I often hear people talk about their desire to work for a “fun” company with ultra-hip interiors. The kind of office whose tree-house conference pods get blogged about all over the internet. The problem with these offices is that they often make assumptions about the people who work within them without consideration for the truth is that people are vastly unique.
Jack, odds are your office was not designed with the intention of attracting an army of weirdo modern art collectors. Everyone in your office has been given the opportunity to transform a neutral canvas into a space which inspires them, comforts them, and fosters their best work. I’m sure you’re well aware just how stressful office life can be at times. Adding small touches of whimsy to your space will remind you not to take everything too seriously. With a little personalization you'll have the luxury of retiring to your study after a grueling meeting.
From the looks of your photos, you’re heading down the right path! Plants are the easiest way to breathe new life into your workspace. I would suggest adding another taller plant behind the existing one. Be mindful of the fact that most office buildings don’t run their HVAC on weekends or after hours. I would recommend using varieties that can withstand dramatic temperature swings and droughts while you’re out on vacation. Here are a few tried and true varieties, which can be found at any Home Depot: Pothos, Sansaveria, and ZZ.
I also love you’re idea of stacking of books to use as a monitor stand. Bring in even more books to use throughout the space! Stack a bunch in the corner where your file manager currently is and place a pothos on top. The plant’s vines will drape down the stack and trail along the widow line. Keep books you frequently reference stacked vertically and unobstructed. Face some books backwards, use their colors to your advantage, and rearrange them often to give them new life. Marshalls Home Goods keeps a healthy stock of leather bound faux-book boxes large enough to hold your files.
Make sure you keep the monitor at an appropriate height. Your monitor should be at least an arm’s length away with the top line of text at or just below eye level. Tilt the monitor away from you slightly, so your line of sight is perpendicular to the monitor. I would suggest returning that monitor stand to the folks that give it to you and asking them what it would take to acquire a keyboard tray instead. This will add additional ergonomic benefits and open up prime real estate on your work surface.
In small spaces, decoration should solve problems elegantly. Before bringing items into your space consider what they will contribute. Strive to cultivate pieces which add esthetic beauty and also serve a function. Simply surrounding yourself with “stuff” will quickly feel stale and burdensome. Your space should be flexible, alive, and continually work in-progress. Nothing should be left to collect dust in a corner. Occasionally bring items home and swap them out for new ones. Experiment with different arrangements. Don’t take this space too seriously… it’s only a cubicle. Here are a few ideas to kick things up a notch, assuming your office culture is supportive:
• Bring in an area rug. If you only do one thing this should be it. The grocery store Aldi has a fairly intricate rug in their middle isle of weird random home goods. They’re so cheap that you won’t mind busting out a box cutter should you need to trim around a file cabinet or two.
• Scope out the furniture section of Target for an inexpensive ottoman. This would fill the weird gap under your window line. It could serve as a guest seat when someone comes by to talk and a lap table if you sit on the rug with your back against the wall.
• Rewatch one of your favorite films if you need a jolt of creativity. Transforming your space into a movie set is easier than you'd think. With a little creativity and on-line shopping the world is yours! Maybe you don't have $200 to splurge on a Scalamandre Zebra Pillow, but you can certinly order a fabric sample to frame like art.
• Embrace obsessive compulsion by giving everything on your desk a home (I don’t care what goes on in your desk drawers.) A simple wooden ruler will add to the overall esthetic and provide a home for your favorite pens. A simple clipboard will add to the overall esthetic and give your loose notes a temporary home.
• Keep the space clean. Collect a drink coaster from a few of your favorite bars to use at your desk. Invest in a bottle of quality surface cleaner and keep it in your drawer. My personal favorites are Eco Products Parsley Plus All-Purpose and Mrs. Meyers Basil surface cleaner.
• Negative space is important, too. Keep the corner where both surfaces meet clear. If anything, this could be home to a statement lamp and maybe that E.T. toy (…Because E.T. is amazing and he should be cherished until the end of days.)
• Get some 3M strips and attach the surge protector to the bottom of your work surface.
• Take a look on society 6 if you’re allowed to use thumbtacks in the wall. They have a massive collection to suit everyone’s fancy and a portion of your purchase will always go back to the artist. I highly recommend their ready to hang canvas prints. They will tie together well with the white frame of your furniture and help absorb some of the sound which bounces off of that back wall. Hang them below the height of your panels in case your neighbor doesn’t love them as much as you.
