let’s discuss the best and worst office decor you’ve seen

Let’s discuss the best, worst, and weirdest office decor you’ve ever seen. Have you had a coworker who moved so much stuff from home into their office that it felt like an overcrowded living room? Had so many plants that entering their cubicle was like entering a rainforest? Worked under a huge phallic oil painting donated by a board member? Had velvet curtains, walls covered with vintage photos of opera stars, and non-stop opera playing at all times? Or a colleague whose office was so sterile that people were surprised to learn anyone worked there?

In the comment section, please share the best, worst, and/or weirdest office and cubicle decor you’ve witnessed.

{ 931 comments… read them below }

  1. djx*

    Sesame Workshop’s offices, at least 20ish years ago, were pretty amazing – the reception areas and some shared areas looked like Sesame Street.

    1. Bee*

      A friend was briefly working on the movie a few years back, before it got delayed, and they made little street signs with everyone’s names, including my friend’s dog!! Extremely cute.

    2. NYCRedhead*

      I interned at DC Comics decades ago and one floor’s elevator banks was Gotham (with bat signal, natch) and one was Metropolis, complete with telephone booth with Clark Kent’s street clothes left behind.

      1. Octagonal Ocelot*

        I was there about twenty years ago, and they still had that setup! Also, the George Clooney Batsuit. (Yes, I did fondle the Batnipples.)

    3. Sesame Anon*

      I worked there recently! I’ve worked in a few media companies, and by far the best office physically in terms of decor :)

      1. Proofin' Amy*

        Well, the offices of the Workshop are on the Upper West Side, near Lincoln Center, unless they’ve moved. (So you take the 1, A, C, B, or D train to get there.) I went there once for an interview for a freelance gig, and all the sconces were in the shape of Muppets.

        DC Comics has a big fiberglass statue of Superman, but you would expect that. I don’t remember much that was exciting about the Marvel offices 20 years ago; I just felt self-conscious in my interview suit when everyone else was in flannel, jeans, and sneakers. But that was the last bad thing in an epically bad interview experience.

          1. Proofin' Amy*

            I was temping in a 9-to-5 plus I had freelance work. I made myself insane finding time to do a 30-page editorial test which no one actually bothered to read by the time I showed up for the second interview. They gave me a second, equally long, test to do and then rejected me with a note in a Spider-Man envelope that said I had the wrong background for the job.

            The absolute highlight was when I was interviewing (with three high-level people whose names you’d recognize if you know the biz), one of them told me, “So, we’re relaunching the New Mutants. If you were editing it, what direction would you take it in?” My response was, “I’d bring Illyana back.” His response was, “Who?” IYKYK, and believe me, this was someone who SHOULD have known. (And, of course, they DID end up bringing Illyana back. Because you would.)

        1. djx*

          I just checked – Sesame Workshop is in the same building (or at least same area) near Lincoln Center.

          1. Proofin' Amy*

            It’s across the street from Lincoln Center. WNET 13 (the NYC-based public TV station that used to broadcast Sesame Street) is on the same side as Lincoln Center.

    4. pagooey*

      Oooh, yes! I was an intern in their magazine department, 30+ years ago. The reception area was relatively tame except for framed magazine covers…but then you buzzed in to the offices and it was Muppets everywhere, like when Dorothy opens the door to Oz. First keycard I ever had, heh…and the rest of my decades in writing/editing have been fine but inevitably suffer by comparison.

  2. ThatGirl*

    I suppose it’s not that strange, but it always struck me as out of place – I work for a plumbing-related company. Most of our decor is office neutral or relates to what we sell.

    And yet, for years (until the company was acquired and the founding family divested itself) right inside the door was a large display case holding a statue of an eagle.

    It was allegedly worth a boatload, and I have no idea why an eagle.

    (This will make me very identifiable to anyone who has been in this office.)

    1. ThatGirl*

      While I’m doxxing myself, I used to work for a cake decorating/baking supply company that had very cool decor – a huge two-story wall behind reception that was a rainbow gradient of all of the company’s sprinkles, icing, decor, pans, etc and then an area around the conference rooms that had huge displays of faux cake or cupcakes, whatever our current campaign was. THAT was cool.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Nope, as I noted above, it’s in the plumbing space. And has zero to do with eagles or liberty or Philadelphia.

    2. a teacher*

      Oh, I worked at a school that had a giant (lifesize + on a pedestal) statue of an angel at the end of one hallway. It was not a religious school and not part of the building’s architecture.

    3. Spero*

      Was this during the time in the 90’s when men who wanted to interior decorate almost exclusively bought blankets and artwork of photorealistic wolves or eagles?
      I also know a fair number of veterans who have a strong affiliation for eagle statues (literally every person in my family who has served has at least one eagle statue or tattoo). Military thing would be my first guess.

  3. theblues*

    If you’ve every worked in a library, Google Image search “librarian pulp fiction.” One of my coworkers had a wall of those covers. Hysterical.

    1. Liane*

      Thanks. I have the Miserable Life… site ones bookmarked so next week I can show the staff at our local library where Husband & I volunteer. Will report back on reactions.

    2. GasketGirl*

      Some of them remind me of the covers on the Harlequin romance books my grandma used to read. I think we might actually still have some of them at the cottage.

  4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I’ve never seen anything super crazy. And I work from home, so nobody can see mine, but right now on my desk I have a stuffed wampa, a rainbow-colored Stitch, a rubber duck dressed like Abraham Lincoln, and a pen that is actually a sculptural (free-standing) model of Chewbacca.

    1. Buffy will save us*

      When I got promoted I inherited an office with three pretty big shelves over the desk I am 5′ tall so the top two are useless to me and are now filled with Funko pop characters that I have been gifted over the years. You can’t see them on Teams meetings so when people visit my office it takes them a beat before they notice them and then are distracted trying to identify them all. I have 41 large ones and 7 small. It takes a while.

  5. ChurchOfDietCoke*

    Not an office, but a sixth-form college I did some work in few years ago. They’d redecorated and each seminar room was now a colour – the Blue Room and the Green Room were quite tasteful, but the Red Room and the Yellow Room were……. hard on the eyes, shall we say. Walls, carpets, and even chairs all in the colour theme and SO BRIGHT.

    1. OrigCassandra*

      I’ve never worked there but I’ve gone to work-related events there, so I’m counting it: Monona Terrace Conference Center in Madison, Wisconsin launched with the loudest orange carpet I have ever, ever seen.

      It had burgundy and yellow ginkgo/fan motifs on it, but the overwhelming effect was O-R-A-N-G-E. Wall-to-wall essence of the color orange. Ultraorange? Megaorange? Ultramegaorange? Eyesearing, that’s the word.

      They ultimately recarpeted the place to tone down the orangeitude. Apparently I wasn’t the only person whose eyes protested.

      1. Baby Yoda*

        At former job there was a flood and coworker and I got to pick the colors for new cubicles, walls and floor tiles. We decided to avoid the medium green we had pre-flood and selected muted shades of yellow and blue-grey. Unfortunately under the florescent lighting. the new colors all combined to cast off a pukey shade of green overall. So weird. And a warning to look at color combos in all lighting.

    2. Enough*

      My father worked for the federal government and the building he was in had a designated color for each floor. So all the ashtrays on his floor were red.

      1. So Very Anon*

        My company did this, some colors are definitely worse than others. Orange is very much the worst color for a themed floor.

        1. Jen with one n*

          Oh man, I loathe orange and would be so irritable every day if I had to work on that floor.

          1. So Very Anon*

            I definitely do my best to never be on that floor. I don’t even mind orange but it’s like, safety orange without the florescent aspect. Think the TV Show NCIS office orange color.

        2. Industry Behemoth*

          Long ago on the TV show House Hunters, the sellers in one episode were Texas Longhorns fans who’d painted their den/study Longhorn burnt orange.

          That paint job had to go, for the house to sell.

          1. Tinkerbell*

            Some of my parents’ friends had their basement bathroom tiled in a mosaic depicting the University of Michigan logo. For a house in Wisconsin. Apparently they had some people who viewed the house back out just because they were so anti-Michigan fans they wouldn’t even consider buying the place :-P

            1. Grenelda Thurber*

              Tile is too permanent of a way to express your enthusiasm for a football team. At least its easy enough to paint over paint. But I can see that Longhorn Orange not helping a house sell.

              1. AnonORama*

                LOL, I moved to Austin years ago (did not attend UT and don’t like sports) and mentioned offhand that the color resembles nothing in nature except maybe “pumpkin vomit.” Let’s just say I wasn’t the most popular new employee to some of my Longhorn teammates.

                1. Distracted Procrastinator*

                  University of Tennessee (also UT) also has bright orange as it’s main color. It’s so off-putting when people try to show their school pride in their decor. I am smart enough not to say this out loud anywhere in Tennessee, though.

            2. CherryBlossom*

              wow that is commitment on the sellers part. it might be a deal breaker for me too and I don’t care about sports. and here I thought the decals of the Wisconsin badger’s logo on the toilet seat was bad. though it didn’t stop us from buying the house.

              1. Princess Sparklepony*

                When there is something that specific, it’s a call to negotiate the price! The toilet seat is a super easy fix but a mosaic tile wall – that’s going to cost money.

          2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

            I’ve never understood this. Why should the seller have to repaint? Can’t the buyer decide what color they want and paint it themselves after purchase? My SIL is in the process of repainting all their interior walls from “The Realtor Told Us It Had To Be This Color To Sell” Off-White, to…whatever it is they picked, (I think it’s shades of blue). I’m paying for location and then for functionality. Aesthetics is way down on the list—especially aesthetics as easy to control as paint color.

            1. JustaTech*

              The theory is that a lot of people have a hard time imagining themselves in a space that is very clearly personalized to someone else (such as walls in a very specific color).
              People *also* have a hard time imagining what would work in this room or that, which is why real estate agents will “stage” a home with furniture and very impersonal decorations – it’s all about making it easier for you to imagine the space as *yours*.

              1. Sally Forth*

                My main bathroom is a very neutral yellow, almost off white. I asked our realtor if we should paint it, even though it goes well with the tiles. She said not to. I just noticed that in the listing, the bathroom walls are photoshopped Revere Pewter like the rest of the house.

                I used to sell office furniture and I loved it when companies would do pops of colour on cubicle designs. Just a panel here and there to differentiate a different department.

              2. Quill*

                I think for Builder Cream and Realtor Beige part of the idea is that if you want a bolder color later, it will be easier to paint over a pale offwhite.

                … especially if layers underneath are brick red, dayglo orange, 70’s avocado, etc.

              3. DBC*

                When I was house-hunting, I knew I could change whatever I wanted to; but I was still affected by staging or lack of it. If personalize decor was to my taste, I could be biased in favor, even if it wasn’t a good choice for practical reasons. And there were several properties I left and remember asking, “Don’t they even want to sell this?” It really did put me off.

            2. Kindred Spirit*

              So many people lack the ability to envision something other than the color they see. A fresh coat of neutral paint and replacing dated carpet (even if it’s in good condition) really does pay off, as does staging a house.

            3. Person from the Resume*

              A lot of people want to just move in ASAP and maybe paint later.

            4. Sharpie*

              They bought it before I was born but apparently when my aunt and uncle bought their house in the late 70s, the living room was decked out in orange and purple, none of this repainting it for prospective buyers back then! It’s a far more tasteful sage green now.

              1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

                My first apartment had bright yellow/orange shag carpet. It looked as awful as it sounds.

                1. Lucien Nova*

                  That’s my bedroom.

                  Living room is green shag.

                  Kitchen is orange and yellow flat carpet (at least it isn’t shag.)

                  Bathroom was blue shag. I ripped that out ASAP because omg, hygiene…

              2. Princess Sparklepony*

                When my family moved into a bigger house – which my parents bought without ever going upstairs, they just loved the house (It was a nice house) – the previous owner loved dark red. Sort of a dried blood and redwood combo. We were about ages 3 to 11 and we cried that we were going to have to move into the witch’s house.

                My mom and dad spent the first few months painting most of the interiors white. The exterior went from that dark red to a sunny yellow. And then to a grey a decade or so later. They did leave the redwood paneling in the study/spare bedroom, but with white trim it lightened up the space considerably.

              3. The cubes are scary*

                I have a coworker who had a double cubicle with an awkwardly placed end entrance, planned that way bc they wanted no one to visit. Unfortunately I had to one day and found every inch of the cubicle covered in collectibles with plants dividing the spaces. So 2 feet of desktop absolutely covered in random bobble heads, then three plants in a long planter box, then one foot of miniature cartoon characters, then a plant with the minis in the dirt, then a foot of various shapes of hand soap dispensers (flowers, people, cartoons, whatever). But this was every surface in a double cubicle with desk surface on both sides. Plus shelf after shelf of those light activated figures of all types. And crocheted toilet paper covers. Collectible spoons. A entire section of miniature clocks. And plants hanging from the ceiling so low you couldn’t see them from outside the cubicle. Things were also glued to the edges of the monitor and the keyboard. There was one guest chair that had at least 10 different blankets displayed on it. I didn’t stay long.

            5. Lenora Rose*

              A lot of people move in with a heap of furniture and can’t afford to keep a room clear, or move their stuff from room to room, to repaint, and they’re more likely to be willing to live with a bland neutral colour than an actively offensive one.

              My husband got our house for cheaper than he might otherwise have (although at the time it was a depressed market, too) specifically because every wall in the house was painted some shade of pink and it had put off several buyers.

              The front hall was Pepto-bismol, and could be glimpsed from the living room. He’s repainted the main part of the main floor early on, but was trying hard to put off repainting the front hall because he knew they’d be literally gutting it and redoing it. Less than a month before his dad was coming from out of province to help with the project, he went out, bought some forest green of “Kinda close to the colour we were planning”, and covered it over completely because it was driving him BATTY.

            6. Distracted Procrastinator*

              People in general are not nearly as good as they think they are at imagining a space looking different than it does. Some people yes (and yes, you! you are great at it!) but most people aren’t, so when they see decor they don’t like and can’t really picture it in a way they would like, they just assume the room/space/house is awkward or bad or otherwise not for them. Paint it millennial gray and suddenly they can see themselves in the space.

              I spent enough years in real estate to see this happen over and over again.

              1. Distracted Procrastinator*

                also, a lot of people just don’t want to have to do any house fix it crap right after a move. Moving is tough. You don’t want to have to delay moving into a room or a house so it can be painted/refloored/otherwise changed.

                1. Star Trek Nutcase*

                  When I bought my 3 bedrm house, I remember thinking the rooms were small but I could manage and every room needed to be painted all were different pastels). I arranged a week of off-site storage to make painting easier. So first day, I walk into my empty house and am amazed as size of each room, especially bedrooms. I originally remember thinking seller had more furniture to than me but paint day I realized she had squeezed in A LOT.

                  I think buyers have so much to consider when viewing potential homes that the less we have to look at the better.

            7. Part time lab tech*

              We’re selling at the end of the year. I have two feature walls in Dulux raspberry fool and the realtor said that if we’re repainting anyway, to do them in the creamy neutral the same as the rest of the walls.
              Personally, I find no strong colours at all to be so dull.
              Having said that, when we bought the house, it was painted in the moody greys and purples popular in the early noughties and I found it so depressing and dark.

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                My in-laws always have an accent wall close to that color in any house they buy. We always call it Pickled Beet, since that’s what the color was called when they first started with it in my husband’s childhood home. It’s their signature accent color.

        3. Prorata*

          I don’t know…I have a preference for International Orange (Aerospace)…rgb (255,79,0).

          Next time we paint, I may suggest it for the Accounting spaces…..at least until my team threatens grievous bodily harm if I succeed!!

          1. Chick-n-Boots*

            I want to hug you for providing the actual color code. I looked it up and for an orange, I don’t hate it! I think because it’s a little darker in tone and has more red than yellow in it, it doesn’t sear the eyeballs in quite the same way. I don’t know that I’d be able to live with it on all my walls, but I definitely dig it as an accent color! Very cool. :)

            1. Prorata*

              No – I don’t follow sports, college or otherwise.

              I just like Aerospace Orange. Wanted to be a pilot but have crappy eyesight.

          2. Teaching teacher*

            omg I just literally taught hex codes to my students today and told them if they wanted to be fancy they could find a color they like and memorize the hex code to use as like their trademark color and someone asked “do people really do that?” And I didn’t have an answer better than… “well, I did it.”

            1. anxieties, attack!*

              I retain a fondness for #5f1593 from my forum days where a friend assigned it to me and do try to sneak it into various places when I can, so you’re not alone!

      2. LobsterPhone*

        State Govt here (Australia)…our work areas are identified by colour, so I’m currently working at an 8 person table that’s dark olive green while my nearby colleagues are resplendent at their burnt orange workstations. The big banks of lockers and our kitchen benches (open plan design) are red. Both floors are identical so it’s very easy to accidentally get off at the wrong floor. Oh, and one wall of the bathrooms is scarlet. Just the one…wouldn’t want to overdo it…

    3. roisin54*

      In my high school there was an unusually small classroom with no windows that I’m pretty sure was a converted supply closet. Someone thought it would be good to paint one of the walls a very dark shade of purple, which just made it look and feel even smaller. Thank goodness they didn’t paint all the walls that color or we all would’ve gotten extremely claustrophobic in there.

      1. Selina Luna*

        My classroom has three dark purple walls and one wall that I think is supposed to be gold (our school colors are purple and gold), but it’s definitely just yellow. I have one small window. Luckily for me, the classroom is fairly large. Unluckily for me, unlike my old classroom, this one has the lighting wired so that if you light half the lights, one strip of lights comes on (all the north lights or all the south lights). In my old classroom, every other panel would come on, so half the panels on both the north and south strips. On the one hand, I have express permission to wear either sunglasses or light-filtering glasses in my classroom, but on the other hand, it’s really difficult to teach with sunglasses on.

        1. AnonORama*

          Not an office, but when I bought my condo there were several dark maroon accent walls. Really ugly, especially in a place that needed light. A friend suggested that maybe there had been a murder and the color was used to cover up bloodstains! Thankfully that was not accurate, but MAN it took a lot of primer and paint to make them not-maroon.

      2. Elitist Semicolon*

        I have a friend who used to teach theater arts and got tired of her classroom being taken over by “content” disciplines for exams. She and some students painted the entire thing black over term break and that stopped admin from bumping her classes out.

    4. Garblesnark*

      I once worked a place with a massive lime green wall. It cast a certain glow over everything else.

      1. Neon Chartreuse*

        Our bathrooms got remodeled at my last office and they painted the wall behind the mirror what can only be described as neon chartreuse. Between that and the fluorescent lighting, I always looked sick while I was washing my hands. Awful.

    5. Penfold*

      As a very young teacher I got the opportunity to choose the colours for my classroom. We were warned to choose carefully as no repainting for at least 5 years.

      Despite the many windows it had, the room did not get much sun and was grey and miserable. So I decided to choose bright colours to cheer the place up, lemon yellow on the walls and lime green for the cupboards. Not everyone’s taste but they looked nice together. I loved how sunny and almost tropical it felt walking into it. That didn’t last long though, after a few weeks I realised what a bad mistake I’d made.

      There is a reason classrooms are usually very neutral or muted colours, and in an already challenging school, I’d inadvertently given kids who didn’t need any extra stimulation the visual equivalent of a buttload of energy drinks. Everyday was exhausting, even the easiest class got hyped up.

      Lesson learned. I left at the end of that school year, my next classroom was lovely cream and muted pink colours, but I still feel guilty for how long my poor replacement had to put up with it.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        My high school was built in 1929 and my junior year they repainted everything to “period” colors. Which were mint, teal, and kind of a grayish pink. My history teacher said it was like teaching inside a giant stomach.

        1. Lizzay*

          I hope I’m not the only one who thought “‘period’ colors? Like… red? Oh, wait, I get it.”

        2. AMH*

          Those are, I suspect, the exact colors my 1st-8th school (built in 1936) was painted. Those particular shades make me feel kind of queasy now…

    6. Gentle Reader*

      At one point, I worked in a research lab where the overflow lab was bright yellow. It had originally been designated for working with radioactive substances. Fortunately, I did not have to spend much time in there. I also worked in a lab with red-orange cabinets. It turned out, the color had been chosen by the head of the research group, who was colorblind!

    7. T*

      I once worked for a very high end construction/design company run by three brothers. Apparently they had some epic pranks. Like plastic wrapping everything in someone’s office. The most famous of all was when one brother had the other’s painted bright pink. This was before my time so I don’t know if it was Barbie pink or pepto bismol pink or what.

      When I’ve mentioned this to people before, they usually say “that would be a lot of work.” Please, no way, would either brother actually participate in something like painting. A painting contractor was called in for both jobs (painting and repainting). It had to stay pink a few days longer than planned because the painting company was busy.

    8. Nightengale*

      oh my I am now remembering a children’s hospital where I interviewed a number of years ago. Most children’s hospitals have animal murals, stuff decorated to look like spaceships, Disney, stuff like that. One less resourced place I had seen had nursery rhyme frieze wallpaper – you could tell they were trying.

      This one had Orange. Orange floor, orange walls, orange seat cushions. Orange art deco on the walls. It was like being inside Cinderella’s pumpkin or perhaps James and the Giant Peach’s peach. My balance isn’t great and I found the space hard to walk in with the same color seeming to reflect off every surface. Then we got to the next floor and it was Yellow. We could have been swimming in a lemon meringue pie. There was I think a Red area and a Blue or Green one. You could tell someone had contracted a very prestigious architect to create this space. And you could also tell no one in decision making capacities had ever encountered a real life child.

      Ironically they also had less computer capabilities than any of the other programs I toured. . . I left shaking my head a bit to clear my vision and realizing there was no way I could work in that hospital.

