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Office Living Space: How to Make a Workspace Feel Like Home

The Hughes Marino headquarters in Downtown San Diego was designed to feel as much like a home as it does an office.

By Star Hughes-Gorup

For those of us who spend more time in our offices than we do in our houses, it’s important that our workspaces provide some of the comforts of home. After all, if you’re going to be spending upwards of 60 hours per week at work, you might as well make it your home away from home in the truest sense!

Here are a few tips on how to make your workspace more comfortable – and more like your happy place – for you and your employees to be spending those long hours.

Get Comfortable with Couches

comfy couches in the Hughes Marino living room
Comfy couches anchor the living room in Hughes Marino’s San Diego office.

Plush couches in common areas are much more than just places to decompress for a few minutes. Team members may find themselves brainstorming with colleagues over an impromptu coffee break, or you might even find yourself using it as a unique setting for a business meeting, rather than relying solely on the availability of a conference room.

Create a Living Wall

a living wall in an office interior
A lush, green wall brings a seating area to life. Image via Virtuhouse.

More and more companies are creating living walls within their office spaces. These walls composed of a variety of plants bring in soothing greenery and can completely transform an ordinary common area into a lush, rejuvenating space, drawing the outside indoors.

Keep Snacks Stocked

healthy office snacks
Offer healthy snacks to keep employees energized. Image via iStockphoto.

Having healthy snacks on hand will help you feel more at home, as well as keep your energy levels high for late nights. Fresh fruit or granola bars on the countertop will give your space a much homier feeling than a vending machine.

Add Coffee Table Books

The Hughes Marino coffee table is always stocked with reading material.

From a design standpoint, coffee table books can bring color and fun to even the most basic common areas. But they also provide entertainment for waiting guests, or a nice way for you to take a quick breather and decompress for a few minutes during your day.

Buy Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are brought in each week by our own Shirley Mulloy.

Flowers achieve the same objective as a living wall, but within your own space. They bring a bit of the outdoors inside your office – and bring a pop of color to the space! And if you don’t have the budget for fresh cut flowers each week, consider a potted plant or orchid instead. Plants in the workplace have been shown to boost productivity, and also help clean the air.

Bring in a Scent Diffuser

A luxurious scent can transform a dreary space. Image via Seek the Uniq.

Aromatherapy can be extremely helpful when you’re stressed at work. Find soothing scents and bring them into your office for those times when you’re overwhelmed. Or pick a bold citrusy scent to reenergize you throughout the day.

Decorate Your Bulletin Boards

A tack board in the Hughes Marino marketing office.

Add personal elements – favorite quotes, special mementos, and inspirational images – to a tack board next to your desk. It’s amazing how quickly a few words or images can turn your day from blah to blazing, so look for words and images that really strike you.

Display Personal Photos

Framed family photos remind Hughes Marino team members who they’re really working for.

Photos of your spouse, children, parents, friends, and pets help keep them close to you throughout the day, and remind you that you’re working hard to provide for those you love! Experiment with different frames, and update photos over time to keep your space feeling like your home.

So many of us spend so much time at work that it only makes sense to bring a bit of home into the office. By adding flowers, photos, comfortable couches, candles and personal items to your office space and common areas, going into “work” can be as comfortable and welcoming as returning home after a long day.

Star Hughes-Gorup is a senior vice president and director at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate firm with offices across the nation. Star is a key member of Hughes Marino’s brokerage team, where she specializes in tenant representation and building purchases. Star also makes frequent media appearances to speak on business issues from a millennial perspective, and blogs about life as a woman in a male-dominated industry at starhughesgorup.com. Contact Star at 1-844-662-6635, or star@hughesmarino.com.

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