We can’t all work at Google or Facebook where workplace design is a work of art, but who said we couldn’t turn a dull workspace into one we love?
If you’re feeling a bit uninspired at work, here are a few simple updates you can give your workplace while on a budget, pending the boss’ approval.
Related Article: Not Your Ordinary Cubicle: 6 Ways to Liven Up Your Workspace
Unleash the Magic of Mason Jars
Throw out your old neutral colored writing instrument holder and head to your nearest craft store to pick up the following:
- A mason jar that’s big enough to hold your largest writing instrument
- A bottle of acrylic paint
- A foam brush
- Elmer’s glue
Give the Mason jar two coats of paint. When completely dried, wrap a piece of ribbon about an inch down from the opening of the jar then add small drops of glue underneath it. For less than $15, you’ve just updated your writing instrument décor.
See the Light
According to HOK’s article Top 10 Trends Influencing Workplace Design, better workplace lighting has been linked to a 15 percent reduction in absenteeism in office environments and productivity increases of 2.8 to 20 percent.
I can’t recall an office I worked in that didn’t have those rectangle fluorescent lights in the ceiling, which could not be changed. You know what I’m talking about. I have had the luxury of being allowed to add my own lighting (size dependent on company) to my space.
In my search for the perfect light update, I considered various types at a range of prices. To keep costs down but still get an impressionable high quality product, I saw the light in a new-to-me world of replica lighting. When buying replica lighting online, the experts at Zest Lighting suggest:
- Look at images closely, making sure the image is a true representation of the actual product.
- Compare the specifications and details of the replica with the original.
- Read product descriptions carefully.
As noted by Inc., “environments shape our mood, energy, and creativity,” and thus, some CEOs and executives are “creating cultures that feel like home.”
When I think of what makes me feel comfortable in my home, three things come to mind: my puppy, my cozy king size bed, and my soft shag rug that keeps my feet warm when I relax on my arm chair. Since the king size bed and chair can’t come to work, I updated my desk area with a small cozy throw rug. In addition to adding a pop of color to my space, the rug helped make my workstation feel warm.
One of the easiest ways to refresh walls is to hang artwork. Other options include wallpapering and fabric paneling. If you can’t use nails to secure pieces, 3M Command Hanging Strips work well.
For truly original wall refresh ideas, I consulted the experts. Audrey Brooks of Stage Westchester offered this hallway update: “Have employees submit their favorite vacation photo then enlarge them online. Purchase frames all in the same size and color to display them in. Hang them throughout the hallways to give the office a personable touch.”
Robin Buck of Refresh Interiors suggested creating a custom tack board by covering piece of homosote (sound-proof wallboard, available at home improvement centers) with fun fabric. She added, “stretch the fabric on the board and staple it on the back. Add trim if you're feeling extra artsy.”
Sean Juneja, co-founder and CEO of Decor Aid suggests using slogans to inspire. They can be used for branding purposes or to represent or instill the company culture and mission, as shown below.
Related Article: How to Design a Home Workspace for the New Year
Give Existing Office Furniture a New Look
In my home office, I have an old chair that a former roommate’s cat clawed (I don’t think I ever thanked her for that). Aside from a bunch of threads hanging out, it’s in good condition and not ready to be replaced. To hide some of the problem parts, I grabbed a blanket and pillow I already had and placed them as shown below. In minutes, the chair had a livelier look:
Renovator, designer, builder, and entrepreneur Morgan Molitor of the remodeling duo, Construction2Style offered an idea for updating folding chairs: “spray paint legs salmon and paint the fabric white,” she said.
“With the pantone color trends, salmon is a fun color that is rarely used and seen. It's a great choice to liven things up with subtle touch. And nothing compliments salmon better than a basic white. With these two colors combined, you can coordinate almost anyone else's cube's taste and style while still allowing for unique touches.”
Related Article: Reinstating Boundaries: The Agile Workplace
“Choose one or two accent chairs in place of standard guest chairs to blend sophistication and comfort. Many accent chairs cost no more than boring black leather guest chairs but are much more interesting and add a sense of style to an existing office space,” said interior designer Aanchal Agarwal. “Pick a simple solid or a slightly patterned design and you are good to go.”
For even more ideas, HGTV offered 10 DIY office refresh ideas, which just to name a few, included:
- Refresh a worn out mouse pad with a chic fabric or polka dots.
- Create a vintage book plant holder out of an old book.
- Use a cute bar cart as a workplace storage solution.