for other helpful articles on ergonomics in the workplace.

Previous article What Should I Look for When Buying a Standing Desk?
Next article What is Circular Economy?