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Five Ways To Spice Up Your Cubicle On The Cheap

Updated on June 19, 2013

Mondays, am I right?! Sometimes I feel like my life is bad rip off of a Dilbert cartoon. Nothing is as depressing as the Monday stroll to the old drab cubicle. Seeing as the plan to win the Saturday night lotto did not pan out, it's back to work we all go.

Walk into any office in America and you will find rows upon rows of drab beige or gray cubicles. Each cookie cutter desk is identical to its neighbor. I too work in a small cramped cubicle so I share the pain. Being the creative person I am, it was torture having to spend one third of my day in a gray box. Also being the cheap person that I am, I could not bear the thought of spending money fixing my space up. I thought outside the box, which is ironic considering I am physically stuck in a box.

Keep This In Mind

Before you start buying tons of things you don't really need, do keep in mind how much space you realistically have to work with. Also consider how you organize your work flow. I prefer using file folders and in boxes as that is what works efficiently for my position, but you may require more or less desk space free depending on the nature of your work.

Although you may find that raunchy poster hilarious, HR will probably not find it as funny. It goes without saying, but obviously you need to consider how your boss would react to seeing anything you opt to decorate with.

Thirdly, do not craft these projects while on the clock. There are always weird patches of time before 9am, during lunches, or breaks where you can easily craft a masterpiece for the ol' cubicle.

Now that you know what you have to work around, you can be creative designing an environment which expresses your personality.

Five Ways To Spice Up Your Cubicle

1. Paper Clip Chain- My counter space is critical for me in the mornings. In an effort to keep the clutter off my desk, I thought vertically. There was a ton of unused space on the wall between my drawers and cubicle wall. I chained colorful paperclips together and fastened them across the wall. So when I want to hang a post it note, I clip it to the chain. It's less likely to get lost and most importantly, out of my way. Also, it's a great conversation piece when people cross my desk.

2. Family Photos- You may hesitate to bring in family photos to work. I did at first too. My thought was that I didn't want to give up precious desktop space. I found a simple solution though. For a fabric cubicle, look no further than a T pin and a cheap photo frame. Dollar store frames work best since they are so light weight. I took the T pin and fed it through the nail hole in the back of the frame and pushed the pin downwards into the fabric. Believe it or not, my photos have held for years this way.

3. Artwork- Martha Stewart eat your heart out. My file folders are customized with artwork from yours truly. Who says you have to have a plain manilla folder? Not I, and that's a good thing. If you would happen to not be so artistic, you could spice yours up with clip art for example.


4. Dollar store items - My dollar store has tons of cute items each for a dollar. I've purchased large clothes pins from the dollar store and painted them. It works to help organize piles of papers as well as being a nice creative touch which you can easily customize by gluing on buttons or painting. I've even found mouse pads at the dollar store so keep your eyes pealed.

5. Recycle- Why throw away a perfectly good jar when you can transform it into a great organizer for your desk? With a little creativity, you can make a FREE unique paperclip or rubber-band holder. I used the tags from my morning tea bags to "wallpaper" the lid with. I then took Chinese food fortunes and lined the sides of the jar. You can use anything that you have handy.


© 2013 Amy L. Tarr


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    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 4 years ago from Home

      I appreciate it. Thank you Starbright.

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 4 years ago from Home

      Thank you. It didn't take long to do either.

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 4 years ago from Scandinavia

      Great ideas and well worth some serious thought when reorganizing a small office space. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 4 years ago from Aurora

      I like the paper clip photo organizer!

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 4 years ago from Home

      Thanks for the comment. Same thing with mine. It's either freezing or roasting hot. Luckily we are allowed to have small fans and heaters at our desks though. :)

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 4 years ago from Home

      Thank you Rachna. I appreciate the feedback.

    • Rachna Rai profile image

      Rachna Rai 4 years ago from Mohali, India

      It is true that cubicles are quite boring. Most of the time, they are not paid much attention at the time of office interior design because cubicles are considered a personalized workplace for a particular worker. Pen, you shared nice ideas to make office cubicles more comfortable. Voted Up!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Great ideas pen, I hate those cubicles! lol! when I worked in an office for years, it was open space, then I worked for Volkswagen and we were 'penned' (sorry couldn't resist!) lol! in those horrible little spaces. I used to get claustrophobic! I hated it! especially in the winter when the heating was full on, I nearly passed out! we weren't allowed to even have a coffee on the desk! What was that about? lol! wish I could have done this, it would have made it much better, voted up and shared! nell