Beautiful workplace design inspires people to reach their potential. Sadly, many business leaders overlook its impact on employee productivity, creativity and health.
Some offices can dramatically improve their appearance with minor thoughtful additions, while others need more disruptive upgrades.
Consider these aesthetic changes when enhancing workspace design.
1. Reimagine the Layout
The floor plan makes or breaks workplace design. A good one renders everything easily accessible and inspires productivity, while a bad one can turn an office into an exhausting maze.
Proper furniture arrangement can streamline a formerly restricted workplace layout. Break rows of desks into small groups to create room for movement. If there’s space to spare, dedicate areas for training and socialization to increase privacy, promote collaboration and foster teamwork.
Modern offices have an open environment to keep employees from feeling cramped like sardines in a can. Although they’re better than cubicles for many people, unbroken cavernous spaces can impact concentration and productivity. The tiniest of sounds can travel the room unencumbered and cause unwanted distractions.
Breaking up open spaces with transparent glass partitions is a good compromise. These invisible walls define areas without making the office claustrophobic. Alternatively, large furniture — storage lockers or filing cabinets — can delineate work areas without dividing the office.
2. Embrace Bright Hues
Working environments with vibrant colors accomplish more with less time. Yellows, oranges and greens with salmon pink and turquoise undertones can boost productivity. Using them in small doses brings out these psychological effects, so treat them as accents rather than the dominant color in the palette.
A bright neutral — like off-white, light gray or pale blue — is the safest bet for the main color. It’s forgiving, versatile and reflective. It can sit quietly in the background, letting accent colors steal the spotlight.
3. Use Minimalist Storage
Storage units that don’t scream for attention do two things — let striking office decor arrest the eye and declutter the space. Organized working environments are almost always more inviting than chaotic ones.
Minimalist storage suggests stealthy hiding spots for documents and office supplies. However, furniture with built-in draws also works.
4. Get Interesting Furniture
Cookie-cutter pieces are boring, while those with quirky details and multiple functions are refreshing. Outfitting a large office with nothing but unique furniture can be jarring and costly. A better approach is to buy a peculiar product and make it the center of attention. Ensure the centerpiece of the office is on-brand.
For home offices, one can push the envelope of creativity. An ergonomic stool paired with a standing desk is perfect for the health-conscious. A slender writing desk meshes well with an upholstered chair. A secretary can fit anywhere and doubles as a statement piece, and so can a vanity. A gaming chair is a great companion to an L-shaped desk and promotes comfort and support for extended sitting.
The visually heavy executive desk offers plenty of storage space, hides messy cords and wires, and can pair beautifully with a leather chair.
5. Buy Quaint Accessories
Small decorative additions can make a significant impact. Putting pens in vintage jars or funky mugs is genius. Storing business cards in antique boxes is neat. Using woven baskets as inbox trays is lovely. The mixture of materials adds more texture to otherwise characterless desks.
These charming accessories can be at home in offices with a modern or industrial aesthetic. The key is to use them sparingly to coexist with quintessential design features in the surroundings harmoniously.
6. Create a Coffee Corner
Nearly 75% of Americans drink coffee daily, and about half drink up to five cups a day, so why not set up a brewing corner? Be it an espresso machine or grind-and-brew, a coffee maker is a thing of beauty and can turn a forgettable office spot into a little cafe.
Giving employees the space and tools to unleash their inner baristas does more than establish a fun company culture. Anyone who can get their caffeine fix without going outside can clock in more productive work hours. Working in an office that smells like a coffee shop has stress-reducing effects. Used coffee grounds are an excellent odor neutralizer, masking unpleasant smells in the fridge and the bathroom. They make stellar natural scrubs, too.
7. Have Artistic Walls
Hanging captivating artwork, applying dark paint and displaying photos are tried-and-true methods to turn a nondescript wall into a decorative asset. A panel shouting “Look at me!” adds life to an office with mostly bland interior design.
Another terrific idea is embedding the company’s mission statement into interior design. Tailor a customizable banner or commission a local artist to make a masterpiece out of the empty canvas of a wall while incorporating the organization’s north star. This way, the work can remind its admirers of what the brand is all about.
8. Introduce Lively Flora
Potted plants and flowers bring a splash of color, separate spaces and improve indoor air quality. African violets, aloe vera, the ZZ plant, any of the 70 snake plant species and the philodendron are some of the usual office favorites.
9. Update the Roof
Aesthetically, exterior design matters more to people working from home than to traditional 9-to-5 employees. The home office is an extension of every non-nomad freelancer, independent contractor and telecommuter, so how it appears from the street can speak volumes about its owner.
Roof replacement is a curb-appeal improvement more impactful to home offices than those in high-rises. It’s because residential properties generally have prominent steeped roofs and lend themselves to shingle installation.
Regarding roofing shingle colors, gray, green and purple hues are some of the trendiest choices, but neutral ones are timeless. Pay attention to the rest of the house’s exterior colors to ensure visual harmony.
10. Bring More Light In
Removing any obstruction to windows puts the interior in a good light. It’s addition by subtraction, for daylight benefits people’s physical and emotional well-being. An office high above the ground gets panoramic outdoor views and creates an illusion of more indoor space.
Electrochromic glass can magnify the advantages of uncovered windows. This technology increases satisfaction with daylight conditions and the quality of views by 700% and over 550%, respectively. Smart windows help 48% and 77% of workers experience less eye strain and depression.
Form Follows Function
There’s beauty in practicality. These recommendations prove that aesthetics and functionality go hand in hand in office design. Go beyond the superficial to make meaningful cosmetic changes in the workplace.