Office Space

How to decorate your office like a pro

Most downtown workspaces are really boring, but they don’t have to be
Most downtown workspaces are really boring, but they don’t have to be

Have you decorated your office at work? And no, your framed law degree doesn’t count. But if that’s all your workspace has on display, you’re missing a great opportunity to showcase — in front of both clients and colleagues — your unique style.

If you’re an interior-design newbie, don’t worry. I recently attended a workshop, cohosted by the formidable designer Christine Dovey and interior stylist Alessandra Salituri. Their seminar made it clear that you can elevate any space — a bedroom, living area or an office — by following a few basic design principles. And I’m here to let you in on their styling secrets. To turn that lacklustre office into the envy of your colleagues, take these simple steps.

Pick a focal point. The best-styled rooms always have a central point of interest. In an office, an easy focal point would be a bookcase, which could exhibit photos and small art pieces. On one shelf, for instance, you might place a keepsake from a recent vacation — such as a shell or a large amethyst geode — atop your Rules of Civil Procedure. Get creative and design your own Instagrammable #shelfie.

My office’s focal point is the corner window. It’s the first thing people see when they come through the door, and it’s beautiful in the afternoon sunlight. In front of the glass, I’ve placed framed photos of my son, Oscar; a pair of Diptyque candles in different sizes (for style, not function); and a large single-stem orchid. Whenever I glance at this section of my office, I feel happy.

Pay attention to texture. Downtown offices lack one key feature of great design: colour. The walls are usually white or grey. Pretty drab. To create visual interest, then, you’ll need to rely on texture. The objects you place around the room should juxtapose the soft with the hard. Display your art in a gilded frame or purchase a desk lamp with a luxurious linen shade.

Inject variety into your design. You shouldn’t crowd your office with family pictures, but you also don’t want it to look like you ordered everything online from IKEA. The most stylish spaces incorporate personal items, vintage pieces, brand-new modern items and pieces from big-box stores. Combine a wide range of design elements to create a space that is aesthetically pleasing to all.

Emma Gregg

Emma Gregg is an in-house counsel at Travelers Canada. She writes about both interior design and culture for Precedent and PrecedentJD. Follow her on Instagram at @emmaintoronto.




This story is from our Summer 2019 Issue.

Illustration by Sara Wong