Where to start
First, think about what you do and don’t like about your current office space. Does the mess stress you out? Are you always losing pens? Is your desk falling apart? If you’re on a budget, prioritise what you dislike the most and plan to change that first.
Then pick a theme. We wanted to include travel, but we wanted to keep things quirky and laidback, so we picked ourselves some silly accessories too.
“Re-painting just one wall can have a dramatic effect,” Aliz Ördög, from Lima Europe says. “And so can changing the lighting – buying desk lamps so the hated strip-lighting glare can be reduced could instantly change the atmosphere.”
For our travel theme, we got a Cote d’Azur print (£99.99; art.co.uk) but it was our Chinese bird and fish kites that changed the vibe most drastically, and we swear the phoenix gives us inspiration. (airdynamics.co.uk; from £17.50).
Decorate your walls with a kite from airdynamics.co.uk
Making the most of a small space
If your office is small, keep things tasteful, says Ördög. “Too much colour can be overpowering in a small space, so limit how and where it’s used.” The advantage with small spaces is that you can fix them up to be far more inviting. Ördög says: “The smaller the space, the greater the opportunity to create a cosy, homely feeling, so consider pieces of furniture that you would typically find in a house for a more relaxed environment.”
If your office is the corner of a bedroom, Cassie Tillett, founder of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers, suggests using height. She says: “Get a unit with a drawer for your keyboard and get shelving up above for your printer and files.”
Having clutter around can stress you out, so stock up on storage options.
“Ikea do mini chests of drawers that are designed for stationery like paper wallets and dividers. And you can get old-fashioned Post Office-style pigeon holes, which look lovely,” Tillett says.
For something humorous, we went for Lego men’s heads, from £11.95, and pen lid-shaped pen holders, £11, from aplaceforeverything.co.uk. A good place for storage is theholdingcompany.co.uk, which sells nifty boxes and files. The travel tin, £16, fits A4 items and has a world map on it.
You can also find patterned and paper- bag-look storage boxes, £18, at thecamouflagecompanyshop.com.
Keep your pens in a lego head, from aplaceforeverything.co.uk
Having a good phone can easily make your office look more modern, so make like James Bond and get yourself a sleek one. You can get the Magicbox Torque from John Lewis (pictured, johnlewis.com, £69.99).
And get onto motor-mouse.net for computer mice in the shape of sports cars, Minis and our personal favourite, a Marmite jar, £18.99. We ordered ours with a marmite toast mousemat, too for £7.99.
Plants are a must to purify city-centre air. Buds Office Plants and Flowers (flower.co.uk) specialise in indoor greenery and flowers and we chose some amazingly exotic trees and plants, in giant pots; it almost feels as if we’re in the jungle! What’s more, Buds Office Plants and Flowers will deliver to your workplace.
John Lewis sells quirky desk accessories like Morris the Memo Holder – a red donkey that holds notepaper, pictured, £9.95. And for notepads, we went for heart and flower designs from carolinegardner.com, £13.50.
Have one of these plants delivered to your office by flower.co.uk
What not to do
- There’s always the danger of going a bit over the top. Here’s how not to glam up your office space …
- A beer fridge for Friday drinks is a good idea. A personal vodka bar isn’t.
- Cat ladies generally become the butt of jokes. So refrain from adorning your desk with pictures of Foofy and Pickles.
- Balloons and streamers are only acceptable on birthdays and leaving parties.
- Shrines to celebrities are also frowned upon.
- Do not, under any circumstances, take any inspiration from Pimp My Ride – a blue light is not meant for under your desk.
- And never, ever, enforce a “pink and fluffy items only” rule. Your workmates will never speak to you again.
Where to shop for your office
Office furniture – ikea.com
Posters and art – posters.co.uk
Wall decorations – airdynamics.co.uk
Plants – flower.co.uk
Storage – muji.eu
Stationery – paperchase.co.uk
Finishing touches – officeboutique.co.uk / snapfish.co.uk / papernation.co.uk