Spruce Up Your Workplace With These Office Decorating Tips


It’s probably safe to say that most of us spend more time in the office than in our beds. Your workplace is a significant part of the public face of your company, so it’s not surprising that more and more business owners try to balance the comforts of home with a professional business image. Creative office design can do wonders for staff morale and engagement. Even tiny office decorating changes can set the scene for a more productive and happier employee!

So how should you create a workspace that feels put-together and inspiring? Is there anything you should never display in your office? Finally, what impact does lighting and wall color have on your mood and wellbeing? We were lucky enough to have a quick Q&A session with 4 extremely talented designers:

Give us few words that explain why you love designing new office spaces?

Ashley Redmond: It’s inspiring to combine function and aesthetic which is so important in any office environment. I love to infuse spaces with the spirit of the company and getting to know a client and the brand is something I more than enjoy doing. Understanding what an office/brand is trying to deliver and taking it to the creative level of ensuring that vision is reflected in the design is so rewarding! Dara Huang:

Offices, especially technology ones, challenge us to understand the brand and working culture of another creative field and allow us to reinterpret this in a spatial way. Tech offices usually have a more avant-garde approach to thinking, doing and making which is fun to spatially interpret.

Jen Watson:

We’re passionate about creating great work spaces. We believe that no one needs to work in a dull, ordinary, uninspiring office. Over the last 6 years our work space transformations have demonstrated that a better working environment improves working lives; our pudding has proved that people are happier, more productive & feel pride in their place of work when it is designed with care and creativity to suit it’s purpose.

Marie Eve:

At Issadesign we love designing office spaces because of the double challenge it implies: working with the rational side that is ergonomic standards and precise square footage for different uses, and yet the creative side of creating an environment that showcases well the brand image and values. The workplace is in constant mutation and there is always room for innovation and creativity.

Many office workers struggle to stay productive throughout the day. Can the right office decor choices help to fight procrastination in the workplace?

Ashley Redmond:

For sure! Creating different areas for people to work is so important and can help keep people productive. Having different areas to move to in an office space can help with this. Getting up from a desk and moving to other space is so useful and gives you a different perspective and mindset.

Dara Huang:

Absolutely, creative energy needs the right environment to thrive in. Also, if you look at certain environments which make offices feel more comfortable and homey, employees tend to enjoy coming to work and stay there a bit longer without feeling stressed.

Jen Watson:

Yes, definitely! Good design has a powerful influence on how people think and behave. There are loads of studies out there that show well-designed spaces improve productivity and wellbeing.

Marie Eve:

Creating an environment that allows the worker to move, switch working position and working environment through the day is definitely something that helps the new generation of worker that have been hyper-stimulated since they were young. Acknowledging the worker as a whole human being and not only as someone who accomplishes a specific task also helps to improve general well being in the workplace.

Do you have any tips on how our readers can keep their work space feeling open and free of visual clutter?

Ashley Redmond:

Pick a desk with a drawer or get a simple rolling file cabinet to tuck under your desk. Keep all your clutter out of sight. Another option is to create a wall pin board so you can quickly pin up inspiration and get important documents that need to stay front of mind off your desk!

Dara Huang:

I find that just changing furniture from heavy dark outdated desks to white simple desks can help a space look lighter. Also creating an interesting design above your desks can often be an answer to the problem. For example, open truss system above, take away the fluorescent gridded ceiling and add pendant lighting etc.

Jen Watson:

Smart storage solutions are key. We actually try to encourage our clients not to use under desk pedestals because often times it’s not needed and only encourages people to hold on to more stuff!

Marie Eve:

Promoting the use of electronic devices and reducing paper consumption helps with reducing visual or physical clutters. Segregating the different activities accomplished at an office in specific area also helps with concentration and the feeling of clutter: an area dedicated to eating, one for meetings, and another one for quiet work…

What part does lighting play in office decorating? To what extent does it affect our mood in the office?

Ashley Redmond:

Lighting is one of the most important things in residential or office design. Of course abundant natural light is the best and puts people in the best mood, and if you can get rid of florescent lights, do it!

Dara Huang:

Lighting plays a huge part in office design. While it has to be compliant and meet technical systems, it should also offer different types of lights for different modes of work. For example: Pendant, Task, Ambient, Meeting, Reception and so on.

