You spend a lot of time in your office. It could be a corner of your living room, a dedicated room in your home or even a small, rented space. No matter where your office is, a key to making work enjoyable (and productive) is creating an office space that you love. Over the next few weeks I’m going to give you some ideas for starting a love affair with your office. We will cover everything from chairs to décor and a bunch of stuff in between. We are currently on week 3 of the series. You can find the first two articles here and here.
This week in our “Love Your Office Space Series” I want to talk about personality. Or more specifically adding personality to your office space. The truth of the matter is, you could have the coolest computer, the most comfortable chair or the most bombastic desk, but if your office lacks personality you’re not going to love it. A boring office is uninspiring and frankly doesn’t make anyone want to stay there for long.
It used to be that a professional office had a certain ‘look’. Bookcase filled with industry appropriate books, an executive desk (or depending on your position a utilitarian desk), phone, computer, desk chair and perhaps one or two chairs for clients to sit in. On the wall would be either an art print of a local location or a print with an inspirational saying or quote. Quite honestly, it was what clients expected to see back then. The only personal items might be a family photo and a coffee mug on your desk. *Yawn*
Thankfully the growing number of home offices and cloud based businesses, as well as the rise of authenticity ushered in by social media is changing the expectations of a professional office. Clients no longer expect to see a sterile office space and enjoy getting a hint of who you are through the personality of your office space, allowing you to create your own personal sanctuary in your office.
Need some ideas as to how to add that personality? How about:
Color: If you are lucky enough to have a home office, paint your walls a color that makes you happy. If painting the walls is out of the question, add pops of color with your desk accessories and even your office chair. I was lucky enough to inherit purple walls in my home office, which I love.
Create small decorative and useful spaces on your desk: Use small boxes or crates, set up on their side, to create nooks to store things in as well as decorate. That wire inbox for papers can be replaced with a basket. Look for fun desktop organization pieces at places like Target, The Container Store or Poppin.
For example: On my desk I’ve used wooden crates I purchased at Michael’s, painted them in soft neutral shades (no stark white or black, rather Oyster and Driftwood), then turned them on their side. A small one holds my monitor on top. Inside is another painted mini-crate that holds my business cards with a small faux succulent on top. Next to that is a candle and then a glass inkwell holds my favorite fountain pen. A larger crate off to the side holds journals and planners, another mini-crate of faux succulents as well as my camera, a clock and my good luck elephant in rose gold. Next to my monitor is a gold magazine holder in which I keep a few of my favorite business books and my current planner. Next to that another crate on its side holds my microphone and headset for recording. Part of this one is hidden so it gives me a spot to put things I don’t want on display. I love the arrangement and the fact that these items reflect not only my personality, but my creativity as well.
Don’t forget the walls: Hang artwork that makes you happy. That can include light up letters and three-dimensional art as well. Add a shelf that you can put family pictures and treasures on.
I have several items on my walls. A framed quote from “The Lord of The Rings” about deciding what to do with the time given to us, a framed rose gold letter with a burlap background, and my favorite, light up letters that say “FAB” just to remind me that no matter how difficult my day may get, my life is fabulous.
A Pet Place: If you have a home office or your office allows pets, creating a spot in your office for your pet can be fun. A dog bed in the corner (or under your desk if it’s small) or a spot for your cat to curl up not only adds personality, it gives your pet a place of their own in your work space.
In the picture below you can see that I used a twill half cube storage bin and a pillow to create a cat bed for my cat Fiona.
Think outside the box for desk accessories: No one says a pen holder has to actually be something created to be a pen holder. I found a ceramic ice cream cone which was probably meant to be a planter that I use to hold my pens. Goodwill, flea markets and antique stores are great places to find things quirky items to hold your desk necessities. An old tea cup can hold paper clips or even business cards. An old mason jar can hold scissors, pens or even flowers. A pretty soap dish or plate holder can become a business card holder. Unique repurposing can be an instant dash of personality for your desk. Can’t think of repurposing ideas yourself? Check out Pinterest for an overabundance of ideas.
You’ll be amazed at how differently you will view your office space once you’ve added some personality to it. It will become a sanctuary you enjoy being in. It will also be much more memorable for clients who visit or even see it via a Skype session, while giving them a little taste of who you are as an individual. All of which are very good things.