    9. allathian*

      I work for the government in Finland, and the floor I used to work on had the corridors and break room in a sickly pea soup green. On my current floor, the corridors are a tasteful, if dark, teal, while the break room is a burnt orange that makes me jittery. I tend to sit there facing the windows if possible. The meeting rooms are a boring painter’s white with a blue signature wall.

  6. Marketing Ninja Unicorn*

    My office at my current job was painted yellow before I got here. I had the choice to have it repainted but didn’t, because I love yellow. This is a very nice, soft buttery yellow.

    I have a colleague who refuses to meet with me in my office because my office is ‘too much’ for her and yellow is ‘overwhelming.’

    She has told so many people about my ‘crazy office colors,’ and for a while, I had a parade of people coming by to see my yellow walls.

    It was the strangest thing.

    1. KaciHall*

      my husband’s office is painted a faded neon safety green. the owner offered to get it painted for him and he said it wasn’t a big deal.

      my eyes are finally used it after 4 years. (he manages a bowling alley, and my bowling equipment is stored on his office, so I’m in there at least weekly.)

      1. Bruce*

        Not an office, but in the mid 70s my family moved to the Bay Area, one of the houses we toured was an old one near Shattuck Ave in Berkeley… the interior walls and floors were painted a range of purples, pinks and bright greens. Apparently it had been a commune house and the seller could not be bothered to paint it before putting it on the market. We could not afford it and didn’t want to deal with a complete repaint before moving in, my parents chose a house that was funky in its own way but not a nightmare of clashing colors!

    2. Dasein9 (he/him)*

      You could write a monograph about it and call it your “Yellow Wall Paper.”

      1. Tinkerbell*

        now THAT would be a great AAM post. “So I think my workplace is kind of dysfunctional…?”

      2. Princess Sparklepony*

        It already exists:

        The Yellow Wallpaper
        by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

        Confined to a room in her home by her physician husband, she becomes increasingly obsessed with the yellow wallpaper that adorns the room. Set in a colonial mansion during the late 19th century, the story sheds light on the treatment of women’s mental health during that era.

    3. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I gave notice for my first job just before they painted the offices. My office was at the end of the hall and was fairly quiet. One of my colleagues wanted to move in their since hers was noisier and asked if she could pick the color (of the three options) since she’d be living with it. That was fine with me. So she came by to check out my office.

      This was a 1960s building. Every office was exactly the same size with a window, a door, a desk, a chair, and a bookcase. Identical. But she wanted to see mine, so OK. She walked in and said “oh, no, this won’t work.” Did I mention they were identical? Turns out my door was on the right side of the room as you walked in. Hers was on the left. She had her furniture arranged just the way she liked it with a left-sided door and Simply Could Not change to a right-sided door. She stayed in the noisy office.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      For years my bedroom at home was painted a nice light gray color. But then I got my current job, where the offices are a (slightly less nice, but still light gray). After a few years I freaked out and painted my room green. Not quite an avocado green, but very different from the gray.

    5. AKinTX*

      People truly have the strangest reactions to colorful walls. My mom chose the most gorgeous shade of muted teal for her old office, then years later had to move out of it when they abruptly gave it to someone above her. While he was moving his things into the space, he pointed to the walls and said directly to her, “Definitely need to repaint. What a weird color!” That was her office for more than five years and it didn’t seem to occur to him that she chose/enjoyed it.

    6. Chocoholic*

      My office -and the whole office in fact – is yellow. I hate it, it is like a light mustard yellow. I would love to change it out for a nice cool gray.

      1. N C Kiddle*

        I complained when I moved into my current flat that the kitchen was a disgusting shade of yellow that I’d quickly repainted a gentle green. One of my friends replied to point out the irony that his kitchen had been a disgusting shade of green before he repainted it in yellow. It takes all sorts!

    7. Jaded Millennial*

      I’d have agreed that this was strange last year, but I just read an article about how the variability in human eye sensitivity to colors/wavelengths can extend so far as to feel uncomfortable when viewing certain colors; which makes sense, since some humans can hear/perceive high and/or low frequencies out of the ‘usual’ range.

      1. Oregonbird*

        I like gold, love orange and cream. Yellow registers as 100% gruesome. I entirely blame Tony Orlando. Not kidding. No song should be ubiquitous, but that one!

      2. Dragon_Dreamer*

        Certain yellows physically hurt me to look at. For a long time, even yellow highlighter was painful.

    8. Siege*

      Not my office, but the carpeting in my apartment is this deep, rich, very bluey green – more kelly or forest than teal, though – and a lot of the residents think that it’s too much. I’m a big fan of color and I do what I want decor-wise, so it doesn’t bother me, but I’ve definitely heard complaints about how intense it is.

    9. DameB*

      Yellow love! My living room/office is a sunshiney yellow and I have a really elaborate gallery wall behind my head. It makes me so happy even on endless zoom calls.

      1. Pitt & Penguins*

        My home office/library space was a wonderful sunshine yellow pre-Covid. LOVED it. Turns out that at 8+ hours a day it was …. not sustainable/tolerable. It’s now “highway sign” green. So calm. So soothing.

      2. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        I still miss my sunshine yellow kitchen with white appliances and cupboards. It was so warm on sunny winter days.

    10. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

      My office at my last job had one wall painted a beautiful, deep purple as an accent wall. The colour was chosen by the people before me, but I loved it. I worked in that office for 10 years; my spouse still works in that office. When they repainted all the offices a year ago, the current staff all chose to keep the accent wall as is.

      When we moved into our current house (2 years ago, while we both still worked in that office) we actually chose that exact colour as an accent colour for our house. Used the leftover touchup paint from the office to colour match for the house. We knew we liked it enough to keep living with it!

    11. Eeyore is my spirit animal*

      My office has similar colored walls when we moved in. Last year my boss wanted to repaint everything battleship grey. I forbade the painters from stepping a foot into my space. Boss took it well but was very confused for several days.

    12. CreatorMundi*

      I had a yellow office, too! My boss and co-workers laughed at my choice until they saw the great results

    13. Massive Dynamic*

      So this reminded me of a short story I read in school about a woman who loses her mind because her controlling husband puts her on isolation rest to cure her womanly hysteria (written in the late 1800s, not that we needed it to be from Old Times to clock the husband as a driver behind her bad mental health) and she goes even more insane b/c of the garish yellow wallpaper in her isolation room.

      In summation, yellow’s just not for everyone. :)

      https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/yellowwallpaper/summary/

  7. Anona*

    As someone who just spent a day off repotting some of my office plants and brought them back in to rearrange the garden on my desk this morning, I feel slightly called out by this post.

    1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

      There were 0 office plants before I got here.

      There are now…fifteen?

      1. A Girl Named Fred*

        I want to be like you both, lol. We’re getting ready to tear down this building, otherwise I’d have already personalized my desk (aka the reception desk) and brought in a ton of plants. Hopefully I can keep the next batch alive…

        1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

          To be fair, my boss bought in some as well, so they’re not all mine. And I propagate some of them and give them away. But. Yeah. Lots of plants.

          We had a fake tree in our vestibule and it was visible from my desk- all sad, dust covered, and ugly. I lobbied one boss to get rid of it for three years. Turns out, I was was lobbying the wrong boss. I mentioned to Other Boss how happy it’d make me to get rid of it and Other Boss picked it up and threw it in the trash immediately. (Coworker dug it out and took it home!)

        2. EJane*

          I’m a therapist and just opened my own solo practice, and got to decorate my office all on my own. I spent a lot of time on facebook marketplace and arguably put more time and effort into procuring plants than furniture. I managed to snag some excellent deals, including a wax begonia and two massive pothos, and my windowsills are lined with seedlings.

          1. anxieties, attack!*

            This seems like it would be a lovely environment to get therapy in, congratulations on your finds and the new space!

      2. Quill*

        My current workplace has an extremely large cactus. We’re talking human torso sized spiney needle plant.

        I love it but I also am not the one who has to approach it to water.

    2. too many dogs*

      My small office currently has 15 plants. As a fellow plant-a-holic, I will cheer you on!

    3. Crooked Bird*

      Hey, when I read Allison’s list of allegedly weird-looking offices, I got to the rainforest one & was like “naw man, that belongs on a list of BEST offices.”

      I guess this could be why I don’t even work in an office, but on a regenerative farm…

      1. borealis*

        She did say “best, worst, and weirdest office decor”, and I certainly interpreted the rainforest one as an example of “best” :-)

    4. Spring*

      I was so confused at first. I thought your post said that someone ELSE took YOUR plants home and repotted them. I was getting so outraged on your behalf, and then I re-read it.

    5. Ostrich Herder*

      I have a wholesome office-decor related story!

      When I first started my job years ago, we were renting our office space inside a manufacturing warehouse. Our work is creative, which is tough in a place with concrete floors, fluorescent lights, no windows, the distant sound of booming machinery. In an effort to make it comfortable, I ignored the overhead lights and brought in a few cheap rice-paper lamps. I also brought in a bunch of plants, and rigged indoor grow lights on a timer so they got ten hours of “sun” overnight. I didn’t drink the office coffee, so I had a little tea station set up as well, with a kettle and few varieties.

      We did some occasional freelance creative work for the manufacturers we rented from, and one of their workers started hanging around my office a lot more often than was necessary. He eventually admitted that he loved visiting because the shop floor was chaotic but my office was cozy, and the plants and smell of tea reminded him of his grandma’s house. He apologized for calling me old (I was 22, at the time) but I was honestly delighted.

    6. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

      I really struggle with the line between “this office has such nice, soothing plants” and “hello, I am Dr. Poison Ivy”, so I feel you

      1. JustaTech*

        In college one of the chemistry professors (physical chemistry rather than organic chemistry) had this plant in her lab that was enormous. It was some kind of vine thing and it was literally strung all the way across the lab (at least 15 feet) and back ( it had several “arms”). Originally it had been hung above head height, but as it grew it got heavier until it hung right at clotheslining height and was a real menace.
        One summer I helped some of the other students tie it up higher again to keep from being strangled.

        1. Quill*

          My Geology Prof had a pointsettia that had grown into a tree, that he and three TA’s had to manage when he moved to another office. They had to get creative about angles to fit it out the door.

    7. Wendy Darling*

      Everyone in my pod of desks has office plants, and people kept threatening to get me a desk plant, but I have a black thumb so I got one of those lego plants instead.

    8. May ninth.*

      I knew I had become the Office Plant Lady when people started bringing me their ailing plants to resuscitate.

      We had to commandeer an unused chair because costumers would come over just to sit next to my plant nook and we wanted them to be comfortable.

    9. JustaTech*

      I really need to find out if we’re allowed to have plants – we used to have a “no personal plants” rule in order to protect the company provided plants from mites and things. But the company plants (and their service contract) went by the wayside ages ago, so maybe it would be OK?

    10. Sarah Jane*

      In a former job, one coworker had so many plants in his office it was like the rainforest exhibit at the zoo. Hanging from the ceiling so you had to watch your head as you approached his desk. More on the windowsill, more on the tops of all the bookcases and file cabinets. I think he must have tipped the custodial staff to water them all when he went on vacation.

    11. Vanessa*

      I lucked out and my cube neighbor and I are both into plants. And the window in our space is the best light in the building. I don’t know where the line of “too many” is. But so far we are generally smiled upon. And we share our babies with others. My husband does not enjoy the home group of plants but there are worse things wives could do ;)

  8. BubbleTea*

    I just got an office for my business, and am looking forward to adding my collection of piggy banks to it. It’s relevant to our work, so not that weird, but not a spider plant or a bland photo of the sea.

    1. No Longer Working*

      If you value that collection, I’d rethink or limit what I bring in. you never know what will disappear or break in an environment you can’t control. There have been stories here of sentimentally valuable items going missing.

      1. BubbleTea*

        They’re not especially valuable (one is plastic and came from Amazon), and I’m currently the only person working in the office, but it’s a fair point!

  9. MaryMary*

    One woman – young, maybe mid-20s – brought in so much personal stuff into her cube, it was unfunctional. If it was pink, floral, had some ‘cute’ saying on it about work/Fridays/Mondays or being a girl boss, it was in this standard … 8×10 cube. She was an entry level assistant to a horrible boss and we all knew it was a bad, bad match on many levels.

    She lasted about 6 months and when she was let go, had to come back the next day to finish cleaning out all her stuff, despite security helping her carry some stuff out on the first day. The rest of us jaded burn-outs all nodded and pointed out to our underlings that … that’s why you don’t bring more to work then you can comfortable put in a paper box and carry out yourself.

      1. François Caron*

        The ultimate employment walk of shame: riding the bus with your banker box of stuff for everyone to see. :)

        1. not nice, don't care*

          Just had a flashback of riding the bus home with a banker box full of….kitten.
          I had made arrangements to get a kitten after work, but when I got in, my supervisor wanted to drive me to pick it up. So we did. Kitten spent the day in our shared office/supply/copier room and everyone in the entire company spent the day coming to see the baby.
          Somehow I didn’t think to buy/borrow a carrier, so kitten rode home with me on the bus in a banker box. Yes, the driver & passengers got their kitten fix too.

          1. Link in the kitten chain*

            I too once had a box of kittens in my office all day. My boss found two kittens in a barn and my sister agreed to adopt them so they spent a day with me at work before I took them to my sister. It was definitely a low-productivity day. :) I did thankfully drive to work so the transportation aspect was easier.

            1. dawbs*

              We had the box of kittens because my then-boss was on a mission to TNR (trap neuter release) all of the feral cats near her (she lived in the country and there were a lot of dumped cats that became a colony and she inherited the problem–she was working on it, at her own expense, and it was hard)–and she arrived at work and heard mewing.
              The kittens had climbed into the nice warm engine…
              And now there were 3.

              Luckily, the ended up in an office of cat lovers, all found a home, and they all had names based on cars…something like Lincoln, Ford, and Ransom

          2. Ari Flynn*

            I’ve braved public transit with a box of rat(s) going to the vet for a checkup, when they chewed through a carrier and I couldn’t replace it in time. (They can chew through a box, too, obviously – but not before I caught them, which is the important part.)

      2. nerdgal*

        A major energy company was a big patron of the arts and their HQ had a number of paintings and sculptures. There was whole series of them that I guess were supposed to depict stylized seashells? All the female employees thought they looked like vulva. The male employees probably thought so too but I never asked them and would have been mortified if any of them had mentioned it.

        Another very expensive “abstract” painting looked exactly like a piece of graph paper.

        1. Tinkerbell*

          My high school retiled the hallways. Our mascot was the ships, so they put in a large stylized “waves” motif right in front of the office. It took the students coming back in the fall for someone to realize that what was supposed to be waves was, in fact, closer to a giant “666.”

          They replaced the “waves.”

          1. PotatoRock*

            In logo fails, my hometown paid a consultancy a non-trivial amount of money to redesign the town logo, and what they came up with was a curvy W (the first letter of the town name) with a water droplet right beneath it (symbolizing the importance of the rivers in the area) and OF COURSE it looks like a butt “in action”.

            I approve of the general trend away from child labor, but there should be an exception to allow anyone doing visual design to contract a Quality Control Middle Schooler

            1. pagooey*

              I’m CRYING. Love the middle-school go/n0 go (ahahahahaha) suggestion, too.

            2. Quill*

              I think marketing overall needs a Quality Control Middle Schooler for phrases, too.

              Maybe for ethics reasons we can make it a QC 15 year old? Appropriately compensated, of course.

            3. M*

              The Aussie government rolled out a rebrand for a Women’s Network project in 2022. The old logo had been a somewhat stylised “W”; the new logo I think was best (politely) described as “featuring [a] cursive W with a purple protuberance”. In other words: a moderately anatomically accurate stylised representation of male genitalia.

              It lasted less than a week.

            4. 1LFTW*

              Haha, yes. I heard on the radio a few years ago that the original title of the Christmas song “Silver Bells” was “Tinkle Town”. The singwriter’s wife tried to dissuade him, but was not successful until she raised the subject at family dinner, at which point their ten-year-old immediately started laughing.

              No idea how much truth there is to that story, but hell yeah Quality Control Tweens!

    1. Problem!*

      That was one of the earliest pieces of advice I got when I entered the workforce. Never ever bring more personal items than you can carry in one trip.

    2. Snarkus Aurelius*

      At an old job, we had two recent college grads who became fast friends. Their cubes weren’t that big, but oh my God they decorated that space like it was their living room.

      Person A put brightly colored tissue paper all over every open space in her cube. Then she pinned pictures from college literally from the floor to the top of her cube walls. It was weird trying to ask her about a TPS report while looking at pictures of her being drunk, holding various beverages, splayed across multiple people on a couch in her clubbing clothes, her and her friends at the beach wearing what I suspect were Wicked Weasel (NSFW) bikinis, her and her boyfriend in a passionate, open mouthed kiss, etc. I’m surprised no one said anything to her because that’s how her office was decorated the whole time she was there.

      Person B had gotten married right before she started her job, and her entire cube was a wall version of her wedding album. I counted all her pictures once: 42. The cube was not that big! Was she worried she was going to forget she was married? I don’t know.

      That job was over 15 years ago, yet all those pictures are still so vivid in my memory. I sincerely hope those two don’t decorate their offices now like that.

    3. lilsheba*

      Sorry but I have always had a lot of stuff in my cube. I can’t stand boring grey and white office decor, it drives me crazy. I have to feel homey if I am going to be in a place for 8 plus hours to keep my sanity. I would never be the one to have only enough to carry out a tiny box.

      1. knitcrazybooknut@gmail.com*

        You and me both. I have my own office thank goodness and there’s a mini fridge, toaster oven, lava lamp, fan, air filter…..I have the space and it’s a 1962 building. I need my comforts to survive!

      2. Meghan*

        Same, though I do have my own office. My last job I was stealth leaving and sneaking things out when I left each day (helps that I always have a big purse and tote bag) and still ended up with a box of stuff on my last day.

        My job before that I only had a desk with 2 drawers and I’m sure I managed to get at least 1 or 2 backpackfulls when I left. I like my stuff!

    4. former nonprofit whiz*

      The pink girlboss decor makes me cringe. It made me cringe even before I got saddled with an awful department head who arrived on her first day to announce that pink is her Favorite Color – convincing our nonprofit to buy her a rose gold laptop, which I assume cost a premium – and her birthday is her Favorite Holiday. She was inexperienced and unqualified for her job and hired a deputy who made our lives hell to the point where every single one of us eventually filed a complaint with HR. Her office was very pink & sparkly (and got even worse after her deputy threw her a lavish birthday party); I genuinely don’t know why no one at her peer level or above took her aside for a talk about professionalism.

    5. JustaTech*

      So, my boss was laid off very suddenly and only given an hour to tell everyone and get out. Now, my boss had never really “decorated” his office, but it still had more than a decade worth of personal stuff (family photos, mugs, a sweater, his kid’s art), as well as all the work swag and work materials that just accumulates over time.
      He took at least a whole banker box of stuff when he left, but when I moved in to his office I filled up another box of his personal stuff that he’d missed grabbing in the rush to leave.
      So even if you don’t decorate, it might not all fit in one box.
      (Which is why I’m decorating. I want it to be my space now, and if it will take me more than an hour to pack all the work stuff, why not add some semi-personal stuff too?)

      1. Coverage Associate*

        Just the practice guides for state court and for federal court are 4 big volumes, more than I would want to take on the subway, and that doesn’t include a citation manual or anything specific to a practice area.

        It’s true that most legal references are now online, and it’s rare for each lawyer to have a copy of the more expensive reference books, but I feel like it’s still pretty common for each lawyer to have 2 big statute volumes. I have had a lot of book shelf space in all my legal jobs until now. I assume they expect us to use it.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        After three office moves at the same company, I decided to decorate with things that could be put in file folders or simply abandoned. That made the pandemic easier on me than on others.

        1. kari*

          The pandemic part of this comment reminds me of my last job, when we were sent to work from home we all assumed it’d be two or three weeks tops, so I didn’t bring my desk plushie home with me (a nesoberi specifically, they’re cute anime characters in a lying down position). She stayed there alone for the next year and a half until I quit and went to drop off my laptop/monitor and clean the desk out! Once before then, a coworker had to go in to get a device for testing and sent me a picture of her saying “it’s staring at me” haha.

    6. Bitte Meddler*

      I had a job during the Great Recession that was toxic and hellish. To make it as tolerable as possible, I decorated my cube walls with pics of forests and beaches, had knick-knacks on my desk that brought me a small amount of joy, along with a couple of lamps that had sunlight wavelength bulbs in them [my cube was ~50 yards from the closet window]; and I had baskets in my 6-foot tall cube locker full of snacks and tea.

      Soooo much snacks and tea.

      I was let go in the 4th or 5th round of layoffs and Building Maintenance had to bring me a flat dolly cart so I could get all of my crap out in one trip.

      The worst part of the layoff was that it was Steak Day in the company cafeteria and I had taken maybe two bites of my steak when my manager called me into a conference room. (I ate lunch at my desk). I had to leave a full plate of food behind. Really, really good food. I was like, “I know that people get perp-walked after being laid off here but, if you’re worried about me doing something dumb with company data, can you just take my laptop and let me finish my lunch?”

      Nope. They could not. (Rather, they chose not to).

      I’m still very salty about that steak.

  10. DeeDee*

    When I had my green card interview, the guy’s cubicle was completely covered in Yankee candles. Maybe 35 of them? None looked like they had been burned (which is so obviously not allowed in a government office), but the cacophony of smells still emanated.

