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Build Your Career Office Life

Extreme Makeover, Cubicle Edition: 10 Ways to Spruce Things Up

Extreme Makeover, Cubicle Edition: 10 Ways to Spruce Things Up
There are some simple steps employees can take to spruce up the look of their cubicles. / Credit: Decorate image via Shutterstock

While cubicles are designed to have a uniform look, it doesn't mean you can't find ways to make yours stand out from the crowd.

Even though you might not have much space to work with, there are plenty of ways to spruce up a cubicle to make it exciting and comforting.

Bob Bessette, owner of the website Cubicle Bliss, said the options are endless when it comes to organizing and decorating an office cubicle. He said it's all based on personal preference.

"Everyone who lives within the confines of cubicle walls all workday long, as I do, should put their personal stamp and personality on their office space," Bessette said. "Make your cubicle someplace that you'll look forward to coming to each day and just maybe your productivity within that space will soar as a result."

To properly create an atmosphere of productivity and tranquility within a cubicle, employees have to concentrate both on organization and enhancing the décor of the space, Bessette said.

"If you just add some nice decorations to an office in disarray, it's like putting lipstick on a pig," he said.

To help cubicle workers get the most out of their space, Bessette and several other design experts offer 10 tips on how to organize and decorate such a small workspace.

Clear your clutter

Sayeh Pezeshki, CEO and founder of The Office Stylist, said before you can even think of decorating any space, and especially a cubicle, you've got to clear out the clutter.

"If your desk is covered in junk, knickknacks, old paperwork and tons of other things you don't need, throw them out," Pezeshki said. "I have a rule when it comes to your desk, if you don't use it every day, it can be put away in a drawer or thrown out if not used at all."

Shelving

Finding some shelves that can work in a cubicle is the first step toward staying organized, Bessette said.

"If at first you organize your cubicle smartly with a variety of cubicle shelves that either attach to the cubicle walls or utilizing a desk shelf that allow you to store items on top of the shelf and below, the office will be much more conducive to enhancing its décor," Bessette said.

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Functionality

Holly Bohn, the founder and creative director of See Jane Work, said since space is tight, cubicle workers should show their personality with functional décor.

"If your favorite color is pink, then buy a pink stapler," she said. "Accessories that don't have a use can quickly overwhelm a small space."

Pictures

Bessette said never underestimate the value of adding colorful posters or pictures to a cubicle to enhance its decor. He said cubicle workers can add framed pictures onto their desktop and lean them against the cubicle wall or even hang them on the cubicle wall.

"One of the best and least-known ways to hang a picture, poster or anything on a cubicle wall is to utilize T-Pins," Bessette said. "T-Pins, used in the tailoring profession, are what I have found to be one of the cheapest and best ways to hang anything from a cubicle wall, including heavy posters, framed pictures and even a retro cubicle clock, which I use in my own office cubicle."

Pick a color scheme

In order for a cubicle to have a cohesive look, it needs to have a color scheme, Pezeshki said. She advises cubicle workers to pick whatever inspires them, or choose one or two colors that they love.

"If you're like me, then you'd pick purple with black and white accents," Pezeshki said. "Keeping a consistent look in your favorite colors will not only make your space look well designed, it will also make you feel good while you work."

Stand out

While employees will want their cubicles to stand out from the rest, the key is doing so in an appropriate way, Bohn said. She said cubicle workers should really think through their desk accessory choice.

"You want to personalize your space, not erect a neon sign that says, Look at me, I'm not corporate,'" Bohn said. "You don't have the luxury of closing your door, so don't go overboard with themes or kitschy décor."

Plants

Another option to add some life to a cubicle is with small plants, Bessette said. He said that both live or artificial ones are acceptable options.

"Some popular types are cactus or any type of small succulent since they require little watering and don't take up a lot of real estate in the office," Bessette said.

Lighting

A simple way to add décor and functionality to a cubicle is by adding a desk lamp, Bohn said.

"You may have plenty of overhead and task lighting, but a lamp can make a cold cubicle feel warm and inviting," she said.

Fun desk supplies

Pezeshki advises workers looking to spruce up their cubicle to replace all of their boring office supplies with something more fun.

"Your pencil cup, pens, stapler, tape dispenser, letter tray and other desk accessories now come in a wide variety of trendy colors and styles," she said.

Wallpaper

Those who want to add some real life to their cubicle should consider hanging wallpaper, Bessette said.

"If you really want to adorn the walls of your office cubicle, you could hang cubicle wallpaper with T-Pins, completely covering up those dull gray walls," he said. "You could use any type of fabric that you like or you could invest in specialized cubicle wallpaper you can buy online."

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.