Odd-shaped office spaces needn’t be seen as a curse – provided they’re not odd-shaped to the point where they’re impossible to set up and work from – though they do need to be outfitted the right way.
What makes an office odd-shaped?
Amongst other architectural features, protruding or recessed walls, slanted or sloping ceilings and awkward angles can all contribute to making an office space somewhat odd-shaped.
Architectural features like these, although at times difficult to plan around, can make for quite an original office space and that’s what often appeals to the businesspeople who hire such spaces, unless they’ve made the mistake of hiring an office space without inspecting it first and then they’re getting what they deserve!
Lighting can either have the effect of opening up an odd-shaped room or it can have just the opposite effect – when light shines down from the ceiling or enters from the windows it creates crevices and shadows in the corners and other areas.
As with all office spaces, emphasis should be placed on allowing as much natural light to enter the office as possible so as to provide your employees with a comfortable work environment, and as some scientists have suggested, to prevent them falling out of sync with their circadian rhythms as a result of too much exposure to artificial lighting.
However, don’t rely upon natural lighting alone; you can use accent up-lights and floor lamps to brighten dark corners or make something out of the corner, perhaps somewhere to place shelving or a filing cabinet.
Ceilings and walls
Odd-shaped office spaces with low ceilings – yet another architectural feature that can make an office space appear somewhat odd-shaped – can be quite dark and at times gloomy, though there are ways to lessen the effect.
• Paint the ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls to convey an optical illusion of greater height
• Paint the ceiling and walls with soft neutral colours – beige, creamy ivory and off white for example – as this gives the room an airy feel
• Install floor to ceiling shelving and bookcases so as to not leave space between the tops and the ceiling
Slanted ceilings are another architectural feature that has to be handled in the right way. One of the best options with regard to slanted ceilings is to, if possible, place desks – or have custom benches designed and outfitted – against the ceilings/walls, though depending on the angle and the height, you could find that you lose quite a bit of space as a result.
Another option would be to install customised shelving that makes good use of the depth created by the slant, whilst another would be to use the depth created by the slanted ceiling/wall to create a chill out/breakout area complete with beanbags and floor level seating for your employees – use your imagination and you’ll come up with something – though it must be said that built-in furniture – benches, office desk, shelving, etc. – offers some of the best possibilities.
Stuck for ideas?
If you find that you’re really stuck for ideas when attempting to outfit an odd-shaped office space – you should have thought about this before buying or hiring it – then the best advice that can be given is to work with an interior design consultant or an office outfitting firm; preferably one experienced in outfitting office interiors that are somewhat oddly shaped.
With an understanding of how to outfit an odd-shaped office there’s no reason why such a space should prove an impediment to your business endeavours; in fact, it could come to characterise and epitomise the unique nature of your business.