Office Design Ideas

I meet a lot of clients who need some help and ideas on how to make a big impact with a small budget when it comes to their office design and are unsure where to start so I wanted to write down some quick, easy and cost effective tips.

The first thing I notice when going in to an office that needs freshening up is storage and organisation. Some have too much and some have too little. Print areas, employees personal belongings, kitchen areas without enough cupboards.

If you have too much storage you are using space inefficiently. Space has a subconscious feeling of luxury. When you walk into a hotel there is a reason why the atrium or entrance is incredibly spacious and your room relatively small. If you have too much storage think about removing some and then assessing the newfound space you have. Filling the space where a storage unit was with a plant is so simple but has a real tangible positive effect on the workplace.

If you don’t have enough storage or organised storage, then this is a very simple win. Lockers for personal belongings and/or personal peds should help keep desks clear and bike helmets or gym kits hidden away. Review all the storage areas and identify where you need more in order to keep unsightly things hidden away. Coat storage and clever solutions for umbrellas too are really easy wins and will help keep the office floor looking tidier and organised.

Brand and feature colours can look great when first installed but often begin to look tired over time. Fresh decoration is very simple but getting the colours right can be quite difficult. Choose neutral tones that work with the building infrastructure as opposed to your brand colours. This creates a sense of continuity and makes the space feel natural and warm when you walk in to as opposed to being blinded by a bright green or deep red which invariably you start to hate or will think about changing in time due to the brand moving forward. Warm greys, black, white and off-whites are best. Glass in the office provides the opportunity to create interchangeable graphics that make an impact. These are easy to change, cost effective and can look great if done right. Sticking to these principles for the office decoration will create a more timeless décor and easy to maintain in future too.

The furniture you got from Ikea has probably lasted well and looked ok at the time but they make furniture based on trends at the time and don’t really focus on design, ergonomics or manufacturing quality. I appreciate when you first move in there is so much to think through and the costs start to rack up that easy wins like sofas and breakout furniture makes sense but a refresh for commercial quality products in these areas will again make a big impact. Furniture is a great investment, you take it with you, it can move around the workplace as you change and if brought well and managed well can even be sold again. I have seen hundreds of offices where a simple furniture change would work wonders and make for a much better impression to staff and to visitors alike.

Finally I would look at the flooring. Depending on the condition of your existing carpet you can make minimal changes to the layout of the flooring types and specify a limited amount of alternative finishes to brighten up the space. Carpet sucks in the light whereas a vinyl reflects helping the space feel brighter and less heavy as you walk through. I can always tell if I am working with a good designer or an average one by the amount of thought they put into the flooring. It may sound a little over the top but the finishes on the floor and how they are laid shows an understanding of materials, colours and angles which makes a huge difference to the office design.

Other tips  

  • Replace all lighting lamps for new
  • Replace the worktop, sink and splash back in the kitchen area
  • Decorate existing doors and frames
  • Decorate existing kitchen doors
  • Add some feature lighting in specific areas
  • Increase plants and share the responsibility throughout the office for looking after them.