• Take the toys out of your window and move them back into your space. Remember that you are unique and no one there will enjoy them more than you. Instead, relocate your garbage and waste bins to the outside wall of your cube. Purchase an over-the-door basketball hoop to hang over your recycling bin for a quick game of good ol’ cliché Dilbert style paper ball. Encourage nearby co-workers to use your bins and get rid of theirs. Yell at them when they throw aluminum in the waste bin. I never understood why offices feel the need to give every. single. employee. their own waste bin. Can you image how long it takes the cleaning crews to empty waste each night?
• It’s good practice to remind yourself of your accomplishments by displaying certificates and awards, but again, move it inside. Have you ever worked in an office where employees post photos of their children on the *outside* of their office door? It’s weird. Consider ordering yourself a humorous gold painted plastic and wood trophy to throw in the mix. Its cup can also serve as a space to hold paper clips, wild flowers you picked by the train, candy, thumbtacks, basically any ol’ weird tiny stuff you like to keep around.
• Next time you’re at IKEA look for an inexpensive mirror about the same size as your museum poster. Pin it up next to the poster to reflect your window and double your natural light. You can also use dry erase markers on the mirror / windows for to-so list, brainstorming, or drawing a picture of your boss giving you a raise.
• I like how you have started to create a tiny shrine in the corner. Bringing these items together will create a larger impact than letting them roam freely and sparkly around the space. Items in that area are also not in co-workers line of sight. This will help your space maintain a clean appearance from the outside.
• Decorating without creating clutter takes effort and creativity. Make your Lego men stand out proud with a purpose. Hot glue Lego Mini figures to the back of a silver thumbtacks and use them to hold up your photos, layered on-top of fabric scraps. Find fabrics with hints of grey and white to blend the space together. Instead of using a tack in each corner of the photo, use a patch to hold one corner… notice how the bottom edge of your taxidermy head is the same shape as the negative space on the top left side of your photo? Consider how the items in your space relate to each other, their similarities, and how they fit into the overall composition.
Keep it real & stay sane,
Hanneli Mustaparta's Glitter Eye Makeup
In search of a whimsically pretty look to wear to the Whitney Art Party, Hanneli Mustaparta draws inspiration from the twinkling silver eye makeup spotted on the Chanel fall 2013 runway. Together with friend Hannah Bronfman, she dips into dozens of flashing glitter pots in this beauty episode. Peek at more behind the scene inspiration from the Chanel runway show over at marie claire!
I sent these boys an internet love letter after hearing Rhye for the first time. So so psyched to hear the smooth ear candy they've created with it on their new mixtape TRILLWAVE 3!
1. Ghostface Killah x Vampire Weekend - Beware Of The Young Lion
2. French Montana x Beach House - Equal Shot
3. Andre 3000 x Bondax - Royall Inside
4. Kanye West x T-Pain x Daft Punk - Doin' It Good
5. Mary J. Blige x James Pants - Family Mallets
6. Gunplay x Isaiah Toothtaker x Sasac - Frownin Remix
7. Yo Gotti x Young Jeezy x Bibio - You Act Right
8. Fabolous x Nate Dogg x Mayer Hawthorne x Classixx - Deny Strings
9. T.I. x Young Galaxy - Bring Em Out For You
10. Jeremih x Natasha Mosley x Lil Wayne x Rhye - Fall The Time
11. M.I.A. x Flying Lotus - Bad Girl Strut
12. Nicki Minaj x Atoms For Peace - Default Lane
13. Mic Terror x Sinjin Hawke - Hiooodflame
14. Freddie Gibbs x BJ the Chicago Kid x Javelin - Nnormal Sshame
15. Miguel x Shlohmo x RL Grime - The Thing U Do
16. Trinidad James x Jessie Ware x Dave Okumu - Devotion Welcomed
17. Kanye West x Flume - More Bound Than You
18. Destiny's Child x Slow Magic - Say Yr Name
19. Little Dragon x Jim Jonsin x Rico Love - Union Motivation
20. Kendrick Lamar x Drake x Giraffage - Close 2 Justice
21. Usher x Toro Y Moi - So Many Climaxes
22. Waka Flocka Flame x Washed Out - Paracosm Of Applause
23. Beyonce x Of Montreal - Exquisite Party
SUPPORT: If you like this mixtape and all the others they've made over the years, the best way to support The Hood Internet is to buy their album FEAT on iTunes or on CD/LP. OR, get the deluxe version with limited edition Mishka artwork.
UPCOMING SHOWS: They'll be bouncing to different corners of North America for a handful of shows over the next couple months. Click on the venue name to get tickets.
8/16 - Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC
8/17 - The Independent, San Francisco CA
8/29 - Hideout, Chicago IL
8/30 - Revolution Music Room, Little Rock AR
8/31 - Graveyard Tavern, Atlanta GA
9/12 - Rifflandia Festival, Victoria BC
9/27 - Maximum Ames Fest, M Shop, Ames IA