    1. Not Anish Kapoor*

      I live fairly close to the Yankee Candle factory and I have known quite a few people who have worked there over the years. Their clothing absorbs the smell of all of the different candle scents, and it’s actually quite pleasant (though, yes, it can be a little overwhelming sometimes). I wish they would make it into its own scent! When I was a kid in ‘80s and ‘90s, you could smell whatever candle scent they were making that day when you’d drive by. They must have better ventilation filters now, because I rarely smell it anymore.

      1. Dittany*

        I used to work there, and the scent clung to EVERYTHING even after I did laundry. People kept asking me what kind of perfume I was wearing.

      2. Popchickaboom*

        We visited there when my kids were 4 and 8. I told them they could each pick out 6 votive candles. My son (4) chose all candy-like scents. My daughter searched and searched. And finally came back with 6 of her favorite – unscented.

        1. DyneinWalking*

          That would be me – I hate most artificial scents (maybe I’m more sensitive to the scent carriers than the actual scents they are supposed to be carrying? I do know that e.g. alcohol (ok, you wouldn’t use that in candles but still it’s a popular scent carrier) has a strong burning smell/taste to me to the point that I never felt inclined to drink anything alcoholic).

          I love the smells of real flowers and such but perfumes and scented-anything just smell… weird… with a hint of chemical headache.

      3. Baby Yoda*

        Reminds me of the McCormick Spice Company nearby — the whole region knows what spice/flavor they are making that day.

        1. JustaTech*

          Or the famous story from when my dad worked there, of the time they were making garlic extract and the factory next door was making Noxzema (the cold cream makeup remover). The whole lot of cold cream had to be junked because it reeked of garlic, and after that the two factories had to coordinate their manufacturing schedule.

        2. AngryOctopus*

          My work is near a candy factory and you can usually smell either junior mints (fine) or caramel (best days) on the way in. Delightful.

          1. IT Manager*

            Wow that’s so much better than the Phillip Morris plant where I had to work for a year (in the office, but still on the plant campus). In addition to the usual tobacco smell, you got extra-scented on menthol day!!!!

        3. Good Enough For Government Work*

          My childhood home is next to a major bakery and every Monday (when presumably they did the main bake for the week) the scent of baking bread was UNBELIEVABLE.

          (unless you were already hungry, then it was torture)

          1. Ainsley Hayes*

            I used to work across the highway from the Fisher Nuts factory – it always smelled divine!

      4. Manglement Survivor*

        You’re lucky! We have a Purina factory on one end of town. You can def tell which days they are making cat food! Stinky!

    2. FashionablyEvil*

      I used to work at a place that sold Yankee candles. Unboxing them was alternately pleasant and utterly headache inducing (although nowhere near as bad as unboxing cinnamon brooms.)

    3. Liz the Snackbrarian*

      I was in a Yankee Candle with a good friend of mine once. She picked up a “home for the holidays candle” and said “This isn’t what my house smells like at the holidays. I’m Italian. My house smells like garlic and anger.” She is a legend.

      1. Mother of Corgis*

        She is my kind of person. I don’t want the floral or nature themed scents that are everywhere. Give me ones that smell like bread baking, or roasted garlic, all the comfort food smells! I used to have a gag gift candle that smelled like mashed potatoes lol.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        Yes!

        I love floral scents and spice scents (I am sad how rare a genuinely good lilac scent is), but holidays smell like savoury foods, ideally heavy on garlic.

    4. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      I once bought a toy dog from a Crabtree and Evelyn shop, and as it had absorbed the scents of the shop it had the most lovely, delicate and complex scent for a long time.

  11. Betty Spaghetti*

    When we moved to a new building, several pieces of public art were installed. This included one amorphous hanging wicker piece. Which was hung at exactly the right angle so as to look extremely phallic from the main entry stairwell. Someone snapped a pic and it went VIRAL. It even made it to the local newspapers. The piece was rotated, public apologies were made, and the uproar died down.

    1. Lizzay*

      I’ll be honest, I scanned too quickly & read that first sentence as ‘pubic art’. Which… appropriate, I guess!

  12. Productivity Pigeon*

    A video art installation of a man dancing naked in the big atrium of a prestigious university…
    And then there was another cracker: an overflowing bathroom.

    —-
    Not an office, admittedly, but at my alma mater they decided to invest in art pieces. This was a tiny school and the heart was a big atrium with a cafe and study spots.

    The first piece was a very explicit video of a man dancing naked, as I said. There was also music.

    We tried to argue that we didn’t want to see that when we were studying accounting principles but there it stayed.

    It was especially awkward during the HUGE and important career days that a hundred companies from all over the world paid a lot of money to attend…

    1. Butterfly Counter*

      I’ve basically been in universities for the last 25+ years, from student to professor.

      Let me preface this by saying that I like Modern art. I also like abstract art. Not all of it, but as styles and genres, I’m more interested in these types of pieces than not.

      I don’t know what it is about universities that put up abstract/modern art paintings and installations, but they are almost 100% all terrible every place I’ve studied or worked at. There was one cafeteria where I would spend every meal looking at a painting where I tried to figure out if there was a single thing I could do to make it uglier. Nope. The artist had done the most awful, ugliest thing I had ever seen and any attempts to make it worse would only fix it.

      1. JustaTech*

        There was a piece of semi-abstract art in the dining hall of my college. I think it was supposed to be a landscape of rolling hills. What it looked like was a lunch of tacos.

        One day a student put a paper dinosaur up on the piece of art with a little speech bubble that said “MMMMmm, Tacos!”
        This was hilarious and then everyone forgot about it until the artist visited and was *pissed*. After that we had a rule “no pranking the art”.

        1. Gumby*

          At one point when I was an undergrad they had to change the unofficial frisbee golf course because word came down from the administration “do not aim at the art!” To be fair, no *art* was specifically a target, but I believe that the pedestal hosting “The Thinker” might have been a goal. And IIRC one goal was to successfully get your frisbee between two parts of a fountain (we called it the horseshoe but I don’t think that’s the official name).

      2. Coverage Associate*

        You should try to get a job at Pomona. I forget the artist, but Prometheus is well received.

    2. Productivity Pigeon*

      I should have said it was a VERY naked man, if you get my drift.

  13. Enough*

    Office with cubicles with the walls between cubicles being shorter then the outside walls. The cube on the end of a row had 2 row of boxes from Dilbert daily calendars stuck to the top of the wall with their neighbor. Made a pretty effective privacy wall.

  14. The Prettiest Curse*

    I once saw a photo of Lyft’s offices in San Francisco and the front of their reception desk was designed to look a bit like one of those shaggy rugs, except they achieved that effect with pieces of bright pink pool noodles. It looked pretty cool in the picture – I wonder if it was the same in person.

      1. Grenelda Thurber*

        OMG the dust! This is one of those things that looks cool when it’s first installed, but then (sans frequent vacuuming with all manner of bizarre attachments), slowly becomes disgusting.

  15. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

    Also, I’m dying for someone from Epic to describe what it’s like working there. The pictures are insane.

    1. ThatGirl*

      I actually know someone who works there (she might be remote tho) and wow, I had no idea they had such bananas offices.

      1. Garblesnark*

        The remote employees I know still have to live in the area and go in occasionally for “team building” events that sound a lot like the corporate version of a megachurch service.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yeah, I believe she lives in Madison but her job is to fly around and help hospitals get their software set up in person… but either way I’m sure she’s seen the offices.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        OK, Google confirms. That is WILD. I use Epic at work and now I want a field trip!

          1. Rock Prof*

            I’m just confused on why a Middle Earth themed area is called Deep Space?!

    2. starsaphire*

      Seconded! I had a friend who attended some trainings out there, and she said it was completely wild. I’d love to know more.

      And the Epic Magic Coffee is apparently amazing. #I Am Jealous

    3. Mike Engle*

      They flew me out to interview with them in Madison, WI. Had to have been in 2012, as it was in between undergrad and law school for me. They had a slide inside! Wonder if it’s still there!

        1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

          Thanks! I had heard years ago about their Harry Potter themed area and looked at pictures. Over the years, I hear more and more weird things about the campus. I had great joy in telling my doctor, who was using an Epic system, about it.

      1. Nannerdoodle*

        There are several slides in Epic! One is in the building called Heaven. It’s your standard swirling slide. The other is in the Alice in Wonderland building, and it’s a short, steep slide down the rabbit hole.

        My partner and a bunch of good friends work at Epic. The buildings range from Harry Potter themed, to Storybook, to Castaway, to a Fortress, to Mystery, and many more. While the campus is fun (there are cow painted bikes to get around campus faster), the workload is…not great. So it’s a give and take.

    4. kixie*

      my husband worked there years ago. it is bonkers. I have attended events in a Roman Coliseum auditorium, an artic themed conference room (with acrylic ice cube cabinet pulls, shaggy fur chairs, and remarkable northern lights light installation on the ceiling) and of course the infamous Indiana Jones boulder hallway….just to name a few. they are very committed to supporting local artists as well and buy tons of art from the local community each year.

    5. Someone*

      I work at Epic and when I saw the title I immediately searched for “epic”. I knew someone had to have mentioned it.

      Yeah the decor here’s wild. There’s a tractor taken apart with all the pieces hung up on the stairwell, a literal fortress themed building, several slides… It’s impossible to overexaggerate the decor here.

      1. Another Someone*

        I also work there (though not on the Madison campus anymore, though I’m back periodically) and I second this. The attention to detail and level of commitment is incredible. Last time I was back the new building was Castaway theme and they legit have a lagoon they built outside and a fake crows nest from a ship on the outside of the building. I also think it’s hilarious that Epic bought the old historic carousel from Ella’s when it closed and put it inside next to one of the auditoriums. They actually run it during big events.

        1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

          OMG, Ella’s! I loved that place as a kid. I took my now husband there once as an adult and he was like “why did you bring me to a nightmare factory?!?”

        2. Elitist Semicolon*

          I’m so glad that carousel has a new and loving home!

          (And, yeah. The Epic campus is a slightly less batshit version of House on the Rock.)

        3. Nannerdoodle.*

          They bought all the puppets and stuff as well from Ella’s! They look a lot less bonkers when spread out over a bigger space vs. all crowded up on the ceiling of Ella’s Deli.

    6. Karo*

      My experience with Epic is limited to MyChart but I can confidently say that I would never, in my wildest dreams, have said that their office campus includes a carousel, barn, treehouse and castle. I am truly speechless.

    7. Buffy*

      I interviewed there right after graduation (went to college nearby) and the campus was incredibly cool. I got to go down the slide, check out the NYC style deli, and a friend of mine who did scenic design at Disney and Universal parks was part of a team building a new area there so they def bring in the Best in the Biz. The word on the street from folks I know who ended up working there is that it is an intensely churn & burn environment, at least for entry level folks.

      1. AnnieG*

        >it is an intensely churn & burn environment, at least for entry level folks.

        Can confirm; I work in Madison WI and 3 of my dept of 7 are former Epic employees (and no, they didn’t know each other previously; there are just that many Epic refugees in the job market here). Epic HQ is open to the public for free tours; I’ve been in several of the buildings and while the common areas are theme-park-level impressive, people’s offices are standard corporate America blah. My impression is that the wow factor in the hallways, meeting rooms, and cafeterias doesn’t make up for the fact that the company works you like a rented mule.

        1. Grenelda Thurber*

          I knew there had to be a downside. Just keeping everything clean would be really expensive.

    8. mreasy*

      Their NYC office is massive and highly decorated in mostly Fortnite theme… but so few people work out of that office that it’s also a ghost town.

    9. Nusuth*

      I had a friend who worked there, and a friend and I visited and were set loose for the day. There’s a printable guest scavenger hunt (I wish I remembered the items). The friend worked in the medieval castle area, but I remember going down slides in the Snow White themed area, seeing an upside down dining set in the Alice in Wonderland building, walking through (essentially) Diagon Alley, and hanging out on huge lawn furniture in some other fairytale area (maybe it was candy themed?). They had roving golf carts who would take you around anywhere (tourists were expected, but it was also for employees) so we got a little tour that included the original main building (less whacky overall, but they did have a big slide and some themed areas – like, I remember a jail?) and Deep Space, the huge (HUGE) stadium-like meeting room. We finished the day on swinging chairs overlooking the Wisconsin hills in a training building that was pretty normal.

      Out of all of that, the anecdote I mostly tell about that office is that – because it was in Wisconsin – every office refreshment area had not only a station for coffee and tea, a beverages fridge, and a fridge for employee lunches, but also a MILK FRIDGE. Just milk. Several types.

    10. Corrigan*

      I assumed you meant Epic Games– that Epic medical software surely doesn’t have THAT interesting offices. But a quick google shows how wrong I was…

      1. Anon for This*

        They’ve bought out some historical items before the Wisconsin Historical Society could get their hands on them.

    11. Ecobee*

      They were the first place I thought of for this thread! Their whole campus looks like so much fun.

    12. Rock Prof*

      I lived in Wisconsin for almost a decade, know people who work for epic, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this! I must have lived under a rock then.

    13. Sparkling Stardust*

      I was going to mention Epic. I got a tour from someone that works there and the tour was 3 hours long and I still feel like I didn’t see everything. There were themes to the various buildings, a tree house, and a moat.

    14. Global Cat Herder*

      My (adult) kid made a road trip to Madison just to take the visitor tour at Epic. Kid is into set design and spent most of the day there.

    15. Anon for This*

      I guess you can get a free tour if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

      I refuse to do so, as many of their staff are helping make housing prices skyrocket in nearby communities. (I have Reasons not to like them as a company.)

    16. Anna*

      I had to go to Madison for certification training 5 times back in the 90s. It was crazy back then, so I imagine it’s more so now. They had a slide that would take you from the third floor to the ground floor. It was great! They also had a treehouse thing that was in the woods. You had to climb to get in it, but once there you would write your name on the wall or ceiling. Don’t know if that’s still there, though.

  16. dulcinea47*

    There’s a huge, larger than life size, Jesus painting in the office of one of the administrators. I’m not even sure if it’s hers or belongs to the university. As a non-Christian I find it really offputting and don’t think it would go well if anyone tried putting up other large religious icons.

    1. Dawn*

      In fairness, I think you’d have a pretty clear case of someone taking the piss if they tried to put up a life-sized painting of Mohammed.

      1. former nonprofit whiz*

        No Muslim would ever try to put up a painting of Mohammed. If that happened I’d assume the office had a secret bigot trying to force some sort of issue.

        1. JSPA*

          These days, true enough. You’d be surprised by some Mughal art, though (and it’s stunning stuff).

          Several religions have gotten through periods where depictions of a/the deity ; human forms ; figurative art in general were banned (or smashed), for that matter.

    2. Tinkerbell*

      Christian decorating is, sadly, pretty common down here in the Bible belt – I would say a solid third of small businesses in my city have bible verses on the walls, on their advertising, on their work trucks, etc. It always baffles me because I really don’t see the connection between (generic) you being Christian and you selling homemade soap, but you do you I guess?

      1. Bitte Meddler*

        Fellow Bible Beltian here. The ones that really make me shake my head are the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical companies that have the xtian fish painted on the sides and backs of their vehicles. These aren’t small decals, but things that are 2′ x 3′.

        I’m baffled as to whether they use the symbol to have non-xtians self-select out as customers, or if they think it’s a selling point?

        FWIW, I am one of the people who self-selects out of being a customer of any business who thinks their owner’s religion is something that should be advertised to all and sundry.

        1. Tinkerbell*

          The one that gets me around here is “Alpha and Omega” heating and cooling (it might be plumbing, I’ve only seen the truck in passing). Like, I spend a lot of time on AO3 – my associations with those words are NOT the associations I suspect the owner of the company wants :-P

    3. Intermittent Introvert*

      A Religious Studies faculty member had a HUGE Buddha picture on the wall above her desk. It was about 4 feet tall and wide. I was not offended, but I’m confident if I’d put a HUGE picture of Jesus on my wall I would have been asked to take it down.

      1. MirandaTempest*

        The religious studies faculty at two state universities I worked at often had religious-themed art, whether Buddhas, crosses, quotes, photos of religious sites, etc, in their offices. Wasn’t ever an issue.

        1. Anon for This*

          Years ago when I was a Comp Instructor, I had a lovely drawing of the Morrigan in my office. Pretty sure nobody knew what it was.

  17. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

    Let me be the first, of no doubt many, to nominate our hot-desking cubicle setup for “worst” – we do have lockers, but very few people bother to keep anything decorative there, it’s just for office supplies and chargers and coffee mugs. (Everybody brings their laptops home since nobody is actually in the office every day.) So the only “decorations” are the fake corporate plants at the ends of each row. And the miniature Pride flag I stuck into the fake corporate plants at the end of my row last year that has somehow managed to stay there.

    1. JFC*

      +1

      The desks in my department are super small. There’s no room for any kind of decor on them (like plants or knick-knacks) and barely space for general office supplies once you put your laptop, charger and mouse on there. The room itself is tiny as well — it was technically designed as an office for one, but the person who had it before decided to take a much bigger space all for himself and shove three desks in there for us peons. The walls are a terrible, prison-garb beige and the only current wall decor is a random event poster from 25 years ago and a whiteboard where an unknown person drew a picture of SpongeBob. The whole setup is depressing and one of the main reasons I don’t go in more often.

    2. Karo*

      My company does hot desking but no lockers. So, every day, you’re supposed to bring in any gear you’ll need. I’m fine bringing my laptop and notebook back and forth in case I need to WFH, but any spare items I need to bring have to come with me in my backpack. My office-only laptop charger since I have a surfeit of chargers at home, my extra notebooks and pens, spare headphones for calls, feminine supplies, etc. etc. etc.

    3. Office Chinchilla*

      We do not have lockers. We are expected to bring home everything every night and bring it back the next day. I did claim a desk drawer since I know I will never, not once, remember both my laptop and my water bottle, but when I left a (clean, labeled) coffee mug in a kitchen drawer overnight it got thrown out. We are not allowed to have band-aids. There are paper-cutters in the copy room and, you know, humans, but all the band-aids are in a first-aid kit in the second floor mailroom which closes at 4pm and also I’m pretty sure the number of people in this building who know that can be counted on one hand.

      Also we do not have walls, even short ones, between the desks or any sound-dampening at all. I do have a fake plant on my desk. I’m the only one who does. I work in a creative industry. We are hybrid and they keep trying to figure out how to get us to come into the office more often.

      1. White Dragon*

        I am so, so sorry that your work site is so….that.

        It sounds super challenging and, from my perspective, kind of nightmare fuel!

  18. PicklePants*

    I share an office with a lady who is obsessed with plants but only ones that are made out of plastic. They’re awful looking things, they look cheap and collect dust like there is no tomorrow.

    I’m always sorely tempted to cut pieces off them & message her to say “your plants are gorgeous, hope you don’t mind, but I took some cuttings”. But that would be wrong. Fun, but wrong.

    1. Isosceles Kramer*

      We had fake plants surrounding our 3rd floor balcony at work. They couldn’t be reached unless you had a ladder. They started looking really gross about 6 months ago. I came in one day to find them all gone. I wonder if some exec got tired of looking at all the dust and finally did something about it.

      1. PicklePants*

        I keep hoping they’ll disappear, but even if they did, she’s written her name on the bottom of all of them in stickers :)

    2. Baldrick*

      We aren’t allowed to have real plants because of legit worries about mites and fruit flies. I bought a couple tiny fake plants from Ikea and chose ones that are spikier, and I hadn’t thought about it at the time but realize now that they have the benefit of not collecting much dust.

  19. Guest*

    At our old workplace, the lobby was straight up 70’s – lots of orange and brown, a mural that was just lines running along the wall and eventually going into a curve, and a weird column in the middle of the space that looked like a huge, elongated barrel. We used to joke that we were going to fill it with booze.

  20. girlie_pop*

    I used to work with a senior salesperson who had a couch in his office with a bunch of cozy blankets on it and would always encourage you to sit on the couch with a blanket if you wanted to, and there were many times I would go into his office for a meeting and another salesperson or someone from his account team would be sitting there with a big fuzzy blanket on their lap.

    He also had a graphic of an Amy Poehler quote printed out and hung on his wall that said, “I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading.”

    Needless to say, he was my favorite salesperson!

    1. Zona the Great*

      Oh man. This brings back memories of the boss with a huge plush couch that he sat on often and invited you to sit on when in his office. Except the man would tuck his bare feet up under himself while he worked and I didn’t know how to say, “I will not sit on your toe jam couch”.

  21. Chamber Neighbor*

    Years back, my workplace was in the same office as the local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber president had very specific office decor that he liked, including a desk that didn’t fit the rest of the office’s vibe at all. Everyone else’s desks were uniform and relatively modern. This was an antique-y looking, rolltop desk. I don’t remember if it was his personal desk or something he bought for the office. But either way, I do remember that when he moved into the office, the desk was too large to fit into the door of his office. So someone had to find a contractor to remove the glass from the large window on the front of his office and have it moved in with a crane.

    1. lilsheba*

      Wow what a hassle to get in there but I like it very much, way more interesting than the rest of the stuff I’m sure.

  22. CubeFarmer*

    One of the meeting rooms at MIT had a Frank Stella, wraparound mural on all the walls. While it was probably iconic, and some designer thought it was a major win to have such a high profile artist displayed, the design was chaotic, and I always wondered how it felt to anyone who was the least bit claustrophobic. I hated it.

    There is an office downstairs from us that has blaze orange walls. It’s really a lot.

    1. Miette*

      I would absolutely love to have worked there, but I understand your reaction–Frank Stella’s works can be A Lot :)

  23. Lex Talionis*

    Previous manager love, LOVE, LOVED The Three Stoogers. Pictures on the walls, knick knacks, SLIPPERS, you name it.

