Certified Resume Writer, Career Coach, and Business Owner
You know the negative reputation cubicles have – dull, dreary, gray. How can you possibly be expected to sit in one every day and be your naturally productive, enthusiastic, and upbeat self? The answer lies in decorating your cubicle so it sparks creativity and feels welcoming. While this might seem impossible given the bland canvas you have to work with, take heart because it’s totally doable!
Continue reading for tips on how to decorate a cubicle. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to transform your workspace into something special. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Think Your Workflow Through Thoroughly
To start, consider what you do at work every day. Do you stand up and walk over to the filing cabinet a lot? Perhaps you spend time brainstorming and taking notes? Do you frequently need certain forms in a specific order? Take all this into account as you plan out how you want the furniture, computer equipment, and other items laid out in your space. For example, maybe put the filing cabinet where you can easily get to it, hang a whiteboard on the wall for brainstorming sessions, and use desk organizers for all the forms.
The goal is to make everything you typically do at work easier and more streamlined. Put serious thought into the layout of your cubicle and set it up so it serves you.
Assess Your Space and Plan Accordingly
Next, consider what you have to work with. Consider things like how big or small the cubicle is. Then, you can focus on details regarding how you want to store your things. For instance, if you happen to hoard industry books and manuals, then consider a small bookcase to make your workspace look more distinguished. If you have plenty of wall space, collect or create some artwork to give your cubicle the look you want.
Other practical things to think about are whether you have natural light, where your outlets are, and how many you have. This will impact where you set up your main workspace and what type of lighting or lamps you’d need to invest in. So, before you move forward and start making changes, spend some time familiarizing yourself with what you already have so you can plan accordingly.
Keep Functionality on Top of the Priority List
Knowing how to decorate a cubicle starts with prioritizing functionality. Sometimes we get caught up in wanting to make our workspace look, for lack of a better word, pretty. We want it to match our style and express who we are. While that is great and hopefully something that can be achieved, remember that functionality should absolutely be prioritized above looks. If you’re tripping over the cord to your lava lamp or unable to see your computer screen because of the glare from your funky new lamp, there’s an issue.
Above all else, the items in your cubicle should make it simple to do your job. So, yes, have fun making your cubicle stand out aesthetically, but, more importantly, make sure the layout doesn’t inhibit you from performing your best.
Don’t Create Something You Can’t Really Maintain
Maybe you think that your cubicle would look unique and interesting with a large fish tank filled to the brim with beautiful tropical fish against the wall. While it might fit your aesthetic, remember that you don’t want to put items in your cubicle that you’re going to struggle to maintain. The truth is that it’s probably not going to be an easy task to keep those fish alive and thriving (yes, you’re going to have to feed them every day and clean the tank, which isn’t always an easy or enjoyable activity, especially when you’re dressed in nice work clothes).
So decorate and furnish your cubicle in such a way that it’s not a hassle to maintain. The items you put in it should, in general, take care of themselves without much maintenance or attention from you. After all, you’re at work to work, not to worry about the angel fish that hasn’t been doing well lately.
Design It to Inspire
Depending on your profession, the way you decorate your cubicle should inspire you – to be more creative, productive, or focused (or all three). Face it – if you do nothing at all, you’re probably going to feel bored, distracted, or even sad while at work every day. But if you introduce some splashes of color, interesting artwork, or family mementos, for example, you’re going to jazz things up. As a result, you’ll be much happier and more inspired.
Remember, Less is More
Minimality is king. Why? Because if you get too carried away and put a zillion different decorative items in your cubicle, it’s going to get cluttered fast. And you’ve probably heard (or experienced it firsthand) how clutter can cause us to feel disorganized and distracted – not a good combo while we’re at work.
So be selective. Choose minimal decorations, pieces of furniture, and lighting. The important thing is that whatever you choose, just make sure it counts. You should love it. It should support your goals and workflow and make you feel excited to get to work.
Colors are Important
Different color palettes can impact your mood and desire to work. Keep this in mind as you decide what colors to include in your cubicle. There’s lots of research out there, so it’s important to do your due diligence before buying wallpaper or a rug. Green, blue, purple, and brown are said to encourage productivity. Yellow has been found to spur creativity, while red is very stimulating. Consider what colors you personally like and the vibes they’re known to give off before deciding which direction to go. But really, almost any color palette will be a welcome choice over plain (or dingy) white or gray.
Also, note that you don’t necessarily have to add color to all the walls in your cubicle if that feels too drastic to you. Buying colorful organizers or a bright cup holder are other ways you can add pops of color without getting too intense. But even those smaller splashes of color will help keep you awake on a sleepy Wednesday afternoon when work feels a bit tedious.
Add Your Personal Touches
Finally, it goes almost without saying that you should definitely add your own personal touches when you start to decorate your cubicle. It could be a poster of an inspirational quote or a plant with exotic leaves. Add in whatever speaks to you and makes you happy so your cubicle feels like a second home.
A Few Cubicle Decoration Ideas to Help You Get Started
Hopefully, the tips above will be helpful as you make your cubicle at work your own. If you’re still at a loss for what exactly to use to decorate your space, take a look at the list of items below:
Plants are an excellent addition to any cubicle. They bring a little taste of nature into what might otherwise be a very sterile and drab atmosphere. If you are in a cubicle with little to no natural light, that’s okay. Fortunately, there are cool-looking plants that can grow without sunlight. Pick one of these to keep alive in your workspace. Trust us. You’ll likely feel much calmer and happier in your cubicle.
A cool coffee mug
It might sound like a little thing, but if you love your coffee, having a nice coffee mug can seriously make your whole morning much better. Holding it in your hands – the perfect shape, nice and warm – can provide a small but real sense of joy as you sip your coffee. Pick one in your favorite color, and it’ll second as a fashionable desk accessory too.
They’re called inspirational quotes for a reason – they inspire us. Choose a few that speak to you. Then, post them throughout your cubicle (on the walls or on your desk, perhaps). When you’re feeling a little discouraged or blue, check them out for a quick mental pick-me-up.
One way to keep the clutter at bay is to invest in several high-quality desk organizers to hold papers, pens, and more. This is a great way to remain organized and keep your desk nice and neat. Additionally, organizers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. So, there are endless possibilities as to how you want to use them for decorating your cubicle.
A fun calendar
Maybe get a calendar with a big family photo at the top of it or a picture of your beloved pet. Surround yourself with whatever images and items make you happy. The nice thing about calendars, too, is that they come in all different sizes. Plus, they can be relatively cheap. You could opt for a large wall calendar, a smaller desk one, or even one that’s printed on your mousepad. Get creative.
A desk lamp
The fluorescent lights that are common in cubicles can feel harsh or too bright to some workers. To make your space more inviting and comfortable, consider getting a desk or floor lamp that exudes a softer light. Some people find this dimmer option more relaxing, calming, and inviting.
A few colorful accessories
Your favorite baseball cap. A college pennant. An attractive rug. Some of those expensive pens that look and write amazing. Whatever accessories bring you joy and also introduce some color and personality to your cubicle are winners in our book.
Finally, while it may be a bit more ambitious to install than some of the other items, wallpaper can go a long way when it comes to adding character to your cubicle. There are countless patterns and colors to choose from, so have fun picking one that will express who you are and all you have to offer!