Jen Watson:

Lighting is one of the most important considerations in workplace interiors, not only effecting mood but overall wellbeing as well. Natural light is best so we always try to maximize it running through a space, however it’s also important to incorporate different layers of light, and different types of light in different areas. For example, adequate general light is needed over desks and other task areas, but you can bring in softer light in a cafe or lounge area. We also like to use pendant or decorative lighting to help delineate spaces.

Marie Eve:

Lighting is tremendously important for the aesthetic side of design but also for health issues: it can help reduce stress on the eyes that spend the whole day looking at a bright screen. It’s also a neat way to create different areas in the workplace and stimulate different behavior.

What kinds of office decorations are the most common in the modern workplace?

Ashley Redmond:

Creative lighting solutions and the ever present living wall are big in the modern workplace. Both are really functional, but offer aesthetic interest to a space.

Dara Huang

Most modern workplaces lack creativity and look pretty standard: glass partitions, carpet tiles, ceiling grids… Decoration would be considered a potted plant- which is all very sad.

Jen Watson:

Feature lighting, art work, plants.

Marie Eve:

Nowadays we see a very eclectic variety of office design. It’s not so much about a specific trend rather that creating a space that is infused with the brand image and values, that inspire a sense of belonging to the brand.

We often hear designers state that the color of our environment can impact the way we work. Is it the right thing to say that we should choose the dominant color in the office based on company’s culture and the industry they work in?

Ashley Redmond:

Some companies prefer to design with their company colors in mind, while others are more open. Color is very important to consider and there has been a lot of research on color psychology and how it affects mood and performance. A color palette should definitely reflect the culture and the industry.

Dara Huang:

No, absolutely not, and it’s an even bigger mistake to make everything the colour of your company logo too. I think the colours of an office should always remain light, neutral, or monochromatic. Soft furnishing can provide hints of colour.

Jen Watson:

Not at all. Brand is important to all our clients but it’s a bit lazy to just go with the brand’s dominant colour! There are plenty of different ways to creatively incorporate the client’s brand and culture into the design of a space and we always strive for an individual, well-considered approach.

Marie Eve:

It’s important to stay as unbiased as possible when designing a space and to truly respect and try to embody the values and brand image of the company we’re creating a space for.

Do you have any signature decorating moves that you always try to put into your workplace designs?

Ashley Redmond:

I always try to design to reflect the function and the need of the company. I like to keep things clean, if possible, and create things that are visually unexpected. I also think a great light fixture can go a long way in setting the tone of a space.

Dara Huang:

We don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’. Rather, we do bespoke designs suited for the individual workspace that should not be copied and pasted to the next.

Jen Watson:

Every project is different but we always try to find ways to articulate the client’s brand in the environment and add homely, friendly touches.

Marie Eve:

As we are LEED certified, sustainability is always something we think about and we try to incorporate guiding principles of sustainable design in our projects. We tend to create very efficient spaces in order to have a few extra square foot in our projects where we create luxurious vast spaces. We also tend to use accent color in otherwise quite minimalistic design. We love contrast!

In terms of office decorating, is there anything you should avoid displaying in your workplace?

Ashley Redmond:

Personal family photos. I know some people love this, but I am not a fan!

Dara Huang:

Having the company signage be too big when you walk in. That is a sure sign of ‘corporate’ in a bad way. Also having that signage be on a rectangular piece of glass is just as bad.

Jen Watson:

To paraphrase William Morris: Have nothing in your workplace that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

Marie Eve:

Nothing! The office space is the place we spend the most time at with our personal dwelling, might as well make it comfortable! We are moving toward a more human centered workplace.

Conclusion

Do you feel like your workspace currently doesn’t inspire you? Try to analyze why by following these great tips. Don’t be afraid to add more colors if you are not happy with the color of your office walls. Add some personal touches if you find your office too dull to unleash your creative genius. Move your desk and chair around the office – maybe you’d prefer that window view instead of staring at a wall. Or…maybe you just need that new desk that makes for a more productive, healthier and happier day all around? It’s time to identify the problems so that you could find the most effective solution to feel engaged in what you are doing again!


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