It’s a New Year! New DECADE! Time to start fresh, right? That’s always a big goal, and a good one, but HOW? We’ve created a few office spaces over the last year and have learned a thing or two about what makes us (and our clients!) most productive. I thought discussing how design influences productivity would be a great way to kick things off in 2020!
Designing an office spaces requires a different skill set than designing a living room. When I set out to design a place to work, I am extremely detail oriented. Like, we take “detail oriented” to a whole new level. Why? Because my livelihood (and my clients’) depends on the office being a place where productivity reigns. There are three things that matter most to me when I have an office design plan on the brain: how it’s organized, what the furniture looks (and feels!) like, and how much natural light shines through.
TURN CLUTTER INTO ORGANIZATION
I was just listening to this podcast and Amber Delagarza said something that spoke deeply to my core–the gist was this:
“Clutter is simply the result of unmade decisions.”
Talk about a dose of reality. I mean, how much truth is there in that statement!? Every piece of paper, ever extra sample, every charger laying around is a decision we have made to not sort, file, or place something in it’s rightful home.
Here are the first things I do when making an office design plan:
- Inventory the space needs (filing, electrical, storage, vertical workspace, electronics, etc)
- Identify what kind (and size) work surface is needed to suit the work done in the space
- Determine the least amount of furniture/softgoods we can bring in to do the job
- Decide how many people will be using the space and what they will do there
- Figure out what “clutter” and electronics need a home, and create hidden and dedicated spaces for everything needed to get the job of the office done
CHOOSE YOUR FURNITURE WISELY
While we love creating offices with some beautiful, high end lines, we also realize that often the budget for an office can be conservative. That sure doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful!
We love a clean, white suite of furniture and our own studio, #styleberryHQ, is full of white IKEA furniture. I don’t hesitate to recommend it for client projects because of its versatility. While I’ll never say “form over function” in an office space, I feel like you can get the best of both worlds when you select wisely from IKEA. Mixing it with some beautiful, higher end items can really uplevel the look!
If you are looking for more of an intimate office feel, consider bringing in furniture that is not intended for office use. Adding a beautiful sideboard to an office suite can instantly give it warmth. Add some custom art and you’re well on your way to a home away from home.
This is what I consider when selecting furniture for an office suite/space:
- What is the budget and how long does this furniture need to last?
- What style and shape desk will suit the computer and workspace set up? (double monitors? Client conversations? Sitting? Standing? Collaborative? Privacy?)
- What kind of work is done, and how does the seating need to support that? (swivel chair? on rollers? wobble chair? arms? adjustable height? **if it has arms, does it fit under the desk?)
- What is the overall vibe of the work being done? (Formal? Casual? Individual? Team? Client facing?)
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS AND OPEN THE SHADES
I am a chaser of light and I have been since the day I picked up a DSLR camera. Since my days snapping the shutter, I have been hooked on reading light and it guides every single space selection that I have made in my personal and professional life. No natural light? Deal Breaker.
If you have any control over where you work, then start your office search with a close eye on the light. If possible, choose an office space with the most natural light possible. If you work from home, can you pick a room with an abundance of sunshine? If you work out of coffee shops, are there any that are brighter than others? If you work in an office, can you raise the blinds and turn off the overhead lights?
There are ways to brighten up a space, even if natural light is lacking. Here are a few tricks we use to boost the brightness:
- Strategically add mirrors to bounce as much light around the room as possible (add them opposite a window if you can)
- Paint the room a soft, light, neutral color
- Add white or light colored drapery, if appropriate
- Purchase white office furniture, to keep the space fresh and clean feeling
- Add a lamp (maybe one not intended for office use!) or under mount LEDs to existing shelving
- Add a light colored rug to brighten from the floor up
An organized, well furnished, bright workspace = a happy work space! If you want to take it a step further, we subscribe to the “make your office a jungle” mentality, and encourage you to add easy to care for plants to your office! We love heading to Tillage, our local San Antonio go-to resource for plants to add to our office. Kara, the owner of Tillage, has helped me put them all in the right places to thrive. Our current count is six…and we love all our plant babies!
Our wish for you is this: keep it simple + make it easy to keep clean. Less is more when it comes to a highly productive office space!
Don’t have a separate home office space? Don’t worry We’ve got you covered! Read more: Where to Work if you don’t have a Dedicated Office Space.
Need a Jumpstart? We’ve created Office Design Checklist, the very same process we use when designing a client’s office space! Grab yours using the link below!
Styleberry Creative Interiors is a Full Service Interior Design Firm based in downtown San Antonio, Texas, specializing in fresh, relaxed design completed in a thoughtful, caring way. With a team & design process you can trust, we’ll create a space and experience that will help you finally exhale.