There is this odd obsession in the modern workspace, thinking that more is always better. And while there is some merit to having a chaotic and creative, though somewhat cluttered, office, minimalism has become the hot new thing for good reason. Namely, this clutter reflects the society in an odd, though deep way. We obsess over the things that don’t really matter, we work towards filling up our lives with more and more stuff. We miss the first for the trees too often. The minimalist movement is trying to break this.
Now, calling minimalism a movement may be something of a misnomer. It’s more of a natural response of design towards the issues we mentioned above. It’s present in apps, architecture, interior and exterior design as much as it can be seen in lean business planning and clear and concrete goal setting. And like any good response, it seeks to regulate some issues that we face. Overanalysing, procrastination, short attention spans, focus stolen and spent on things that don’t matter. Minimalism seeks to mitigate these issues. IN this article specifically, we will be dealing with minimalism in office design.
Cluttered workspaces will draw our attention to nonsense. Yes, some plants and a painting or two are nice. But having a crowded office with too much visual clutter will make it harder for us to focus on our work. Furthermore, most of the time we don’t need all the tools, appliances, and pieces of furniture to make us more productive. These are all obstacles, distractions that don’t allow us to focus completely. So, without further ado, you can see some of the ways you can implement minimalism into office décor.
Let’s start with the basics – colour. A step towards acquiring that sleek, fluid minimalistic look is by going with some neutral colours. Now, don’t get us wrong – we don’t advise you to go with something grey and boring. It’s totally okay to have bright and bold colours. What we are claiming is that you keep the entire colour palette consistent throughout the office. This does not just refer to walls, but also to accents, and even furniture if possible. However, going with a bland base can really get the right accents really pop and stand out.
Let’s stay you painted the big parts in beige. By this, we mean the walls, floors, ceiling, any larger elements (cupboards, larger pieces of furniture)… Then, having green pillows, chairs, flower pots, combined with yellow desks and lamps, for example, can really get these smaller items to pop. You can do a lot more with a lot less if you properly implement minimalism. You end up having two colours that really stand out, and a very easy way to change things up if you want to.
Another design point we would like to share with you is getting a good focal point. Now, by the focal point, we mean one centrepiece, one eye-catching and powerful item. It gives you all the aesthetic pleasure of a nicely decorated room while keeping the minimalistic feel of the entire office. With a good centre peace minimalism and aesthetic appreciation feed of each other, they emphasise one another. The minimalistic office creates room so that the piece can get the attention it deserves, while the centrepiece just further emphasises how simple and sleek the rest of the area is.
To give you some examples, you can get a beautiful and ornate sculpture or a wonderfully designed piece of furniture. Maybe a large and powerful painting, or an indoor bonsai garden with a fountain. Of course, this depends on your budget, your office, and your line of work. The point here is that you want something really eye-catching surrounded by simplicity.
On a more practical, item-based level, we want you to declutter effectively. Now, the emphasis here is on effectively. Here is what we mean. Of course, you do have to declutter, to remove all the junk that has accumulated in the office. Old paperwork needs to be archived or thrown out, outdated manuals need to be recycled, spent stationary, and the microwave in the rec room that you know you won’t get it repaired… Getting rid of the junk. However, this is the first step, the second one is actually being minimalistic.
In order to truly practice minimalism in your office, you need to get rid of the things that you truly don’t need. What doesn’t add to your office’s décor? When was the last time somebody sat in that big sofa in the rec room? What about that extra office chairs? Do you need all these lamps? Removing junk like this can do wonders towards making the entire place simpler. The same goes for removing any unnecessary flourishes in design and decoration. What about filing cabinets, drawers, a stack of papers and notebooks, a stapler and an entire box of pens? Get rid of these, or put them somewhere out of sight.
Understand that this kind of decluttering leaves room for change. It creates space for improving or adding things that you truly need and want. It’s better you go with a few quality items. Without wasting your space and budget on junk you don’t need, you can acquire things that truly improve your work. For example, getting a standing desk means you don’t really need a chair. However, no need to create a monastic living space. That standing desk example will need a high-quality standing desk mat, unless you want to damage the flooring or just slip.
A big part of minimalism is staying thorough and actually applying all the things that have been mentioned. This one is obvious, though. What is less obvious is that you need to transfer and present this style of thought to all other areas and sections. Namely, apply it to your software, your computers, and your style of leadership. Keep your desktop neat and tidy, don’t get software that you don’t need on your work computers.
As far as décor is concerned, remember that your office isn’t just space where your people work. No, you have your rec room, a balcony, the kitchen, and of course a lobby. If you have the opportunity, you can go even further and work on the exterior of your office.
When it comes to the kitchen, don’t leave things just lying around. One coffee maker is more than enough, and you don’t really need a muffin maker. Furthermore, get only the utensils you need, nothing more, nothing less. Do you need the biggest, fanciest fridge out there, or is something smaller gonna be enough? Your lobby is the first thing your potential business partners and clients see. You want to keep it in line with the rest of your office. Otherwise, the styles will clash, and you will end up with something confusing and unclear. You want to set the tone, you want people to really know what your office is about the moment they get in. Look at your rec room – are people really using that foosball table? Or are they just sitting around and talking? There is of course nothing wrong with that, but what is the point of that big thing taking up so much space if nobody is using it?
As you can see, minimalist design in the office is not the hardest thing in the world to achieve. With the right plan and the right ideas, you will definitely get the kind of look you’re striving for. First, think about the colours in your office, how you want them to be set up, what you want them to be. A neutral base will make random bright and bold accents stand out. Then, setting up a focal point, a piece that draws attention and ties the entire place together. This piece is emphasised by the minimalism, and the minimalism is in turn emphasised by it. Decluttering properly is a vital part of minimalism as well. Getting rid of the thing you don’t need not only gives you, metaphorically and literally, room to breathe, but it also creates space for the truly important things. Combine all this with being thorough, and you will get a winning combination.
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river.