6 Tips for Decorating Your Cubicle

If you're like most of us, you spend a lot of time at work. It's your home away from home. Maybe you have a whole office of your own so it's easy to put your own stamp on it, allowing you to feel relaxed and comfortable there, or maybe you just have a cubicle. 

Decorating your cubicle can make it your own. Personalizing your space makes it yours, a world apart from the guy on the other side of that thin partition. Although it is your workspace, it's not entirely private. You'll have to take extra care to follow both written and unwritten rules as you decorate it and make it your own. Consider these tips when you're designing your little nook.  

Show That You're Business First

Man stretching in his professionally decorated cubicle.
Todd Warnock / DigitalVision / Getty Images

You're free to decorate within reasonable limits, but make sure your space says that you are business first. Keep the keyboard and phone within arm's length. Have paper and pens handy, too. Family photos and collectibles show visitors who you are, but don't let them consume your real estate. They should be in the background. 

Don't Go Overboard

Your cubicle shouldn't look like a birthday present turned inside out. Wallpaper is for bathrooms and desktop backgrounds, not cloth-covered partitions. Likewise, you won't want to cover every inch of the partition with photographs or plaques. It's small so that wall space will fill up fast. 

Leave the Contraband at Home

Many office buildings have rules against keeping certain items in cubicles. Prohibited items often include things like desk fans, space heaters, candles, and incense sticks. Building managers may also restrict refrigerators and microwaves to break rooms. Check before you bring in your own personal coffeemaker. 

Restrict Your Stuff to Your Space

Don't let your belongings flow out into shared spaces or another employee's personal space. If you need to hang hooks over a partition wall, give your neighbor the courtesy of asking if the encroachment on his space is a problem. More often than not, he'll say it's fine, but he'll appreciate that you asked him first.

No One Needs to Know How You Vote

As much as government employees try to separate themselves from the politics of public service, politics has some influence on every employee. Never let your decor give any indication of how you vote. No matter what political statement you try to make, you're sure to offend someone. If you interact with the public, avoiding the appearance of political motivation is all the more important.

It's Not Your Home

A good rule of thumb when you're decorating your cubicle is to ask yourself if you would invite the people who regularly enter it into your home. If you wouldn't, keep your personal statements to a minimum. Don't put anything on display that you wouldn't invite them to see in your living room. A vase of daisies is one thing if you love fresh flowers.

Those photos taken on your honeymoon in that bikini might not be something you'd want to share with coworkers and other visitors to your workspace. If you wouldn't share something about yourself in conversation, don't advertise it, no matter how much looking at that photo makes you grin.