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Cubicle Decorating Dos and Don’ts

The quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to clean out your cubicle or office. Below are two best practices to decorating your cube in a tasteful manner.

Cubicle Decor (Photo: Hey__Paul/Flickr CC, Etsy)

Make your cubicle homey, but still professional (Photo: Hey__Paul/Flickr CC, Etsy)

Do put up pictures of family, but don’t make wallpaper out of it
Putting a photo of your family, significant other, children, pets, etc. is of course perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged, in order to keep you grounded and reminded of why are you are sitting behind a desk 16 hours a day. One, two or three pictures are OK, but not one-, two- or three-DOZEN that include not just your family but your fraternity and sorority brothers and sisters on a bender in Cancun (I’ve personally seen this a lot, and it’s disappointing each time). Your cube is a place of work, not an extension of your old dorm room.

Do keep deal toys, but get rid of trinkets
If you work in investment banking, you know what a deal toy is. If not, it’s essentially a small trophy (usually made from Lucite) that signifies the closing of a major deal. Which means the more deal toys (or other symbols of accomplishment) on your desk, the better. However, if you’ve accumulated more random souvenirs from that colleague who visited you from the Mumbai office or thank you gifts from vendors, it’s time to get rid of those things and clear your desk space. A cluttered workspace can lead to unintended inefficiencies and can give the wrong impression to your superiors. Appearances, even at the cube-level, can matter when it comes to your internal reputation.

It’s ok to decorate a bit. No need to keep your workspace totally sanitary and void of any personality. The point? Keep it clutter free and professional. You will find it easier to focus on your work — really.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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