8 Tips for Office Decorating from Goodwill's New AmeriCorps

Hi! I’m Alyssa, and I’m the new AmeriCorps member in the marketing department here at Goodwill Industries Knoxville. If you don’t know, AmeriCorps members serve around the country with different organizations and non-profits that need help to do things such as work on environmental projects, serve at-risk populations, help out in underprivileged schools, etc. for a small stipend and an education grant at the end of the year of service.

I am here at Goodwill helping raise awareness of their mission of providing vocational services and employment opportunities for people with barriers to employment, and so far I absolutely love it. On my first day, I was presented with a completely empty office and the task to decorate it using Goodwill finds. Here are a few tips that I discovered during the decorating process that can help create a pleasant office environment while saving quite a bit of money:

1. Start from the basics. You need a desk and a chair- those are pretty non-negotiable unless you are going to use a standing desk. I love this fabulous retro wood desk set that I found. It has so much space that I am not cramped, and luckily it goes with so many things.

2. Look for a set of art pieces that go together. I found two different sets of prints in the store that complement each other in color and style. Even though they are all in different frames, these pieces look great side-by-side. This is an easy way to fill up your walls.

3. Don’t be afraid to mix colors. Let’s face it, offices aren’t generally aren’t going to be visually fun spaces unless you decorate it yourself or you work in an art gallery. That’s why I think you need lots of colors and pieces to look at. I love my ‘Vintage’ wall. It is made from posters that were made for last year’s Goodwill Vintage Fashion show. (Tickets for this year’s fashion show are on sale now!) Does your office have any colorful old marketing materials sitting around not being used? Put them on your walls!

4. If something needs a little TLC, don’t be afraid to break out the tool box. One of the chairs that I have in my office had a handle that was loose. It was part of a set, so I brought a screw driver and I had it fixed in under five minutes.

5. Put your office supplies on display. Are they inherently beautiful? No, but I put mine in mason jars and they really round out my desk.


6. Texture adds a lot of visual interest. I found a couple pillows to add to the chairs in my office; they have an awesome texture and make the room feel more comfortable. I also have a little round vase that reminds me of an oversized golf ball that adds a little texture to the room.

7. The key about shopping at Goodwill is to keep an open mind about what could work together. I found this great little purple lamp, but it had a lamp shade on it that was just not my style, so I switched out the shade to this burlap one which works a lot better. Also, my faux-flowers did not come in that bunch; I mixed and matched so that I had a nice bouquet and then found the right vase for it.

8. The most important tip that I can give you is go often. Goodwill is literally always getting new donations, so if you are in need of something specific like a desk chair or a floor lamp, check back regularly. Interesting things are coming in all the time!


Now that I’m settled in, I’m excited to learn more about Goodwill’s job training programs and the affect that donations have on our community. Stay tuned for my next update!