After a whirlwind week’s worth of work (wow, say that five times fast), the conference room makeover is finished!
If you missed where this project first started, our friend Amber, the Coordinator at The Cottage at Pathways Community Center in partnership with The Life House Women’s Shelter, asked us for help in making their office / meeting room feel like home.
We feel honored to be a part of this room’s transformation that will serve the homeless women in our community with counseling, case management services, financial education, and employment assistance.
How to Design a Conference Room or Office to Feel Cozy
Whether you have an office, conference room, meeting room, or just any room at home that could use a little decorating love to help your space feel calming, I pulled together a few cozy conference room ideas and meeting room design tips to give some guidance.
But first… a moment for the before and after shots on the other side of this room.
Push Together Small Accent Cabinets to Make a Long Sideboard
We wanted to utilize as much storage space as possible along the back wall of the conference room without sacrificing too much of the furniture budget.
To save money and customize the length we needed, we found these 3 small reeded accent cabinets to place side-by-side and fake the look of a long sideboard cabinet.
You can do the same thing with small chests of drawers or dressers in bedrooms or living rooms to make one large console.
Set Up a Coffee Station
Is there really anything that says “cozy” more than coffee? Especially if you have clients or guests, a small coffee area helps them feel welcomed.
Coffee Station Supplies & Amenities
- A user-friendly coffee maker (Espresso machines are nice but if it’s self-serve, it might be too complicated.)
- Large tray for holding mix-ins
- Canisters for coffee grounds and/or sugar
- Coffee syrup dispensers with flavor labels
- Stirs and/or spoons and spoon rest
- Coffee cups (reusable or recyclable)
- Lidded trash can (I love that this one has a motion sensor to open.)
- Divided basket for holding tea bag varieties
- Honey straws for tea
- Splenda and half & half packets
- Mini fridge for keeping larger bottles of coffee creamer cold
- Reusable K Cups (to spend and waste less)
Use Soft Lighting
I don’t know about you, but fluorescent lights instantly stress me out. According to Psychology Today, compact fluorescent light bulbs (“CFLs”) trigger stress reactions, nervous system dysregulation, or physical sensitivity reactions like migraines, tics, and anxiety.
Counteracting fluorescent lighting with softer bulbs in lamps, pendant lights, and sconces aren’t just pretty in a room. They can improve your emotional regulation.
Best Light Bulbs to Use in an Office
Neutral white or daylight bulbs in the 4000K to 5000K range are best to use in an office if you want to be alert and productive.
But in some settings like when working in counseling services, if you want your office or conference room to feel soothing, soft white bulbs in the 2700K to 3000K range can help with stress reduction.
Ceiling Lights in a Drop Ceiling
It’s challenging to make commercial grid ceilings with drop ceiling tiles look cute.
A quick, simple way to hang a pendant lamp from a drop ceiling without an electrician is to attach a plug-in pendant lamp cord to the grid with zip ties!
Run the cord across the ceiling and down a wall to plug into an outlet. Conceal the cord against the wall with a cord cover and paint the cover the same color as the wall to hide it.
Hardwiring a ceiling light would work the best, but if your budget is tight or you need a quick solution, a plug-in pendant lamp does the trick!
The pendant light above the table and chairs can be used in conjunction with the fluorescent lights in the room or on its own depending on the tasks that day.
I love how it softly illuminates everyone’s faces sitting at the conference table so that group counseling sessions can feel intimate and welcoming.
Adding picture lights above art is an easy way to add some sophistication to a space. And you don’t necessarily need to get lighting hardwired on the walls to create the look.
We used these wireless picture lights that can be operated manually or with a remote. Use rechargeable batteries so that you never have to buy more.
Make a Memo Board to Look Like Art
I love this DIY Large Wall Art Magnetic Memo Board so much that I want it in my own house! It’s such a great way to blend style with function.
