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9 Design Tips to Enhance the Office Atmosphere

Get tips on how to determine the optimal office design and layout.

When you’re aiming to create a productive, focused office environment, you may imagine that a bare-minimum design is best. However, a positive office atmosphere is just as important as a productive one. Not only do well-designed offices look nicer, but they may also cause a decrease in stress and an increase in satisfaction among your employees.1

But as not all of us know how to design an office interior. If you need some inspiration for an upcoming office upgrade, we’ve laid out the top nine tips for how to design an office that is both flexible and engaging.

#1 Accommodate Various Work Styles Through Layout

Instead of thinking of an office like, well, an office, imagine it as if it were a city—one full of many unique individuals with different preferences, tasks to tackle, and ever-changing needs. The layout of your office is the first step in accommodating these needs.

Wondering if you should have an open office floor plan? Open office plans seem to be on trend, and although they create a sense of freedom, some employees may not want to work at a collaboration table while they’re typing up a ten-page report. To allow your employees the power to choose where and how they tackle their tasks, we recommend finding a balance between open and private spaces when seeking an office design for productivity.

For the times when employees crave collaboration, set up the following in the office spaces:

  • Collaboration spaces
  • Low-walled cubicles
  • Meeting or project rooms

At the same time, allow your employees to enter into deep focus when needed by also offering a combination of the following private working spaces:

  • Private pods
  • High-walled cubicles
  • Quiet “think” rooms
  • Private offices

#2 Incorporate Color To Enhance the Office Mood

Color is powerful enough to bring out certain emotions, and the best office colors can impact productivity. With a brief introduction to color theory, you can utilize the power of color to improve your office’s overall productivity and mood both in the indoor and outdoor office space.

Choose colors with intention when painting walls or selecting decor in specific sections of the office. For instance, the following colors tend to come with these associations:2

  • Blue – Calmness, focus, and trust
  • Green – Harmony, nature, and balance
  • Yellow – Optimism, focus, and energy
  • Red – Activity, speed, and warmth
  • Orange – Endurance and alertness

    To give an example, calming blue and green accents would serve well to add some calm to a high-stress work area, whereas pops of yellow, orange, and green could make for an exciting and energizing recreation room.

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    #3 Add Warmth and Alertness through Light

    It’s fairly safe to say that no employee wants to work in a basement with cold, intense lighting. Therefore, a key factor in strong corporate office interior design is natural lighting, and for good reason—it has been shown to improve our mood and reduce stress by facilitating the production of serotonin and vitamin D.3

    As employees are spending a large chunk of their day in the office, a workplace void of natural light can be detrimental to their ability to think clearly and to their overall mental health.

    Make sure your employees are receiving sufficient natural light with:

    • Large windows – Arranging workstations near larger windows can not only open up the feeling of an office but allow for more natural light to flood in.
    • Mirrors – Mirrors can help reflect natural light, creating more of it without raising electricity bills.
    • Light wall colors – Similar to mirrors, light colors like white help reflect natural light filtering in from windows, whereas darker colors absorb this light.
    • Flooring – Don’t forget to look down! Just like the walls of an office, flooring can work to absorb or reflect all that free, feel-good light coming in through the windows.

    Depending on the architecture of a building, it may be difficult for natural light to reach every inch of the office. For those spaces that need an illumination boost, you won’t need to take a sledgehammer to the ceilings and walls. Instead, opt for bulbs that imitate natural light and distribute them throughout the space.

    #4 Encourage Movement

    We’ve all had times when intense focus on a project kept us seated at a desk for several consecutive hours. But there are good reasons why you should encourage your employees to stand up and stretch their legs often, including improving the workplace environment. Recent findings suggest that movement can help employees to overcome energy slumps, boost concentration, and increase engagement.4

    Support the physical and mental health of your employees by incentivizing them to incorporate movement in their workday. Some ways to encourage healthy habits in the flexible workspace are:

    • In-office gyms
    • Bike racks
    • Sit-to-stand desks
    • Scheduled group movement breaks

    Movement is a healthy alternative to sitting in the break room on breaks. Another clever way to encourage your employees to reimagine what their breaks can look like is through play.

    #5 Prioritize Play

    Office space designs that prioritize innovation and productivity could probably implement more play—and a kitchen that doubles as the recreation room (with an incomplete pack of sticky playing cards and a coin-stealing vending machine) no longer cuts it. We’re seeing more and more engaging spaces in modern offices where breakrooom are transformed so employees can instead release some tension and socialize during their breaks.

