DATE: 09/24/2015

How much is this going to cost me?

For most business owners, it’s the first question that comes to mind when they realize it’s time to refurnish, redecorate and/or move. Soon after, they might lighty pursue photos online or in magazines, gathering ideas for the “specific look” they’re wanting to emulate. But it doesn’t take long for the mind to go back to its original train of thought and start “seeing dollar signs!”

The good news? Redecorating your corporate office on a budget is not only possible, it’s also easier than ever. Thanks to the Internet, the prevalence of e-commerce businesses and a plethora of DIY information, you now have more options than ever before. Widespread competition has driven furnishing + decor costs down, making way for affordable, high-quality options that “won’t break the bank.”

But decorating an office is more than just choosing a bunch of tables and chairs, it’s creating a brand culture –– it’s shaping how you will be perceived by employees, customers and other external stakeholders. Put simply, a small budget is NOT a good excuse for a shoddy appearance. With that in mind, here are our favorite tips for redecorating corporate offices on brand AND on budget:

1. Take Inventory + Budget

Begin by taking stock of everything you know you need.The best way to approach this is to go department by department. For example: How many employees do you have in HR? What furnishings does each employee need to do his, or her, job? Your response is likely to be a variation of an office chair, a work surface and shelving. You can delve deeper by asking yourself if there any special technological requirements that need to be accommodated by special furnishings. This is also a good time to consider whether or not you will adopt an open office floor plan. Once you’ve grouped employee needs by department, add up your numbers of individual furnishings needed.

Next, approximate the furnishings you will need in your office’s other rooms, including conference, reception, waiting and break rooms. If you're simply revamping your current office, you may choose to keep some of these older items. But if there’s anything you just really hate, or that isn’t in alignment with your new vision, go ahead and write those items on your wish list.

Finally, make a budget category for “decor updates.” This can include anything that would enhance the appearance of your office: Paint, plants, art work, rugs, throw pillows etc. Once you know what you need, you’re going to make two phone calls. One to an independent furnishing solutions provider (with no ties to single manufacturers or brands) that can provide you with approximate furnishing expenditure estimates, from “bare-bones” to “aspirational.” And one to an interior designer who can give you an estimate of what you could expect to spend on decor, minus service fees. Compare these estimates to what you’re willing and able to spend and set an approximate budget.

2. Lead With Furniture

If you’re on a tight budget, the best places to spend your money are on employee office furnishings and entrance room statement pieces. The reasons being happier employees are more productive employees AND first impressions matter. Put simply, nothing draws attention more in a room than a piece of high-quality furniture. And, as previously mentioned, high-quality doesn’t have to mean “name brand.”

3. Repurpose + DIY

Survey your existing space and determine if any pieces can be repurposed. Perhaps, an old entryway table could be moved to the breakroom? Or an old executive desk could be sanded down, painted and given new life in a conference room? The options are endless. A great place for generating DIY ideas is the popular, photo-sharing Website Pinterest. Consider using the site to create a company “pinboard.” Encourage employees and coworkers to pursue the site and “pin” their favorite decor ideas to the board in their free time.

By spending the bulk of your budget on “the right” high-quality furnishings and exercising your “creative muscles” on decor, you can create an office environment you’re proud to call home.