Hang a metal sheet on the wall covered with a mural or poster and use it to organize notes and important announcements with magnet clips. Frame it out with a few strips of molding to look finished.
You could even cover the art with a piece of plexiglass to write on top with dry erase markers if the art underneath is simple enough to allow writing to be visible.
Hang a Gallery Wall
There are so many great vintage art downloads available on Etsy for just $2-3 each. Play around with combinations by mixing different art mediums: charcoal sketches, watercolor, oil painting, etc.
Stick to art prints within a 2-3 color family range to make it feel like one cohesive collection or mix up art from a wide array of colors if you prefer a modern, eclectic vibe.
Related: Follow these tips on How to Hang the Perfect Gallery Wall for extra help.
I used four 18″x24″ picture frames and one 16″x20″ picture frame in this gallery wall, and I chose these vintage art pieces I printed at MPix.com. Some of the art prints have scriptures written in the corners.
Use Mirrors in Windowless Areas
When a room has little to no windows, it helps to utilize a large mirror or two instead.
Mirrors help bounce light in dark corners and walls making small rooms seem bigger. This full length windowpane mirror was the perfect solution for this windowless side of the room.
Set Up a Seating Area
Sometimes it’s just nice to sit somewhere in an office that’s not at a table or desk to read, work on a laptop, or take a break.
I repurposed this bookshelf the shelter already had and added baskets and lidded boxes for concealed storage.
Be Smart About Storage Space
Since this conference room will be used as Amber’s office part of the time, we set up this secretary desk that provided ample storage but can fold up during meetings to make more room for foot traffic.
We supplied a Bluetooth speaker and a diffuser too because I totally believe in engaging all of the senses to make a space feel comfortable – that includes sound and smell.
The one request Amber had was she wanted to keep her favorite green desk chair. It works so well in here! I hadn’t seen the chair before I designed this room, so it’s a good thing it all worked out.
Add Texture With Textiles
Look at the photo below and now imagine how it would look without the curtains or rug. Wouldn’t it feel cold and uninviting?
Fabrics in a room add so much. Textures in textiles create depth in a space.
This skinny, off-centered window was tricky to decorate, but by hanging the curtains “high and wide” and using the off-center curtain panel hanging trick, we made the room look bigger and and the window more proportional.
Related: Favorite Traditional Rugs from Loloi
Adding a rug under the conference table helped disguise the black painted concrete floors. I always start designing a room by choosing a rug, piece of art, wallpaper, or fabric first.
This rug with colors of terra cotta, moss green, and teal inspired all of the other selections for furnishings, fabrics, art, and paint colors in this room to establish cohesiveness.
Conference Room Decor Sources
It’s so hard to believe how far this room came in a week. Paint, lighting, art, and a lot of sweaty hard work can really work some miracles.
- Wall Color: Romabio New Hope
- Dining / Conference Table
- Dining / Conference Chairs
- Fluted Accent Cabinets / Sideboard
- Secretary Desk
- Pendant Lamp
- Table Lamps
- Floor Lamp
- Wireless Picture Lights
- Floor Mirror
- Ornate Picture Frame
- Antique Gold Picture Frame
- Gold Picture Frame
- Memo Board Art
- Coffee Bar Tray
- Coffee Bar Divided Basket
- Large Faux Plant
- Lidded Basket Set
More Office Decorating Ideas
- Home Office Setup Quick Tips to Improve Your Workspace + Office Reveal!
- Office Guest Room Ideas for a Cozy Temporary Sleeping Space
- 8 Home Office Lounge Ideas to Boost Productivity and Function
- Home Office & Homework Station Desks & Chairs on a Small Budget
- Vintage Writing Desk Makeover
- How to Refinish Wood Furniture Without Stripping | Desk Chair Makeover
We are so grateful to The Life House Women’s Shelter and The Cottage at Pathways Community Center for entrusting us with such a special project where those in need can preserve their dignity and feel loved.