Furnishing an Executive Office to Project Authority

Leather-bound books and bulky mahogany furniture have no place in the modern executive office. In recent years, there has been a move towards modest, unpretentious furnishings and accessories that convey authority and power through minimalism and clean design. Nowadays, most business organizations have understood that is not only the suit that makes the executive – it’s their office design, as well.  And while bosses are free to express themselves in their surroundings (this being one of the many perks of being the boss), their office design inevitably becomes a symbol of the company’s culture and values.

Trends in Executive Office Furniture Design

While no two companies share the same office style when it comes to furnishing private offices, there are generally a few rules of thumb most of them adhere to. First of all, the overall feel of the space is not stiff and crowded, as it used to be. Authority is no longer expressed through imposing artwork and trophy walls – quite the contrary, most managerial offices are devoid of all unessential items and have a sleek and charming décor.

Secondly, there’s a growing awareness of execs’ offices as a business strategy and a powerful recruiting tool, telling candidates about what the company values and how. For instance, a company that wants to emphasize how much it values efficiency will opt for clean lines and table desks; others may choose to create a cozy vibe to symbolize the relaxed and convivial atmosphere in their organization. If a company wants to express how important teamwork and collaboration are, putting up pictures of employees working together will exemplify just that.

Since an executive office is a space that will be used to meet and greet other executives and important clients, it’s essential for it to convey the right on-brand image the company seeks. Colors should create a fresh and polished look, while lighting should set the proper mood of an elegant and respectable space, helping guests feel comfortable and look forward to the meeting. Many of the accessories executives choose to have in their offices, whether it’s a piece of contemporary art or a set of golf clubs, can serve as excellent conversation starters, allowing guests to get a glimpse of their class and personality and also help them feel more at ease in a comfortable and personalized setting.

Essential Furnishings of the Executive Office

Essential Furnishings of the Executive Office

As we already established, less is more when it comes to décor and furnishings in an executive office, but every space should have the following:

  1. The desk. To communicate approachability and efficiency, most executives opt for table desks with clean lines and sleek designs that look more like a command center where important decisions are made. Their desks are almost never pushed against the wall – they are freestanding and positioned towards the center of the room to exhibit control and independence.
  2. The executive chair. Nothing matters most in the executive office than the executive chair. Executive chairs are essential for a confident, authoritative position that can easily be maintained through long meetings. The generous size of these chairs immediately demands attention and respect, while the high quality materials and fine details provide a luxurious seating experience.
  3. Guest seating. To ensure your guests are feeling comfortable and relaxed, choose guest chairs that are both lightweight and durable and permit several upholstery variations. Execs working in a friendly and innovative environment that invites casual collaboration may also choose to seat their guests on comfy sofas.
  4. Storage options. Nothing tells potential employees and clients about your organizational skills and attention to detail than a well-kept, free-of-clutter office space. Prevent files and documents from piling on your desk by storing them properly in elegant storage units that are light in scale and match the overall feel and look of your office.

Furnishing an executive office is completely different from furnishing offices used by staff employees and can ultimately impact the company’s productivity and bottom line. Together, all furnishings and accessories must provide both employees and clients with essential information about your work values, professionalism, and personal style, and achieving this is certainly no easy task. Work with an office furniture provider to help choose the office furniture that projects your brand values and tell you all about the do’s and don’ts of designing your executive office.

About the Author Lynne Lemieux

Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada's leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.

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