Decorating your office cubicle is a great way to express your individuality at work and make your time in the office more enjoyable. Making your cubicle a little home away from home helps reduces stress, while increasing productivity and creativity.
When I started working at Netrix I was coming from working from home and before that I was at small creative studios where the office environments fostered creativity. So getting placed in a blank grey cubicle was foreboding for me. Don’t get me wrong we have a pretty cool office, large windows with panoramic views, conference rooms filled with top of the line technology, free snacks and beer on tap. But a cubicle is still a cubicle.
So after a couple of weeks of working in the office I began to bring some items from home to dress up my new space and make it my own. A colorful coffee mug and plastic dinosaurs were among the first inhabitants of my new space. Two years later my desk has been curated with trinkets that tell a story of who I am.
Here are some cubicle decorating tips:
A great way to get started decorating your cubicle is to explore Pinterest for some DIY ideas. Then take a trip to Michaels or Target, you can save money by perusing the dollar sections at for fun organizational supplies and knick knacks. Although it may be a no brainer but one of the easiest ways to get started is to change your computer’s desktop wallpaper, just try a simple Google Image search for “wallpaper backgrounds.”
Plants are great additions to any space. They will add life to the cubicle, they are good for your health and good for the environment too. Pick a plant that is low maintenance, since inconsistent watering due to vacation and business travel may be hard on some plants. Then choose a fun pot to plant it in, I used an oversized tiki mug for mine. Don’t have a green thumb? Purchase some silk plants or try making them out of paper.
Inspirational quotes or poems are great additions that can spark creativity. Being a Disney Parks fan, I have “Mickey’s Ten Commandments” by Imagineer Marty Sklar tacked up. I can often find inspiration from the quote as his ideas apply to many industries. Additionally, I like to keep a couple of design books on my desk for quick reference and inspiration.
Photos and Artwork
Photos of friends, family and pets are a great way to keep them in your mind while you are away at work. Take extra artwork from home to the office or try Etsy for new unique art pieces. Framing photos and art will provide a cleaner cohesive look. If you have a lot of space to cover use wallpaper, fabric or even gift wrap to wrap large areas of cubicle walls.
Don’t forget about those hard earned certificates and diplomas, the office is the perfect place to show them off. Is there a client project that you are proud of? Pin it up! It will also show you take pride in your work and your workplace.
Season decorations are a great way to add some flare to your office space. But if you decorate for the seasons be sure to take them down at the end of the season as not to look out of date. Try challenging your co-workers to a best holiday decorations contest.
Organization and Functional Decorations
Keep it organized! I may have many tchotchkes at my desk but I make sure they are arranged and tidy so my desk doesn’t look like a mess when a client comes by. Decor should be restricted to your territory try not to creep into your neighbor’s area.
Some decorations can be functional too. Desk organizers are not just practical but can be a great way to add interest to your space try some in fun colors, wood or metal. Hanging a photo calendar is not only useful it can be aesthetically pleasing too. Try using unique jars for pens and pencils. Of course no desk would be complete without a red stapler.
Having personal items at your desk can help find a common interest with co-workers and inspire conversations. Additionally, keeping a jar of treats at your desk it will promote interactions with visitors, plus it provides a nice afternoon snack.
Don’t let the decorations hinder your work environment it should be business first. They should not distract you from your work. Make sure all the important things like the mouse, keyboard and such are easy to access.
Consider your office culture. In the creative industry we definitely have leeway in how we could decorate but if you work for a more conservative company consider toning down and minimizing the decorations. Think about how much exposure your space gets, if you are tucked away or a high traffic area. It is also a good idea to also be aware of building codes, things like desk fans, space heaters, and candles may not be permitted at your desk.
Don’t Over Do It
Think carefully about what images you display and what your cubicle says about you. Use your best judgment and avoid anything that might offend someone. If in doubt remember the tried and true saying “less is more.”