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How to Have an “Un-office”

July 11, 2008

How much time do you spend in your office each day – 8 hours or more?

Do you suffer from lack-of-inspirationitis in your office?  Meaning, you are greatly inspired when you’re out of office and when you return, you lose your momentum to carry out those inspirations?

Is your office dull and boring or does it cozy up to you and say “Be the best you can be!  You’re a ROCKSTAR!

Whether you are an indie professional or working for someone else, you probably spend a rather large chunk of your time in your office, so why not have it reflect the rockstar that you are and support you in being the best star you can be?!  Don’t you want to be in a space that inpsires you and feels good to spend those rather long hours in?  Don’t you want to want to be there?

When Drew Barrymore moved her business, Flower Films, to a larger space, she had the new office designed into an “un-office,” throwing out the rules of traditional office design, bringing a bit of each employee’s persona into the space and resulting in “a chic working environment that allows her staff to work ‘family-style’.” The resulting space feels like a home away from home, and rightly so, since we DO spend so much time at work.  Why not have it feel like a second home?!

Here are some tippers to get you started on the way to your own un-office!

Home Away from Home
Unless you want your office to feel like a typical office, think home decor for your office space.

Color Up!
Pick a theme of 3 colors you love together and find items that have variations of those 3…or, if you want less restriction, throw out the theme of 3 and just go for things you know will work well together, regardless of color.  When choosing color, think about what you’re going for in your un-office:  bright and vibrant? calming and meditative? conservative?  wild and unruly?

Bulletin Boards as Art
Plain cork is nice, a renewable resource and suits its purpose.  However, a large space like a bulletin board that is prime real esate for creativity, color and design, like a good piece of art!  Consider these options:

  1. Paint the cork – either the entire slab or just with a favorite pattern ie. swirls, stars,
  2. Cover the cork with fabric – printed or not.  You could even use a few different pieces of fabric.
  3. Frame it – The cork doesnt even have to fit inside the frame.  Hang an empty frame with some twine or ribbon over the top of the cork.
  4. Decorate the frame – Paint it, cover it with trinkets like buttons, shells, trims or use your imagination!

For eco-friendly paint, try Benjamin Moore’s Aura line or Yolo Paints all eco brand.  Cork can be found at office supply stores or sometimes an entire cork board is at a second hand store, in addition to great frames of all shapes and sizes.

Colorful Views
Down with the office blinds and up with the curtains!  Fabric adds softness and more opportunity for color. You can also use curtains in addition to blinds.  Or, if you aren’t into the curtain-look, go for a natural fiber blind such as bamboo or rattan, instead of those boring metal blinds.  In addition, roll-up blinds and curtains are easier to clean than the slatted blinds. Buy recyled at your local second hand store or go custom.  Green Sage, LIVE Textiles and OEco have great sustainable fabrics.  For socially responsible, customized roll-up blinds, check out Earthshade.

Comfortable Meetings
Think about how long you can spend in meetings.  Give your poor tush and back a break and saddle up to your meetings in supportive, uber comfortable arm chairs like you’d find in a livingroom.

Who says they need to match exactly?  Find a few neat styles at a second hand shop.  If they need a facelift, you can paint the frames – either same or different colors – and reupholster the chairs with some recycled fabric from the thrift store, at home or go with new, sustainable fabrics from Green Sage, LIVE Textiles or OEco.  For the frames, try eco-friendly paint such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura line or Yolo Colorhouse’s all eco brand.

A Cozy Retreat
We all need to read materials for work.  I love to read on the sofa – or in one of those big, cozy armchairs.  Bring in a recycled sofa or go new with Greener Lifestyles and throw in a coffee
table and perhaps some side tables too!  Then, after you are done reading, you can take a refresher snoozer on the sofa.

So you see, you needn’t have a dull and boring office.  You needn’t suffer from lack-of-inspirationitis when you return to the office.  In fact, it should be anything but that since you spend so much time there.

With a few simple changes, you too can have an “un-office” to support and inspire your rockstardom and all your great works of art!  And an eco-friendly one at that.

If you are completely lost on how to do the above, don’t have the time, or it just isn’t your cup of tea, then hire an interior decorator to make it happen for you!  Nothing wrong with asking for help.

Have fun!!

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