    UGH.

    Sigh.

  24. Mouse named Anon*

    During the panorama I worked for an organization that was an essential service. It required most of us to be onsite. However we did have quite a bit of staff that wfh. In the summer of 2021 they hired a new attorney. She spent a ton of time decorating her office. This was very much not the culture of the place, but hey, if it makes you happy! She brought in a table, chairs, couches, water decanter for the table. Tons of decor.

    I am not entirely sure why she decorated so much. She then proceeded to wfh for the remainder of my time there. So she spent all that time, decorating, bringing in items and never used any of it. Lol.

    1. ConstantlyComic*

      Since we’re talking about decor, it took me a second to realize you were talking about the pandemic and not an actual panorama, haha

    2. Spiritbrand*

      I know it’s a typo, but I kind of prefer panorama. I think I’m going to call it that from now on because it sounds less scary, but still implies that it was everywhere.

      1. Mo*

        LOL actually it wasn’t a typo. I have heard panorama on tiktok etc and thought it was funny.

    3. Siege*

      I actually kind of did this. I like a lot of visual noise, so I have a gallery wall in my office, a short bookcase with Lego flowers, a hanging shelf, lots of geeky or nerdy things … and I still to this day do not know why I insisted on putting up that gallery wall last year other than that I like it and it makes me happy. We moved into the office space in February of 2020 and went remote three weeks later. A couple of years later, some of the staff returned on site and other staff (including my unit) stayed fully remote, but we still have offices. In the process of the return, we brought in someone to hang all the big pictures and whiteboards and whatnot, and the center of my gallery wall is a large print I was told explicitly not to hang myself because it would need wall anchors. So the contractor hung it, and I decided to finish decorating the office.

      It’s nice on the few days a month I go in, and I don’t actually really regret it or anything, but it’s definitely odd to me that I spent the time to go in on a weekend so the sound of hammering wouldn’t disturb anyone else and hung 14 more pictures.

    4. JSPA*

      I guess if there’s anyone high on the organizational chart who’s hardcore anti-work from home, and they only stop by that office occasionally, It’ll never occur to them that she isn’t just out for the day? (Camouflage comes in all sorts of flavors.)

  25. Felix*

    My orthodontist’s office from about 20 years ago. It had a lot of detailed plaster and tile work to make give it a bit of a southwestern US / vaguely Adobe look to it (a strange choice in Toronto), and the coffee table was a GIANT drum, filled with the latest issues of about 30 magazines. They also went all out decorating for holidays and major events like the Olympics and World Cup.
    It definitely made my parents feel like they were overpaying for my braces.

    1. dulcinea47*

      My dentists office has that same southwest/adobe look! I’m in Kansas, so also not regionally appropriate. Weird.

      1. Rainbow inflatable unicorn*

        I briefly worked at an institution whose flagship, purpose-built, lovely building had a big mosaic in the entry hall depicting the zodiac, a nod to culture and timelessness and specific manuscripts in their collection.

        Well, time went on and the institution became more conservative. It was now no longer acceptable to admit that the zodiac had any place in their culture. So they covered it over with a large doormat. But if you knew, you could roll back the doormat and glimpse banned history.

    2. RussianInTexas*

      My dentist’s office (at least we ARE in Texas) is a full-on Texas themed. Cowboy and cows pictures, statuettes, cutesie sayings on wooden boards, longhorn horns on the walls, paintings of bluebonnets, etc. And the photos of the said dentist in cowboy hats and chaps, at The Rodeo, the full nine yards.

    3. Cathie from Canada*

      Yes, my dentist’s office had professionally-framed photos showing the dentist and his family on vacations all over the world — I often entertained myself by choosing which holiday my root canals had paid for…

    4. a teacher*

      My orthodontist didn’t have very memorable decor but around the time I got my braces off he retired and the woman who took over the practice made it Mardi Gras themed because she was from New Orleans. Masks and beads everywhere!

  26. Elsewise*

    I’d been working with this coworker for about a year, she was very nice, but I’d never had occasion to go to her office. The first time I did, I arrived at her building, asked someone else which office was hers, and they said “it’s the clown one.” Sure enough, the floor-to-ceiling window next to the office door was filled in with a larger-than-life decal of Tim Curry as IT. Inside was the most highly decorated office I’d ever seen. Not a bit of wall space was left unused, mostly with clown images and novelty crosses or crucifixes. We worked for a Catholic organization, so a lot of people had one or two crosses up in their offices, but she went beyond. If I’m remembering correctly, I counted 13 crosses and 17 clowns. Jesus was sadly outnumbered that day.

    1. desk platypus*

      I need to know what the inside of her head looks like. This is incredible.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      Was she hoping that the crucifixes would offset any bad vibes from the evil clowns? This sounds extremely strange!

      1. former nonprofit whiz*

        This has reminded me that “clown church” is actually a thing and so Clown Jesus must, by extension, also be a thing. Thanks for the mental image :|

    3. HugeTractsofLand*

      Jesus Versus the Space Spider (IT spoilers, sorry) is a B Movie I would love to watch

    4. Buffy will save us*

      I don’t fear clowns but I don’t like them- I am very introverted yet somehow was always the kid the clowns singled out to pick on- so I would nope out of that office so fast….

      1. Tinkerbell*

        My sister is a museum curator. She had a virtual conference during the pandemic, in which each person in the room was supposed to pick something sitting near them and take a turn “presenting” it like it was a museum piece. Most told the history of their favorite coffee cup, a fancy pen, etc.

        My sister was doing this from her MIL’s guest bedroom, which is FULLY clown-themed. She grabbed the nearest clown and started her presentation, only to get drowned out by “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” from everyone else. She explained that this was her MIL’s house and panned her camera around the room… hundreds of clowns, many of them antiques and thus beat-up and creepy as hell.

        The general consensus was a) nobody would ever visit her MIL, and b) she should check to make sure her MIL wasn’t secretly a serial killer. (She’s actually a very nice lady, just… oddly into clowns!)

    1. Mouse named Anon*

      I don’t know why, but instead of green roof with plants I was picturing one made of legos. LOL

    2. stratospherica*

      Haha, Sega has similar character-art decorating, but mostly from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Every time I see it I imagine what it must be like to be called into the Amy Rose Meeting Room to get fired.

    3. Tired Introvert*

      Imagine being called for a meeting in the Waluigi conference room and getting fired xD

  27. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I worked in government consulting in the DC suburbs. Plenty of Pentagon stuff.

    A lot of people had what we called “I-love-me-walls”. There were two categories of these.
    1) Diplomas, certifications, significant awards in nice gold-leaf frames.
    2) A collage of grip-and-grin photos with large numbers of politicians and retired generals.

    I’ll let you guess which wall the salespeople & senior managers had, and which wall the engineers had.

    1. Miette*

      I have never understood these walls in DC, and I’m glad to not be alone in feeling that way.

      1. Siege*

        One of my coworkers has the diploma version. They are someone I would say is very insecure but covers it with a brash exterior – they do a surprising amount of unnecessary/not-fitting-the-culture credentialing – and it’s all the weirder because their doctorate isn’t even remotely related to what we do. It would be like if they had a doctorate in applied mathematics and we did performance art.

    2. Dawn*

      In their defense, I will be earning my first diploma of my life at age 40, and if I planned it all out right, I get two diplomas and four certificates, and I am absolutely putting every last one on the wall.

        1. Dawn*

          <3

          This will be try #3 for me and you are not going to find a prouder graduate in all the world when I am finally able to make it through and earn some proof of my efforts.

      1. Ainsley Hayes*

        Congratulations Dawn – that is AWESOME!!

        I went back to school and earned a certificate in a completely unrelated field from what I do for a living (equine science). None of my classmates were going to walk.

        I said “If they are cancelling our program, then we are DEFINITELY walking as the last graduates of the program ever!”

        We did a whole photo shoot in caps and gowns with the horses, we had miniature horses on our mortarboards, and we ended up seated in the row directly behind all the college officials, most of whom were surprised to learn there was an equine science program at the college.

        I thought my classmates were going to pass out when I flippantly replied “Well, not anymore since you cancelled it.”

        There is a certain freedom in being 41, and knowing there is not a dang thing they can do but hand you your paper and send you out into the world ;)

        1. Dawn*

          Hahaha, yes there is; my former employer is still completely failing to negotiate severance with me and making it painfully obvious that they’re used to dealing with people who are at most still in their early 20s. They have no idea what to do with me saying, “No, that’s not an answer, answers have actual numbers attached to them, and I’m not signing that.”

    3. Poke Bowl Weevil*

      I actually like these displays. A person’s academic background and past professional relationships (or just connections they value) are relevant information to have when you walk into their office. They’re giving a free crash course on what they’re bringing to the conversation!

      1. VeryBadPerson*

        Especially when it’s a professional who is going to be poking at your innards or prescribing drugs.

  28. Miette*

    This reminds me of the “color theory” post on Tumblr that has since become a meme–IYKYK. I’ll link in a reply, but basically a children’s ward in a hospital decorated using splashes of red on the floor that literally makes it look like someone had been dragging a dead body through the halls. I’m not exaggerating.

      1. I Have RBF*

        “Color Theory” was what they used to justify the red that was the color of old blood on the walls at one place I worked where they moved us from cubes to open plan nakedness. I hated looking at it. The entire floor where people worked was painted in reds, oranges, and an overbearing yellow. They said it was colors designed to produce “excitement” and “productivity”, but in fact all they caused was irritation, anger, anxiety and loathing.

        If you want people to be calmly productive, use a soothing blue or green, not angry red or orange. Red, bold yellow and orange are for when you want spirited debates, arguments and yelling.

        Designers who use “color theory” to paint spaces (that they will never work in) with intense, irritating colors deserve to be locked in to a blood red room for a week.

      1. Miette*

        “Hurr durr red is the color of passion and love, you heathens!”

        Yeah, and it still looks like someone dragged a gd bloody body along the floor. Context is also A Thing lmao

        1. BubbleTea*

          I can’t really see how “red is also associated with lust” makes it a *more* appropriate choice for a children’s hospital.

    1. ConstantlyComic*

      I am familiar with that post, and it’s absolutely hysterical, especially because some people commenting on it seem to miss the point about how it looks and argue that it’s good design because there are a lot of positive things associated with the color red.

    2. Dawn*

      Red can mean whatever you want it to mean, but.

      Also from your display name I am guessing that you’re also someone (unfortunately) steeped in internet culture, lol.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        This is a weirdly mean comment. Also ironic to ding someone for being “steeped in internet culture” on…an internet forum.

        The design that Miette is references does literally look like someone dragged a bleeding body through the halls of the hospital. It’s pretty bad.

        1. Dawn*

          The first half of my comment is literally a quote from the meme thread, ever so slightly paraphrased, as I am well aware of it.

          The second half of my comment was in no way intended to be mean; it was, at its worst, a “Hey, you too, eh?”

          This is a weirdly negative read of my comment.

          1. Paint N Drip*

            for the record, it read to me like a hat-tip to a fellow Tumblr degenerate

            1. Quill*

              This tumblr degenerate has been searching the thread for color theory and nice shoelaces.

        2. Dawn*

          “Red can mean whatever you want it to mean, that is never going to change that this straight up looks like they DRAGGED A BLOODY BODY ACROSS THE F—ING FLOOR.”

          – actual quote from the original Tumblr thread

          1. CommanderBanana*

            Ah, thanks for the context.

            I’m so curious about the entire process of that redecoration. Did no one see it before it was done? At no point did anyone see a concept or mockup of it and go, um, guys…?

            At least it wasn’t brown?

            1. Nea*

              To add more context, Patricia Lockwood’s cat Miette became an even more famous meme when Lockwood tweeted:

              “me, lightly touching miette with the side of my foot: miette move out of the way please so I don’t trip on you

              miette, her eyes enormous: you KICK miette? you kick her body like the football? oh! oh! jail for mother! jail for mother for One Thousand Years!!!!”

              1. CommanderBanana*

                Mother DOES deserve jail for One Thousand Years for the gentle nudge of Miette.

              2. Lucien Nova*

                Please tell me you have also read about the time Miette ate a lizard and got very high. *lol*

      2. Siege*

        Jail for mother! Jail for mother for One Thousand Years!

        (I enjoy seeing Miette’s username every time I do. :) )

      3. Miette*

        No offense taken–I presume your second comment was from the POV of a “fellow sufferer,” LOL. I am (unfortunately) chronically online due to my job, but I find Tumblr still to be so much fun.

        (I like your shoelaces)

        1. Dawn*

          slashgirl already fielded that one but

          Tumblr has always been gloriously, uniquely deranged and I hope it never changes.

  29. Nea*

    I once worked in a cube farm with a lot of short columns off a hallway – imagine the hallway version of an E. It was common to put something at the front of your leg of the E so you could tell visitors “Turn left at the spider plant” or “the row with John’s bowling trophy.”

    One person used a 3-foot inflatable rainbow-colored unicorn.

    1. Indolent Libertine*

      And the commenting handle “3-foot inflatable rainbow-colored unicorn” will appear in this thread in 3… 2… 1…

        1. lurkyloo*

          Well played, my friend. Well played.
          And freaking hilarious! I actually LOL’ed

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      My dad had an office in a small town courthouse. His department was off to the side of the main atrium and was a little hard to find. Dad liked to needle visitors from the “big city” just a little and make himself sound like a bit of a bumpkin, so he used to tell people “it’s over to the left behind the bubble gum machine.”

  30. desk platypus*

    One of the managers in my former job had a massive full wall book shelf of baby dolls in her office. They were all dressed sharply in frilly dresses and so forth. I think they were a mix of antiques or from specialty shops so you better bet they had that special “definitely haunted by a sick Victorian child” look to them. Everything else was covered in lacy doilies and home made quilts so it felt more like being in a particular kind of grandma’s house and not a manager.

    The worst part was if you needed to have a sit down conversation with my coworker you’d be the one facing the Doll Wall. Dozens of glassy vacant eyes staring right at you the entire time. Staff was split between finding it either cozy or creepy.

      1. Pajama Mommas*

        I once stayed in a bed and breakfast that was decorated like this. Many, many, many dolls all over the house, including in our room. It was….not the best night’s sleep I have ever had…

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I have a massive collection of animal figurines and, because my office has a corner with particularly nice lighting, bring in a few once or twice a week to photograph (with my phone; we’re not talking a full studio setup here). But only a few and in a corner on a small side table.

    2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      lol. I don’t know if anyone else in higher ed has this same experience, but I swear NOTHING gets thrown out around here, it’s just put into storage somewhere. Decades ago, long before I got here, we had some sort of large display window with a family of mannequins in a Victorian apothecary scene on campus (IDK). So when the display was taken down, the mannequins were just put into a basement. The 3.5-foot-tall child doll, in her frilly red velvet dress and a big grin on her face, resurfaces occasionally around the building. For almost 2 years, she resided in an open cubicle sitting right at a head of the table facing the elevators when the doors opened. I think she startled some people.

      1. AnonORama*

        I work for a nonprofit with a retail arm that accepts donations, and some are definitely in the creepy category. Some of my colleagues like to prank people with them, like you open up a resource box at an event and there’s a chipped, Annabelle-looking doll with one glass eye on top of the brochures, or they come in to find the hand-mannequin (literally just one fake hand) on the desk. I’m not a prank person, but I admit that our workplace does provide some impressively weird material…

      2. Anon for this...*

        and this is why i once got to cause a whole heap of trouble by opening a box that had a container labled “Indian child remains, X county, 1959”

        (we did manage to get them returned and reinterred, but not without a lot off careful trying not to cause havoc or bad press…and I completely torpedoed my relationship with the anthropology dept because i wouldn’t hand then over without tribal approval)

  31. Isosceles Kramer*

    A friend of mine brought in a giant poster of Kramer from Seinfeld and put it in her office. I am not entirely sure what the poster said, but I don’t think it was super work friendly.

    She got fired a week after putting it up….

    1. Phony Genius*

      It was likely “The Kramer” portrait from the show. In that episode, characters who looked at it made comments like “He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can’t look away.” This worked its way onto many t-shirts and posters.

    2. ICodeForFood*

      I once worked with a purchasing manager who wanted to have a posted of Cujo (a bloodthirsty dog in a Stephen King horror movie) behind his desk, to intimidate the vendors he met with.

    3. Sunflower*

      It may not be her putting up a poster that got her fired. They could have just told her to take it down. But the actor who played Kramer made super offensive “jokes” a few years after the show was over that destroyed his career.

  32. Clearance Issues*

    I work with utilities, everyone who’s ever been on site and found abandoned equipment has brought it back to the office as decor. Weirdest/most difficult was an 8′ long crossarm that had been struck by lightning, so it was fully kitted out with insulators and stuff and then just left at the base of the pole.
    It now resides standing on it’s end in someone’s cubicle.

    1. JFC*

      I did contract work with a government transportation department years ago and the director had a full traffic light in his office. It was actually kind of cool to see one up close. I had no idea how big they are until I saw it on the floor.

      1. Clearance Issues*

        It’s so cool, it’s all so much bigger than you think. (I have my own stash of various abandoned equipment at my desk so I’m a decor offender) I was stopped from bringing in an old transformer body because my fielding partner would not let me put it in the truck bed.

    2. diggy splicey zappy*

      fellow ex utilities (electric, specifically) here – the best cubes had at least one model cable end / exploded cable joint / cracked insulator.

      the best one was the clay duct with a tree growing through it and around the cable – they cut the whole thing out, put it on a little stand, watered it and kept it!

  33. ConstantlyComic*

    Not the craziest thing out there, but a little demoralizing in a funny way:
    A while back, one of my coworkers got a promotion to another branch of my organization. On their last day, we had a little sendoff for them, and someone posted a sign over their desk that said “Who said you could leave?” The office space where that employee’s desk was eventually got cleared out and converted to a different kind of workspace, but the sign stayed there until a new manager came in…

    and decided to put it over the time clock, where it lives to this day.

      1. ConstantlyComic*

        Oh yeah, after I got to know this manager a bit better I realized that was her sense of humor and, honestly, it is pretty funny.

  34. Sunshine Gal*

    My office is painted a distinct “baby poo” green colour and it is hideous. The facilities manager ended up finding a “really good deal” on wrongly mixed paint and bought all 15 gallons of it. He did this as a cost saving measure as every time there is a big rain storm, it rains through the windows so the drywall & paint are forever bubbling, cracking, and need to be repaired every 90 days or so. Heaven forbit they actually repair the windows so they don’t actually leak but let’s buy all the horrendous coloured paint!

    1. RLC*

      Years ago the government agency I worked for got a good (=free) deal on military surplus furniture as well as paint. Each office picked a paint color for painting said furniture. All the colors were a bit “off” but one unlucky office got all the leftover paint at the end and mixed it together, resulting in a color much like sewage sludge.

    2. Jen with one n*

      Hah, this reminds me of Jennifer Crusie’s books, “Welcome to Temptation,” which has a D-plotline about the town’s water tower being painted with poor quality paint and constantly peeling. As a result of the choice of paint colours and the peeling, it winds up taking on a phallic appearance that keeps getting more and more phallic-looking, and it’s a point of contention at their townhall meetings.

      Jennifer Crusie’s books are a delight, I highly recommend any and all of them. And they nearly always feature a dog or cat, too. :D

      1. AnonORama*

        Yes, and then they paint the very top red and it looks like a nipple, as I recall. I’d forgotten about those books!

  35. KareninHR*

    We showed up one morning to discover a new director had completely redecorated his office overnight. He brought in new furniture and hung at least a dozen pictures on the wall…all of himself. There were at least a dozen more pictures of himself on his credenza. Everyone else’s office is very light on decorations otherwise, so it definitely stands out. A bit of a funny story – I was interviewing a candidate (who we later hired) and unforeseen circumstances led me to interview him in the other director’s office. The candidate (now my coworker) later told me he didn’t realize it wasn’t my office. He said he thought all of the pictures on the wall were of my husband and I was just “weirdly obsessed” with him.

    1. Ostrich Herder*

      I’m fascinated by this. Does the director himself just happen to be in all the photos that are with family, friends, colleagues, etc.? Or is it primarily just, like, standalone portraits of himself?

      1. KareninHR*

        There are some with family and friends, but the majority are just him. Him fishing, him skiing, etc. We do joke with him about it – no one can love him as much as he loves himself!

    2. Zombeyonce*

      I initially read “There were at least a dozen more pictures of himself on his credenza” as him having photos taken of him sitting/lying on his credenza. Now I think that’s the only thing missing, a nice photoshop of him on it, then framed and placed next to the rest. I wonder how long it would take for him to notice.

      1. KareninHR*

        Hahahaha, I’m definitely going to make that happen!! I bet he would notice pretty quickly – he’s very particular about all of his things. I like to think he examines the pics of himself every day when he walks into his office. Just to admire them.

    3. Ainsley Hayes*

      Lovely hat tip to the original Bad Boys movie there, when Marcus pretends to be Mike in Mike’s apartment with eleventy hundred pictures of …. Mike.

  36. Very Anon for This One*

    I worked for a company that had different floors with different themes. Most of these were benign; Lake Themed Floor, River Themed Floor, Dumb Success Sayings Themed Floor…

    Then we had an “Gorilla” Themed Floor, because we – as a company – were a Gorilla in a market of chimps. (Or something, I forgot the saying.) So the entire floor had pictures of gorillas, and rooms named after gorillas… It was sure something.

    1. not like a regular teacher*

      How many gorillas are there with names, to name rooms after? I’m coming up with Koko, Harambe, King Kong??

        1. not like a regular teacher*

          lol.

          None of these (except maybe Koko) are good names for offices or conference rooms.

