The Employee's Guide To Office Décor Done Right

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 King

Before 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 Results

Initially, 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 Effect

What'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/

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Want to boost your productivity? Check out this article: Hump Day Treat: 5 Quick Tips For Better Productivity

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Office Décor From The Floor Up

One 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 Rescue

Starting 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 Color

Create 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 Cabinet

Fans 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

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Want more ideas on office decor? Check out our Pinterest Board

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Decorative Desks

Your 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 Cups

The 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 Cups

If 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 List

Don'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 Separation

Don'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 Organizer

Why 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 Clocks

Why 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 Chic

One 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 Organizers

When 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 Electronics

Keep 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 Sign

We 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/

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Show us what your cube or office looks like on Facebook or @CAREEREALISM!

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Clean And Green

One item that is appropriate in both a shared office environment and a private home office is an office plant. Not only do they add a fresh burst of the outdoors to an otherwise enclosed and dreary space, but they also purify the air and can help you get through those long hours with relative ease.

Team Efforts

Here's a great planting project to benefit the entire office that you can also use as a team-building exercise: http://www.damselsinsuccess.com/green-your-office-with-plants-and-flowers/

Pretty Petals

A little bit of pretty color goes a long way toward making an office feel more inviting and homey: http://herahub.com/blog/2013/07/09/beautiful-blooms-to-brighten-your-workday/

Fresh Frontiers

And to round out our little segment on indoor plants, here are some of the best office options that will work for your workspace: http://blog.worklifecreativity.net/2013/07/the-7-best-plants-for-in-office-gardening/

Work-At-Home/Telecommuting Employees

When you have a home office, you automatically have more freedom in the office décor department and the sky is truly the limit. That being said, here are some of our favorite DIY projects for dressing up the floors in your home office in ways that work for your style and for your workday productivity! There's even one that turns outdoor rugs into personalized office door mats!

Color Combos

As we said before, the first step to any decoration scheme is the color palette so here are some great tips for picking out the colors of your home office: http://www.business2community.com/strategy/bringing-color-home-office-0675014#!rTgqr

Bright and Light

Since it's your home office and you can paint the walls and mix in extra lighting, here are some ideas to get you going: http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/08/paint-and-light-your-way-to-productivity.html

Welcome the Work

Create an inviting environment from the moment you step foot into your office on this unique door mat – you can paint the word 'HOME' to make your office more homey or any other word that will inspire you to do your best: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/10/try-this-update-your-welcome-mat.html

Downplaying Distractions through Décor

And don't forget that the point of an office is to complete work, so make sure your décor choices aren't distracting you from your ultimate workday goals: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/18/how-to-create-a-stress-free-workplace-environment/

Fabulous Filing Cabinets

Ditch the boring filing cabinets in favor of this simple to transform designer-esque filing cabinet using a personalized pattern on printed paper and new cabinet hardware: http://www.designsponge.com/2009/08/diy-project-caseys-wallpaper-file-cabinet.html

Creative Crate Bookcases

Stackable containers can be combined to create completely custom bookcases and shelving units for any home office. http://www.calmcradle.com/1/post/2012/03/diy-bookshelf.html

Clever Corners

Don't forget about the valuable real estate that is so often overlooked in any room: The Corners! Put them to good use with this DIY corner 'shelf.': http://www.designsponge.com/2008/09/diy-wednesdays-catch-all-shelf.html

Stylish Seating

For the ultimate in office décor, consider a full-on fabric do-over for your desk chair! http://www.howjoyful.com/2011/08/desk-chair-transformation/

Original Office Chairs

Before moving on from the office chair front, check out this top to bottom makeover with paint and fabric: http://meandmyinsanity.com/2012/03/colorful-office-chair-makeover.html

Wall-Hanging Mail Organizers

Although this one will require some skill with a sewing machine, the stylish ease with which you will be able to sort your mail as a result will make it worth it! http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2012/05/fabric-mail-organizer-wall-mounted.html

Fashionable Fabric Storage Boxes & Organizers

While the sewing machine is set to sew, create a multipurpose and super-functional storage box for your desk, bookcase or floor out of your favorite fabric: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/09/fabric-storage-boxes-per-your-request.html

Lovely 'Lacquer' Nesting Box Storage

Whether you want them for housing paper clips or business cards, you can recreate the high-end look of lacquer with little more than wooden nesting boxes and craft paint. http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/01/diy-lacquer-lookalikes/#more-25450

Putting it all Together

Now that you've decided what's going in your home office, here are some great apps to help you figure out how it all fits together: http://www.techairlines.com/interior-design-apps Click on the links below if you would like to find more information on the products you need to complete some of the above DIY projects: Outdoor rugs: http://thd.co/1aHbkHJ Door mats: http://thd.co/1dMNbly Area rugs: http://thd.co/1cRhe5A Paint Colors: http://thd.co/1mBDFUR Container gardens: http://thd.co/1dMP2a1 This post was presented by Home Depot.  

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