Considerations for an Office Refit – Part 3: Furniture & Decor

Following-on from the earlier parts in this series, with the budget in place, the scope of the project mapped-out and the works necessary to refurbish and re-purpose the various areas of the existing workplace undertaken, the final stage in the process is turn the spaces created into places of work. In this article we turn our attention to office furniture and decor and look at some of the considerations you will have to consider to ensure your new workspace is fit-for-purpose.

Office Decor

Most of us take for granted that the interior of our workplace is decorated and don’t give a second thought to wall coverings, floor coverings, colour palettes etc. However, there is much more to interior decor than than meets the eye and it can have a significant impact upon not only the first impression of the business given to clients upon visiting your premises but also has far reaching implications for staff and their sense of well-being as well as productivity!

 

Colour Palette

The overriding piece of advice here is: choose carefully! We can all think of many examples of workplaces we’ve visited where the walls are all white and/or magnolia and there’s a grey carpet and grey furniture. This more ‘traditional’ approach to office interiors, whilst giving a uniform appearance, has been found to have a negative effect on the occupants, creating a sense of sadness among workers which has an impact on productivity and creative thinking and thus, engaging the correct colour scheme is essential.

As a brief starting point (you can read more HERE), red promotes urgency and excitement, blue or a mild green promotes mental focus and calmness and mellow yellows promote optimism and free-thinking. 

This is not to say that a completely red environment would induce a hyper state of rapid working, for example, but rather consideration should be given to incorporating ‘bright’ colours into the workspace. Research has shown that purely monotone, and monochrome, workspaces have the opposite effect on workers to that which would be hoped by an employer and so a broader, brighter palette should be utilised. Even if the primary colour utilised is grey, or white, accents of colour can be introduced to break the pattern.

Sometimes the introduction of colour is simple – a company’s logo may have certain colours that can be extended throughout the office space, or the use of a colour wheel or, as we’d recommend, the employment of an office interior designer, can produce a set of harmonious colours that can then be used as a theme for the interior.

If we assume the colour palette has been selected – how should this be deployed? Well, the key here is to be holistic in approach and consider all of the elements that are to be included in the office interior:

  • Office Furniture
  • Floor Coverings
  • Wall Coverings/Decor
  • Glass Partitioning Manifestations

Colour plays a part in all of the above but there’s a fine balancing act to be had in using colour sufficiently to provide a harmonious environment as opposed to the overuse of colour, or of jarring colour combinations, which has been shown to lead to feelings of anxiousness and panic among workers and, as result, a lowering of productivity.

 

Office Floor Coverings

To carpet, or not to carpet: that is the question? The initial consideration here is to look at the function of the floor covering: is a specialist covering required for safety purposes, is there going to be a heavy footfall, is sound baffling an issue, for example?

Whilst laminate/hard flooring is an option, and is certainly a highly durable approach, in workspaces where there is a high footfall there are implications for the amount of noise produced: this could be a particular problem in office where the majority of work is conducted via telephone.  If this is the case, then carpet would be a better option but, as with all coverings, there are many options for carpeting including the types of materials used through to the purely aesthetic elements of colour palettes and patterns down to whether carpet tiles or more traditional rolls are used.

More details can be found HERE

 

Office Wall Coverings

As with carpet, there is a vast range of options for how to decorate the walls of a workplace. 

Once again the initial considerations should centre around the type of use for which the workspace was created. Do the walls need to be hard-wearing, prone to knocks and chips in a more industrial setting, for example? This first stage of selecting wall coverings should, in conjunction with discussions with an office interior designer, lead to a selection of appropriate materials that can be used.

The next stage would be looking at what would be suitable: wallpaper and/or paint being the most obvious but this can be extended to murals, logos/branding, wall hangings etc … all worthy of consideration within the agreed colour palette to create both an aesthetically stunning environment along with one conducive with productivity, creative thinking and employee well-being.

More details can be found HERE

 

Glass Partitioning Manifestations

So, you have your wall coverings planned, your floor coverings and all with your colour palette in mind, but a large percentage of ‘wall space’ is glass partitioning … how can that be tied-in with the overall aesthetic? The answer: manifestations!

Manifestations are basically transfers that can be applied to glass – these could take any form from coloured stripes, to images, to corporate branding etc and really tie-in glass partitioning to general decor of the workplace. They also overcome an additional concern regarding glass partitioning which is safety; clear glass partitions can pose a risk to workers as they are not immediately discernible which can lead to accidents with people walking into them. Manifestations overcome this issue as they provide a graphical indication of the glasswork and thus reduce the risk of accidents and injury.

 

Office Furniture

With the office all prepped the final stage (bar data cabling which we will not be discussing here) is the introduction of the office furniture that will be used by the employees to undertake their work. Chances are, when you mention office furniture, people will immediately conjure-up an image of a series of ‘star shaped’ workstations scattered around a room. However, the choice of office furniture is virtually endless! With a vast amount of research having been conducted on types of furniture and their relation to health, productivity, aesthetics etc over the past 10 years things have moved-on at a rapid pace with all manner of workstations, desks, chairs, storage and associated furniture pieces being developed.

For example, if collaboration is key to your workplace, ultra modern offices (such as Facebook and Google) deploy ‘super desks’ that can sit 30-40+ members of staff around them to facilitate interaction and the sharing of ideas!

Office seating also comes in a myriad of options including, increasingly, the use of ergonomically-designed seating to minimise discomfort and potential long-terms injury to the user.

For some of the more thought-provoking options, we’d recommend a read of the following articles on our website:

If something more traditional is required, again the colours scheme, styles and functions of office furniture is nigh-on endless and a thorough discussion with your office interior designer should lead to the selection of the appropriate furniture.

 

In short, the basics of office interior design can seem straightforward but there is a weight of theory and research behind it that needs to be considered in order to make the right choices. We’d recommend engaging the services of an office interior designer at the outset of an office refurbishment project to ensure your organisation gets exactly what is required to drive your business into the future.