When you are an employee, you spend the majority of your day following someone else's rules: Surely your office space is somewhere that you can relax and operate according to your own rules, right? Wrong. Well...sort of. On the one hand, the space is not your own in that it belongs to your employer and you likely share it with other employees. But on the other hand, since you spend most of the day in your designated office or cubicle, you want to put your own stamp on it. Fortunately, there are inexpensive ways to incorporate your unique style in the workplace in an appropriate and tasteful manner. And that's what we mean when we say that this compilation is the Employee's Guide to Office Décor Done Right! CAREEREALISM.com and The Home Depot have collaborated and scoured the Web to bring you this curated selection of projects to help you (as the valuable employee that you are) decorate your office or cubicle from the floor up. We're covering everything from area rugs to how to work a container garden into the windows the 'right' way so let's get started!
Color Is KingBefore we embark on our décor choices, let's take a moment to examine the element of color in the workplace. Even if you're not in charge of the paint colors, you have some say over the colorful components you place in the space.
Colors to Produce ResultsInitially, you want to make sure you're incorporating colors that are not only pretty and appropriate for a shared workspace, but are also geared toward increasing your productivity at work, so here's a great resource for all things colorful: http://ayearofproductivity.com/angela-wright-interview/
Colors for Cause and EffectWhat's the best color to keep co-workers and clients calm in a potentially heated situation? What about when you need to spark some creativity in a round table discussion? For some answers and more tips, check out: http://under30ceo.com/brighten-up-at-work-the-right-way/
Want to boost your productivity? Check out this article: Hump Day Treat: 5 Quick Tips For Better Productivity
Office Décor From The Floor UpOne smart way to deck out your office space to reflect your style is to use pieces that are as functional as they are fashionable.
Area Rugs to the RescueStarting with a solid foundation is a key contributor to success and a simple DIY stenciled rug is a great solution to the issue of protecting the office floors, giving you a softer surface for your chair and feet and adding your own personal artistic element to your workspace – simply adjust the size to fit your space. http://budgetdecorating.about.com/od/softfinishes/ss/Simple-DIY-Stencil-Rug.htm
Trash Cans in any ColorCreate a wastepaper basket out of a simple bucket and wrapping paper: http://www.diylife.com/2010/03/26/handmade-transform-a-bucket-into-a-wastebasket/
Special Filing CabinetFans of The Office need no introduction to the inspiration for this cheeky trashcan: http://kateandkuby.blogspot.com/2012/07/diy-newspaper-trash-can-makeover.html
Want more ideas on office decor? Check out our Pinterest Board
Decorative DesksYour central workspace is most likely your desk and the chances that your employer has stocked it with stylish office supplies and containers are 'slim to none.' So, rather than sticking with boring boxes and holders for keeping your desk straightened out, try some of these creative DIY projects for a decked out desk.
Colorful Pencil & Pen CupsThe next time you reach for a pen to write down an inspiring thought, do it in style with these colorful pencil and pen cups: http://www.worldofpineapple.com/how-to-make-colorful-desk-organizers/
Chalkboard Paint Pencil & Pen CupsIf you'd rather write on your cups than wrap them, consider the limitless power of chalkboard paint: http://www.michaelannmade.com/2011/09/chalkboard-paint-pencil-can-tutorial.html
Framed Whiteboard Calendar To-Do ListDon't forget a single task throughout your day; stick them up on this awesomely DIY whiteboard calendar: http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2012/09/diy-whiteboard-calendar.html
Chic Cereal Box SeparationDon't let the juvenile nature of this project throw you: It could be just the thing you need to get your act together at work! http://www.katydidandkid.com/2010/07/cereal-box-stationary-organizer.html
Fabric-Covered OrganizerWhy shouldn't your stacks of invoices, bills and other documents wait for you in style? http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2012/02/08/diy-fabric-covered-metal-inbox/
What About Walls?You want your office art to stand out, not stick out. In other words, the piece should be understated and striking when you notice it but it shouldn't ceaselessly shout for attention every time your eyes drift over to that wall. Office art of all kinds – whether it's a mirror or a desk-residing sculpture – should be tasteful and inoffensive. And those items you have hanging on the wall rather than perched atop your side table are in your offices' forefront and should be created with a judicious eye toward only featuring appropriate pieces. For some more 'Dos and Don'ts' for decorating your cubicle or office space, check out these best practices and things to avoid: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/Careers/01/27/cube.decor/
Creative ClocksWhy settle for straight-up minutes and hours when you can have the time displayed and an awesome piece of colorful artwork to boot? http://www.thatswhatchesaid.net/2012/chrysanthemum-clock/
*Bonus Project: Creative Clocks: Wall Mirror Edition!A great way to make sure you look your best before you dash out for a meeting in the board room and improve the lighting in your space at the same time is to incorporate a wall mirror. Follow the directions for the Creative Clocks projects but instead of a clock, simply glue a mirror in the middle of the spoons instead!
Cubicle ChicOne simple way to stay engaged during the day when you work in an otherwise boring cubicle space (and can't attach heavy items to a wall) is to hang up lightweight and decorative items in a unique or unexpected way: http://lifehacker.com/5987607/how-can-i-make-my-cubicle-more-comfortable-and-less-boring
Wall-Hanging OrganizersWhen you are working with reduced floor or desk space in general, consider working the walls in a way that keeps whatever you need within arms' reach separate and accessible with these hanging wall organizing units. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/01/hanging-storage-bins-made-from-recycled-containers.html
*Bonus Project: Embellished ElectronicsKeep those creative juices flowing while the juice flows to your smartphone by adding a pop of color to this wall-hanging charger made out of a leftover lotion bottle! http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/12/holder-for-charging-cell-phone-made-from-lotion-bottle.html
Design a SignWe all have little things we say to ourselves to motivate us to doing our best or to help us get through a long day and memorializing them on paper or with paint in some way can add an inspirational office décor display that might even inspire others. At a minimum, it should be a great talking point or ice breaker! Create your inspirational template by painting a sign with chalkboard paint that you can change to suit your daily needs – and move to accommodate your daily office location choices! http://thegraphicsfairy.com/diy-tutorial-painted-chalkboard-sign/