(Mostly) Easy, Inexpensive Ways to Upgrade Your Office
Offices tend to get overlooked when it comes to decorating. We usually think of them as utilitarian spaces that need to be sterile, boring, productivity factories. I think that's a mistake. I spend most of my waking life either outside or in my office, so I might as well make it a place that I actually want to be in.
Besides, your brain reflects the physical space that you're in. So if your workspace is cluttered and chaotic, chances are your thoughts will be cluttered and chaotic as well. Dull spaces kill creativity, and bad lighting makes your brain dim. Or something like that, I don't know, I'm not a doctor.
Even if you're on a budget, there are still some totally reasonable, easy upgrades that can make the place feel extra special. These are some of my favs, all under $100.
Coffee / Tea Warmer
As a parent, I am accustomed to cold coffee. In fact, I think I went roughly 8 years without drinking a cup of coffee in its entirety while it was still warm. And I drink a lot of coffee. I found these little drink warmers that keep my coffee warm through all the interruptions. I bought two. Will probably buy more.
Real Actual Physical Planner
Yeah yeah, everything is digital, it's way more convenient, embrace the future, whatever. I love a physical planner. It keeps my tasks front of mind and although I don't have any scientific basis for it, I am convinced that physically writing something down uses a different part of your brain, and that part of the brain is just a better part of the brain. It's the part that leaves a glass of water next to your bed for the next morning. I've been using the Full Focus Planner for three years now (and yes, like a weirdo I keep them all). They're beautiful and have a bunch of great tools for planning out goals and priorities.
I would love to be one of those people who works with just a tiny sleek Macbook. I love the look of a pretty desk with nothing on it except that little silver wisp of a computer. Realistically, I just don't work like that. Two monitors is a game changer. I can have spreadsheets on one monitor, Asana & Quickbooks sharing another one, I feel so freaking productive. I'm never going back. I got these secondhand, so I kind of cheated on the thrifty thing, but they're not crazy expensive and they're worth every penny.
Pretty Office Plants
In case you couldn't guess, I love plants. Especially in the middle of winter, plants make me so happy. Believe it or not, even though we literally grow things for a living, I don't have a whole lot of experience with indoor plants. Thankfully, Rachelle from Daisies & Dahlias helped me pick out a few low-maintenance plants that will do well with the amount of light the office gets. If you haven't heard of them, they're an awesome business based out of Saratoga that specializes in garden design, flower boxes, arrangements, and so much more. Follow them on social for super pretty flower pics and badass small business owner inspiration.
Ok, these things are great. Chris LoCurto introduced these to me at my first StratPlan meeting, and I fell in love. They're just giant sticky sheets of paper. They come in plain, lined, and (my favorite) grid. I use them for meetings, brainstorming, whatever. You write on the pad and then tear off the sheets and stick them right to the wall. My office is currently covered in them. It's like wallpaper full of goals and blogpost ideas. You can either hang the thing on the wall (Command Strips included) or steal your kids' art easel like I did.
I just finished reading Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee (super good, btw), and she talks about how color, patterns, and unexpectedness can spark creativity and innovation. The wall right next to my desk is now a joyful, bumpy, colorful, weird landscape, and I love it. My 4-year-old says it looks like mountains, and my 9-year-old says it looks like jazz. They're both right. If a full wall mural is too intimidating, or your boss won't let you do it (my boss is super cool), then try to get some color in other ways. It can be wall art, a funky desk organizer, bright fabric thrown over your chair, anything that makes you happy to look at.
If you're up to the task though, wall murals are actually a lot easier than they look. Find some ideas on Pinterest, and just go for it. If it sucks, you can paint over it with something boring. At Lowes you can buy sample jars of paint for under $4, and three jars covered the entire wall with two coats. The whole project cost about $20 and an afternoon.