Did you know that the cubicle — that much-maligned, nearly ubiquitous hallmark of the modern office — was first invented in 1964? It took a while for that particular configuration of bland beige prefab walls to catch on, and of course there aren’t many people who truly love the cubicle. In most cases, the best that can be said about it is that it’s the lesser of two evils. Whether you have just started your first-ever office job or you’ve been slaving away inside those half-sized walls for decades now, there are ways to cure the cubicle blues! Read on for some inspiration and tips to give your cube some much-needed pizazz and personality.
Bring the Outdoors In
There is nothing like a beautiful, bright-green plant to liven up a boring environment. Choose an easy-to-care-for (read: hard-to-kill) variety, such as English ivy, philodendron, or bamboo. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a cubicle built up against a window, make sure your plant will thrive in low light.
Use Textiles to Transform Your Cube
One easy way to transform the look of your cubicle is by using textiles. These can be Indian tapestries, upholstery fabric, carpet remnants, velvet draperies, or really any swath of fabric that catches your eye or soothes your senses.
One easy way to transform the look of your cubicle is by using textiles.
Use pins to affix your fabric directly to the cube walls, add a pop of texture to your chair with a fuzzy pillow, or place a rug under your rolling chair. You can even use fabric, fashioned into curtains and tied back, to frame a poster or photograph of a beautiful view — instant faux window!
Go Ahead, Toot Your Own Horn
Instead of recycling all those certificates of completion or appreciation you’ve received for training, team-building events, and achievements, why not display them proudly? Find funky, unique frames at flea markets or thrift stores.
And since you worked so hard to earn that degree, why not show it off? If your diploma already holds pride of place in your apartment, get a fake diploma that’s a duplicate of the real thing for cubicle display purposes.
Add Personal Touches
Remind yourself why you’re compiling TPS reports and sitting through meetings that could have been emails with a photo collage of your family or your furbabies. A few decorative items and tchotchkes — think pen holders, a pretty mouse pad, some FunkoPop figurines — can also give your cubicle a much-needed dose of individualism.
Go All Out with a Theme
Do you collect anything? Maybe you’re a huge Celtics fan, crazy about corgis, or a comic-book aficionado. A fun way to set your space apart from the rest is to decorate according to a theme. (This also improves your odds of receiving a halfway decent present from your Secret Santa, come holiday time.) Whether you choose nautical decor, a steampunk sensibility, or just a particular shade of pink, go all out with accessories and art.
Incorporate Ways to Play
It might seem counterintuitive, but savvy workers know that taking regular breaks can actually improve your productivity. While it’s good to get up from your desk and stretch your legs or even go for a brisk lunchtime stroll, sometimes a quick play session can suffice. To that end, outfit your desk with a few toys and games.
It might seem counterintuitive, but savvy workers know that taking regular breaks can actually improve your productivity.
A Zen sand garden is a classic way to relax, as are 3-D puzzles. Or maybe you’d rather fidget with magnetic balls, kinetic sand, or some other tactile toy. By keeping your hands busy with meditative motions, you can boost your concentration during conference calls or webinars.
If you are a crafter, bring a project to keep at your desk. Give your thinking mind a break by knitting a few rows, practicing your hand-lettering, sketching a quick still life, or working with polymer clay.
Feeling Inspired Yet?
By tapping into your creativity, you can turn an otherwise dull, uninspiring space into a warm and welcoming office environment. It might not be the corner office you’re dreaming of, but it will make the daily grind a little less dispiriting!
If you had your druthers, would you prefer a cubicle or an open-plan office? Have you ever had a colleague whose cube was decorated to the hilt? How do you incorporate your personality into your workspace? Start a conversation in the comment section below!