The winter months remind us that warm, comfortable and inviting spaces matter — and we’re not just talking about your living room sparkling with holiday cheer. The workplace needs warm, comfortable places, too. They convey a sense of home and safety, allowing us to tap into our best, most authentic selves.
As the lines between work and home continue to blur, the design conversation around workplace features and furniture is constantly reframed and reshuffled. More than ever, people are reimagining and seeking out spaces that offer shelter, comfort and a place to recharge throughout the day.
Here are 8 ways to dial up your office comfort:
1. Nix utilitarian design
Even if you’re on a budget, resist the urge to outfit your space with strictly utilitarian items. Performance and function are important in commercial buildings, but residential spaces should not be forgotten. Even though most people aren’t looking to make work their home, they want to be comfortable while they’re in the office. Include informal lounge areas where employees can touchdown between meetings, work individually or collaborate with teammates.
Design Tip: As you plan living room-type settings in the office, remember to add power and create healthy boundaries that distinguish work from home.
2. Add lighting
Lighting has evolved over the years to include more than just overhead illumination. Task lighting and ambient lighting for residential spaces are important, too. Task lighting is still critical to those in high-focus roles, and ambient lighting reinforces a homey feeling with lamps. Try to steer clear of blueish or bright white fluorescent lighting.
Design Tip: The turnstone Big Lamp defines spaces within open office plans, while casting soft, ambient light. Available in optional PerfectMatch paint to coordinate with your brand or organization, Big Lamp can also be used for wayfinding.
3. Include window treatments
Window treatments not only reduce the glare coders, designers and engineers loathe on screens, they soften the hard lines of surrounding windows, creating a softer, more residential look. Window treatments can also insulate rooms and give the feeling of warmth.
Design Tip: Semi-opaque roller shades pull double duty by allowing natural light to filter in but blocking harsh rays on computer screens. Fabric options make roller shades easy to customize with colors and textures that complement your decor.
4. Layer in texture
Nubby fabrics on sofas, soft fabrics, faux fur pillows and natural wood grain all bring a cozy element to the office without compromising function. Hammered metal, glass, seeded glass, and wood elements like sticks and branches bring texture to spaces that have historically been overlooked in the workplace.
Design Tip: Lounge areas are natural places to add in texture. Pillows, throws, fabrics and rugs add a residential vibe that doesn’t feel forced, promoting the idea of authenticity in the workplace.
5. Play with color
The color of your walls, furniture accessories, artwork, pillows and branding all convey how you want the office to feel. Bright colors are vibrant and stimulating. Earth tones are calmer, understated and grounding. Create a unique vibe with the colors you choose.
Design Tip: Be strategic with primary colors. To avoid looking childish, it’s incredibly important to bring in a neutral base and limit the primaries to pops of color. Build up to the look you want — but don’t overdo it.
6. Don’t skimp on accessories
When adding accessories, remember to layer in different heights for balance and harmony. Group items like vases in odd numbers, or group even numbers symmetrically. Mix in textures like metal, glass, wood, plants, and other natural elements for a well-rounded display.
Design Tip: Books with pretty covers make for practical, usable decor with the added benefit of also being stylish. First, search for books with topics that match your business or interest focus. Next, select ones with covers that would look great inside space-dividing book shelves or on your waiting room coffee table.
7. Bring in plants and greenery
Science proves that nature has a calming effect on humans, and that we could all use more of it in our world of technology and concrete. So bring the outdoors in. Not only will it bring nature in the office, but biophelic wall treatments, wood accent walls and living walls are beautiful additions to any space.
Design Tip: Don’t want the hassle of caring for live plants? Add artificial ones for the same effect. Succulents and other cacti are also great options for low-maintenance greenery in the office.
8. Add rugs
Rugs tie spaces together and define spaces. They bring warmth to lounge areas, anchor the space, and provide boundaries and a sense of completion. Rugs send the message that the ottoman should stay where it is and the chair “belongs” in that grouping. In essence, they create walls without walls to make a zone.
Design Tip: Rugs are an easy way to layer in texture and color. Think about choosing a coordinating color for the floor rather than a matching tone. And while faux fur rugs may be trending now, consider performance in the office. How will something like that hold up to high foot traffic and lunch on the go? Invest wisely.
Looking for help designing your office? Check out turnstone’s space planning help.