Unconventional Office Decor That Is Inspiring

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Modern office design has a penchant for the unconventional. The days of desks in straight line and boring carpet stretching between cubicles are gone. Instead, today's designers look to create comfortable seating areas and unique working atmospheres. Before you move into your new office, see if these tips can help you design a truly unconventional space.

Extra Seating Everywhere

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The hallmark of modern office design is the placement of unconventional seating areas throughout the office space. Whether you place a few couches under a large window or design a unique meeting area in the center of your lobby, the goal is to create a variety of zones where your employees can work, brainstorm, and relax.

When you're designing this kind of open office environment, it's important to take acoustics into consideration. DEGW, the designers who crafted Microsoft's offices in Milan, made a point of designating "sub-areas" with half-walls and other clear divisions. This keeps noise from traveling too far and helps each team feel like they're working in a distinct space. Each new area can then be decorated with unique materials and fun themes.

For your office, take a look at the space you have available, and think of unique ways to use it. Wide hallways can be lined with padded benches, and intermediate spaces can be turned into impromptu meeting zones. If employees have private offices, create a lounge-style communal workspace that encourages them to mix up their workday.

Classic Materials for Modern Purposes

Wooden construction materials add a feeling of warmth and industry to a workspace. Some offices make use of large plank floors and towering overhead rafters. Other designers invest in pine furniture, tall wooden bookcases, and natural facades that make the office more inviting.

GitHub's San Francisco office makes clever use of wooden materials in nearly every room of the building. The design team, Rapt Studio, wanted to soften and brighten the environment. Thick wooden pillars were used to divide spaces, and warm tones were chosen to reflect the soft overhead lights that hang from arching rafters. The walls and floors showcase an eclectic mix of materials that creates visual interest wherever you look.

Use wooden materials to save your office from that "concrete warehouse" atmosphere. Try large wooden tables, wooden armchairs, and wood panels across some of the walls. Wood is also a cheap and striking material to use for the cubbies and storage areas that are featured in so many unconventional designs.

Open Art Galleries

Art in the workspace has been shown to boost productivity by a surprising amount. Taking a break to look at art relaxes your eyes, stimulates creativity, and gives you an excuse to get out of your chair.

The boost in productivity might be why companies like Airbnb are incorporating gallery-style areas into their office designs. Airbnb's new office features a large, window-lit area with framed paintings on the walls and a museum-inspired photo pillar in the center of the room. Gensler, the design company that created Airbnb's offices, used clean white walls and plenty of light to highlight each piece of art. The result is an open, airy space where employees can walk off ideas or hold moving meetings with an important client.

Dedicate at least one wall or hallway in your office to the display of art. Choose somewhere that's easy to walk through so that employees can use the space to burn off stress. You should also include paintings, sculptures, and other art pieces throughout the office; place a visual "reward" in places where the eyes are naturally drawn.

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Healthy Plants and Natural Light

Going to work shouldn't always mean leaving the outdoors behind. Many modern office designs are incorporating flowers, houseplants, and even indoor trees into the working environment.

The Thinkgarden headquarters in Milano, Italy, show just how natural an indoor environment can get. The walls of this office are lined with small trees, blooming shrubs, and delicate flowers. Each natural area features a curving patch of grass that blurs the line between indoors and outside. Architzer, the designing company, also included forest-themed wallpaper that turns the workspace into a hidden grove. The entire office is lit by tall windows and bright overhead lights. Clean white furniture and green office accessories complete the bright, sunny, and bountiful vibe.

You might not be able to plant an entire garden in your office, but you should seriously consider the addition of indoor plants. The presence of plants can reduce anxiety, keep the air fresh, and generally make the space feel more inviting. Plants are also a great excuse to place daylight lamps in dark and gloomy corners of the office.

The goal of unconventional office design is to create an open, relaxing, and creative work environment. Start with an open work area, and sculpt it to meet your company's requirements. Once you've identified work areas and meeting zones, find creative ways to decorate and make use of each space. As long as you prioritize efficiency and employee comfort, you'll end up with a clever space that's tailored to the needs of your team.

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