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Office décor – it’s more important than you think. Smart office decoration combines an atmosphere of calm and contentment with a sense of urgency and productivity.

Those may sound like contradictory goals, but they’re not. A calm, happy employee is a productive employee. Simple as that.

So if you’re the boss, how do you make the office look like a place where workers actually like to hang out and do stuff?

First, check your lighting. Harsh light and constant buzzing is unpleasant, and really works the nerves over time. Soften the lights a little, use natural lighting when you can, and make sure whatever lighting you go with is very, very quiet.

There’s nothing more calming than a water feature. A fountain with soft changing lights would be optimal, but a fish tank may suffice. Who doesn’t love watching beautiful fish swimming in dazzling coral?

Art. You gotta have art. And please, be honest with yourself. If you know, deep down in your heart, that you have lousy taste in art, please consult with someone who can pick out something appropriate. Dragging out that velvet Elvis you bought at a garage sale long ago just isn’t gonna cut it!

Curtains give that warmth to an cold office. A simple sheer or simple patterned curtain can make the difference between a drab, uninviting space and a completed look that says “Welcome!”

Work on keeping the office pleasantly clutter-free. A cluttered environment can have an adverse psychological effect on people over time. Plus it exacerbates (and sometimes causes) work disorganization. Try creating an incentive program for your employees to keep the place uncluttered and happy. Make it a competition!

Let your employees personalize their spaces somehow – within reasonable guidelines. For instance: Let them bring a small rug for their personal workspace if they’d like. Rugs add a “home-y” touch, and they’re usually nice to look at, too. (If, however, the rug comes from a cat-owners home, be prepared to assert the right of refusal, if need be!)

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