So if you really want to improve your office, where do you start?
To assess what your working space has to offer, try imagining the room without anything in it. Firstly, stand in the room when the sun is shining and notice how the light moves around the room, from early morning to much later in the afternoon. Making the best possible use of natural lighting and enhancing it still further is often the starting point to creating a more pleasant and productive environment. Avoid placing tall cupboards too close to windows as these can obstruct the spread of natural light, causing subtle shadows and dark areas. In darker rooms, you can improve the spread of light by painting walls in light, natural colours that will reflect diffused light back into the room. Modern office furniture in lighter wood finishes can reflect up to more than 50% more light into a room than some darker finishes, so this should be a consideration, as should floor coverings and seat fabrics which can dramatically alter the overall ‘look and feel’ of an office. With modern upholstery fabrics for chairs and soft seating, you have a choice of literally hundreds of colour options – From plains, patterns, and high-tech meshes to environmentally sustainable options and textured fabrics that are full of visual interest. Some fabrics will have a wool blended mix for comfort, whilst others can be ‘easy-clean’ or ‘anti-bacterial’ – Ideal for use in more heavy-duty applications. We’ve got environmentally friendly fabrics that are made from nettles, flax and hemp, along with fabrics made from recycled bottles and even recovered sea-waste!
When it comes to choosing the colours and finishes for your office, it is best to consider the scheme as a whole. What kind of atmosphere would you like to create? We all know that the colours that surround us can have a significant effect on our mood. Natural colours and calming pastels are therefore ideal for meeting rooms and reception areas as they can instantly create an inviting, airy, and relaxed atmosphere, whereas warmer tones can be used to give a more intimate, friendly feel to a smaller office space. Carefully positioned plants and soft furnishings can also play a big part in creating exactly the right ‘look and feel’ or dampening down noisy and problematic acoustics. Intense or vibrant colours can be used very effectively in the workplace, but whilst they can be striking, it’s often best to use them with restraint and in relatively small quantities. They can add splashes of colour that can be very welcome in any scheme in the same way that brightly coloured flowers can add to the overall look of a garden. However, do be aware that bright, vivid colours can sometimes be more difficult to live with day in, day out… For example, an intense bright yellow ‘feature wall’ may seem fine and add some cheeriness during the dull winter months, but in the intense summer sun, it might just become completely overpowering.
Get creative and start thinking of your workspace as being ‘far more than just an office’ … after all, it’s where you’ll spend a big part of your day, so why wouldn’t you want it to be a pleasant place to be? … By helping to create a better working environment for you and your team, its an investment that will help to deliver improved overall efficiency, more pleasant and comfortable surroundings, and a happier, more productive workforce!
7 golden rules when planning your office
1.Natural light makes for a far more productive workspace, and it should be used and enhanced where possible. In darker offices, use lighter colours on walls, desks and chairs that can reflect up to 50% more light.
2. Think about how power sockets and data cables will be fed to each desk. Reduce ‘cable clutter’ by using desks that have cable management systems.
3. Doors, fire exits, and gang ways must be kept clear at all times. Allow plenty of space for people to sit behind desks, as well as get in and out. Storage must always be fully accessible with either the doors open or with the drawers fully extended.
4. If you feel confident, plan your office layout on graph paper. For small offices, use a scale of 1:50. For larger offices, you may need to use 1:100. However, do remember we offer a free planning service, and we’ll give free initial advice without any obligation for any size of project, large or small.
5. Producing a ‘mood board’ will help with ideas and ensure that all the various elements being used will give an attractive overall blend. Use the same proportions of each colour as will be used in the finished office. Pull accent colours together with small details like pictures, letter trays or desktop accessories.
6. Interior plants, interesting pictures and soft furnishings will add warmth to your office. Lighting should be soft, indirect, and adequately diffused wherever possible. It should be used to complement natural lighting levels, otherwise it can produce both tension and eye strain. A good quality, comfortable and supportive office chair is a must!
7. Ask for advice from an office interiors specialist. Our advice is free and friendly, whether you need a single desk and office chair, or a complete ‘floor-to-ceiling’ and ‘wall-to-wall’ office refit.
If you’ve got a potential office project in mind, or maybe you want to visit our showroom (or maybe you’d just like to know a bit more about what we do), please speak to one of our office interiors team today on 01302 830330… We’re here to help!