We focus so much energy turning a house into a home, we sometimes forget to aim our decorating genius in another notable direction: the office cubicle.
Home often expresses who we are, filled as it is with accumulated treasures and trinkets. But skip on over to the office cubicle — or, for that matter, an office with actual walls — and it can be a different story.
Some offices “are so dated. It's wallpaper from the '70s, falling-apart furniture and stacks of files — generally, an overall mess,” says Sayeh Pezeshki, a designer who blogs about decor at The Office Stylist.
Considering how much time many people spend at work, “your work space should be cheery and it should be fun, and it should be personal to you,” says Sabrina Soto, designer host of HGTV's “The High/Low Project.”
A soothing environment cuts down on work stress, designers believe.
“It really does affect the way that you work and the way that you feel,” says Pezeshki.
And, she says, “You don't have to spend a lot of money” doing it.
Bob Richter, an interior designer and cast member of PBS' treasure-hunting series “Market Warriors,” visits flea markets wherever he travels, returning home with one-of-a-kind mementos.
“I feel like a cubicle or a small office should feel like a small apartment,” says Richter, who lives in a small New York City apartment. “Things have to be tidy but there also has to be an opportunity to store things easily.”
Richter suggests combing flea markets for unusual boxes and baskets for storing supplies on an office desk.
“There's a nostalgic vibe to these items,” Richter says.
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Office decorating tips
Old metal coffee tins and vintage ceramic planters for holding pens and other supplies.
Bring a desk lamp from home for task lighting; it'll cheer up the space.
Bring in low-water, lowlight plants — at least one. Two plants that are good at surviving indoor light are pothos and heartleaf philodendron. Peace lilies also crave low light and are excellent at cleaning indoor air.
For the memo board, frame a section of cork, dry-erase board or good-quality plywood painted with chalkboard paint. Frame it in a vintage frame — it's a tenth the price of a new frame — or float the memo board inside the cubicle wall's frame.
Add silver accents, including the metal “in/out” box for papers.