    You can create a game room that encourages play with any of these elements:

    • Foosball, air hockey, ping pong, or pool tables
    • Lounge area with TVs and game consoles
    • Lego and board game spaces

    Plus, a recreation room is sure to impress potential employees that are touring the office.

    #6 Offer a Wellness Room

    Just as important as taking care of your employees’ physical health is taking care of their mental health. Although a wellness room won’t send stress packing for good, it’s a surefire way to signal to your employees that their wellness matters.

    A communal wellness room, or individual wellness rooms, can function as spaces where your employees can:

    • Meditate
    • Take a power nap
    • Read
    • Listen to music
    • Pump breast milk

    #7 Bring the Outside In

    Introducing natural elements to an office can drastically improve the mental health and work attitudes of employees. Studies find that designing an office with indoor plants is positively related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment.5

    And by this, we don’t mean slapping a photo of a tree on the wall. The fancy term for this area of design is biophilic design, and you can achieve it by:

    • Setting out indoor plants
    • Painting with earth-tone colors
    • Installing a bio wall
    • Opting for furniture made from natural materials

    You can also incentivize employees to directly interact with nature by assigning them an office plant to take care of, or by offering time in nature with an outdoor patio, garden, or rooftop.

    #8 Nod to the Neighborhood

    Your surrounding neighborhood, city, or state is a large part of employee identity. Outside of work, they may be spending time at the parks, on the main boulevard, and in the local eateries. Their neighborhood is practically an extension of their home life. One way you can salute to your neighborhood (and your employees’ place in it) is by incorporating design elements that nod to its uniqueness.

    For example, Google’s New York office, located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, uses graffiti and subway grates as decoration, hangs meat hook chandeliers, and even constructed a conference room as if it were the apartment from Seinfeld.6

    While you might be hesitant to try out your graffiti skills on your office walls, there are unique ways your office can embrace its location through design. Integrating elements such as street signs, local lore, and cultural customs in clever ways throughout the office can foster a sense of community and pride among employees.

    #9 Keep Clutter at Bay

    Cluttered workspaces can be impactful enough to cause employees to experience less efficient thinking and poorer mental health.7 And while it’s easy for sky-high stacks of papers and tangled webs of cables to appear when business is booming, keeping workspaces clear and uncluttered should be a priority for both your office atmosphere and employee well-being.

    You can work to improve the overall office atmosphere with the following:

    1. Establish a regular cleaning-out of private and public work areas. Shred useless papers, toss out old decorations, and even pitch that pesky chair that has been sitting in the cleaning closet.
    2. If you haven’t already, consider digitizing your filing system to free up physical office space.
    3. Offer desktop organizers and label makers for any physical work to be neatly filed away and kept out of sight.

    Why Excellent Office Design Matters

    Modernizing a work space isn’t simply a way to look cool for clients and new applicants (though it may benefit you in these areas, too). A thoughtful and engaging office design communicates to employees that they are appreciated, valuable, and listened to by the company. A 2019 study by Staples concluded that inspiring workplace design leads to stronger work and higher employee retention.8

    In addition, the study mentioned the following office design facets as ways to impact, for better or for worse, employee satisfaction and work quality:

    • Colors
    • Greenery
    • Office Layout
    • Furniture
    • Technology

    And although companies like Google and Apple are famous for their playground-like palaces and high employee satisfaction—don’t fret. You don’t need to set up a company-wide scooter system in your offices to improve sales. By focusing on the actionable tips above, you’ll be well on your way to an enhanced office atmosphere.

    Revamp Your Office with Juniper Office

    Now that you’re an aficionado of modern office design, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. But when you’re setting out to overhaul your office design and improve employees’ experience, you don’t have to go it alone.

    Whether you need to re-furnish your reception area or revamp the entire office, Juniper Office is here to help. We make offices look their best by providing modern, durable, and functional office furniture. Our team of office design experts can help you give your office the refresh it needs.

    To start building your modern, flexible office that will inspire, support, and engage employees, reach out to Juniper Office today.



    1. The Guardian. Good office design can alleviate stress and increase productivity.
    2. Living, Etc. Want to feel instantly better? These theories of color psychology in interior design will make everything more happy.
    3. RTOR. How Letting More Light into Your Life Can Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing.
    4. Forbes. To Work Better, Just Get Up From Your Desk.
    5. PubMed. Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes.
    6. Fast Company. 8 of Google’s Craziest Offices.
    7. Psychology Today. 5 Reasons Why Clutter Disrupts Mental Health.
    8. Staples. Workplace Survey Results 2019.