Your office is a place for productivity, a place where you should be able to buckle down and get real work done. Naturally, a messy and cluttered office is bad for productivity, but so is the opposite. The home equivalent of a cubicle will be demoralizing and will ultimately push you out of your office entirely. The following paragraphs will help give you an idea of the ethos of office decoration, making your office comfortable, but not distracting. Show your personality without getting in your own way, and turn your office into a place you want to work in.
When considering decorating options, we break the office into three areas: desk, storage, and walls. These are broken up by decorating needs rather than any level of importance or difficulty. As you’ll find decorating your office, a workspace has far different decorating needs than walls, and so on. We are going to start with the desk, as it’s the place people are most likely to get carried away and actually hurt their productivity in the pursuit of beauty.
Your desk is probably the most important part of your office. It’s your command station, your operations center, and the place you likely spend the most time. It’s special importance means it has special decorating considerations. Your desk should be simultaneously beautiful and useful.
Because your desk is also a workspace, it’s important that you choose your decorations carefully. You might feel compelled to put a large number of photographs and mementos on your desk; resist this urge! Select a few of your most important photos: your family, your kids, a favorite trip, etc., leaving the rest for other locations. If you have small decorations like statuettes or objets d’art, pick just a couple that you’d like on your desk.
Your goal with your desk should be to have lots of impact with few items. Keep this in mind when selecting items, and be open to moving things off your desk if you find it’s too cluttered. Your desk should be functional above all, as a beautiful desk with no working space is not a desk at all.
Shelves, cabinets, side tables, and whatever other furniture you might have in your office (even steel filing cabinets) are all opportunities to decorate and make your office comfortable and stylish. While your desk needs to retain usable space, bookshelves and cabinets can be dedicated exclusively to decorating, their primary function changed from storage to display.
If you have lots of books that you need to reference regularly (such as law books or textbooks), create dedicated areas for them. This can be a single bookshelf, a number of individual shelves across many cabinets, or any other way you’d like to do it. Especially if they’re more traditionally bound, these books will act as decorations themselves, without the need for anything else.
Books that you won’t need access to regularly can go behind other items, such as photo frames or tchotchkes. If you’re a collector of small objects like models or artifacts, these can be beautifully displayed in glass-door cabinets or bookshelves. Ultimately, how you decorate shelves and cabinets is entirely up to you and what you want displayed in your office. If something doesn’t fit, it doesn’t have to go there!
You’ll undoubtedly have bare wall space in your office, even after you’ve put up all your cabinets and shelves. Your office walls are a great place to express yourself in a way that might be more difficult other places. Movie posters, paintings, art photography, or large photos of friends and family are all great ways to fill your empty walls and make your office more you. Weapons such as heirloom guns or swords make for great wall décor while honoring the artifacts and the people who owned them. Scrolls, clothing like signed jerseys or ancient robes, and important framed documents are great for decoration and preservation, especially if those documents are things like diplomas or awards you’re particularly proud of.
You may not have realized it, but our office decorating needs have changed dramatically in the last three years. It’s now important for many people to have an area of their otherwise private home office at which they can regularly point a camera. Live video meetings have created the need for what I am going to call a Zoom Corner; a place where you put only those things you want shown to your workmates that doesn’t have an opportunity to become cluttered or otherwise unflattering to you.
If you need a Zoom Corner, it’s best to reduce the amount of surfaces present. Tables and chairs can (and often will) become cluttered and unattractive. Even if you’re a de-cluttering wizard, vertical surfaces and display will be more appealing to those on your meetings and provide a more professional backdrop.
The best way to develop a Zoom Corner is to sequester all of your professional decorations in that corner. Diplomas, awards, even your first dollar are all great things to hang in your Zoom Corner. If your Corner has a bookshelf in it, populate it with professional development books, encyclopedias, anything that will appear at a glance to be professional.
When designing your Zoom Corner, keep in mind your webcam quality is likely not going to be good enough for anyone to read anything in the background. If you’re really struggling, just throw a background blur on when you get on meetings, that way no one will ever really know what’s back there.
Your office is, primarily, a place for productivity. Keep that in mind when decorating; the worst thing you can do when decorating your office is to create a space you are either not productive in or that makes you dislike being productive. Avoid distractions, but create a space that makes you feel comfortable and ready to take on whatever challenges you tackle in your home office. If you find you just can’t make it work on your own, give us a call or visit closetfactory.com to chat with one of our expert designers about how Closet Factory can get your office where you want it to be.