I’m super excited to share a Desk Makeover with you all today. Here’s the thing, I am ALWAYS telling people who don’t actually have an “office” that you can still make your workspace a place you love. Office Style isn’t always about having an office. You can work out of your kitchen table, cubicle, living room, etc. Andrea is a great example of how replacing some items on your desk and doing a little clean up, can go a long way.
What made you decide to do a desk makeover?
Whenever I sat at my desk, I found myself wishing I were sitting at my kitchen table in my quaint little apartment instead. And whenever I DID take files home on evenings or weekends, I seemed to produce much better work than I did when I stayed late at my desk.
Since working from home isn’t officially an option at my office, however, I decided to bring the feel of home to work. After all, I’d spent quite a bit of time and money picking out the perfect flea market table and sheepskin rug and vintage bottles and ruffled pillowcases for my apartment, yet I actually spent the majority of my life in a plain, gray cubicle . . . NOT enjoying any of the furniture or accessories I’d collected back at home! I decided I should give my desk at least as much thought as I gave my home décor.
Was your supervisor OK with the makeover?
Appropriately enough, my manager told me it “looked like home” when she first noticed and complimented my new accessories–especially the frames. I brought those into the office early one morning before she’d arrived, since I didn’t want to use working hours for redoing my desk.
Of course, I couldn’t–and didn’t–make any substantive changes to the placement or look of my cubicle walls or office furniture (although I’m still desperately researching all types of wallpaper, contact paper, and even static-cling paper to try to cover the laminate faux wood desktop!), so I assumed I didn’t need to ask for my supervisor’s permission to personalize my space. Plus, because any non-employees rarely visit it, I didn’t have to conform to any sort of “company style.” The space is completely about me–and my job.
How did you feel working at your desk before the makeover?
Distracted. I wasted quite a bit of time, and I even began to wonder if I had A.D.D.! So I checked out a library book about procrastination during my office’s long holiday break in December, but on the first workday following my vacation–even after I’d posted a list of new year’s anti-procrastination strategies next to my computer monitor–I still felt anxious and agitated. Then I realized my surroundings might be contributing to my mood.
How do you feel working at your desk after the makeover?
I feel centered. At first, I worried I might be even more distracted by all the pink–a color inspired by an old pink greeting card, with the inscription “Will work for shoes,” that I’ve posted above every desk I’ve occupied since I started my career. But the new desk color has actually proved simultaneously relaxing and energizing.
I feel a sense of order and accomplishment, since I’m surrounded by objects I selected and, in many cases, helped create (I’m especially proud of my [novice] paint job on the frames and glass bottle!). Even though my day job doesn’t always inspire creativity, my surroundings encourage me to look for imaginative approaches to each task.
What’s your favorite part of your makeover?
The flameless candles. Yes, they can look rather fake on close inspection, but the warm flicker that I notice out of the corner of my eye gives my whole cubicle an indescribably happy, cozy ambiance. The lamps certainly contribute to the atmosphere (I asked the office building manager to disconnect the fluorescent lights above my cubicle), but candles, more than anything, mean home to me. My office is now a place I’d CHOOSE to be . . . even if I didn’t have to.
I’m an editor for a nonprofit scientific society, although I never even took a chemistry course in high school or college! After countless literature and writing classes, however, I’ve developed an overwhelming passion for grammar. And when I’m not studying writing manuals, I’m reading fashion magazines, buying high-heeled shoes, browsing design and food blogs, navigating flea markets, smothering my cat with love, trying gluten-free vegetarian dishes (mostly ones made with sugar), and occasionally blogging about them at http://glutenfreev.wordpress.com.
The Office Stylist