This is a guest post contributed by Eleanor Whitney, editor of All Hands, a publication about life at work from Managed by Q.

These days, design inspiration is everywhere. As we scroll through Instagram, admiring like-worthy workspaces and decor details, it’s easy to look around our own spaces and think about how we could adjust the decor or maybe even knock down a wall to open up the space and get more natural light.

As an admin or office professional, you are in charge of keeping the office running smoothly and ensuring a productive work environment for your team, which can extend to making design decisions for the workplace. Whether you are tasked with refreshing the look of the entire office, or just want to re-do your workspace to be more inviting and efficient, the tips below are recommended by the interior designers we work at Managed by Q.

Plan first

Before jumping into buying new furniture or painting your walls, take a moment to assess your needs. What do you want your design project to achieve? What is the problem with your space that you hope to address? Setting clear goals for your project will help keep you on track and prevent the project from becoming overwhelming, especially when you are balancing design work with your day-to-day responsibilities. Once you are clear on what you want your project to achieve, work with your finance department to set and approve a budget so that you know what you have to work with.

Decide on your aesthetic

Gather inspiration for your project with intention. Create a mood or Pinterest board with spaces, furniture, and fixtures that inspire you and you feel would work for your space. Narrow those ideas down to a specific aesthetic that fits your brand and your company culture. For example, if your workplace is upbeat and casual, you might gravitate towards decor items that add pops of color that match your logo. If your company culture is more subdued, perhaps neutral tones and natural wood would be a better match. From this vision, you can source new decor or repurpose current furniture and fixtures.

Focus on design details

Re-doing the look, feel, and function of your office space need not be an expensive undertaking. Interior designer Kaitlyn Payne of Basicspace offered these budget-friendly design ideas to enliven and organize your space:

Desk organization

  • Order matching desk organizers and accessories in on-brand colors and provide them to all employees. Ask that all personal items kept on desks fit in these organizers. This will create a uniform look across all desks.
  • Ensure employees have access to storage like file cabinets and a coat hanger to store personal items and keep jackets neat.

Furniture and storage

  • Reuse and repurpose furniture by refinishing or reupholstering it to give it a new look.
  • Choose furniture that can multitask, such as an ottoman which can serve as seating, a footrest, or a coffee table when you place a tray on top of it.
  • If you need your space to be flexible, such as transforming a workspace into an event space, install wheels (that lock) on tables, chairs, and even couches so that you can rearrange furniture easily.
  • Use storage cubes, like those from Poppin, for modular storage solutions that can also double as seating.
  • Avoid open storage as it gets messy quickly.

Wall decoration

  • Use sites like Framebridge to frame photographs and art prints.
  • Work with a local artist to create a mural based on your company mission and values.
  • Use wallpaper or wall decals to create an accent wall in a bathroom, lounge room, or conference room.
  • Bring your team into the design process by making a string art logo—outline your logo on a wall with nails and have each employee connect nails with colored string.


  • Add floor or table lamps to reception areas and conference rooms for a warmer, more “at home” feel.


  • Place area rugs under furniture with legs in order to prevent your floor from getting scratched.
  • For colorful, durable, easy-to-clean flooring, try FLOR carpet tiles—you can rinse them off in your sink if they get dirty.

With a little creativity, you can bring Instagram-worthy design details into your space. But ultimately, good design is about creating a space where you and your team feel comfortable and empowered to do your best work, and this idea is what should guide your design process overall.

For more budget-friendly ideas to enhance your space, Managed by Q created the free guide Designing an Office Space Your Team Will Love. This guide includes tips for creating a seating chart, design pieces worth investing in, and how to install furniture and decor items, source affordable art, and choose the right plants for your office. You will learn how to add details that will enliven your space and manage office design projects, including planning, budgeting, and goal setting.

Get the free guide to designing a great workspace for you and your team.