      1. Abundant Shrimp*

        “This is your manager, meet me for a 1:1 in the Harambe room in 15” sounds mildly threatening.

      2. Very Anon for This One*

        Like 15 different gorillas if I recall correctly, all real gorillas. Each one also had a plaque explaining what they were known for. Plus a TV that had different gorilla facts on it. I learned a lot about gorillas that I promptly forgot later because I’ll be honest gorillas freak me out.

        No Harambe though.

    2. Rebekah*

      My 3yo would be in heaven.

      They really shouldn’t let 3yo boys design office buildings though….

      1. GoodyBadwife*

        At one workplace they solicited employee suggestions for names for the four conference rooms, saying they should be some kind of theme. I suggested the four horsemen of the apocalypse, War, Famine, Pestilence and Death, but astonishingly this was not selected. I think they went with baseball stadiums.

        1. Vio*

          “Ok we’ve got a meeting at two in the Death room, we’re using Famine room for the lunch buffet and security have booked the War Room… why does nobody use Pestilence since the pandemic?”

  37. Anon for this*

    The large law firm I worked at replaced the carpeting in our suite with polished concrete, and added a rec area with a foosball table which was sectioned off from the hallways with CHAIN MAIL curtains. Not sure if we were trying to be “cool” like a tech company or something but it looked ridiculous. And almost no one ever had time to play foosball anyway. I think there were also some ugly vinyl sectional couches. And exposed beams, which were covered with that esthetically impressive spray-on foam. We younger lawyers pretty openly mocked it.

  38. Not Australian*

    There’s a story about artist Donna Barr, whose office was decorated in what sounds like a dreary salmon/terracotta shade. In trying to describe it to someone she called it ‘sort of a desert peach’ … and then promptly decided that ‘The Desert Peach’ was probably the gay brother of Erwin ‘The Desert Fox’ Rommel and went on to create a much-loved and acclaimed comic-book series about him…

    1. GoryDetails*

      That’s hilarious! I love the “Desert Peach” comics, but hadn’t heard how she came up with the idea! (Her “Stinz” comics are also fun: Austrian centaurs in the early 1900s.)

  39. Professor Ronny*

    The walls in my home office are covered with Star Trek posters. There are also collectables from Star Trek and Doctor Who.

    1. Llellayena*

      But that is fully appropriate for a home office..she says as she contemplates her own home office with shelves of Lego Star Wars sets…

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I have seven droids of varying styles and a display of lightsabers on the shelf behind me. I don’t see the issue.

      2. Jen with one n*

        I have about 30 Lego minifigs in front of me and any number of minifigs and books behind me. The fish tank has gotten the most notice and questions.

      3. Music With Rocks In*

        Pre-pandemic I had Funko Pops of Rey and BB-8 keeping me company at my desk at work, but they never made it back to the office live at home now instead.

    2. CL*

      I met one of my coworkers for the first time because I stopped to chat about the tardis on their desk. Decorations can be a networking tool

  40. former museum intern*

    I win this one. An very nice older man who was former military and at the time, security director at a museum I was once an intern at had a big framed paper target, the kind they use at shooting ranges and let you take home, on his wall. The target had a caricature of an stereotypical muslim terrorist on it. I was slightly floored. FWIW, I have been to a shooting range and seen these “colorful” targets for sale up close, but in the WORKPLACE?

    1. Pippa K*

      Yikes. If I walked in and saw that I would not even break stride as I changed course and headed toward HR.

        1. lurkyloo*

          They’d howl less if you’d just listen to them. They said it nicely 23 times before they started howling.

  41. Anna Badger*

    as a wellbeing thing, my last company stocked a trunk of plant pots of various sizes, plus lots of different soils for different plant types, as well as sticking an easy-to-care-for plant on every bank of desks and figuring that at least one person per bank would be motivated enough to look after it.

    I then somehow ended up facilitating a group order for colleagues to buy carnivorous plants for their desks, and another one for more normal plants. I also brought in a devil’s ivy and must have given out 30-40 cuttings. we had a lovely garden centre in walking distance, and people often went there for lunch and came back with more plants.

    there was one time we had to move all the plants from our floor out onto the canteen ledge so the office could be painted or something. the ledge stretched the length of the canteen and it was FULL. looking at it gave me such a visceral sense of pleasure.

  42. AndersonDarling*

    Family business…The owner’s son had the Stations of the Cross behind his desk. For non-Catholics, the Stations of the Cross are 14 images showing the final day of Jesus. And this was the goriest set I had ever seen. They were wood carved, 3D and had dramatic nails, stabbings, and blood oozing from the images.
    So when you sat in this guys office, he was circled by religious images of gore.

    1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

      I once worked for a family business that had an Evangelical version of this type of imagery in the owner’s office. The owners would take you out to brunch if you went to their church on Sunday. When I needed a break, I’d just open one of the three Bibles they’d given me and bow my head over it as though I were reading and they left me alone.

    2. Corrigan*

      OH MY GOD

      I was raised Catholic and…no. Religious imagery in general, big no. But this in particular? WOW.

    3. Lady_Lessa*

      I’m Catholic but that sounds horrifying. (not to mention completely inappropriate for wor

  43. Ole Pammy's Getting What She Wants*

    as an interior designer who mostly does workplace…..i am LIVING for this post. wish comments could have pics!

    1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      Can you comment on any of your jobs? Weirdest requirement? Strangest space to work with?

  44. Missy*

    Not really office decor but related- we had a huge fundraiser banquet (super fancy, expensive tickets, you get the picture) one of the main sponsors grew and sold lettuce- there colors were blue and green so there was blue and green lights all around the room, plus all the centerpieces were bouquets of lettuce, the door prizes? Cases of lettuce… like huge boxes you would see at the grocery store. There was also displays of lettuce at the bar, the front… everywhere… best part is our organization has absolutely nothing to do with lettuce or even food….

  45. DEJ*

    I accidently won a life-size cardboard cutout of a local sports star. I had no idea what to do with it, so I left it in my office and it became a conversation piece. I worked for a different local sports organization at the time so this wasn’t completely out of the blue, but it’s definitely not something that anyone expects to see in one’s office.

    1. Sharkie*

      I am currently looking at my coworkers bobble head collection. Sports front offices are on a whole other level.

      1. Cubicles & Chimeras*

        I admit to having a bobble head collection at my desk. A mix of sports and nerdy ones. They’re soothing to tap on the head and watch bobble at you when your day is going rough.

  46. Juicebox Hero*

    The dentist I used to go to had a mounted jackalope head in the waiting room. A jackalope is an imaginary critter that’s said to be half jackrabbit, half pronghorn antelope, so the taxidermist had put pronghorn antlers on a rabbit’s head and mounted it on a plaque. Very WTF.

    1. Apt Nickname*

      If this office is in MN, we may have had the same dentist. If not, there’s two of them out there.

    2. Bibliothecarial*

      Ah, that sparks a memory. For context, just know that my family hunts for meat – we are in a very rural area where that’s the only reliable source of food. When I was about 12 and had just learned about environmental issues, my family and I went on our once-per-season trip to town and visited some office. (It could have been a lawyer or a bank or tractor repair – I don’t remember.) They had a monkey head mounted on the wall with this odd horrified expression on its face. Being 12, I cried and cried about the poor monkey when I got back to the car. My dad went back in to do some investigating. Came back out with a big grin on his face. It wasn’t a monkey, it was a deer butt taxidermied to look like a monkey. Still an odd choice for an office.

    3. Tx_Trucker*

      My former SC dentist had one also. Maybe they sold them at a dental convention?

  47. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

    At one point, we had a boss who had an open-door requirement (don’t get me started on THAT) and one of the people in her department built a wall of boxes and files on her desk to block the view from the hallway.

    Someone else had such a messy office (mounds and mounds of paper–I don’t know how he worked) that HR deemed it an OSHA violation.

    1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      Also, in the excessively long planning stages for our move to a different building, we’d be shown different kinds of furniture that might be used. The planning people so badly wanted to be cool and trendy, but it kept showing up badly, like having all high stools in the kitchen area, which would be an ADA violation, or not having tables in the smaller meeting rooms despite the fact that we’re all knowledge workers so need to take notes or have data available on a laptop or print-out…

  48. Dasein9 (he/him)*

    Old Job was a cube farm. A client needed pictures of a generic office setting, so our in-house photographer took pictures of our own offices to use. The client rejected them as “too Soviet.”

    Nobody in management had seemed to notice before then how shabby and depressing that office was.

  49. Robin*

    My coworker was just making fun of me yesterday for how I got in trouble with the office for letting a collection of 8 or so half-empty coffee mugs gather on my desk…

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      My old job used to put notes in the newsletters about please returning dishes and not letting them pile up in your office. People would have columns of cups on their desks. The cafeteria had to keep buying dishes. It was a problem.

      Turned out a lot of the issue was that somehow these engineers (it was almost universally an engineer problem) had got it into their heads that the dishes needed to be returned to the specific cafeteria that they had come from. And it was out of their way at the end of the day, and then when they went at lunch they’d have forgotten —

      The next newsletter mentioned that dishes could be returned to any cafeteria or snack kitchen and janitorial would load balance them as needed.

  50. KaciHall*

    My office is in a building from 1880 that’s basically one of the first downtown buildings in my city. When my bosses bought the building, they tried to take down the plaster on the inside of the walls and realized a third of the way through that it was impossible and bringing down the brick walls behind it. So they just stopped. They didn’t cover up the brick they had already exposed. They also didn’t repaint anything. The walls in our office are half dirty grey painted plaster, and half brick that is so old it leaves dust all over our desks every morning.

    It’s an interesting look.

    1. mreasy*

      That reminds me of a medical office I used to go to. Every ceiling surface was covered in wormy blobby spray insulation (I guess the walls & ceilings are quite thin), which is weird enough – but they painted it dark gray for some reason. Note: this is a medical office that treats people with severe mental illness, including paranoia, PTSD, and severe anxiety. Ceilings closing in on you vibe is a weird look.

      1. Sharpie*

        For some reason I read the first sentence as ‘this reminds me of a medieval office I used to go to…’ which is a pretty interesting picture!!

  51. Andre*

    I worked as a temp EA for a very conservative financial services company and one of my first things was to train a perm employee for the role that I was temping for (yes, it was strange but let’s move on from that for now lol) and the day she started she covered her cube with posters and magazine ads of shock horror movies (like Friday the 13th and all that). It was quite a change from the drab office decor around her. I admired her. I can’t imagine doing that. But I did find great amusement in various staff members coming up to me, arching their eyebrow and saying … ‘what do you think of …. that cube?’…. :)

    1. Derril's wife*

      My husband, when he first got his cubicle at his current office, had his name misspelled on his name tag by one letter in a way thst turned it into an unusual spelling for a different name (fake names, but think “Derek” has a cube labeled “Derel”). At least in his first work group, everyone called him Derel/ Darrell as well as Derek.

  52. Jigglypuff*

    My spouse worked for a company in the SF Bay Area that had scavenged a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Abominable Snow Monster from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer film. It was covered in shredded paper to make the “fur” and had clearly been used and then thrown in the trash.

    They named it Snowy and left it in their lobby, and anytime clients came to visit, they had to get their picture taken with Snowy.

    The in-person office has since closed, and I still wonder if Snowy went back to the dumpster or if he is staring soullessly at people from someone’s home office.

  53. Museum Drone*

    After working at a small museum for years, I moved to a big west coast city, and was excited but a bit intimidated to get an interview at one of the big museums. My imposter syndrome was cured when I was being escorted back to the conference room, and the staff offices has this dingy wrinkled, and in spots torn and fraying, tan carpet. They were not so fancy after all! I aced the interview. Still work there, and 11 years later we still have the terrible carpet.

  54. Chidi has a stomach ache*

    I went to grad school at Notre Dame, and this is a well-documented story about campus. In their main administrative building (“golden dome” for those who might be familiar) the main hallway off the front entrance had a large series of murals of Christopher Columbus. This was loathed by most faculty and students even when I started there in 2009, but the admin was reluctant to cover what was seen (by them, but no one else) as historically valuable artwork. By the time I was leaving, about ten years later, there were actually some student protests demanding action around the murals and I think about a year after that they covered them with tapestries. I’ll post a link in the replies.

  55. AMH*

    I worked in an “office” (for lack of a better term) that was essentially a slightly wider than hallway width room. Five of us shared that space — 4 along one wall and me at the end, facing the short wall. I couldn’t exit the room if someone else had leaned back even an inch in their chair. It was awful. The decor was the worst part — because I was the only one who couldn’t see outside, someone had drawn a window in crayon, children’s drawing style, on a big piece of paper and tacked it up unevenly above my desk. That was all we got for decor.

    1. DVM*

      AND! This space is now part of a night club! I have yet to go in, I’m dying to know what is going on with that place now that people go there to dance.

  56. DVM*

    I had an office that was wild: 500 sq ft, no windows, 7 foot ceiling (no exaggeration), green-gold walls, deep brown shag carpeting (in amazing shape, it must’ve been expensive), a gigantic full-length mirror, a huge, puffy, blue sectional couch, overhead fluorescent lighting. I had two large desks. A large circular dining table. One wall was a chalkboard. Your complexion would glow green in this space. It was eerily quiet due to my workspace being at the far end of the office and the noise muffling shag. I did kinda like it.

    1. Ruby Soho*

      That sounds pretty awesome to me! I’d probably work on the puffy couch all day, though. Or on the fluffy carpet lol

  57. Katherine*

    Years ago I worked for a non-profit that had a stuffed ptarmigan in a glass case among the usual office clutter. It lived on a shelf in the director’s office and had been donated by a visiting dignitary.

    It was one of the less weird things about that job, but it was still always a surprise to catch the bird’s beady eye when you had a meeting with the director.

    1. Kath*

      I should add that the non profit had nothing to do with birds, nature or anything else related to a stuffed ptarmigan.

  58. Rainy*

    This is the whole building but…the building I work in has a colour theme, top to bottom, so every floor has eggshell plus 2 special colours, and this is all through that floor including carpet etc. So offices with accent walls have 3 eggshell plus one of the special colours, hallways are mostly eggshell but then, surprise accent wall in one of the theme colours, carpets are grey with stripes of the accent colour, etc.

    My office moved from one floor to another. Our original floor colours were fluorescent rust and the kind of yellow that looks like the bile your dog throws up on an empty stomach, and I thought anything would be an improvement. I was wrong. The predominant accent colour on our current floor is baby-poo green. But don’t worry, if you don’t like baby-poo, there’s another option! It’s dog-poo brown. Yay!

    1. allathian*

      You win! I’ll take my office’s pea-soup green, teal, and burnt orange over that any day.

      1. Rainy*

        I would be SO EXCITED for those colours! My office decor is all orange and teal–it didn’t have an accent wall when I moved into it and I have strenuously resisted all efforts to give me a baby-poo green wall to “brighten things up”.

  59. Library Lady*

    At my last job, someone brought in a female mannequin with a painted-on face like the kind you’d find in an old department store to use as a prop for a display or program. It then lived in that person’s office. This mannequin was bald, had 3 inch fake eyelashes, wore a company-branded t-shirt, and no pants. Eventually a different coworker decided to start hiding the mannequin around the building in unexpected places to scare people until the person who initially brought it in took it home. A similar situation happened months later with a full sized cardboard cutout of Barack Obama.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      I have a 6′ “Dimensional Man”* poster that is half skeletal/vascular and half muscular. I’ve had him at my jobs for the last 30+ years, but when I had him on my office door down a poorly lit hallway, he managed to startle even me.

      *Essentially a cross between a cardboard skeleton and a poster, for anatomical studies. I’ve never studied anatomy.

  60. ActuaryMom*

    I worked in a company that had a cafeteria that no longer served food, but the eating area was the only “break room” in the building. The walls were absolutely covered in copper-colored jello molds. The vibe was very 1970’s grandma’s kitchen.

  61. MerelyMe*

    We have two connected buildings. The main, three-story, brick one was built in 1909, and in 1994 they attached a five-story glass building to the back of it.

    Both lobbies have just been renovated, and in the case of the main building, it used to be wall to wall portraits of old white men who were important in the early-to-mid 20th century. There’s nothing on the walls now, but they also took out a lot of seating along the walls.

    All the seating went to the new building lobby, which solved the echo problem you get when the ceiling is three stories high and there’s nothing but hard surfaces for sound to bounce off. So, yay, I guess? We’re still getting used to it.

  62. Teacher Lady*

    My experience is really only in public schools, and classroom decor is certainly a unique form of “workplace decor,” but I’ve also seen some really strange stuff (and seen people acting really strange about that stuff)!

    – “Ms. Jones” was moving out of a classroom role into a non-classroom based role, and “Ms. Smith” was moving into that classroom. Ms. Jones made Ms. Smith promise that she would not remove Ms. Jones’ pride and joy, a poster of Disney’s Goofy that was probably 5’x5′ – it took up an enormous amount of wall space, which any elementary teacher will tell you is extremely valuable! Ms. Jones spoke at length to literally everyone in the building about how important it was that Goofy be preserved at all costs. Ms. Smith initially agreed to keep it up because the whole situation was so awkward, but she did eventually explain to Ms. Jones that she would be taking it down and that it wasn’t up for discussion. To Ms. Jones’ credit, she handled that conversation better than I think anyone expected.

    – I moved into my current school when buildings were reopening after the first year of Covid. I inherited a lot of junk from my predecessor (no surprise), including what had to be a few hundred dollars’ worth of decorative knick-knacks from Home Goods or TJ Maxx or the like. There were multiple wall-mount mirrors, sequined and tasseled throw pillows, and easily two dozen pieces of art (canvases, framed posters, etc.). I threw nearly all of it away, although we did put one of the mirrors in the staff bathroom, which didn’t have a mirror.

  63. Just a name*

    I used to work with attorneys all the time. It is very standard to have diplomas and bar admission certificates hung on the wall. One attorney had every diploma hung, including the one from kindergarten. It was a series of totally adorable drawings. I loved it and still think of it more than 20 years later.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      My father had his law degree, masters degree, GED certificate, advanced welding certification, and his captains license, all framed to match in his law office. No one ever commented, so he always wondered if they noticed. A similar philosophy I think.

      1. Mollymalone*

        My dentist had a framed letter of thanks from the university where he taught classes in their dental school, because the letter was signed “Your obedient servant, ”. Dentist said everyone should have an obedient servant.

  64. Baldrick*

    I went to meet a senior manager at his office and discovered the walls were a very unavoidable shade of pink. I can only describe it as baby girl clothing pink. He explained that he’d taken his birthday as a vacation day, and he happened to drop by his office early that birthday morning and found the furniture all emptied out so he thought they were pulling a simple prank on him. Then when he returned the next day his furniture was all in place but the walls had been painted in the afternoon, after he left! I assume the office was repainted a more neutral color at some point later, yet it stayed that way for a while. He smiled while he explained it to me and I think he really enjoyed seeing it as a reminder of how well the team worked together and appreciated him enough to make the effort.

  65. DefinitelyAnon*

    Back in the day, several people at my current employer each had an interesting souvenir on their desk: A piece of graphite, sealed in an airtight glass box, cut from the stack of moderator bricks used in CP1 (Chicago Pile 1, the world’s first nuclear fission reactor). Pretty sure my exceedingly safety-conscious employer has rounded up and removed all those pieces by now (even though they really didn’t pose an actual hazard).

  66. Elle*

    Who was the Congresscritter who decorated his office in a Downton Abbey theme and got booted out?
    Anyway, I worked in a sparsely decorated office where an award was prominently displayed. The award was made by us to give to a board member. The name was misspelled and we couldn’t use it. The boss kept it there to remind us not to make mistakes. I think we put it away during a massive clean up.

    1. Emby*

      Aaron Shock. And he went way above what he was supposed to spend on the office (they get an official amount to use), and investigations into that uncovered other spending issues

  67. el l*

    The worst was a giant elk head right in the front entryway of my previous employer.

    Yes, the office was in a small town.
    No, we don’t work in fish and game, or anything remotely adjacent. It was just something that a former boss shot, got mounted, and then realized that he didn’t have space on the wall at home.
    No, it was not up temporarily, it was up for at least 10 years.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Yeah, I had a boss like that once. An enormous elk head, a regular-sized deer, and some moose antlers.

      He had a large corner office in building that was all small suites for lots of different tenants. Because of that business model, the building managers/leasing coordinators were around all the time and we got to know them. The three women who ran the front desk, did the paperwork, etc. decided to have fun with him once, and put feather boas on all of his taxidermy.

  68. Just Me*

    My (now retired) boss collected Bobbleheads. He displayed them all in a huge bookcase on top of a credenza. Each shelf was filled 3 to 4 deep with Bobbleheads, and he would periodically rearrange them to move some out front for awhile. That would take a few hours each time, as he had to clean them and make sure they were arranged “just right.” If you were sitting in his office, you had four shelves of big headed figurines staring at you, and if a car drove by in the parking lot, or someone walked by his office heavily, they would start to bob their heads. So creepy! We were all thrilled when he retired and took them home – well, maybe not his wife, but those of us in the office certainly were!

    1. ICodeForFood*

      This reminds me of a guy who used to have the cubicle next to mine… He had a collection of action figures, which were arranged atop the cubicle wall between us… and on his desk, and probably on a file cabinet near us, too. He was a good guy, but the quantity of action figures and pop-culture items was… amazing if you were a kid, and overwhelming if you were an adult.

  69. Garblesnark*

    I was recently asked to onboard two new team members with identical qualifications. Same degree from schools of the same reputation, same amount of work experience doing the same thing in the same kind of workplace. Also, one was a white man with a typical white man name (think “Steve Jones,”) and the other was a brown woman with a name that was obviously from her culture (think “Priyanka Patel”). They both had interviewed with us in person and we had photos of each them.

