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8 Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Boring

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Desk by the Window

When you work from home, you are in control of your entire environment. If you want to sit in a big comfy chair and sip iced coffee out of a blue mason jar and a striped paper straw while you work, you can do that. If you want to be surrounded by throw pillows and crochet blankets that you made yourself, go ahead. Whatever aesthetic or comfort-based decisions you want to make, you are generally free to make!

So, when you suddenly find yourself spending nine hours a day in a sterile office building, it can be a rude awakening. Luckily, there are ways to make your cubicle less awful.

Even before I started my new job about 1.5 years ago, I knew that I wanted to ease the transition from home office to cubicle in some way. If I was going to be sitting in the same chair for a good chunk of my waking hours, I wanted to make sure my surroundings made me happy. I needed to be comfortable, and surrounded by aesthetically pleasing things.

Of course, when you work in someone else’s office building, there is, naturally, a limit to what you can do. You can’t paint the walls a cheery bright aqua, drag your desk over to the window, or switch out the florescent lights for cozy desk lamps, unfortunately. But if you are lucky to have your own desk area, especially if it has a couple of (half) walls, there are things you can do to make the space less cookie-cutter.

Here are some ideas from my own desk area that you may like 😊

1. Choose a Color Scheme

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Colorful Post-it Notes

Before you start making and buying stuff for your space, settle on a handful of colors that look nice together, and then do your making/shopping with those colors in mind. My cubicle’s color scheme, is “chartreuse, vermilion, and aquamarine.”

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2. Hang Tiny Paper Bunting

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Tiny Paper Bunting

I don’t know about you, but I feel like bunting really brightens up a room. I’ve made more than one fabric banner in my day, but these are even more awesome, because they are tiny, made out of paper, and super easy to whip up in a few minutes.

Supplies

3. Bring Unique Snackware

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Colorful Custom-Made Mugs from Zazzle

I keep four mugs at my desk, and sometimes I rotate a few of them out when I get tired of the designs. They are all compatible with my cubicle color scheme, and they are all 100% unique because I designed them myself. The patterns on the outsides of the mugs were derived from polymer clay millefiori canes I made, or blankets I crocheted.

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Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Snacks in a Little Bowl

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4. Keep A Jar of Fancy Pens

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Mason jar Cozy and Polka Dot Cottage Pens

I’ll admit, as a technical writer, I do most of my work on the computer and have very little need for actual pens, but I just love having these on my desk. Nestled in a mason jar with a few pencils and the ever-important Sharpies, these pens coordinate nicely with the cubicle colors, of course 😍

Even though I don’t often write with them, I love they way they feel. I find one of these pens is great to fidget with in meetings…

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5. Pepper Personal Photography Throughout

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Custom Mug and Mouse Pad from Zazzle

My cubicle is full of pictures, and only two of them are actually in frames. There are two photo calendars, my own photography on my three monitors (as desktop backgrounds, and as screen savers), and on this mousepad. I took this Ferris wheel photo on one of our annual trips to Ocean City, NJ.

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6. Make (or Buy) Coasters and Table Mats

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Mandala and Custom Desk Calendar

I like to crochet. I especially like to make small coasters, table mats, and mandalas, all of which are perfect for adding some warmth and coziness to a big bare desk. You could get the same effect with any kind of small, soft table covering. You could make something quilted, or you can buy something ready-made.

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Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Crochet Mandalas and Custom Calendar

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  • Say it With Flowers Mandala from the book Mandalas to Crochet
  • Table Mats (Ice Crystal Variation) from the book Simple Crocheting
  • Picture frame from TJ Maxx
  • Family photo shoot calendar from Zazzle

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Crochet Mandala and Jolly Ranchers

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Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Vintage-style Crochet Coasters

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7. Sit by the Window

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Cubicle Entrance

I realize this one is not always possible, but if you have any say at all in the matter, you should try and get a spot near some natural light. Studies have shown it’s good for you.

The place where I work has about 16 cubicles on the dark side of the room, and only one that is directly adjacent to the windows. It took me a year of working there before I really noticed what lovely sunlight streamed into that empty cube, but as soon as I realized it, I asked if I could move there. I feel a little bit lonely away from everyone sometimes, but just the same, I love my new spot.

It’s easy to feel disconnected from the outside world when you spend all day in a climate-controlled room. But next to the window, you notice when the trees in the parking lot begin to blossom. You see the little house finches building a nest. And you discover that there are rather an alarming number of vultures circling your building every day… eek.

8. Put Your Feet Up

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful

I bought myself a little stool to keep under the desk. This gives me several more options for where I can put my legs, and how I can position myself when I sit. Confession: I usually kick off my shoes under the desk, too 😁

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Bonus: String Fairy Lights

Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Awful: Fairy Lights

I did this last December when I was still sitting in the dark side of the room, and it was fun! If I could find a way to hang the lights so that the cords themselves were not so conspicuous, I’d probably keep them up all year. You might want to poll your neighbors or ask your boss before you string your lights. My coworkers were very cool about it, but your mileage may vary on that front.

Your Turn!

What kinds of things do you do to make your workspace more comfortable and inviting? Leave a comment!

By the way, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, but I bought these products long before I knew I’d be blogging about them, and the usual disclaimers apply.

4 thoughts on “8 Ways to Make Your Cubicle Less Boring

  1. I LOVE these ideas!!! I’m super blessed that I get to decorate my office with all sorts of personal touches. Some of the things I love to do are: Hang up awesome cards I’ve received in the mail, use a quilted mug rug under my glassware, used a mini quilt under my keyboard and mousepad, keep a lovely basket of tea out, and hang up inspirational quotes, use vintage glass coasters under my drinks. I think I’m going to make some mason jar cozies though! I love those!!

    1. I love the mason jar cozies, especially for the one I drink from. It makes it so I can have a hot drink without burning my hands, and it keeps cold drinks from sweating all over the place.
      Your other ideas are great – I never thought of putting anything under the keyboard or mouse pad!

  2. I love your ideas. I am excited to decorate my own classroom this year. So I need a lot of ideas! You have given me a great start!

    1. So cool that you have your own classroom this year! That sounds like fun to decorate. I think I’d be overwhelmed with all of that space! I’ll bet it’s a challenge to make a classroom look “cozy” too. I would be tempted to bring in throw pillows and blankets, although I don’t know how appropriate that would be 😀

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