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Comfort. Peace. Beauty. These are all positive words associated with quality of life, yet few people can say they experience these things in the workplace. You spend a large portion of your life working, so why not make your office an enjoyable place to be, not only for yourself, but also for your clients?

If you've ever walked into a poorly lit, cluttered, stale room and noticed how it made you feel, then you understand that all rooms have energy. When you feel good in a room, you automatically attach a positive emotion to the people associated with that room. It stands to reason then, that when clients like your space and feel good in your office environment, they also attach a positive feeling to you, which is good for business. A comfortable office environment is also great for helping you to enjoy the time you spend working, which adds to your quality of life and productivity.

Here are seven ways to make your office more comfortable for both you and your clients.

1. If you own your building or have permission from the landlord, paint the walls a color other than white or off-white. Color, whether it's soft or bold, is the least expensive and most noticeable way to change the feel of a room. If your office is naturally dark, brighten it up with a bold pumpkin or bright gold accent wall with a contrasting lighter color on the other walls. Use soft sage green, apricot or sky blue to create a calm waiting area for clients. Wall color is a good way to start brightening things up and makes a great canvas on which to build.

2. Blank walls can be peaceful, however, too much blankness is sterile. Strike a good balance by adding art to make your office feel inviting. Choose a few pieces that you really like for your own space, and create continuity by having similar pieces in the outer areas of your office. Instead of spreading small pieces out across all your walls, group them together on one wall for an interesting tableau. Save large pieces to hang alone on larger walls, and remember less is more. Don't be afraid to leave one wall completely blank.

3. Add live plants. Nothing looks worse than an dusty old silk plant in the corner. Live plants add their own energy and lushness to a room and break that sterile feeling that some offices have. Vary their heights for some interest. Hanging plants, floor trees, and desk plants can all work together. However, be sure to care for them properly so they don't die, because dead plants don't project a positive image.

4. Add some additional lighting, especially if you have fluorescent overhead lighting in your office. Fluorescent lighting throws a cool green cast and can be harsh, so adding incandescent lights helps to warm up the space. An attractive floor lamp or a nice desk lamp will do the trick and you might find that you can turn off those overheads for good.

5. Awards and trophies can add interest to your office if they are displayed properly. Hang a nice shelf and use it to display a few things that are special to you. Again, keep them grouped together, so they aren't spread all over the space. Things that are spread about and end up looking like accidental clutter, whereas things grouped together look like a collection.

6. The sound of running water is peaceful and can also mask the sounds of traffic or a working office outside your door. Tabletop fountains are inexpensive to buy, take up very little space and they add a wonderful auditory texture to an environment. Place one in your waiting area and one in your personal office for quiet, soothing white noise while you work or while your guests wait to see you.

7. Last but definitely not least, invest in some nice, comfortable pieces of furniture for the waiting area as well as your private space. In the waiting area, bigger, cozier pieces of furniture work to set a comfortable frame of mind while guests are waiting. In your private space where you conduct business, something a bit less soft but still comfortable is more appropriate.

If you have space, consider adding a small table between two chairs in front of your desk so that you can come out from behind your desk to interact with clients. Even a small sofa and a chair will work for those times you may meet with more than one person at a time. A big desk between you and your client may not create a feeling of trust and partnership, whereas meeting around a smaller table will.

Work and play are no longer mutually exclusive parts of life. Making your office environment as comfortable as possible is a key element in your having an enjoyable workday, as well as creating a positive, memorable experience for your clients. The more inviting your office is, the better it will serve you, and the better you can serve your clients.

About the Author
Monica Ricci has been an organizing specialist since 1999, and her motivational presentations teach effective organizing and simplifying techniques for home and work. She also offers free email tips and ideas on how to make life simpler and more organized. Her topics include clutter control, paper management, time management, organizing space and procrastination.Contact Monica at 770-569-2642 or

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