When decorating your office, you need to consider a lot of things that will affect your company's image. It's simply not enough to throw in a couple of used chairs and a desk you bought at the office supply store (not that the office supply stores have bad desks, just that you need to chose your furniture wisely).
When people walk in to your office, even it is just your employees, the entire office environment needs to portray an image and an air of your brand quality. If you are a hip, fun company, your office should reflect that with bright colours, a TV in your waiting room, good looking Mac desktops and wall paintings by local artists. Likewise, if you are an executive office with high calibre clients coming in to make million dollar deals, your office furniture should be heavy and elegant, your computers should be black and running Windows software, your carpet should look expensive and neutral in colour and your general surroundings, all the little details in your door knobs, your counter tops, your blinds, etc. should look like you are that million dollar company.
If you are decorated properly, you will see an effect on the way your business operates. Your employees will carry that morale with them as they do their work. They will come dressed for the part and they will start using the right language for the right image. You clients will walk in and yes, they will judge a book by its cover. They'll know what to expect from your company by the way your waiting room looks when they first walk in the door.
Feel like you're not a decorator? Here are some tips to keep in mind when picking out your furniture and all the added touches to your office:
Consider your clientele: Are they young? Even if they are big spenders, but young big spenders, make sure you cater to their tastes and not yours. If they are computer nerds, then consider what they look for in an office - likely a comfortable chair and lighting that is soft on the eyes. For the progressive and modern clients, going 'green' is important, so show some bamboo wood and even splashes of green, with plants and organic coffee signs in your kitchen area.
You get what you pay for: It's true. While you can find some deals out there, if you allot a small budget to your furnishings and decor, it will show. We're not saying don't go to IKEA, but we are saying that if you do go to IKEA, we hope you are an IKEA type of company - prone to good design, young, modern and very practical. Otherwise, we'll see you at Ethan Allan to buy those leather chairs.
Remember it's your office, not your house: avoid decorating your office the way you would decorate your home. Your home is comfy and welcoming, while your office needs to say "work". Clean cut and neutral usually does the trick for any type of business office, if ever in doubt. But lazy couches and bean bags, well, they'll only promote unproductive habits. "Welcome" mats and wreathes on your doors, or table cloths just won't work. For those sales deals, you need to show your business professionalism, even your intimidation, so pick decor wisely.
Although these are guidelines, they are not entirely specific for a reason, and that is because your company should know what will work for your office and what won't. If in doubt, hire a home stager or interior, since they can do well for an office too. And always ask for feedback - customers know what customers think.