You’re in your office a lot. More than you want or expect to be sometimes – it’s like a second home.
So after doing a scan of your office decor…
- Does it inspire you to be your best?
- Make you happy and excited to be present in that room, ready to work?
- Encourage you to be as productive as you know you can be?
If you answered no or even hesitated slightly because you weren’t sure how to answer those questions, let’s turn every “no” into a resounding “YES!”
Transforming your office into a space that reflects who you are is important because it will support you, your goals, and your vision. Plus, the decor in your office will impact how everyone who visits you — coworkers, clients, managers — sees your professional self.
And did you know your office decor can actually impact your happiness and productivity?
Your office decor should set the mood for you to feel calm, confident, and capable. It is where you will accomplish great things, so it should look like it! So whether you work at home or an office, whether you have tons of room or a tiny corner desk, we’ve got simple, easy, and budget-friendly tips below you can use to decorate your office in a way that will make you happy and productive!
Find your inspiration and make it the center of attention
If you don’t already have a vision for your perfect office, start out by looking at Pinterest for inspiration. What looks like an inspiring place to work to you? Is there art? Are there plants? Is the desk big and open, or is there tons of storage and organizational tools right at hand?
Once you know what direction you’re going in, start thinking about some foundational elements that will ground the rest of the office decor. You need one or two big things that will guide the look for the whole space.
Look for inspirational objects that remind you of the reasons why you’re working towards a particular goal or working in a certain industry. These things might include furniture, awards, art, maps, a unique saying, or personal objects.
Gather these items and then, depending on the size, choose the right layout:
- Make the largest item the focal point in your office
- Select a wall for a collage of visuals of various sizes
- Group smaller items together on a shelf
The objects that inspire you most should be placed strategically. They should be prominent, eye level and/or easy to see and read, and be unobstructed. Let the things that mean most to you stand out above the rest.
If you want your space to be a constant source of inspiration, find a space for an inspirational vision board to pin up ideas, pictures, words, etc. that you can add to and rearrange over time. Use a cork board, magnetic/dry erase board, or letter board to display your very own motivational messages. This space can be fixed or flexible; the goal is to leave yourself a spot that holds your newest and best ideas.
Taking these steps to incorporate inspirational pieces into your office will not only improve your mood, but will be that constant reminder to focus on your work and goals — and to enjoy it.
Focus on your light
Lighting is often taken for granted, but you might be surprised what a big difference it can make.
Harsh and dim light cause eye strain, headaches, and drowsiness, none of which will make you happy or more productive. As documented in a recent study, light “affects our metabolism and our endocrinal and hormonal systems through our vision system.” Exposure to natural light impacts brain cognitive performance, is “associated with improved mood, with an enhancement of morale, lower fatigue, and reduced eyestrain” and “enhances mental performance and decreases aggressive behavior as well as depression.”
So bright, friendly lighting is a must. Focus on bringing in natural light into your office as much as possible. Clear shelves or boxes from in front of windows, open the blinds, and if nothing else, give windows a good cleaning so that the light can more easily come in.
No window in your office? Use daylight bulbs that mimic natural light to reap the same benefits. Or turn your lamp into a lamp + dimmer using a plug-in dimmer so you can easily adjust the brightness level; this is an easy and inexpensive option if you don’t have a lot to spend on your office decor.
Move task lights closer to your workspace so you have sufficient lighting while working at your desk, rather than relying on overhead lighting. The brighter, more concentrated light will help you see more clearly and focus better.
Add some green
If you can’t get outside as much as you’d like, bring some of nature in and closer to you. Adding plants to your workspace will brighten up your mood, help you feel less stressed, and make you feel good.
Plus, plants improve air quality! If you don’t have good lighting or don’t have a green thumb, consider easy to care for plants like pothos plants or snake plants that do well in low light/shaded areas and can go days without water.
When you’re uncomfortable or in pain (even at a low level), you tend to be in a bad mood, unhappy, unmotivated to work, and more irritable. Don’t keep putting up with a computer, chair, or desk setup that results in physical pain.
Take advantage of your company’s ergonomic resources, or research ways to make your space ergonomic, like the Mayo Clinic’s how-to guide or a YouTube video. For example, rather than adjusting your chair so that your feet are flat on the ground, adjust it so that your wrists and forearms are level with your keyboard and mouse. Then use a footrest so your feet aren’t lifted off the floor. Or try an adjustable desk that allows you to sit and stand with ease.
Keep essentials within easy reach and strategically located. For example, keep your phone in a position that allows you to easily reach it without unnecessary twisting or turning.
When it comes to comfort, don’t forget the air quality, humidity levels, and temperature. Try a combination fan and heater, humidifier, or air purifier/open windows for fresh air because physical comfort = happiness = productivity.
Offices are notoriously cold (and studies have shown that it feels colder to women!), so don’t suffer — keep a simple, warm throw blanket at your desk to keep on your lap or stash a cozy cardigan nearby so you can warm up.
Incorporate music and sound to minimize distractions and increase productivity
When you’re trying to work, but can’t concentrate, noises (such as chatting colleagues or people on the phone) are often the culprit. Utilize headphones and specific playlists to play music at low volume levels to tackle different kinds of tasks will help you stay focused and be productive:
- Baroque music like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is great for increasing concentration and productivity
- Epic music and video game music can be uplifting and motivational especially when you’re feeling tired
- Ambient music or white noise can help you feel more relaxed, helping you work through and manage stressful situations at work
Lastly, having an organized office will improve your happiness and productivity at work because stressing over where a document is (paper or electronic), tripping over cords, or digging through layers of pens and office supplies is inefficient and no fun. Even organized clutter can be stress-inducing and chaotic.
To increase your productivity, organize your office by using functional decor that serves multiple purposes:
- Use trays to organize documents horizontally, or magazine file folder and letter sorters to organize documents vertically, with the goal of reducing clutter and increasing free desk space for actual work.
- Decorative storage boxes come in a variety of colors to brighten up your office space and give you extra space on shelves to neatly store office essentials. Binders are another great option to store paper files. Keep the space under your desk clear by using those instead of big storage bins (or piles)!
- Use woven baskets to store bigger, bulky items in a pleasing container.
- Wrap loose cords with a cord ribbon to keep them out of the way and untangled.
- Decorative pieces like this Juliet rose notepad makes jotting a quick note easy and pretty.
- Work towards creating a streamlined and relevant naming convention for your electronic documents and email folders, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Tackle a folder or subject at a time!