Cubicle Makeover

May 12, 2011 9:00 AM

For our very first office makeover we tackled the most generic of standard issue office spaces – the cubicle. Yes, you can inject personality into a utilitarian work station.

Therese is a  Unit Production Manager at CBC Television. The same paperwork that covered her desk also served as her wall art. Because her desk is frequented by many people every day, we wanted to make it a nice place to visit. We gave her a classic, well organized space that reflects her personal style and reminds her of life outside of work.


1. Desk trays and magazine holders help keep you organized and transform unsightly paperwork.

2. Use a tray to pull together all the objects that would normally lie around your desk, such as books and accessories.

3. Frame your art and/or personal photos and stick them to your cubicle walls. Yes, it is possible. We created this wall of travel photos (again, to remind Therese of the world that lurks beyond the office doors). We used Velcro tape to hang these frames; see how we did it below, along with our other designer tips. Lighting is also very important in a workspace, especially if you tend to work late like Therese. This lamp is great for a desk because it the shade creates a softer light.

4. Don’t let this lamp live alone. Liven it up with a group of items, like this artificial plant from IKEA that you never have to worry about watering. Try using books to ground your vignettes.

5. Instead of pinning your papers all over your walls with no rhyme or reason, get a corkboard to contain them. Keep the important items on a clipboard so you always know where they are.

6. It’s nice to have a guest chair, especially if people come by to see your for work-related chats throughout the day. See all of our favorite office guest chairs.

7. You had a pencil case in school, why not have a pencil box at work? Decorative boxes are great place to store small items that you use frequently but still keep things looking organized.

Designer Tips

1. Photo Frames – I was most excited about sharing my sticky velcro trick for hanging framed photos on fabric office walls. Here’s how you do it:

  • Adhere the side of the Velcro that is harsh to the touch to the back of the frame
  • Discard the other piece of Velcro
  • Place your frame up against the fabric wall and give it a good rub so that the Velcro can grab onto the fabric
  • You can change the configuration of your pictures as often as you like since the Velcro won’t lose its grip

2. Even though Therese cleaned her desk out and was able to recycle a lot of the paper on her desk, I don’t trust that the piles won’t grow again. We bought her a box of plain, neutral-colored folders in 2 sizes, so that she can a least make things look uniform in the future.

3. Overpurchase! You never know where exactly a design project will take you, so as long as the items are refundable, start with more options than you’ll need so you can play and edit. But don’t purchase your art in advance or pay to have your own photography printed before you print everything out on a color printer and play around to create the right grouping.

Where to get it

  • SAMTID Table Lamp $39.99 – IKEA
  • FEJKA Artificial Plant $6.99, SKURAR Plant Pot $2.99 – IKEA
  • Pencil Jar $2, Thrift Store Find
  • T paper weight $3.99 – HomeSense
  • Iomoi pencils, $15 – Iomoi
  • Keep Calm and Carry On laminated print, $14.99 – HomeSense
  • Clear Tray $6 – IKEA
  • PALITLIG Vase $1.99 – IKEA
  • Glass Paperweight $12.99 – HomeSense
  • FLYT Magazine File $2.49/ 5 pack, LINGO Magazine File $3.49/4 pack – IKEA
  • DOKUMENT Letter Tray $9.99 – IKEA
  • Baroque Frame Bulletin Board, $29.99 – HomeSense
  • KASSETT Box with Lid $5.99, IKEA
  • SONDRUM Frame $4.99, 2x NYTTJA Frame $4.99/2 pack , 2x VIRSERUM Frame $5.99, VIRSERUM Frame $16.99, RIBBA Frame $19.99, IKEA
  • Bertoia Side Chair – Free, handed down from another office
  • Black and White Pillow $7, Thrift store find (originally from IKEA)

Total : $229.81

Leave a comment or a question or post a photo of your own desk on our Facebook page and we’ll help you out!


One Response to Cubicle Makeover

  1. Empirella on May 17, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    […] You can also check out our first cubicle makeover here. […]