Smaller-sized offices aren’t just the preserve of start-ups and sole traders; many established companies prefer to rent rather compact premises to keep their overheads down. Some actually downsize a bit in response to global economic events like the 2008 crash, or to play it safe in uncertain times.
It’s a worldwide phenomenon, with offices in larger-than-life countries like the USA shrinking by, on average, 21% since the mid-1990s. Smaller doesn’t mean inferior, however, especially if you make the most of the space you do have. The rise of home-working and sharing office space have partly driven this trend and a good way to look at it is smart space rather than small space.
If you or your company is about to move into a rather bijou office, here’s some great ideas to make every square foot of those compact offices to let in Kingston upon Thames work for you.
Use scaled-down or pared-down office furniture
It’s all about that space – every office needs a bit of breathing room, room to manoeuvre and room to welcome guests and even host meetings. Don’t fall for the idea that a desk has to be big and impressive – pare your furniture down to a couple of basic functions, like working and storage. If you need a few chairs, choose slimline ones or maybe even bean bags that can be tossed around and stashed away.
Make your furniture multi-task
Even a smaller desk can feature valuable storage space, re-purposed filing cabinets can still, well, hold files and also be turned into stools or chairs with some clever upholstery. You could use an ottoman-style storage trunk as a bench – maybe for those bean bags or for your briefcase or cycle helmet, or for all of it. Every item of furniture has to justify itself and to fulfil at least two purposes.
Look to the future
We’re not quite at the Minority Report stage of tech yet, where computers are embedded in interactive glass walls. However, if your office does have one or more glass walls, why not paint or paper the outside and use the newly-white inside as a drawing board? This takes up much less space than your average flipchart and even a whiteboard.
Colour you productive
Even before you start picking out hard-working items of furniture you should have decided how you’re going to decorate the walls and windows (the ones you won’t be writing on, that is…). We all know that lighter colours like pale yellows and blues open up a space, but not as many people now that clever use of light can make it seem even larger. If you have a broad wash of light down a wall, from an angled lamp or ceiling fixture, this makes the empty space seem to expand.
Choosing lighter-hued hard and soft furnishings reflects more light, too, making the room feel spacious, free and welcoming.
Another trick, if you need shelves, is to make them as unobtrusive as possible and certainly not to place them along the washed-with-light wall as the clutter makes the space draw in. Remember, it’s an office, not a hidey-hole!