post off: how's your office decor?

A recent post at Gawker on the decor (more like non-decor) at the Martha Stewart Living offices is a little stunning; the exceedingly impersonal space and strict no-personal-items rules don’t seem like they’re made for creative people. (You can also see Martha’s response to the post here.) I’ve been lucky in a long line of jobs in ad agencies where the furnishings tend to be a little progressive and personal expression (art on the walls, bring your own chairs) is tolerated if not encouraged. So I’m curious — where do you work, and what’s it like? What do you do to make your office more your own? And if not, why not? –Mary T.

From our partners

martha stewart nothing! I am lucky enough to work at threerings (gaming studio in SF), our office is decorated like the inside of The Nautilus, including a bar and a secret room.

There are some pictures here, .

It is quite hard to bring in personal affects that matches the decor though. The company provides treasure trunks to place our personal stuff, and a lot of people have pirate themed items on their desks.


I’ve worked in cube farms all of my adult life. About the only way to personalize the space is to bring in all sorts of tchozkies, which really just ends up looking like clutter.

At a previous space, however, I put up some blik daisies on the shelf doors. I loved it, but the neon pink and white flowers didn’t really compliment the faux maple laminate and the other beiges. So I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no happy medium between cube bland and tchozkie clutter, so I’m sticking to uncluttered bland until I work someplace that isn’t a beige cube farm.

Tiffany S.

We have a nice, bright office with lots of windows. It’s painted in our logo colors: teal and apple green. We’re allowed to decorate anyway we want but since I have the main floating desk I don’t have any walls. I just have a couple of personal pictures on the metal parts.

Since we do corporate events, we mostly decorate with collateral from those events: our badges, posters, customized Jones Soda bottles, etc. I feel very lucky that we can be so expressive.

I can’t see how that MS office inspires any creativity at all. It’s like a prison (no pun intended, Martha).

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1. When it comes to laundry tips, mother-in-law knows best. Erin posted this helpful tip on How To Get Whites Whiter Without Ruining Colors: “One scoop of Oxy clean powder and one scoop of Tide powder – mix with warm water in a bucket and let them soak in there for a few days. It’s like a miracle. My mother in law gave me this recipe. I resurrected old baby clothes with set-in stains from 4 years ago this way, it was amazing, they look like brand new again and the colors are still brilliant.” Thanks Erin! We’ll give it a try. 2. Decorating our office spaces can be more difficult than our homes. As J says: “I’ve worked in cube farms all of my adult life. About the only way to personalize the space is to bring in all sorts of tchozkies, which really just ends up looking like clutter.” Tell us how you decorate your work space, here. […]


I work in a lab at a university. Our walls are painted metal panels (I can only assume that they did this for fire safety) so we can stick things up anywhere with magnets. And we do. I’ve used online webtools to convert jpgs to giant PDFs and put up a 3×4 ft picture of US Grant (no, I have no idea why I chose him to put up; we are near his tomb, but I don’t think that that was a factor), as well as some Ernst Haeckel images of diatoms and jellyfish that I found on wikipedia. I also have some kids magnet toys on the wall – they’re for making polyhedrons. We have a small model of a molecule we work on hanging from the ceiling.

Other than that, the place is a total mess and a jumble of desks from several decades (40s, 50s, a glorious blue one with a fake wood veneer that must be from the 70s, and horrible grey stippled 1980s) that we’ve scavenged. Chairs are mismatched (brown, maroon, light grey, blue, billiard table green and dark grey) and sometimes tip over, and there are papers everywhere. I’d say we were going for function rather than form, but I thing we have neither.

And I still have a mini propane tank on my desk for no particular reason.


When I worked at the Salvation Army, we had shabby gray cubes, but a really nice bank of windows. I had 3 or 4 plants on the window sill, and then hung large sheets of pretty paper from an art supply store like posters. I used dollar buckets in coordinating colors for pens and paper clips and bought some really cool magnets from Etsy for the filing cabinet, and it ended up being rather pleasant. I almost miss it!

Angela M.

Luckily I work in an office which is Herman-Miller-ed out. Sure, the palette is a bit beige, but it’s hardly offensive. And we can do whatever we want to our little spaces.