    They were assigned offices next-door to each other. The office assigned to Steve was 30% bigger, had a beautiful, large, all-wood corner desk and sturdy built-in shelves on the walls, and a new coat of nice looking paint on the walls. The office assigned to Priyanka had a desk that looked like it was just obtained from a 1970’s prison and a filing cabinet that seemed to have experienced many encounters with a hammer. I could fit my entire thumb in some of the holes in the wall.

    I advised management that I would not be giving the brown woman with identical credentials such an obviously worse office that was immediately beside the white man’s much better office. They told me they had no way of knowing about these differences between the new team members, and I had to bring it up four more times before they approved one of the several alternate options I presented.

      1. Garblesnark*

        Because the offices were selected with only a short window before the new team members would onboard, Priyanka was given an initial placement (and told upfront that it would be temporary) in a very, very nice office with a big window while decent furniture was sourced and the walls were repaired in the office originally selected for her.

        Not my favorite solution ever, but at least not the obviously horrible mess I was originally instructed to give her.

    1. Iusemymiddlename*

      Kudos to you for making sure the office fiasco was stopped, Garblesnark!

    2. A Significant Tree*

      Glad you were able to get it resolved but good grief I would love to hear them try to answer “What makes you think this is an acceptable situation?”

      1. Garblesnark*

        Every time I brought it up, they reiterated that they had no way of knowing about any demographic differences between the two new hires, both of whom they had personally met, shaken hands with, seen a photo of, and regularly referred to by their names, the cultural assumptions attached to which matched with their demographics.

        I find this particularly interesting because the main person I raised it with was a white woman who talked almost every day about sexism.

  70. Stella70*

    I was a manager at a hospital. Unimportant backstory skipped, they finally gave me an office.
    In a past life, it was the hospital morgue.
    After morgue-type activities were moved to a different site, they gutted the room and threw down new flooring after which it sat empty for two years. No one wanted to work in such a “spooky” space.
    I didn’t care whatsoever – it was a HUGE room, all mine!
    It took several weekends of me dragging in furnishings and decor from home and thrift stores before I was satisfied. It was like an oasis of calm — one side of the room was my workspace, the other was a homey “conference room” setup complete with a thick pile rug, soft floor lighting, realistic-looking plants, beautiful art prints. I had even hidden small speakers to play soft music. Heaven!
    Until.
    The Director of Nursing was taking visitors on a tour and walked past my open door. Her jaw dropped, and she demanded to know – in front of the others – how I got all of this [waved her arm around] approved by Finance. I told her I owned nearly everything.
    She harumphed and left.
    Two days later, a group of nursing staff knocked on my door and said they needed to use my office for a meeting.
    I thought they made a mistake until they showed me the conference rooms schedule master and sure enough, they had properly booked “Stella70’s Office”. My oasis was listed and bookable for “groups of up to six people”.
    I protested, pouted, whined to everyone I knew, but nothing changed. And my cozy space was so popular that I wound up hot-desking in a cubicle farm, because I couldn’t be in my office during most of the meetings held there.
    Lesson learned: The most I will furnish these days are fancy paperclips, and I repo them if I don’t get them back.

      1. zinzarin*

        I’d first submit it all to Finance to reimbursement. If it’s being used as a meeting space, it’s obviously a company resource, right?

        No reimbursement = I take it all home.

  71. Ophelia's Ghost*

    I worked for an opera company for a few years. Loud singing and bad acting is not my jam, but I muddled through being there by outfitting my office with humorous opera decor, including collectibles of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd from “What’s Opera, Doc?” and a poster of the Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera”. Many of my opera-loving colleagues did not share my sense of humor. OPERA IS APPARENTLY VERY SERIOUS.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      I dig opera, and I also think that “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “A Night at the Opera” are hilariously awesome. I’m sorry you got stuck working with such a bunch of stuffed shirts.

      Kiww the wabbit, kiww the wabbit, KIWW THE WABBIT!

    2. Angstrom*

      “Rabbit of Seville” is a masterpiece. So is “Long-Haired Hare”.

      One can appreciate Art and also laugh at it.

    3. Indolent Libertine*

      Most musicians, including opera lovers, are devotees of musical humor- witness the huge success of PDQ Bach, nearly universally beloved among classical musicians. But like any other niche, we can distinguish between the people who are laughing with us and the ones laughing at us. Your disdain for opera is so palpable even in this brief comment that I can only assume it must have been apparent to your coworkers as well. I’m pretty sure your decor would have landed differently absent that.

  72. Ghee Buttersnaps*

    Our women’s restroom is painted Pepto Bismol pink…”because we’re girls and we like pink.”

    1. JustaTech*

      Oh heck no.
      I had some friends who bought a house where the master bathroom was Pepto Bismol pink. The walls, the floor, the tub, the sink, the toilet, everything.
      They were trying to decide if they could live with it, then one night they had way too much fun out on the town and discovered that a great way to make your hangover 100% worse is to crawl into a Pepto-pink bathroom.
      The tore out the whole bathroom and replaced it with nice, soothing neutrals.

    2. ferrina*

      When I read “we like pink,” my brain immediately added a poster from Janelle Monae’s Pink music video.

  73. Jigglypuff*

    When I worked in a cubicle farm, one of my coworkers played a harmless prank on another one, and in revenge, coworker #2 decided to start decorating coworker #1’s cubicle with skeletons. It started off with a plastic rat skeleton (it was near Halloween, so getting these kinds of things was pretty easy). I saw it and added another plastic skeleton the next day, even though I wasn’t part of the original prank at all.

    It got to the point where several of us were assisting and we had to create a google doc so we could keep track of who was bringing in what and when. Eventually our HR person stopped by the cubicle to make sure coworker #1 was okay with all the pranks (he was, and it was good of them to check).

    The day after Halloween we all came in to the office to see that this coworker had gifted every single person in the office one of the skeletons from his cubicle, and he STILL had enough left over for a creepy, Halloween-is-every-day look.

    1. Large cage of birds*

      As I sit here (at home) with my plastic skeleton to the right of my, and several skulls on the desk, I love this. I wish I had an office and someone would do this to me!

  74. black thumb*

    One job I worked at the company was acquired. The CEO of the new corporate owners hated office plants, but was in a different state. When ever he came to visit there would be a mad rush through the building to collect all the office plants and hide them in storage closets or take them home. The front desk would cancel the weekly flower delivery.

    People were just unhinged and terrified that this dude might see something green in his five minutes walking through the cube farm. Was just going to randomly fire people for having a succulent on their desk? Who knows, maybe. That was the vibe from management.

    Fortunately I kill plants so all I had to do was hide the mess on my desk.

  75. lunalae*

    At my old, very toxic job with a single owner, had multiple fancy printed canvases with pictures of himself with “motivational” text over it – stuff like “You can’t deposit excuses” and “When you’ve got a good team behind you, you can turn any project into a success” (same guy laid off 3/4 of the staff 3 weeks before Christmas and had either fired or driven the remaining staff, including me, in another 4ish months). The worst, though, was a picture highlighting his watch that said, in the most ‘graphic design is my passion’ blend of fonts and symbols possible, “This is a ROLLIE not a STOPWATCH sh*t don’t ever STOP.” The curse word wasn’t even censored, the sh were just very thin and kinda faded to emphasize the IT.

    My coworkers and I all agreed that they were major red flags and we were all kinda weary going into working for him, but he did a good job of selling himself and the business and we all decided to try, even though. Yeah, did not turn out well.

    1. Ostrich Herder*

      Making motivational posters of yourself out of Drake lyrics was never good, but it’s aged exceptionally poorly lately!

      1. lunalae*

        … I did not know until today that those were Drake lyrics. LMAO

        I also forgot to mention that my spouse has a degree in watch repair/design and when I told them about that one, their immediate response was “Well if it has a chronograph then actually it is a stopwatch.” and chronographs are fairly common on luxury watches.

        1. Sharpie*

          A degree in watch repair sounds amazing! The closest I get to luxury watches is watching (pun unintended!) the YouTube channel Wristwatch Revival, which is lovely and relaxing, watching him take apart an old beaten up mess of a thing and getting it running again is fascinating. Plus he has a lovely calm style of narration that just makes it soothing and a delight to have on, even in the background, after a stressful day.

  76. ArtEsq*

    I worked in a museum that had an interior courtyard that my office overlooked. It had a gigantic primary-colored sculpture of golf clubs & golf balls & a random swirl by Claes Oldenburg. It was heinous. And a real great look for an institution trying to shed an elitist image. It’s gone now, thank goodness.

  77. GythaOgden*

    There’s a really lovely piece of art in my old building — a cut out of a house, about waist high, in blue plywood covered in mirrored tile mosaics and sparkly pasteboard gems in white and pink; it would match our corporate branding in the NHS really well. It’s slumped up against the wall at the end of a corridor and has been for years on end.

    It would be a really nice piece of decoration for someone’s wall but all it does is gather dust. We’ve just set up a new office there for the landlord to have a local HQ, and it would be really nice in that space. I hope no one has thrown it out in the last six months.

    There was also a hideous corporate affirmation plastered to the wall that I could see from reception. Except just after it went up, the government went and merged the organisation upward into something that covered more of the south of England than it previously had, leaving the sign out of date just as soon as it had gone up. It was removed shortly afterwards.

    Lastly, I do quite large complex cross-stitch designs, and I’m hoping that some day I might take a photo of one of our sites and work it up in thread for them. The ultimate in DIY kitschy decor! Where’s the devil smiley when you need one?!

    1. AnonORama*

      Re corporate affirmations, a former job had one of those motivational posters behind the receptionist’s desk. Someone — no idea who, but they’re my hero — swapped it with a same-size, similarly cheaply framed Demotivators poster. If anyone else is a Demotivators fan, it’s the one with a salmon leaping out of the whitewater and a huge bear standing above the fish, perfectly positioned for a tasty sushi snack. The text is something like “A journey of a thousand miles…sometimes ends very badly.”

      The best part? Management never noticed. I worked there for at least two years after the swap and the Demotivator stayed.

  78. Beancat*

    Well, I’m very grateful I took home my keychain display or I think I would have made someone’s list, hahaha. It’s just a metal grid (maybe 12”x12”?) hung on a cubicle wall that’s meant to be used for hanging photos on it with clothespins. However, I collect keychains and have so many I can’t possibly keep them all on my keys. So rather than make my keys weigh a ton, I just clipped my keychains to the grid. It’s super cute, in my biased opinion, and sparks joy for me to see, but when I realized just how many keychains I actually have by hanging just the first ten, I made the call to take them home where I can hang all 44 of them without shame.

    And yes, I plan on collecting more.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      My sister has a collection of keychains she’s received from vendors over the years and has them hung on a little pink Christmas tree in her cube.

  79. Poker Chip*

    I once worked in a government office that had a huge painting of a topless mermaid on the wall. It was a gift from a foreign government and needed to be displayed out of respect (I guess?). It had first appeared in the office of a Muslim colleague who objected to having a topless merwoman staring down at him while he prayed. So into my office it came. My boss, who was a very conservative Christian and who had complete control over the office decor, used to come into my office and rant about how inappropriate it was to have a huge painting of a topless mermaid. He did this several times, and yet the topless mermaid remained on my wall, watching me work.

    1. anon for this*

      Back in the day when wild-west theme parks and such were a thing, a family friend worked at a small wild-west “ranch” where you could do trail rides and such. Obviously this was a great hit with youth groups as a field trip, and people loved to rent it out for events.

      In the “saloon” there was, behind the bar, a giant painting of a reclining nude lady. There was also, probably permanently but who knows, a pair of carefully folded bandannas/neckerchiefs, pinned over the… sensitive areas of the painting, bikini style.

      Might have been a good solution for your mermaid. ;)

      1. Wolf*

        If I visited an office in the US and saw they made a bikini for a painting, I’d be tempted to gift them more naked art. Some greek statues, or classical paintings. Europe has a rich history of unclothed artwork.

  80. Cheeruson*

    From a previous career in the extractive natural resource industry:
    When our division office was severely downsized and moved from their poshy downtown digs to a few offices at our site, of course renovations were required. Including carpet! Where the normal end-of-shift garb for ops people included a few inches of mud caked to at least knee height. Everyone delighted in finding a question that only division could answer, and, of course, in person.

  81. Dust Bunny*

    I work for a medical school library so our “decor” consists mostly of items and artwork from our collections, which I thought might be pretty weird out of context but, reading this, apparently is not. There is a framed collection of surgical needles on the wall next to my door. We did finally put away the shadow-boxed obstetrical forceps because nobody really wants to see those all the time.

    1. Lucien Nova*

      That’s actually neat, if you ask me (but then again the clinic I attend for some of my specialty appointments has an entire glass-walled case full of Ye Olde Medical Instruments and I just adore looking at them!)

  82. Spring*

    I got so fed up with people sitting at my desk and messing with my ergonomic setup – when there are desks very nearby that are obviously unoccupied – I brought in a bunch of stuff to make it look like I was using it and might come back at any moment. I’m not crazy about having so much stuff on my desk, but it does seem to keep people away when I’m not there.

  83. Acid Queen*

    To keep it vague-ish, my office is related to an artist and art collector…and so all that art has to go on the walls and our desks. As it’s ~art~ we neutrally tell visitors they are “organic female forms” if they ask what it is. But since we’re 12-year-olds at heart, it’s boobs and butts. Is a photo of me and my spouse next to a flower that looks like lady parts? Possibly. Might I have a mini-inflatable tube guy next to what looks like thick thighs? Who can say?

  84. Former Tech Company Employee*

    I worked for the office management team of a tech company in SF. Just before I was hired, they’d remodeled what had been an old bank / data center / call center building into an office that was truly gorgeous. There were articles written about it at the time — the remodel was really cool. It included a three story stairwell with stadium seating on it that was beautiful – but came with its own set of problems. No one had thought to do any contrast stripe on the stairs so when you were going down, the light wood of each step all blended together and it was really hard to see where you were going. After several people tripped, we ended up putting contrast tape on every.single.stair by hand as a stop gap until they could put contrast wood on. We then had to take the contrast tape off by hand the day before the wood was going in. It was a time. One of the c-suite people walked by my colleagues and I on our hands and knees, peeling tape up and using goo gone, and said something to the effect of, “Jesus, this is the best we can do around here?” I wanted to trip her.

    Anyway, the other problem with a 3 story set of stairs was the noise. We had a particular employee whose laugh was so loud – I could be sitting at my desk next to the top of the stairs and hear him laughing three floors down. Basically, if you sat next to the stairs, it was never quiet.

    Still, that office was beautiful. I’m pretty sure that the stairs inside the remodeled SF MOMA as well as the stairs inside the tech company in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist were modeled off of our office. The company vacated post pandemic and it makes me a little sad it’s not there anymore.

  85. Dentist Office*

    The dentist office I used to go in the early 2000s hired window painters to decorate the exterior/street facing windows with visual parodies of famous artworks. Like Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam but giving Adam a big, white, toothy smile; stuff like that.

  86. ICodeForFood*

    A long, long time ago (1988), I worked for a software company, and I remember an office where a woman had many stuffed animals… like, wall-to-wall stuffed animals, on every single surface. One of my coworkers referred to it as “the nursery.”

  87. Sunflower*

    In the 90’s, a lot of us had one or two (maybe even three) Beanie Babies on our desks. One person’s desk was *covered.* It was like a display at a toy or gift shop. But hey, whatever makes you comfortable to get you through the day.

    Another coworker found a dead cicada and kept it on her desk for years.

    1. HRChickie*

      I’m sorry, I’m going to need more information about the dead cicada decoration (!!!) I am laughing and horrified.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Well, it was going to be 13 or 17 years before she got to see one again…

      2. Goldfeesh*

        My mom would occasionally find shed cicada shells and hang them on her kitchen curtains over the sink.

  88. margarine*

    I work for a Methodist org so this isn’t strictly inappropriate for the context, but we have a ten foot tall painting of christ on the cross. It’s not gory or anything, but it’s done in a very stylized, almost comic-bookish style in bright BRIGHT colors so it definitely catches the eye.

  89. Not Totally Subclinical*

    One of my relatives built a Lego border on top of the walls of his cubicle.

  90. an old cataloguer*

    My first job out of uni was in a library. I was allocated to an office that had formerly been a gents’ loo (aka men’s bathroom – this was in the UK) in the basement. The walls were khaki green, and there were pipes running across the walls and a tiny frosted glass window that looked over a dank courtyard. The ladies’ loo was still next door so the pipes regularly gurgled.

    On the plus side, nobody ever remembered about our office (unless they found it while looking for the loo) so we used to listen to music all day and sing along.

    1. Wolf*

      Ah yes… back in time, when I worked in academia, we had one office that used to be a loo. It was tiled brown and had a drain in the middle of the floor. Unfortunately, it never stopped smelling like drain.

  91. Irish Teacher.*

    Not an office, but I once subbed for a teacher who was big into drama. He was an English and History teacher, so had a lot of his classroom like a medieval castle, complete with a sort of arch into it of cardboard done up to look like stone. He also had a small room off his classroom with a load of props and stuff. It was one of the coolest classrooms I’ve ever been in.

  92. W-S*

    Our local Senior Services has designed their adult day center to look like a small outdoor area. The flooring changes to look like grass, stone walkways etc. The ceiling looks like a sky, the lighting is designed to look like clouds or street lights. It’s made with little seating areas for the people they serve to rest. We volunteered there one day and it looked like such a fun place to work in.

  93. Data Jockey*

    Decades ago I worked for a niche survey research and analysis company whose building was painted a very bright teal. I’m not sure if that was the owner’s choice or not, but they took it as inspiration for all their decor, including teal carpets, walls, and even painting the 1960s office surplus Steelcase desks teal (with what appeared to be interior wall paint because it was always flaking off)! There was also a tradition of people being able to paint their offices whatever color they wanted, and the trend was towards bright colors that frequently clashed with the dominant teal.

    This was augmented with truly hideous “art” all over the office. My desk with had what I can only describe as Wizard of Oz fan art hung on the wall right above me. The owner of the company apparently loved all the paintings and prints, but my manager allowed me to swap “my” painting for another, somewhat less distracting picture. However I had to do it off hours so we could claim we didn’t know who had done the switch!

  94. Brain the Brian*

    We have a fountain in our lobby that has to be kept at a precise fill level. Too little water, and it won’t run. Too much, and it sounds like some peeing. Either option gets “comments” from upper management.

  95. CoffeeIsMyFriend*

    university put in a large bio wall in the new science building but didn’t want to pay for the necessary lighting so every few months it looked terrible when the sections that didn’t get enough natural light died off. company would then come back and replace them. repeat process…with budget cuts I wonder if they are still replacing plants…

  96. Shannon*

    I used to audit banks, so I have been in many, many bank board rooms. I used to joke that there was a set you buy when you decide to open a bank – you just had to choose red, blue or green. All of these rooms were the same – same table, same chairs, same carpet, same curtains, same couch. All the curtains were the same, a pattern of red, blue and green, so the bank just had to choose a color and buy the matching chairs, carpet etc.

    There were two exceptions, both vast improvements, one that had a beautiful neutral scheme and silver grass cloth wallpaper, and that bank had a board member that owned an interior design firm, and one that was teal, to coordinate with a MASSIVE Persian rug that had teal accents. It really was amazing. There was a local family that owned a national rug manufacturing company, and one of the family was on the bank board.

  97. Anon Government Employee*

    Transportation-related office: a working model train that went overhead around half of the office. Took it with him when he retired, so we don’t have it anymore.

  98. So Anon For This One*

    A dishonest, bigoted, quarrelsome, and universally-loathed colleague weaseled his way into being Interim Dean of the Honors College. One of his must-haves for the College offices was a stripe in one of the school’s colors all along the tops of the walls, 3 inches below the ceiling.

    Facilities declined to paint the stripe for him.
    He came in on a weekend and painted the stripe himself.
    The following Wednesday, Facilities painted over his stripe.

  99. Meg*

    My dentists office has the exterior of a log cabin! Its very strange, I figure she must have purchased the building and just went with it. The waiting room interior keeps the log cabin décor up, but once you go to the back, its all normal office looking.

    1. HailRobonia*

      Now I am imagining if she went fully with the “oldey-timey” theme… “I do frontier dentistry here… now open your mouth while I get the hammer and chisel. Oh, you want something for pain? Have some moonshine!”

  100. many bells down*

    I work for a church and once of our members committees had a big project they were so excited about – a mural with portraits of all the previous ministers. Problem was, the minister that had just left was being investigated for sexual misconduct and we (the staff) weren’t allowed to tell anyone until it had been resolved.
    There was the most awkward meeting where we had to politely dissuade them from this project without saying “we will all quit if you put up a picture of Rev. Creepy”

  101. Katie Did*

    OMG, I have the best one.

    Now, I’m not one to talk, because when I had an office (we’re permanently WFH now), I had like 10 Funko Pops on my desk, but it was nothing compared to this guy from a past job.

    It’s been about 12 years now, so some of the details have been lost to time, but….

    We shared desks/computers at this job because there was a day shift and a night shift. This guy took it upon himself to decorate the entire cubicle with the MOST bizarre stuff — DVD covers of the X-Files, the sticker that comes on the corner of a television set that gives you the specs, a framed issue of Nickelodeon magazine with Larisa Oleynik on the cover (when she was like 14), family photos, etc. This man was in his 40s. Management finally told him he couldn’t take over the whole space — there was a dayshift person who worked at his desk too. So this man MEASURED the cubicle and decorated exactly half of it with his stuff.

