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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Five Ways to Create a Creative Office Space


DESIGN 

Chris Quinn
After moving into our second office space in one year, all of us here at {e} realize the importance of working in a creative environment in order to create good work and stay inspired. If your office is getting ready to make a big move or is just in need of a “creative” makeover, I hope this post will give you a place to start and guide you in the direction of making your office space (or any space for that matter) a creative place that keeps you motivated, while maintaining a high level of functionality.
1. EVALUATE YOUR SPACE
Before you begin to design your space, it is a good idea to evaluate what is already there. A great place to start is by asking yourself the following questions:
  1. What is the room’s basic shape?
  2. What shape/style is the furniture that is going in the space?
  3. Are there any built-ins?
  4. What are the positions of the doors/doorways?
  5. What are the positions of the windows?
  6. What is the look (or lack of) architectural details?
  7. Is there a focal point (Ex. fireplace)?
  8. What is the size and height of the space?
  9. What are the existing colors/desired colors?
  10. What is the lighting in the space?
  11. Is there a specific feel you desire for the space?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will have a basic understanding of what you already have, what you need, and hopefully a good direction to head in.
2. COVER THE BASIC PRINCIPLES
Once you have completed the basic evaluation of your space, it is time to look at the Basic Principles of Design.
  1. Harmony: A consistent theme among furnishings and arrangements
  2. Rhythm: Orderly patterns among materials, objects, and placements
  3. Emphasis: Highlights visual focal points
  4. Scale: Furnishings dimensionally related to each other and their environment
  5. Balance: Furnishings distributed in a way that’s comfortable to the eye
The basic principles serve as a type of a cheat sheet when you are just starting to work on your space. Once you have an idea of the direction you are headed you can go back and ask yourself if the space meets all of the criteria of the principles. If yes, then good job! If not, then just go back one step at a time and fix the one area that did not fit the criteria and re-evaluate.
3. CHOOSE YOUR “INSPIRATION PIECE”
More often than not, choosing an inspiration piece can help you in making some of the biggest decisions when designing your new space. Examples of this may be a piece of artwork, a specific fabric, a plant, your company logo, etc.. Picking an inspiration piece can help by offering a color palette, a style, even an overall feel. Here at {e} we chose our company business card, website, and blog with our almost fetish for all things vintage. We matched all of our paint colors to those used on our printed materials and website. Have you ever felt like drawing on the walls? Well we can! We loved the idea of what other companies had been doing with chalkboards like Coudal and Carsonified. So we decided to paint sections of the wall behind each desk to use to make notes to ourselves or even doodle an idea (By the way, it works great!). The concept lead to the theme of our blog (or virtual chalkboard). We love the combination of using new and modern technologies with items that have some life to them (look a little on the beat up side.) This helped us in some of the major stages of designing our space, picking our color palette, picking our style and feel, and even the placement of furniture.


 
4. CHOOSE YOUR COLOR PALATE
There are endless ways to choose your color palate. I will cover just a few of those, but feel free to post a comment or email me if you want more information.


 
A) Pick your color temperature: (Hint: picking a color can be determined by the amount of natural lighting in your space or the climate you are in.)
  • Warm colors: red, orange, and yellow
  • Cool colors: violet, blue, and some greens
  • Neutral: any blend of complimented colors (as a general rule, green is the most neutral of all colors.)
B) Do you want to create optical illusions?
  • To make a space seem taller, paint the ceiling a cool color and lighter than the walls.
  • To make a space seem smaller, paint the ceiling a darker color than the walls.
  • To make a room seem wider, paint the side walls a cool and light color while painting the end walls in a dark and warmer color.
C) What color scheme do you prefer?
  • Monotone: single pale color palate (Ex. beige)
  • Monochromatic: single vibrant color palate (Ex. red)
  • Analogous: Adjacent colors on the color wheel (Ex. red, orange, yellow)
  • Complementary: Contrasting colors (Ex. red with green)
This is just a start into the endless options color can offer. My advice, don’t be afraid of color and remember you can always paint over paint if you mess up the first time.
5. ADD THE FINAL PERSONAL TOUCHES
This one is the easiest step! All this means is to add the things to the space that make it your own such as plants, pictures, your favorite small trinkets (just make sure not to confuse trinkets with clutter.) The personal touches are what make each space truly individual and unique so don’t be afraid to express yourself.




 
Here at {e} house studio, we have been lucky to have the beautiful architecture of Charleston’s historic buildings as our blank canvas which has enabled us to create our ideal office space using a combination of new with the old. Whatever your space offers you, embrace it, create it, and make it your own.
Some information taken from:
“Room Redux, The Home Decorating Workbook,” by Joann Eckstut and Sheran James.

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