Our workplace is our home away from home and our coworkers our second family. But we don’t always put as much effort into creating an enjoyable space at work as we do back at the house.
If we did, we’d probably be able to cut down on some tension, some arguments, and some unfriendly vibes in general. How, you ask? What’s the magic secret? It all comes down to décor.
Here are five office decorating tips that will help lower stress and therefore create a better work environment for you and your coworkers. Trust me, Michael Scott wishes he’d followed these tips to transform his office space— then maybe they actually would have made some paper sales over at Dunder Mifflin.
1) Take advantage of calm and simple colors.
First and foremost, pick your colors wisely. Most offices are covered in old tan paint or white peeling wallpaper. While neutral colors are good, these aren’t the most soothing or inspiring. Instead, try out some neutral earth tones, such as light shades of blue and green. They remind us of nature and therefore help keep us relaxed. However, if going all out and painting the walls isn’t an option or something you’re looking to do, you can incorporate these shades into accessories for the office, like picture frames and other wall accessories.
2) Decorate your space with things you love.
You should make your desk or your space scream you. This means bringing in pictures of you with your family or your dog and incorporating your favorite patterns or designs. Just surround yourself with items that make you feel comfortable and allow you to breathe a little easier. If you like elephants, bring on the figurines. If you like flowers, bring on the nature. In fact, natural elements like flowers encourage friendlier interactions with others. So sticking a plant on or next to your desk just might cut back on your involvement in the daily bickering. It certainly might have helped Dwight shield himself from Jim’s pranks.
3) Utilize light.
Light should be chosen for an office space on a case-by-case basis, as it all comes down to how the room is visually perceived based on levels of illumination. There should be a balance between daylight and artificial light, and there are decisions to be made about ceiling fixtures and table or floor lamps.
It might be wise to implement spot lighting at your work desk and have an option to put overhead lighting on dimmers. It’s also effective to switch to full-spectrum bulbs, which better imitate natural light than standard ones do. They may cost more, but you’ll get more bang for your buck in the form of a low-stress office.
4) Keep it minimal.
The biggest mistake you can make is go all out and accidentally make your office space an immediate stressor with colors everywhere, muddled patterns and decorations, and bright, funky light fixtures. You need to take it all in stride and make little, simple changes. There are also always those people with excessive desk staples—or junk if you ask me—like miniature fans, large mirrors, and even random little games. Don’t be one of those people. Your desk is your area to work, not to do your hair and makeup or shuffle cards. You should also cut back on the level of technology at your desk. Some people have two or three computers and a laptop sitting tall—do you really need all those? Extra computers can add to excess noise, which also leads to stress. Minimize, minimize, minimize.
5) Keep the area clutter-free.
Clutter takes away from all of the decoration strategies you have so far utilized. Nobody will be able to focus on the soothing color schemes or even notice the plant on your desk that’s supposed to lessen bickering. So, clean off whatever you don’t really need or value: those old papers that have been collecting dust in the corner, that Rubik’s cube that you have no interest in solving, the calculator you haven’t touched. Declutter, people. Also, those bookshelves and bins you got to store all your stuff? Keep them half-empty. Otherwise, they can add to a cluttered environment. And this way, every time you go to grab something from them you’ll have a much easier time actually finding what you’re looking for!