What makes an office? Four walls, a desk and chair, computer, phone, and the supplies you need to get the job done. What makes YOUR office uniquely yours? The personal touch. If you are renting office space, then decorating an office can be somewhat limited. You will probably not be able to paint the walls or change the flooring, so the personal touch that you add with wall art and decor is important. Your office art is the equivalent to the jewelry that you wear with the little black dress. Or the bold tie that you wear with the dark suit if we man up this metaphor. Either way, the art is the pop of color or sparkle in the office that makes the first impression.
Of course, the first impression is very important when you welcome a client to your office for the first time. So, before you make any decorating decisions, make sure that you decide what type of first impression you are trying to make. Ask yourself “how do I want my client to feel when they enter my office?” The answer to this question will help you make your art choices. For example, if you want to alleviate potential stress for a client, then you may choose an abstract painting with relaxing colors, a landscape scene, or a photo collage of carefree children playing. You may want art that is relaxing, thought provoking, stimulating or whimsical. Choose the tone first, and the art will follow.
The next question to consider before you choose your office art is “what do I want my client to know about me or my business?” Don’t feel obligated to be “all business” with your decorating. Though you may choose to hang awards that your business has won or samples of work that you have done for clients, your art can also show your personal side. Maybe you participate in an annual bike race for charity. You could have some photos of the race professionally framed and on display. Or, perhaps you studied in France for a semester in college, and you choose replications of a famous French artist who reminds you of that time. How do you know which of your personal experiences or personality traits are appropriate for office decor? A general rule of thumb is to look over an old resume, or your LinkedIn account. Something that is an advertisement of who you are and what you do. If there is information that you included about yourself in the “personal” section of these written accounts of yourself, then it is probably an appropriate inspiration for your office decor.
Your office art makes the first impression on your clients, and the first impression often serves as a conversation gateway. After the initial introduction and handshake, your art will likely solicit a question or comment that will help break the ice. A quick chat about your framed photo of a mountain scene (“Is that Grandfather Mountain? I took my family there last summer…”) will help your client feel comfortable and relaxed with you. Your office art will give you something pleasant and easy to discuss before you get down to business.