Setting up your work desk in a way that makes you feel at home, helps you focus on work and is unique to you while staying in line with your co-workers' expectations can be quite the challenge. That's especially true if you're someone who likes big, bold colors in an office space where the majority of desks around you are muted and grey.
If you work in an office with a boss like the Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, then the bigger the better! He's gotten rid of the cubicle feel by encouraging larger than life decor and even commissions local street artists to create indoor murals on the walls. There are no private offices, and everyone, including Tony himself, shares the common desks spaces where each large, open room seats it's employees. While your workspace may be the complete opposite of the artistic vibe that Zappos culture thrives on, if you're looking to inspire your boss to let the creativity flare, Tony Hsieh is a great example of a successful working environment that employees feel free to be themselves in. Tony truly values employee loyalty and happiness within his company -- in fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, it's policy for Zappos to offer several thousands of dollars in exit money to new hires if they quit, in order to see who truly wants to invest their time in sticking around for the long haul.
However, if your job is much less negotiable when it comes to individual creative expression, you can still make your desk a place that you thoroughly enjoy working on. First ask yourself the following questions:
--Do you prefer structure and clean lines, or more of a flowy, less organized workspace?
--Do you like earth tones or brighter colors?
--Is it important for you to have family photos? If so, how would you like to showcase them?
--Are you someone who thrives in organized settings where you have everything clearly labeled, such as a visible calendar to see your schedule at all times?
--What are some things that make you smile or feel relaxed throughout the day? Maybe it's a painting that your niece or nephew made for you. Or perhaps a whoopee cushion that reminds you to have some fun. Whatever little things help keep you positive throughout your day, make a note of them. Because the happier you are at your desk, the better you're going to feel about sitting there for a majority of your workday.
Once you've compiled a list of your likes and dislikes, you can head online to Pinterest and search desk decoration ideas. Chances are you'll be pleasantly overwhelmed with ideas and even inspired to try something that you hadn't thought of before. Target and Marshall's Home Goods also offer affordable decor with a large range of styles and patterns to choose from.
If you're still unsure about how much attention you want to draw to your desk, remember that you can still create your desired unique aesthetic in a minimal way. You may love the color yellow, but your coworkers keep their desk area as a purely functional space, celebrating whites, grays or darker colors. So instead of starting a DIY project where you spray paint your chair neon yellow, you may want to simply invest in some yellow picture frames or a yellow penholder. That way, you're not sacrificing your style; you're simply blending it with the office environment around you.
You can also ask your coworkers and boss about any risky decor ideas you may have. Sometimes simply running these thoughts by others allows them to feel like they're part of your creative process, which in turn gets them more excited. If they reject it, you of course can still embrace that inner artist and go for it anyway, as long as nothing you display could be considered offensive or demeaning. And if you really don't have the freedom to make your personal space your own, you may even wonder if this is truly the place you want to spend a majority of your time. If the answer is yes, then get back to Pinterest and search for that perfect compromise!