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Cubicle Makeover

May 1, 2011

By: Nicole Perry

A working woman spends so much of her time at the office – for some of us, it’s even more than we spend at home. So, we here at Empirella are firm believers that your work space should be a place that you truly enjoy and that inspires you. Not to mention your co-workers will be impressed by your neatness and ability to inject personality into even the most generic and utilitarian of office spaces.

Which brings us to the “office” most of us call our home-away-from-home, the standard issue cubicle.

Our very first Empirella cubicle makeover is for Therese, a Unit Production Manager at CBC Television for shows like Steven and Chris and Best Recipies Ever. Her hours are long and her desk, a place regularly frequented by the many people working on the different shows she works on, is constantly covered with important documents and papers, which also serve as the only “art” on her fabric walls.

We transformed Therese’s cubicle into a classic, well organized space that reflects her personal style and reminds her of life outside of work.



Therese's Desk Before



Therese's desk - After




Desk trays and magazine holders help keep you organized and transform unsightly paperwork.



Use a tray to pull together all of your objects that would normally lie around your desk, such as books and accessories.






Frame your art and/or personal photos and stick it to your  cubicle walls. Yes, it is possible. We created this wall of travel photos (again, to remind Therese of her travels and the world that lurks beyond the office doors).  We used a double sided Velcro tape to sick these frames up… see how we did it below, along with our other designer tips.



Lighting is very important in a workspace, especially if you tend to work late, like Therese. This lamp is great because it has the same functions as a desk lamp but the classic shade allows it to give off a softer light.



Don’t let this lamp live alone. Liven it up with a group of items, like this artificial plant from IKEA that you never have to worry about watering! Try using books to ground vignettes



Instead of pinning your papers all over your walls with no rhyme or reason, get a corkboard to contain them. Keep the important items on a clipboard so you always know where they are.



It’s nice to have a guest chair, especially if people come by to see your for work-related chats throughout the day. See all of our favorite office guest chairs.



You had a pencil case in school, why not have a pencil box at work? Decorative boxes are great place to store small items that you use frequently but still keep things looking organized.




I was most excited about sharing my sticky velcro trick for hanging framed photos on fabric office walls with you. Here’s how you do it:

  • Adhere the side of the Velcro that is harsh to the touch to the back of the frame
  • Discard the other piece of Velcro
  • Place your frame up against the fabric wall and give it a good rub so that the Velcro can grab onto the fabric
  • You can change the configuration of your pictures as often as you like since the Velcro won’t lose its stickiness


Even though Therese cleaned her desk out and was able to recycle a lot of the paperwork that was loitering on her desk, I don’t trust that it won’t grow again. So, I bought her a box of plain, neutral-colored folders in 2 sizes, so that she can a least make things look uniform in the future.




Overpurchase. You never know where exactly a design project will take you, so as long as the items are refundable I like to start with more options than I usually end up needing and then I play around and edit.


Before you purchase art prints online or pay to have your own photography printed, print everything out on a color printer and play around with it to create the right grouping.




  • SAMTID Table Lamp $39.99, IKEA
  • FEJKA Artificial Plant $6.99, SKURAR Plant Pot $2.99, IKEA
  • Pencil Jar $2, Thrift Store Find
  • T paper weight $3.99, HomeSense
  • Iomoi pencils, $15, Iomoi
  • Keep Calm and Carry On laminated print, $14.99 – HomeSense
  • Clear Tray $6, IKEA
  • PALITLIG Vase $1.99 , IKEA
  • Glass Paperweight $12.99, HomeSense
  • FLYT Magazine File $2.49/ 5 pack, LINGO Magazine File $3.49/4 pack, IKEA
  • DOKUMENT Letter Tray $9.99, IKEA
  • Baroque Frame Bulletin Board, $29.99, HomeSense
  • KASSETT Box with Lid $5.99, IKEA
  • SONDRUM Frame $4.99, 2x NYTTJA Frame $4.99/2 pack , 2x VIRSERUM Frame $5.99, VIRSERUM Frame $16.99, RIBBA Frame $19.99, IKEA
  • Bertoia Side Chair – Free, handed down from another office
  • Black and White Pillow $7, Thrift store find (originally from IKEA)

Total : $229.81


Ask me questions, send in photos of your own desk and let us know what you think of this cubicle makeover in the comments section below! – Nicole


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