Ask LH: How Can I Improve My Workspace View?

Ask LH: How Can I Improve My Workspace View?

Dear Lifehacker, How can I improve the drab view from my workspace window? I’m currently facing the outside wall of another house about two metres away and would really like to make the view more inspiring. Any ideas? Thanks, New View Required

Window picture from Shutterstock

Dear NVR,

This is often a problem, whether you’re working in a home office or stuck in the less-pleasant corner of a CBD building. You can’t do much about the ugliness outside, but there are some simple steps that can improve your environment.

Office plants As well as improving air quality, these brighten up the view. If there’s room on the windowsill, place them there; if not, get a taller plant that will reach to window height. Check out our list of the best plants for Australian offices for suggestions.

Window stickers and decals If the view is spectacularly depressing, you could always obliterate it completely with a poster or a screen, but you’ll miss out on natural light. Using stickers and decals gives you something to look at without losing the light. eBay is an easy place to start shopping (and postage isn’t a big issue with this kind of item). A variation on this idea is to tint the entire window.

Digital photo frame You can easily add variety to the view with a digital photo frame (either on the windowsill or attached to part of the window). The advantage of this approach is you can change the view as often as you like and pick whatever images you like (though I’d avoid pin-ups in an office environment).

Rotate the curtains If your window has curtains, consider buying additional sets in different designs (Spotlight and IKEA are good sources for cheap curtains) and rotate them regularly. That will alter the view without requiring much effort on your part.

Get up from your desk and go for a walk. Not a total solution, but a worthy reminder. The exercise is good for you, it will refresh your brain, and a change of scene will distract you from the staring-at-the-bricks-misery of your existence.

If readers have additional view improvement suggestions, we’d love the hear them in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Brisbane has stands at most coffee shops with these free advertising post cars, think they are called Avant Card, I work in a cube office, So I’ve sectioned off my walls for my Overseas travel photos that I print off in colour on plain paper at work, collect these post cards every few weeks and blue tac them to the wall in groups. As I’m a Triathlon freak, I also have a section with all my triathlon and running accomplishments from races I’ve completed. I’ve got a few pictures of my display on my instagram, @Mars5884.

  • That’s nothing. My boss made my team sit facing concrete walls regardless of my input, went behind my back and changed our desks. I changed it back and had to provide valid reasons. Those where disregarded and we were told it was company policy for the decision, I contacted HR and no policy exists. So now he is my ex boss.

  • Ask the owner of the neighbouring house if they would be agreeable to you painting a mutually agreed trompe l’oeil artwork on the portion of their wall that’s visible from your window. If you choose well and hire a good artist to do it, then you get a better view and they get an interesting piece of art in what is presumably an uninteresting side passage.

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