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Compliments of the New Institute via Flickr

Tossing everything into your space (and expecting it to congeal by itself) is a misguided strategy. Crafting an area takes time, attention to detail, and a circumspect eye.

Instead of arranging our belongings, we sometimes choose to place them inside a box. The “treasure chest” analogy does not directly translate into either office decoration or landscape design.

When planning an area the best place to start is on paper. As the saying goes, an ounce of planning is worth a pound of cure.

Fortunately, free help is available for the neophyte space architect. Merely typing “office design help” into your search engine displays a plethora of pictures and designs from which to choose. These are organized, streamlined, and up-to-date. If you’re truly starting from scratch, office design drafting templates are a low cost way to experiment with space configuration before purchase and placement.

The acid test of what you’ve accomplished may however be the initial reaction of other people. What are the non-visuals of those who view your space (especially for the first time?). The majority of what we communicate is through gestures and paralanguage, so be on the lookout for telltale signs of either delight or disgust.

Your overflow into someone’s work area may be of no significance to you, but it may be highly bothersome to the recipient of your discourteousness. Mutual planning by those affected keeps things within boundaries, and prevents potential miscommunication from occurring.

For your yard, free interactive garden design tools are available: “. . .virtual planning allows you to see a rendering of the garden you imagine before it comes to fruition.” Ideas may also be gleaned from local neighborhood shows, like “Parade of Homes” and secret garden tours.

Watching the pros is a great way to incorporate tastefulness within your own sphere. HGTV Design Portfolio has some terrific pictures for the beginner, and for those simply considering a “redo.” Obtaining a multitude of opinions/archetypes is always a good idea – especially when you’re new in the process.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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