empty cubicleThe layout and design of your office space has a deep and immediate impact on the way you feel about work — and your life — every day. After all, you spend most of your waking life in this space, and the dreariness or cheeriness of any given space is bound to seep into your subconscious eventually. And yet, many corporate work spaces feel cold, sterile, and anything but personal. While you can’t change the bones of this design, you can hack your office space so that it promotes your well-being and productivity. Consider your cubicle your canvas, get out your metaphorical paintbrush, and get to work with the following ideas.

1. Go Green

You’ll feel like you’re working from a forest when you fill your cubicle with plants. Not only do plants have a calming psychological effect, but they can also help purify indoor air, which can become polluted chemicals from cleaning supplies and paints. The areca palm, bamboo, and rubber plants are all great options. Alternatively, opt for a nice succulent or two and keep the watering to a minimum. You may even want to throw in a nice tomato plant for healthy snacks throughout the day.

2. Create Your Own Collage

Paintings and photos are a great way to brighten up any office, especially when you opt for your favorite or otherwise pleasing patterns, images and colors. Shake things up by cutting large posters into a series of split images to create your own collage. Alternatively, try printing many home photos on smaller canvases, and piecing them all together on a side wall for a fun and creative look.

3. Support Your Body

When you’re comfortable in your body, you’ll be comfortable in mind. If your office furniture doesn’t suit your frame, lobby your manager to purchase you an adjustable chair and desk. In the meantime, try sitting on a few pillows or placing them behind you for better lumbar support. A split keyboard will also prove essential, as will an ergonomic mouse, and other products that conform or adjust to your individual body. When your mind isn’t focused on pain, you’ll have so much more brain power for everything else.

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4. Play With Patterns

Playing with patterns can add a splash of color and fun into any office setting. Apply wallpaper or gift wrapping to the back wall of your cubicle, or frame individual squares and hang them in a checkerboard pattern across the walls. Select patterns that really represent your personality, from fun comic book characters to bright, bold geometric patterns.

5. Get Organized

White office shelves with different stationery, close upA cluttered desk and a cluttered mind go hand in hand. You’ll feel so much better — and get more done — when your space feels clean and every item you need is easy to locate. A desktop organizer will of course be helpful, as can shelving, old painted shoe boxes and Ikea storage boxes and baskets. Once you’ve got basic organization systems in place, spend 10 minutes at the end or start of every day just clearing up clutter so that you can start the day right.

6. Add Your Own Lighting

As we’ve explored previously, proper ergonomic lighting is key to preventing the development of computer vision syndrome. But lighting is about more than just that. It can also directly affect your mood and energy levels. Try to avoid fluorescent lighting at all costs, opting instead for energy-efficient incandescent lamps, which cast a much warmer, yellow glow. Christmas lighting can also add color and cheer into your office space.

7. Post Inspirational Quotes

Have any great thinkers that inspire you? Print out your favorite quotes and place them right where they will always be in view. Even better, make them into an art project, printing them onto special paper, embroidering them onto cloth, or placing them into a vintage frame. Or, if you’re more of a book nerd, get yourself a Spineless Classic — your favorite books printed in their entirety onto a single page.

8. See the Door

Feng shui is all about having control over your space. To do that, it’s important that you see the door, so that you remain in the power rather than in the victim position when a colleague approaches. If your cubicle isn’t set up this way, rearrange so that you’ve got the clearest view possible so that you won’t feel taken advantage of when someone arrives and start chatting.

9. Decorate With Calming Colors

Whether you’re allowed to paint your cubicle or only to tape up posters, opt for a calming color palette. Soft blues tend to be the best option, though anything in the blue spectrum will do the trick. Pale green, lavender and dusty pink are also good options, while beige will add an especially warm feel.

10. Bring in Carpet

It’s doubtful that your boss will let you pull up the office carpet and install your own, but throw rugs are an excellent way to increase the warmth of your office while also adding more colors and patterns into the mix. In fact, you won’t want to leave at the end of the day when your toes are cuddled into its shaggy warmth.

11. Add Flare With Curtains

If you have a window, curtains are another fun way to add a little spice while also protecting your eyes from glare. Even if you’re not the lucky beneficiary of a window view cubicle, curtains, just like photos, can add personality to the space.

12. Get Creative With Shelves

Shelving is an excellent organizational strategy, but it can sit at the core of a unique decoration scheme as well. Boxy and angular shelving will mix up the look, as will filling those shelves with unexpected items, like plants and knickknacks. And of course, shelves are just another opportunity to add a splash of color.

13. Frame Your Travel Pics

Remember the sights, sounds and tastes of your foreign adventures when you frame your travel pictures and hang them around your cubicle. You’ll feel a rush of inspiration as you recall the taste of that certain spice, and reminiscing about that silly street performer will put you in the best of moods.

14. Have Fun With Fridge Magnets

If you have a metal surface like a filing cabinet in your office, magnets are an interesting way to stay creative throughout the day. Poetry magnets will challenge you into writing fun phrases, while ABC magnets will have you spelling out secret messages to your colleagues. What a great way to connect with your officemates.

15. Relax With Patterned Pillows

Pillows aren’t just for comfort. With the right patterns, you’ll even inject personality into that boring old office chair.

When your office is designed to support your individual needs, you’re sure to thrive. What are your favorite office design ideas? Let us know in the blog comments.