    At Christmastime, he brought in a big ass binder-style family photo album and each day, he’d flip it to a new page. Then one day there was inexplicabily one child’s dress-up high-heeled princess shoe. One. None of us knew what it meant.

    Unsurprisingly, the guy had a LOT of other issues, including stalking a coworker. He once cornered me in a dark hallway to complain that I brought in cupcakes for the dayshift but didn’t leave any for the night shift. It took FOREVER but he was finally fired and took all his deritus with him. I wish I could remember his name.

  102. Alis*

    Not an office but my doctor’s waiting room is filled with paintings and drawings of naked people. Absolutely everywhere you look. You can’t not look at a naked person unless you bury yourself in your phone.

    1. JustaTech*

      When I went to see the breast cancer surgeon (I’m fine, just extra screening) the waiting room was standard for the build, but every single exam room has two or three pieces of boob art.

      Like, it’s weird. Someone is getting told that their boobs are trying to kill them, or that they have to have their boobs removed, and that’s the art they’re looking at?

      It makes me wonder what the urology exam rooms look like.

  103. Not Your Mother*

    One of my reports worked in a cubicle so empty that when she was out for lunch, it looked like she’d never return. No photos, no sweater on the chair, no sticky notes stuck anywhere, no pens or supplies in sight. Just her monitor and the dock for her laptop.

    On a related note, she also didn’t carry a purse or a backpack. She clipped her ID badge to her jacket (she also wore the same clothes every day, so I’m not sure she ever UNCLIPPED her badge from that jacket) and carried her phone in her pocket, but that was it. Every time she went to the restroom she could have been going home and none of us would be the wiser because she didn’t carry a thing when she came in and out of the office.

    1. Wolf*

      That’s quite impressive. I wouldn’t feel safe without having a clean shirt hidden in my office, for emergencies (like spilled lunch or very sweaty days).

  104. AKinTX*

    When I started at my current company many years ago as an entry-level associate, I was in a small gray cubicle. I love to decorate, so I bought a piece of understated upholstery fabric (natural linen embroidered with simple cherry blossom branches) and tacked that up on the back wall behind my monitor. I also hung a little tealight lantern (with a fake candle) and added some framed pictures to my top shelf. Not only did I love it, but people passing by frequently told me how nice it looked. I often wondered why more people didn’t get creative with their cube spaces! These days, we’re remote, so the office days are over. But for webcam meetings, I obviously could not accept a plain wall behind me. I’ve covered it with cloth tapestries printed to look like a stone wall and added a vine curtain over the top, and it frequently gets positive reactions.

  105. old curmudgeon*

    I’ve been fully remote for four years now, but for the decade or so prior to that, I worked in a giant cube farm in a huge government office building. And the widely varying features of those little bits of real estate were honestly some of the most entertaining aspects of the job.

    Of course, the characteristics of a cubicle are very much a reflection of the cube’s occupant. It’s almost as if the quadrant is inhabited by an entire ecosystem of species and phyla, each with its own niche in the world. Some of the specimens I encountered during my years in Cubicle-Land included:

    The Minimalist
    This creature keeps his or her cube bare of all embellishment. All that is on the walls is the standard government-issued calendar, possibly a government-issued map, and the facility emergency exit plan. The shelves are empty save for binders of data, the desk surface is bare of all but a computer and monitor, and if you didn’t actually see this occupant at the desk, you might think the cube was vacant.

    Skeletor
    The individual in this cube lets you know from 20 feet away what his personality is, as he keeps a large, lifelike articulated skeleton hanging from his outer cube wall, right next to his name plate. Few people who don’t absolutely have to ask him something ever venture past the entrance, a situation that he seems to appreciate.

    The World Traveler
    This specimen surrounds himself with photos and posters of spectacular sites and views from all over the world. His cube walls, including the outsides that face the corridor, are covered in photos, his screen-saver is a series of photos from around the world, and he prominently displays his backpack, which is decorated with patches and emblems from all over the globe. It’s hard to figure out how he manages to find time for work with all the globe-trotting he does.

    The Java Junkie
    Now, this creature is a really unusual specimen. Lots of folks drink coffee, of course. And lots of folks buy their coffee from coffee shops. But most people, once they finish their daily jolt, dispose of the debris that is left. Not the Java Junkie in our quadrant – oh, no! Oh, he throws away the cup itself. But you know that collar of dimpled cardboard that the barista slides onto the cup to keep the customer from burning his hands? Well, every single one of those cardboard sheaths that this guy has ever gotten is still stacked up in his cube. The resulting precarious ziggurat of java collars reaches almost to the ceiling, dwarfing everything else in the cube, including the occupant.

    The Fisherman
    This species has a one-track mind, and that one track is piscine in nature. Tropical fish, in all media and all forms, fill this cube: photos, paintings, tapestries, statuettes, knick-knacks – you name it, if it has a fish in it or on it, you’ll find it here. The funniest thing is that the occupant won’t eat seafood of any kind.

    The Holiday Queen
    My department could save significant money by eliminating all wall calendars and just relying on this species to keep us apprised of what time of year it is. All that is necessary is a glance at her cube, and you know within a day or two what the date is. On January 2, the pink and red hearts come out, and they remain until February 15. Then the theme moves on to dueling decorations, with shamrocks and leprechauns vying for space with bunnies and jelly beans. That’ll be followed by flags and stars during May, June and early July. On July 5, the red, white and blue will get packed away, to be replaced by the next holiday in her lineup, and so on all the way through Christmas.

    The Fan
    This one is big in our state, and it’s a dominant species, too; there are at least a half-dozen or so in our quadrant alone. You can tell this species’ habitat by the overabundance of green and gold items, all decorated with a stylized letter G, and by the faint aroma of beer that hangs over it. Lesser known variants display purple and white surroundings, or in rare instances, blue and orange.

    The Packrat
    This is the cube you want to avoid. Papers are stacked three and four feet deep on all surfaces, including the floor, overstuffed file jackets are threatening to burst, drawers are crammed so tightly that they won’t close, food wrappers are crammed behind the computer monitor, and there are rumors that the county health department refuses to even get within 50 feet of the door. Folks in nearby cubes claim that rats and cockroaches live in the piles, coming out at night to dance on the desktops, and it’s not hard to believe.

    The Gardener
    The occupant of this cube is an avid plant-lover who considers her cubicle to be her own personal greenhouse. She lobbied for months for a window cube, and when she finally got turned down for the last time, she brought in a whole bank of grow lights to install in her cube instead. Potted plants cover the desktop and every shelf, and their leaves trail over the cube walls and down the floor to the next cube. Woe betide you if you brush against or, worse yet, step on one of them – the Gardener will deliver a fifteen-minute harangue about damaging her plants.

    The Jackdaw
    This creature has assembled the most amazing collection of shiny bits of kitsch ever seen. Mardi-gras beads are draped around the outside walls of her cube, multiple beaded lamps glow on the desk, a huge spray of garish silk roses emerges above the top of the cube walls and can be seen from anywhere in the entire quadrant, every single square inch of fabric wall is covered in posters and photos, and every single square inch of horizontal space is covered with gaudy, shiny, tacky tschotschkes. She is lobbying heavily for permission to bring in an area rug for her cube, since the commercial-grade floor-covering just isn’t bright enough.

    I don’t miss the old butts-in-seats atmosphere, but the sightseeing opportunities were undeniably amusing.

    1. Elle Woods*

      Let me guess: you live and work in Wisconsin? The green and gold G gave it away!

      1. OrigCassandra*

        That and the beer. Hi, fellow Sconnie.

        Also these descriptions are magnificent!

      2. Cubicles & Chimeras*

        I’m just sad he only mentioned the green and gold when there’s opportunity with that beer aroma to reference the beer related baseball team?

  106. Pixel*

    OMG I HAVE SO MANY!!!!

    1) the library at my college. My first undergrad degree is from Wells College (which is closing at the end of the semester and I still don’t know how I feel about that) which has one of the ABSOLUTE WORST designed libraries I have ever seen. The scuttlebutt was that it was designed to get into Architectural Digest, and I totally believe that because it certainly wasn’t designed for BOOKS. (https://www.wells.edu/academics/library/about-the-library/ but you’ll have to google for photos) The library sits into the side of the hill, is three stories, has almost no interior walls, weird balconies, windows that go to the ceiling, and terrible lighting. The joke was always that if someone sneezes up on the third floor, someone on the first floor will respond with “Bless you” and…well, yep. I’ve had conversations between floors. Because of the multi-story windows, it is either too hot or too cold, the sunlight is damaging to the books, and because of the terrible lighting, when the sun goes down it is extremely dark in the stacks.

    1. LibraryGal2015*

      I used to work at an academic library whose building was described as like a “ziggurat.” Because of this design, it had flat roofs. What do flat roofs do? Leak water into the inside of the building.

  107. Anonforthis12131415*

    Worked with someone who brought in delightful matching office furniture, supplies, and curtains (there were no windows). Think glass whiteboards and soft lighting, with several framed photographs and paintings. A unit themed table was custom-made at great personal expense. It was lovely, and clearly much effort and time had gone into making a comfortable and functional room. It was also clearly her first office, or she’d have been less enthusiastic. She was moved within a year, which was very common in that organization. The pictures never made it up in the second office but learned against a wall until she was moved again. The themed table stayed with the appropriate unit in office number one.

  108. I Need Light To See*

    I can’t judge anyone too hard because I’m a big believer in decorating my space (since I’m in it for 40 hours of my life every week). But my cube neighbors seem to have an abnormal hatred for the overhead lights, so much so that their maintenance buddy turned the light off above their desk. AND they put up an umbrella over where they sit by resting it on the top/edge of the cube. It’s not a problem since it doesn’t inconvenience me (not like their first idea of turning off all the lights in the room…) but it is pretty funny.

    1. Harried HR*

      OMG I can totally relate to your cube mates, I have an office with a window, a desk lamp and & standing lamp in the corner,

      Sunny days = lots of light
      Gloomy days = a troll hut

      If someone turns on the overhead fluorescent lights it’s probably 2.2 seconds before they are OFF !!!!

      1. JustaTech*

        My office mate had problems with out overhead fluorescents, so she got this big green fabric leaf from Ikea (it was intended to be a canopy for a child’s bed) to put over her desk. It was so nice I got one too!
        When I asked her where she got the idea she said to look across the street when I left the next night, and sure enough in the office building across the street every single desk had one of those leaves.

        Sadly when our office was renovated they took away the cubes so then there was nowhere to attach the leaf, but on the plus side they also removed the fluorescents so we don’t need them as much.

      2. Ainsley Hayes*

        I worked in an office that had the staggered, every other light pattern mentioned in an above comment. It worked perfectly for 8 of the 9 people – unfortunately, one of the cubes was situated so it was basically dark without the other set of lights on.

        This meant a battle royale about the lights every day. Because the dark cubicle person was the last to arrive each day, it was lovely until they came in and flipped on the other switch, blinding everyone else. If it were me, I would have brought in a lamp or two, but that’s just me.

        There was much discussion about rewiring the lights (spoiler: no) and popping into the director’s office to complain.

        Someone popped in to the director’s office one morning to complain, and must have caught her on a really off day, because she came out, closed the door to the hallway, and proceeded to yell for a solid three minutes about how the kindergarten whining about the GD lights was done. As of this minute. Never to be brought up again.

  109. Poison I.V. drip*

    We hired a young engineer who was (and is) a bit of a man child, although he’s gotten much better with maturity. His first two Decembers with us, he went absolutely bonkers decorating his office for Christmas. Lights EVERYWHERE, garland, dancing sculptures… It’s like he thought the house decorating scene in National Lampoon was a challenge and not satire. I rolled my eyes and cringed but allowed it. It’s been 8 years now and the decorations haven’t returned. I’m sure that internally he’s cringing to himself.

    1. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      We had an HR admin at my old company who went hog wild with seasonal/holiday decorating every month of the year. Her actual office space was the most chaotic I’ve ever seen – post-it reminders, old commemorative photo collages from every company event that had happened in her 20+ year tenure, work reference sheets, and other various papers, going back years taped up on every vertical and horizontal surface in layers. You couldn’t even see her keyboard most of the time. Also multiple open packages of food and snacks laying around on top of all that at all times.

      After she got fired, the executive assistants had a “fire sale” of the stuff from her seasonal decor stash that she declined to take with her when she left (i.e. they piled it on tables in the break room and said everyone take what you want, the rest goes in the dumpster at the end of the week). I ended up with several rolls of gift wrapping paper, a bolt of very nice fabric, some tablecloths, a ton of decorative plant potting stuff for my boyfriend, and a pair of novelty boxing gloves (?) for my son.

    2. Mouse named Anon*

      I had a job that was open on the day after Thanksgiving. The sole purpose of making everyone work was decorating the shit, out of the building. I have never seen a company with so many decorations. Almost every square inch had Christmas decorations.

  110. HailRobonia*

    When I joined my current organization 10+ years ago, I “inherited” a Japanese watercolor landscape painting (purchased in 1984) that was in the wall adjoining my cubicle. It’s tall craggy mountains, gnarly pine trees, and a small figure of a man sitting on a stone outcropping or natural bridge. My boss told me it was real art, not a poster or reproduction and to make sure we keep it in any future office moves.

    Since then we have moved three times and I’ve made sure to hang it in my cubicle. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, especially in Zoom meetings.

    The painting has some calligraphy on it, presumably the title and maybe the artist’s name? By chance I happen to speak/read Chinese and the title is something like “Pine trees, cliffs, gentleman” but the rest of the text is so stylized I can’t make it out. I’ve been meaning to look into it and this thread has given me the motivation to solve the mystery… hopefully the helpful communities in Reddit might be of use.

  111. starrai*

    I used to work at a famous comics company, and honestly, our decor was amazing. You kinda had to be a professional nerd to like it as opposed to finding it tacky, probably, but I loved it. The two reception areas had huge murals depicting the cities of our two most famous characters, and the other floors had a specific theme for each one. Mine had a giant mural of many characters drawn by the creators associated with them. IYKYK, so I’ve kinda outed myself here. But I miss it a lot.

    Sadly, the offices have gone to another company and they’re all modern and bland now. But once upon a time…

    (Also, then I went to work at the big red doghouse for a while, which, again, IYKYK, but that had some great big red doghouse-specific decor as well. Until ITS remodeling.)

  112. Ruby Soho*

    I think my office is pretty cool. I have a big window, plain white walls (as opposed to the manilla-folder colored walls in my previous office), and a lot of desk space. I also have 17 fake plants on my window sill, mostly succulents (I have a black thumb, so real plants wouldn’t work), random but funny artwork by my 7 year old niece (like a drawing of me drinking a beer), a cool lamp, a fancy little mirror, marble and glass dry erase boards with succulent magnets all over the biggest one… But the best part is that one wall is covered in these brass things that look like sea urchins! They’re definitely a conversation piece! One of my coworkers offered to turn my office into sort of a kelp forest. Too bad he was joking (I think), because I’d take him up on that – it would be hilarious!

  113. EJane*

    I’m a therapist with a service dog, who (since he’s not a medical alert dog) is allowed to interact with my clients.
    I have a very deliberate aesthetic in my office, sort of dark academia meets 2010s pinterest influencer. The many, many dog toys and the two-foot-long stuffed monkey that my dog decided to eviscerate mid-session the other day kind of mess with the aesthetic, but the vibes are IMMACULATE.

  114. Bunch Harmon*

    In high school (25 years ago), I had a teacher who had a velvet Elvis painting in his classroom. It was incredibly ugly and his wife wouldn’t let him keep it in the house.

  115. KTM*

    One of our industry collaborators has a division that works on riflescopes and other hunting related tech. Their office is generally ‘midwest business generic’ but their main conference room is wall-to-wall taxidermy. I’m talking every. square. inch. and every animal imaginable from run of the mill deer to exotic safari types. It’s STARTLING and is the only thing anyone ever talks about if they visit.

  116. pally*

    I was really surprised and disappointed to find that a huge biotech company in my city, touting all the billions in revenue they bring in every year, couldn’t even install the correct flooring in the cafeteria areas in their buildings.

    There’s Pergo flooring throughout the cafeteria, riddled with stiletto heel marks. No one knew to use commercial grade?

    1. Tinkerbell*

      I got to take a tour of the NASA buildings in my city (Huntsville, AL) a few years ago. For such a high-tech occupation, they’ve really leaned into the “1970s government building” aesthetic, including the directory sign being that black corrugated kind with the white push-in letters and exposed pipes running along the ceiling. The coolest part, which I didn’t get to see in person for obvious reasons, was the “donation point” in the men’s room – one of the current research projects was looking at how astronauts on the ISS could recycle urine into usable water, so men relieving themselves got to choose a regular urinal or a special “donation funnel” which allowed them to further the goals of space exploration, one drop at a time :-P

  117. MillardFillmore*

    My office is…. Quirky! It’s a healthcare startup that got bought by a big corporation. The majority of our work has a call-center focus and we have big open working areas. In general the decor is nice, Urban Outfitters looking stuff with lots of artwork from local artists. This will make my company identifiable to anyone who’s worked here, but my office has themed fun rooms for video conferences. We have a knights of the round table room, a zen meditation room, a That’s So 70’s room (including record player with vintage records!), there’s a hidden library room with a moving bookshelf… but the absolute BEST room is the space station room. It has a speaker playing the starship enterprise noises, there’s a panic button that dispenses a towel, and the whole interior is filled with buttons and spacey doodads.
    I had a fully remote manager who was deeply confused every time I showed up to a one-on-one and I swore I was in the office.

  118. Name here*

    Not a cubicle, but a boardroom. In the middle of the conference table, there was an odd papier mache sculpture of a pig with suckling piglets. The walls of the room had paintings of the pig and her progeny in bright colours. When our hosts arrived, we asked about the art and they smiled. Apparently, they got it on loan from an art bank and it was an amazing ice breaker in meetings because everyone was curious and immediately started chatting and asking about it.

  119. BellyButton*

    It wasn’t awful, but it was the most mid-90s hotel generic (this was late in the 2010s) “art”. We had multiple buildings on our campus, with many many many long white hallways with the exact same art, placed in exactly the same order. As well as multiple conference rooms that all had the same 10 prints used.

    To add to it, a lot of us traveled on a regular basis and we tended to stay in the same mid-range hotel chain– that used the same art work! We also came to realize that many of our satellite offices had the same art, regardless of which country the office was in!

    In my department it became a thing to take a selfie with the duplicate artwork and send it to everyone with the date and location of the said artwork. We had contests to see who could find the most obscure location for the month. We had an entire bulletin board of these selfies.

    It was silly, but it made us all laugh.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Our state offices also have identical art. Always fun to play Spot The Poster on Zoom calls and site visits.

  120. Anon Office Drone*

    A colleague bought another colleague a lifesize cutout for their cubicle. It was not uncommon on days this person was out for us to see visitors talking to Flat Colleague for a sec before realizing they were talking to the cutout.

  121. Married to Jake G*

    Not an office, but my classroom. Every inch of the walls is covered with movie/tv décor. My favorite part, and the kids love it too, is my Jake GyllenWALL. The entire wall is covered with posters, a life-sized Jake, his autograph and a candle that “smells like Jake Gyllenhaal.” I have a problem.

    I’m retiring in 20 days, so the wall is coming down. For some reason, my replacement doesn’t want it.

      1. Married to Jake*

        I have given away a ton of stuff already and there is a so much left! That’s what 35 years of teaching will do!

  122. kiki*

    This is temporary office decor but I unintentionally freaked out several coworkers with a giant spider decoration for Halloween. I like spiders and think they’re kind of cute, so I genuinely wasn’t thinking about how frightened some folks are of them. The mental streams of “I want to do a fun spider decoration” and “Arachnophobia is relatively common” didn’t cross for me ( I know some commenters won’t believe me, but I’m being entirely genuine here ).

    My office was full of early birds and I’m a night owl, so I tended to start at 9:30 and stay until 6 or so while everyone else would start between 7-8am and be out of the office by 5. After work and everyone else had left, I put together the giant spider with construction paper and was able to hang it from the ceiling so it looked like it was looming over my cubicle. It wasn’t super realistic and was done in a cartoonish-cutesy way, but it was fundamentally a huge spider shaped object.

    I came in the next day to find that the office administrator had already cut it down. Apparently nearly everyone walking in that morning had a panic attack and many screams were heard. I missed this all since I started later, but I hear it was a really eventful morning. I feel so embarrassed– I really didn’t mean to cause anyone distress!

  123. Cocoa for Cuckoopuffs*

    In the reception area of our office we have a huge wall print of our logo and stylized abstract design behind it. The image/design is fine, no problem at all – it’s visible and visually interesting but not obtrusive.

    What is problematic is that it was installed at great expense and then our executive director didn’t like one tiny element of the thing and had it entirely redone. It cost more than 10 grand in total.

  124. old curmudgeon*

    I could never quite make up my mind whether this was cultural appropriation, or just plain old garden-variety weirdness.

    Back when I worked in a giant government cube farm, there was a cubicle in my quadrant that was occupied by a grandmotherly type who appeared to be the archetypal Midwestern matron. She wore her long, greying hair braided and wrapped around the back of her head, dressed conservatively, and just generally exuded the feel of many generations of stolid Scandinavian ancestry. One could easily visualize her totally at home and comfortable in one of those scrubbed-spotless farm kitchens with Hardanger-embroidered curtains at the windows.

    This pinnacle of Scandinavian womanhood kept a very odd item in her cube. It was carefully positioned on the shelf right next to the cube partition that adjoined one of the main corridors through the quad, and it was perched on top of an old telephone placed so that it was clearly visible over the edge of the partition; you could see it no matter what direction you approached from.

