How to Design Your Office Like a Boss
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Whether you are designing your corner office on Wall Street, your cozy home office, or your not so cozy cubicle, office decor can be an excruciating task.
But, I have compiled a list all of the factors you should consider and how to design around them.
Decorating your office is not as easy as decorating your home or some interior designing task!
You must keep these key things in mind:
- Do you have clients?
- Are you offering a service or a product?
- Is your profession fun or more serious?
- What type of environment do you like to work in?
- Do you have a cubicle, home office, or corporate office?
If you ask me, I am a fan of using the brightly colored and catchy overdyed rugs in your offices!
1. Whether or Not You Have Clients
At the end of the day, your clients are what keep you in business.
They should be your number one priority when thinking about design.
Here is what you need to know:
1. If you are using your office for consultations with clients (in home or outside of the home)
If you have a secretary to inform you of when a client will be entering, you should still have your face visible to the door.
As humans, we naturally search for other human faces. For some reason, we find it comforting to be able to spot a face in a room. Having the door in your sightlines will help avoid any awkward situations and put your clients at ease.
2. The computer screen should never be visible to anyone but yourself
Now this one only pertains to those who have clients.
You never want to accidentally have one client see the personal information of another client - or if you work at home, a spouse, a child, or a friend.
In some professions, like doctors and attorneys, client information is protected by law.
Even if you are aren't dealing with information that is protected by law, most people still do not want things like their address shown to strangers.
To avoid the mess, be sure it can't be seen. If you work in a shared office space, be sure to follow the rules and culture of the office.
Some employers prefer that screens are visible to anyone in the office. But if your employer does not have a preference or you work for yourself, keep those screens to yourself!
3. Is your business light hearted or serious?
So what I mean by that is do you have a product or service that is light-hearted or something a little heavy?
If you're a photographer, party planner, or something along those lines, feel free to express as much creativity as possible! With creative professions, you can really have free reign in terms of decor.
By adding an oriental rug, this client created a modern space with old world charm! Add a solid desk and a tufted chair and your good to go!
Express your personal style to show your clients who you are and what you are capable of!
This custom piece adds texture without adding any distractions. Add leggy furnishing and a cool chandelier for a laid back vibe.
If your profession is a little more heavy like an attorney or personal accountant, be sure to express that in what you do. I'm not saying that you shouldn't express your personal style, but you should keep a classic design with timeless decor.
An oriental rug, solid wood desk, and leather are classic office designs that will never go out of style. Add a few pieces of your favorite and hand your degrees to show off your style and accomplishments!
This type of design is perfect for attorneys, personal accountants, and professionals dealing with serious matters.
Office design is really more about psychology than design. Having a whimsy office will show that you're fun and light-hearted, but that is not what you want when you're defending your client in a court of law or writing their will.
The solid wood desk and paneling display solidarity and subconsciously tells you that you're distinguished. But you don't have to go all out and have your office paneled...
Opt for a solid wood desk, some built-ins to show off your (expensive) books and degrees, and sturdy tufted chair for that distinguished look.
This is kind of a hybrid between the styles. The solid wood desk adds some solidarity but the built-ins are a trendy grey color. She used oversized pendant lights and modern/traditional mix chairs. Instead of opting for an oriental rug, she decided to go with a sleek solid.
This is another update on the classic, distinguished look. The molding, solid desk and modern finishings offer a polished but up to date feel. The office is the perfect place for a solid, h rug. There is low foot traffic and because you're not usually eating, low chance of spills
4. Are your clients regularly visiting your office?
Some designers disagree but I think that it is important to keep consistency in mind.
Invest in timeless furniture, rugs, and artwork and leave the smaller pieces to be switched in and out. If your clients are coming to you multiple times over their lifetime, you want them to feel at home and at ease. And consistency helps achieve that.
5. Provide adequate and appropriate seating for your clients
If you see clients for consultations in your office, always provide at least two comfortable seats for the clients.
Even if you usually only have one client, two adds balance to the space. It is always a good idea to have additional seating ready in case someone brings an entourage. You can have simple wood chairs stored in a closet for when the moment arises.
If you want to get your clients in and out (a profession that does not pay by the hour), go for a straight back chair without arms.
If you are paid by the hour, choose h chairs with large armrests and a slightly reclined back.
The former pushes clients out and the latter encourages them to settle in.
Some professionals like psychologists may want to opt for a couch for comfort.
Now that we have covered clients, lets talk about design!
You will need:
- A desk
- A chair (for you to sit on)
- 2 client chairs (if you have clients)
My advice is to always start with a rug. A rug is a large purchase and is very hard to match other design elements to. Find a rug that you love and then build your design from there - followed by art, then the desk, chairs, and accessories.
2. What Type of Space Can You Work In?
If you thrive off of busy environments, feel free to go crazy with knick-knacks and design elements galore!
Keep your rug simple, though. If you decide to go with a patterned chair (like the client above), opt for a simple textured piece like this ivory Soumak rug.
You Need a Clean Environment
Some of us just need a sleek and simple environment to clear our minds and get some work done.
Skip the knick-knacks and opt for a clean room with an understated rug.
You Need Tons of Light
This is me, for sure!
I love love love natural light so I always try to soak in as much as possible. To optimize the natural light in your office, go for whites and a light and airy rug.
Not all offices have huge beautiful windows so fake it! Use mirrored furniture and lighting, a clear chair, and of course, a huge selfie mirror!
The light reflective surface will help the sunlight bounce all over the space.
This feminine rug adds some texture without weighing down the room.
Some of Us Need Dark and Cozy
If this is you, go for wood paneling or navy paint.
Be sure to not overdo the dark and remember to have lots of natural and overhead light.
It is also important to balance the room with a dark and light mixed rug. If the rug is too light or too dark, the whole room is thrown off balance.
Maybe you're somewhere in between!
Go for a statement!
One of the best and understated ways to make a statement is with a rug.
Although it is bold, it is not in your face because, well, it's on the floor!
This client has heaps of natural light so they chose a dark wall color and a statement rug. Everything is kept neutral and clean to not distract the eye or become too overwhelming.
What Type of Office Do You Have?
If you have a home office, you can pretty much do what you want.
But if you work in a corporate or shared office, or have a cubicle, you will have to follow along with your office culture.
If you have a cubicle, you are pretty restricted. Go to the fabric store and grab some nice fabric.
Velcro the fabric to the walls of your cubical for easy removal and voila! You've got some funky wallpaper!
Add a plant and voila! You just spruced up your space!
If you have your own office, within your greater office,
You have a little more free reign. Be sure to keep with the culture of your company. This is especially important if you have just started working there.
An example is if you work at a hedge fund, you may not want pink ruffles and crystals draping from the ceiling.
After you have worked there awhile, delivered results, and become a boss (in every sense of the word), go crazy with all the pink ruffles you want!
Add some life!Every room in your home should have a living thing. Whether a small tree, a plant, a cat, some goldfish, whatever.
You would be surprised as to how much a living thing can revitalize your space. Plants bring in some fresh oxygen for an office that can sometimes feel stale.
Place some apples, tangerines, or another fruit in a bowl on your desk. This will add some life and color and encourage you to snack healthy.
Ask A Designer
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