50 Shades of Gray


open laptop and a personal organizer on an office tableThe headline caught your eye didn’t it? Actually I’m not talking about the book (or movie) but today’s current design trends – gray, white and lots of it. South Florida Business Journal has a slideshow of the 2016 Coolest Offices in South Florida. As I scrolled through some of it, I saw a montage of current design trends which include:

  • Gray with pops of color, but gray, lots of gray
  • Areas of collaboration or gathering such as kitchens with bar seating, living room type areas for informal meetings, small meeting areas in open work space. These are wonderful new additions to today’s office design.
  • Contemporary modern design for both office layout and furniture – -even the huge law firms of Akerman and Greenberg Traurig have traded their shelves of law books, tons of file cabinets and heavy furniture for light, airy, modern design and furniture.
  • Exposed ceilings and/or ceilings that aren’t your typical standard dropped ceiling with ceiling tiles. Sometimes these upgraded ceilings are only in a portion of the space, but they make a difference.
  • Natural light and glass to move the light deeper into the office space
  • Eclectic personal touches like surfboards, a storm trooper helmet, funky pillow on a sofa

I love seeing the creativity that goes into the design of these office spaces. Design and color selection are not my talents, but if asked, I offer this advice when planning a new office space:

  • Go with carpet tiles. Even if there is a cost difference, get the carpet tiles. It makes re-carpeting much easier (particularly with work stations); single stained tiles can be easily replaced and it makes the floor more visually interesting.
  • When buying work stations, buy from a big manufacturer (i.e. Herman Miller, Steelcase, Teknion to name a few) so you can reconfigure and/or add pieces easily in years to come.
  • Remember that office furniture depreciates faster than you can possibly imagine, so be mindful that you will never be able to sell it for a fraction of what you paid for it. You can purchase refurbished office furniture which looks brand new for a fraction of the cost if you are so inclined.

When considering a re-design of your office, I strongly suggest seeking the advice of an interior designer with a focus on commercial interiors. I have found that their advice and solutions can be invaluable.


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