By Heather Jennings, Designer
Featured Photo by Erin Comerford
The office is the place where ideas and innovation happen. The workplace is at the center of where we spend the majority of our time. There is one important aspect that is very often overlooked, which is making your space your own.
Whether working from home or the corporate office, personalizing your space can bring more joy to your work day.
The place we work should be our own personal sanctuary. Our office should feel welcoming to others, have a little bit of that “feeling of home” and evoke some of your personality to those who visit.
What this looks like is going to be different for each person. As a health and wellness designer, I’ve dedicated my career to making people feel happier through design. Having an office space that uplifts you will make your work more enjoyable. Below are six ideas on how to make your office space more joyful.
Add textures that bring you comfort
Rugs, throw pillows and blankets are tactile ways to make your space look and literally feel more comfortable.
Find a small area rug and place it in your office to add color and warmth. An area rug will also provide a nice texture under your feet, as well as acoustical control by absorbing sound. If you have a small chair or couch in your office, try adding some throw pillows and blankets to make the space more inviting. They also can be a way to add fun patterns, making plain furniture look new and exciting. Not only do rugs, pillows, and blankets make the space look more inviting, but they are also practical when it comes to comfort! Textured wallpaper can also be a great way to make the room more interesting. These small details make a tangible difference for guests invited to your office space.
Include a board for visual organization
Having a cork board, tack board or white board can come in handy no matter what line of work you are in.
A tack board can help you easily organize your ideas and visualize your projects throughout their process of development. These boards are also a great way to declutter your desk and find your notes when you need them! Tack boards can be found at most local home stores or through a basic internet search. They come in various fabrics like the linen one shown and in a variety of colors to match your office space. Add stylish push pins or magnets if you are using a white board. Keep the board easily accessible where you can see it while working. These boards are an efficient and fashionable way to organize your thoughts while working.
Create a secondary sitting space (not your desk chair)
Everyone needs a break sometimes, and you should have a comfortable spot to re-energize.
Set up a zone in your office that is close by your work area where you can relax for a moment. A comfortable chair, lounge, recliner, small sofa, or love seat could all be great options to bring your office to the next level. If your office is not large enough for extra furniture, try purchasing floor pillows that give you support and comfort while allowing you to get a different perspective. You are giving yourself a spot to separate yourself from your work, which will help make your day more enjoyable. It can also be a place for a quick nap or to rest your eyes, which will help you to be more productive while you are completing the day’s tasks. Our firm often works with doctors and nurses that need a quick nap to recharge and we often recommend a lounge in their office. You might also want to set up an area where you can have a quick snack, or add a notepad for writing down ideas. This is the perfect spot to hang some artwork that inspires you. The idea is to create a dedicated space in your home office that will be a place you can recharge when needed.
Incorporate color and display mementos
Pick any color that brings you joy and try painting an accent wall or think about adding color through smaller details.
Perhaps add color with a desk lamp, prints or paintings, or a paper weight. This will add to the mood you are setting. You can also use peel and stick wallpaper that is easily removable. If one wall in a room is painted a different color, it helps to ground the space and brightens up a dull office. It’s a simple step, but who doesn’t love seeing their favorite color?
Personalizing your office with your favorite items can also avoid the feeling of “all work and no play.” Surrounding your office space with the things you love is a great way to make your workplace feel less stuffy and more fun. You can display your favorite items on shelves, on top of your desk, or on a window sill. Think of any collections you enjoy such as comic books, crystals, toys, vinyl records, objects collected from when you traveled, books or even photos of family and friends. Not only will these things bring you joy because they are special to you, but they are often great décor and can be displayed in creative ways. For example, you can display cool toys or your favorite knick knacks on floating shelves. Using items you already own is a great way to personalize your space without spending any money.
Add plants or fresh flowers
There are many ways to improve your well-being during those long hours sitting at your desk.
Need a breath of fresh air? Try placing live plants or fresh flowers in your office space. Not only do plants purify the air we breathe, but they also mimic the outdoors which is refreshing. Nature is proven to make us happier. Plus, a task that is as simple as watering a plant can help to de-stress. You can also place your desk near a window for a better view.
Consider Ergonomics and Tech Upgrades
Do you have back pain or tightness in your hips? Investing in a good desk chair that is ergonomically designed can make a world of difference.
Have you considered trying out a special desk treadmill for some exercise while you work? For example, Steelcase furniture makes a great one.
Updating the technology in your office can make your life easier by reducing unnecessary motion. This could be as inexpensive and simple as a Bluetooth mouse, or you could invest in a large monitor which will take some strain off of your eyes and can make it a lot more pleasant to work on compared to a laptop. Extension cords that include USB outlets in the most accessible places near your workspace can also be helpful. The less hassles you face from tech, the more time you can devote to your creativity.
Next time you’re in your office, write down which of these ideas your space is missing and try adding them in. Incorporating a few of these changes will facilitate you to do your best work while feeling happier on the job. They can bring joy that will transform the way you think about a space and the way you feel occupying it.
Making your office more joyful can be as easy as gathering your favorite accessories and adding them to your space. Try accents of fun colors, textured decorations, updated technology, and a tack board along with those personal items to freshen up your room. Not only will your office space look more put together, but it will also make you feel more comfortable and inspired while you work.
Good luck as you add to your own productivity and enjoyment, and be sure to share your feedback on your office updates!
Heather Jennings is a 2000 graduate of Davis College at West Virginia University. She continued her studies at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, an experience that helped foster her innovative spirit and love of functional design, and broadened her understanding of retail, product sourcing, fashion merchandising, and commercial design.
Heather founded Blackwell & Jennings in 2016 after transitioning from fashion to interior design. In 2017, she began to focus specifically on projects in the health and wellness sector, working to improve productivity and well-being in her client’s workspaces and waiting rooms. Her projects incorporate methods and techniques proven to increase creativity and make visitors feel welcome. Heather’s goal is to create experiences for her clients that are inclusive and engaging by integrating natural materials/light, plants, greater color definition, and varied spatial set-ups.
Heather believes in lifelong learning and is currently studying color theory, space planning and new rendering platforms. She recognizes empathy for her clients, and the ever-changing zeitgeist, as important influences on her design style. Fascinated by the ways an interior space can provide healing and comfort, Heather practices daily design rituals both at work and at home.
Blackwell & Jennings LLC
Heather Jennings/Commercial Interior Design
Alliance of Interior Designers