The look and feel of your office can have a big impact on employee morale and productivity. However, most entrepreneurs don't have deep pockets for interior design.
Your Business spent the day with Homepolish — a Manhattan-based start-up that offers interior design help by the hour. Here are a few simple things they say you can do with a relatively small budget to make your space look even better.
The Homepolish team brings the outdoors in by using a plant-based decorative feature that will eventually grow into a partition wall.
PRO TIP: To re-create this room divider, install a track in the ceiling of your workspace. Secure some rope to the pots containing the plants you wish to display. Using the rope and hooks in the track, hoist the plants up at varying heights and secure the rope to hooks in the floor.
“As the plants grow, we can raise the plants up and it'll be a full partition green wall, which separates the reception area from the co-working area,” said Shelly Lynch-Sparks of Homepolish.
According to Lynch-Sparks, Homepolish uses vintage finds in order to create fun and engaging snack walls. “This is our snack wall,” said Lynch-Sparks, gesturing to Homepolish’s modest display of curated bites. “It's made out of found objects like suitcases. We've used round apple baskets as well. These are vintage wine crates from Etsy… It's a cute way to show off your snacks, or any kind of food product, without it being a plain IKEA shelf.”
Today, the Homepolish team is made up of over 500 pre-vetted designers from around the country with dozens based out of the design firm’s New York City headquarters. While experiencing fast growth, Homepolish founder Noa Santos and his team recognized a need to create flexible private spaces where they could hold meetings and take phone calls quietly.
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To that end, they bought pre-fabricated greenhouses to use as conference rooms.
“I think you're working within sort of this paradox of how do we give a space the feeling of permanence while giving it the actual impermanence it needs to grow with a company,” said Santos. Greenhouses were his company’s answer to that question. “You don't have to spend two or three months in contract, or getting board approval, or using an architect to just get a conference room up… You can just construct something prefab, you know, disassemble it, and take it with you.”
Last year’s Post-It War may have been forced to end in a friendly ceasefire, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t bring the fun indoors. Homepolish employees use the design firm’s Post-It wall to write inspirational messages to each other.
PRO TIP: To bring this idea to your office, print and frame your company’s core values. Then place them high on a wall. Provide the Post-Its and allow your employees to craft and post sticky notes that align with each of your company’s values.
“It's unnatural for people to sit down for eight to 12 hours a day,” said Lynch-Sparks. “So, a lot of people have requested standing desks when we design them. But they're so expensive. They're around $800 to $1,000.” To meet demand, Lynch-Sparks and her design-conscious colleagues came up with a plan.
PRO TIP: They put casters on a countertop from IKEA, so that people could stand at the desk and move it around as they saw fit.
One of the Homepolish team’s favorite office features is its marquee wall. The marquee hangs over a common space, where the employees often have team lunches or meetings, and is comprised of panels with removable letters. It has become another great way for them to keep each other motivated.
“In this particular office, we wanted to experiment with residential lighting,” said Santos. “Commercial lighting can tend to be or feel cold or sort of boiler-plate boring.” At Homepolish, they use chandeliers for light instead of cool fluorescents.
Especially when using thrift items, it can be hard to make them all match. Santos was particularly concerned that his company’s fast growth would mean that he would be forced to use disjointed furniture to seat people.
“One of the things we wanted to experiment with was using vintage and found tables, and how you can create a cohesive look when every single table is essentially different. And so we used something as simple as a paint color,” said Santos. “It's how do we find these solutions that allow this transience, this flexibility in a work space? And I think that's something we are just constantly trying to push the boundary of.”
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to decorate your office. “Our office has become kind of a test ground for experimental design,” said Lynch-Sparks. “A lot of things that we test out in this office we try and see if they work or they don’t work. And then, we’ll bring them into start-up spaces.”