    This curious object was a Ken doll that appeared to be in use as a voodoo implement. Ken was wearing his usual skimpy bathing suit, flashing his vacant plastic smile at all who passed, while sporting huge dress-maker’s pins stuck in his eyes, in his ears, up his nose, through his teeth, and in other parts more southerly that we won’t explore in detail.

    And the question of why in heaven’s name a dignified Scandinavian matron would keep a Ken doll impaled with dozens of pins as a cube decoration has been burning in my psyche for years.

    Was she betrayed by some handsome but shallow and fickle man at some point, and voodoo Ken symbolized her contempt for the entire gender?

    Did she have delusions of Santeria and imagined that she was giving headaches to the bureau chief?

    Or was she just plain weird?

    1. BellyButton*

      I can’t believe you never found out the answers to all the questions! I wouldn’t have been able to resist asking. How odd, and how odd that no one told her it was weird and take it down. Maybe they were scared she make a voodoo doll of them.

  125. Emby*

    My old federal government office used to have the internal information system called, I believe, “Integrated Set of Information Systems” or something similar. Clearly a mouthful, so it went by it’s acronym, ISIS. It was retired before I started in 2014, but not too long before then. One of the librarians who worked on the system had decorated their cubical in lots of things that referenced the ancient Egyptian god Isis. Including a poster that said “Isis, Isis, Ra Ra Ra!” Fortunately, we weren’t public facing. But still very weird to walk by in the mid 2010s.

    1. Sharpie*

      Pretty sure the British Army had that system too, back in the day. The name has aged kinda like milk.

  126. Anonymous for the Day*

    1st job was an internship with The Limited. I copied blueprints for all of their divisions–Bath & Body Works, Structure, Express, Limited, Limited Too, Galyan’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Cacique, Hendri Bendel, Victoria’s Secret, etc–for contractors and project managers, and the print room was way back in the back, so I walked dozens, maybe a hundred, cubicles, offices, etc.

    The walls of every single one of them were completely covered with photos, news articles, pictures, etc, from fashion galas, publicity shoots, etc. I remember two statues and several floor-to-ceiling spreads.
    Images of scantily clad young women EVERYWHERE. Strategically placed images of smartly dressed young men here and there.

    I was told on my first day that I was hired because I was the only teenaged student that showed up to interview. I’ve always carried with me the doubt that the story was completely true; I may well have been the only one who maintained my concentration through the of the flesh gauntlet.

  127. Dry Erase Aficionado*

    I used to work for a C-level employee who had piles and piles and piles of paper. Everywhere. I’m talking every part of the desk, filing cabinets, and cupboard/coat closet thing. But then also stack after stack along the floor lining the whole office, about a foot or more high. It was bananas.

    On the bright side, I always know it is time to clean my office when I walk in and instantly think of him.

  128. Bees That Are Ghosts*

    I briefly worked at a gentleman’s club, and built into a wall, there was an antique taxidermy display of a bar scene composed of ground squirrels engaged in various tavern activities. They were sitting on barstools at a tiny bar while a bartender squirrel served drinks, playing poker with teensy cards, and warming themselves by a mini cast iron barrel stove. It was in a 4ft glass tank, so quite large. This thing was art. There was a very strict no phone usage policy in this place with the exception of taking a photo of the amazing squirrel display. I swear some people payed the cover just to come in and check out the taxidermy. It was epic. If you Google “ground squirrel bar scene taxidermy” you will see examples of what I am talking about.

  129. nerak*

    My dramatic coworker started to remove personal items from her office, to the point where it was pretty much bare, and people were wondering if she was job hunting/leaving. Some bolder colleagues actually asked her point-blank, and she said “oh no, just redecorating!”

    A week or so later, it was back to looking almost exactly the same as before, same pics of her family, motivational/inspirational decor, basket of snacks, which leads me to believe she did that for attention? It was odd.

    1. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

      Mayhaps she thought she would try minimalism out but didn’t end up liking it. Or she had every intention of re-decorating but decided to spend her money on something different. There are a lot of other possible explanations!

    2. PotatoRock*

      It’s like dressing up to interview level occasionally, you gotta do it when you’re not interviewing so it’s not so obvious when you are

    1. alle*

      Why not? XD I have a coworker who decorated her room with poster of Asterix the Gaul. I think that’s actually pretty cool.

  130. OlympiasEpiriot*

    I am in an open-office, hot-desking office that is so bland, I had a hard time learning my way around because there weren’t useful landmarks or changes in color between departments.

    Some kind of decor would be nice.

  131. Abundant Shrimp*

    Story 1. One evening in late December (a super-busy time in the industry my employer is in), I had stayed so late that I was alone on the floor, and was finally leaving; through the front door, because the back one that I normally used was already locked for the day or something. Walked into the dark empty lobby and was met by a lifesize cutout of the CEO wearing a Santa hat. Gave me quite a scare.

    Story 2. There was (is?) a software company in my metro area that was famous for having two slides going from the second floor to the first. The slides were supposed to be an indication of what a cool place to work they were. There was always a lot of talk in the media and SM from that company about it being a “family”. Then one day, the “family” company made national news for laying off 150 people in one day, via a prerecorded Zoom call, to replace them with cheaper offshore labor. But they had the slides!

  132. Bruce*

    In the mid 80s my employer built a brand new office building behind our existing factory, the first floor was getting partitions put in when the CEO decided they were too tall… he wanted to be able to look over the tops and while he was taller than me he was not tall enough to peer over the installed walls. Then when the lower ones were far along he decided the color was not the right shade of red… so new fabric panels had to be ordered and the installed panels replaced.

  133. Axolotl*

    This isn’t that egregious, but I feel like sharing: My office is 100 different shades of green. The company I work at has always had a green logo and branding. When we moved into our current building ~5 years ago, the woman in charge of facilities decided she didn’t like our company green so she’d give a few “nods” to the company colors but would mainly stick with different shades of green that she liked better. About two years ago, we underwent a rebranding with a newly designed logo, which is also green, but different shades of green than the original branding. So now, some things in the office (e.g., the nameplates on the office doors, a giant piece of wall art that looks like the old logo) are the original company green. Some things (e.g., new wall art with the new logo that were hung on the wall after the rebranding) are the new shades of company green. Most items (the carpets, the accent walls, the light fixtures) are random shades of green that the old facilities person just liked, which bear no relation to either logo or to each other. It’s an absolute mess.

  134. Immortal for a limited time*

    I worked as a contractor to a large government agency and had to travel to public assistance offices to provide technical training to staff. One office allowed each worker to paint and decorate their offices to help maintain good morale. One man (in a field dominated by women) was quite the hunter and covered the walls of his office (which was maybe 12ft x 14ft) with large taxidermy pieces like mounted elk heads and mountain lions. While taxidermy like this isn’t unusual in my rural part of the country, it was too much for a smallish office with standard-height ceilings, and probably intimidating to clients who may have been at a low point in their life already.

  135. Sunshine*

    An office bathroom with brown asto-turf covering the walls. Up to the halfway point, where it was finished off with the kind of metal strips you see in doorways. Just like how people tile bathroom walls halfway up… but why use tile when you could use plastic carpet?

    1. Tinkerbell*

      Eww eww eww, I can’t even IMAGINE what kind of germs are hiding in brown astroturf in a bathroom. Like, there’s no way to clean that stuff!

      1. Sunshine*

        I’m guessing this was a 1970s redecorating job. So after 50 years, probably a LOT of nasty stuff. Ewww is right.

  136. Megan in Seattle*

    Our office was apparently doing a refresh of the common area art, and for more than a year, there was a piece of blue painter’s tape that read “new art” on the wall. I thought, “is…that it?”

    1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      The CEO’s daughter made a giant mural of our logo out of blue painter’s tape. It was intricate and obviously took a great deal of planning and skill, but it was too fragile to be dusted so it got dusty and flypaper-ish after a few years.

  137. Pdxer*

    I work as a chronic wound specialist, and at the time I was in a hospital-based clinic for a private health system. Someone from corporate came through and thought our tiled floors in the hallways and treatment rooms didn’t look nice enough. Over the weekend, (somehow) they had carpet laid. Again, we dealt with chronic, draining wounds. Our janitor was about 30 seconds away from going on a hunger strike when she saw what they’d done. It lasted exactly 2 days before they came back and tore it up.

    1. JustaTech*

      And I thought when they put in carpet on my floor it was bad (they laid carpet up to the elevator, not understanding that we had to walk past the elevator to get from one set of labs to the other, and there is a strict “no science on the carpet” rule), but at least it was just a few feet, and not in a clinic!

  138. Spacewoman Spiff*

    I used to work for a well-known education nonprofit. While I was there, we moved into a new office which had been painted with stenciled-style art of children playing (think, white wall and the children completely painted in black paint). Which is a great idea, very fun, except that one of the children, who given the hairstyle was pretty clearly meant to be a Black boy, appeared to be holding a handgun. Many people pointed this out to leadership and asked for it to be fixed, but it never was, meaning that we just kept having to walk guests past this wildly offensive bit of wall art and pray they wouldn’t look too closely.

  139. Pixel*

    2) First work weirdness. My first real job out of college was working at Cornell University’s IT helpdesk. We were on the first floor in what used to be the machine room for the storage drive array for the university mainframe (which was in the basement in the machine room) back when the drive array was tape drives. The only change was that they took the hallway wall out for access. The removable floor was still in place, all of the windows on that floor were sealed shut, and because our part of the building was not connected to the rest of the building’s HVAC system, we used the Liebert (which was ALSO still in place) for our air conditioning.

    *For those of you unfamiliar with machine rooms and datacenters, the air conditioning systems blow air up through the floor. So some of the removable panels have holes in them to let the air come up through, which means that if you’re using an old datacenter as office space you have to get creative with where the air panels can go.

    On the plus side, because of the floor panels, when the door to the back half of the space got accidentally locked and nobody had any idea where the key might be, we sent the smallest of the student workers through the floor under the door to the other side to unlock the door.

    On the minus side, when the power went out in summer thunderstorms, it meant we had to relocate to a different floor of the building or outside if we wanted fresh air.

    Honestly that entire building was a TIME — it also houses the phone switching system, or did, in an attached bunker that had two separate badged security doors. It had originally been one of the entymology buildings and there were stories about the weird mutant bugs hiding down in the steam tunnels. The roof is steeply peaked and slate (like about half the buildings on that part of campus), so in the winter if the snow accumulation is significant enough, the entire front exterior of the building is a danger zone as the snow avalanches off. I saw one of the older system programmers get totally flattened once as he was standing outside smoking.

    The basement machine room housed the mainframe that ran (among other things) the payroll system and the library system, a monster IBM system that was water cooled and had its own dedicated phone line to call home (this is an IBM thing). There was a dedicated generator for the phone bunker and a separate generator for the machine room, which existed entirely to provide enough power for that mainframe to power down gracefully. So, during the inevitable summer thunderstorm power outages, we would all troop outside to listen to the generator spin up. It was huge. It sounded like a jet engine powering up.

  140. Iden*

    If anyone here knows me, it’ll be very obvious that this is me but a few jobs ago, I had a decent sized office to myself. For unimportant reasons, I was gifted a set of what’s essentially TIE Pilot armor (from Star Wars) that was not wearable by me and that I, quite frankly, had no space for in my apartment. So jokingly, I asked my boss/the office director (a very nice, not nerd middle-aged woman) if I could bring it in and set it up in the corner of my office if security okayed it. She said yes.

    I thought we were joking.

    Turns out she was very serious and came back several weeks later and asked me where it was. Anyways, that’s how I ended up ordering a display dress form and spending an entire morning one week when my computer was down setting up the TIE fighter armor in the corner of my office, helmet and all.

  141. not important*

    I worked for the local county government, a supervisor put up a photo of Jesus that a local prominent religion uses (and everyone knows this photo). I complained to HR for obvious reasons and was told by the head of county HR they couldn’t ask the supervisor to remove the photo because that was a cartoon of a white man and I assumed it was Jesus.

    One of many reasons I’m glad to be out of that job.

    1. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

      This makes me think of all those images of Ewan McGregor’s face photoshopped onto the bodies of various versions of white Jesus to create Jesus Wan Kenobi.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        My spouse used to have a very programmer-style beard and did, indeed, look a lot like Ewan McGregor’s Obi Wan Kenobi. When my son was a toddler, I acquired an Obi Wan Kenobi pez dispenser. He called it “the Daddy pez.”

  142. Chief Executive Llama Groomer*

    One of my former workplaces had a plunger decorated like a Christmas tree in the bathroom during the holiday season.

  143. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

    Floor-to-ceiling glass walls, neon orange floor, neon green furniture. Supposedly ergonomic “seating solutions” that required straddling a molded plastic base and generated static electricity like crazy. The first year the colors were so vibrant they kind of burned the eye, but then sun damage bleached everything out and it was more tolerable.

    1. Wolf*

      Ah yes the ergonomic furniture that doesn’t work if you wear a skirt, or have any kind of mobility issue.

  144. Rage*

    I’m still proud of this one.

    I did back-office admin work for a small counseling practice. One of the therapists, J, had an oddly-shaped office at the end of a hallway, so instead of the door opening right into the office itself, you walked in and had to make an immediate left. From the main hallway, you could see the wall of this tiny hallway (if the door was open). So J put a decorative table there, with one of those small desktop waterfall things. On the wall itself, she hung 3 ceramic tiles, about 2″ wide by 5″ high with some sort of character written on them, with the name of it underneath (think “peace” “harmony” and “joy”). They were a sort of pale yellow, with black print. You get the idea.

    One day, I got a wild hair and I designed a fake tile that matched the dimensions and color of the real ones (I knew those PowerPoint skills would come in handy!). I made a character that looked like aligned squares, but somewhat off-set (to make it look more natural) – like 3 squares across and 6 down. Underneath, in a similar font to the real times, I wrote “chocolate”. I printed it in color, cut it out, and when she was out of the office, and taped it to the wall alongside the others.

    It took her 3 months to notice, and she only noticed because a new client was being ushered in, saw it, and burst out laughing. “How clever! I love it!” J looked…then looked again…and also laughed. Then she yelled “RAGE! I LOVE IT!” before just going on into the office and getting on with their session.

    Later, I said, “Why do you think *I* did that?”

    She snorted. “Who ELSE in this office would do that?”

    I conceded the point and admitted the prank. She loved it so much that she kept it up there, and when she moved offices, she removed it from the wall and put it up in her new office.

  145. JHunz*

    I had the opportunity to visit the offices of mobile developer 5th Planet Games before they folded, and their office was decked out like crazy. Even just the foyer before you entered the main office had an eight-foot-tall statue of one of the dragons from their games. I still have a picture of myself next to it.

  146. Ex paralegal*

    My building has what I like to call a “John Stamos thirst hallway,” which is made up of multiple connecting rooms, two of which are decorated with portraits of John Stamos. It is my favorite thing. Apparently the hallway itself was created at the request of an employee who wanted to be able to get to the free food on the other side of that floor without having to go up & down stairs. When two of the rooms were left undecorated, that employee just happened to have a bunch of Stamos memorabilia which they then donated as decorations for the newly created hallway.

    I was a paralegal at a law firm whose biggest client was a big bank that was deeply unpleasant as a client. After an article came out that memorably described this bank as a “vampire squid,” one of the paralegals printed out an unrelated newspaper photo of a vampire squid and hung it in her cubicle. Definitely helped relieve all of our feelings.

  147. Ow...my back*

    One of our major clients had a daughter who started an interior design business and offered to give us a service discount to put some furniture in. Wanting to be supportive of her new endeavor, we agreed to give her some business, gave her a budget, and let her re-decorate the employee break area, figuring it was fairly low stakes if it wasn’t perfect.

    She proceeded to use the entire budget to buy 1 loveseat. It looked okay, but the sofa was so squat to the ground that even our shortest employees had a hard time sitting in it, and almost all of us needed help getting out once we sat down. One 6’4″ employee got legitimately stuck and ended up warping one of the legs of the sofa trying to get up. Rather than get rid of the sofa, our office manager just stuck a sign on it that said “Do Not Sit”. It remained that way for four years before we finally got rid of it during a full renovation.

    That interior design business is no longer in operation. The new sofa in there is lovely.

  148. The Constress*

    This used to be an escrow office. Some pictures were taken down, but the one in the kitchenette remains. I don’t know why. It is a Georgia O’Keefe print and honestly, not something I ever thought I’d view while eating my lunch.

    SMH. Thank goodness we’re not client-facing! I would not want to have to have this in view with clients.

      1. Large cage of birds*

        My daughter draws a lot of rainbows that are….narrow? I don’t know how else to describe them. But they often look a bit O’Keefe-esque…

  149. Jelly Bean Fiend*

    I worked for Epic (in Madison, WI, the medical software company) about ten years ago. It’s notorious—there’s already a comment here mentioning it! It’s a software company “let’s make a playground” ethos backed by a strong vision, a lot of money, and cheap midwestern land.

    Highlights:

    -Lots of local art. Some of it weird. The most striking to me was a mask, about a foot and a half in diameter, hanging over some water fountains. The mask was made out of hair.
    -A hallway painted to look like a New York City subway car, with—oddly—stuffed life size dolls in street wear slumped on the seats. Supposed to be sitting but…they were so soft they drooped.
    -A large training room made to look like an old west saloon, complete with a mannequin on a mezzanine dressed like the madame of the joint
    -A big slide

    1. BellyButton*

      I was once a certified trainer in EPIC, the campus is famous. I heard all about it before being sent for certification. It is fun.

    2. Jelly Bean Fiend*

      What else…

      – A hallway that led toward the big auditorium that was kept quite dark, apart from hundreds of string LEDs hanging from the ceiling. A very beautiful underwater vibe
      -A dungeons and dragons -themed building that was painted and furnished (in public areas) like a castle
      -Iirc there were some beautiful big iron sculptures outdoors

  150. Margaret*

    One staff member moved from his own apartment to his new partner’s house, and in the transition brought a LOT of his stuff (clothes, kitchen stuff, small furniture) through his office. Weird, but temporary, and fine enough… He alluded to her having some strong opinions about decor, there wasn’t always a place for his stuff, etc. But it never made sense for him to have a full-size standing pop-up zip-up WARDROBE in his office for at least six months after the move. I kept expecting him to take it down… and then finally had to tell him that he couldn’t keep it in the office. At which point he asked me about the rules for office decor, and I just said it couldn’t look like he lived in his office because uh we don’t and it’s weird.

  151. Three Owls in a Trench Coat*

    A long time ago, in a city far, far away, I worked for a recording studio. The building used to be occupied by a furrier (sell/repair fur coats), and the basement was the vault where the items were stored. The recording studio owners converted the vault into the studio. With a little acoustic foam paneling, the thick concrete walls were very soundproof. The door to the vault was original, but the locking mechanisms were disabled and drilled out to prevent any accidental lock-ins/outs.
    It was a very neat space. The rest of the office was very humdrum and boring. Kinda disappointing.

  152. learnedthehardway*

    My first real career job was for a small boutique that had WILD decor in the public-facing parts of the office. Every surface was covered in modern art. In a small office, it was completely overwhelming. I couldn’t have worked there, except that the back rooms were far tamer.

    The worst – there were full size dummies in armchairs in the waiting area that looked almost real, and like they were having a conversation. People would walk in and say hello, then do a double take.

    This was a recruitment firm – I think it was calculated to destabilize candidates.

  153. K*

    Current space is *very* swanky with great views and lovely art. All well and good EXCEPT when it is windy out- we are 3rd floor from the top of the building and those great views mean there is nothing to break the wind coming in from the rivers. Our two story mobile sways like crazy and the interior office walls creak and moan, making us feel like we are on a pirate ship! More than one person has mentioned that the sound makes them aware of the building’s movement and makes them seasick

  154. mreasy*

    At a company I worked for years ago, we moved to a big new office and one of the higher-ups commissioned a staffer to create 3 murals themed around our work subject. I am NOT exaggerating when I say they were both hideous and incredibly unprofessional. They were 6th grade binder drawing level, except somehow worse. Apparently she was paid many thousands of dollars to make these awful things.

    A year or so later, this same staffer sued the company for not preventing the egregious, continual sexual harassment she was experiencing from the same executives who hired her for the mural.

  155. Not as anon as I'd like*

    (potentially very identifying information) When I worked in a Theme Park that billed itself as a “Theme Park and actual movie studio”, at one point, our area’s offices were in a part of the park that was formerly part of the back stage tour attraction. We would sometimes end up with random props being stored in our office. One day, a life size statue of Pocahontas (the actual human, not the Disney version) appeared in our office. Shortly thereafter, the statue started being dressed in different outfits – one day it was a safety vest and hard hat, the next was a leftover new year’s hat that someone had found, one day she was dressed in one of the rain jackets from our Special Effects Water Tank show and a skirt made from 2 utility towels pinned together, etc.

    Then the office got absolutely destroyed by a mold infection, and we never set foot in there again. I think that space was eventually bulldozed to make room for new attractions, and presumably everything left in the office was tossed.

  156. Apple Turnovers*

    I work for a local health department, specifically in the office that deals with sexually-transmitted diseases. About half of us have papered our cubicles with posters from previous advertising campaigns in various languages about things like syphilis testing and what to do if the condom breaks (“Come get tested for free!”). Then last year, one of our admins went on a decor kick and bought a bunch of those plush giant microbes, so there are at least a dozen chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia plushies sitting along the walls throughout the cube farm that greet people when they come in.

    Plus the one office candy dish that had chocolate in it used to be propped up on a bunch of manuals about diagnosing STDs. I always called it the syphilis candy dish, but no one liked that. Now it’s next to the office plants away from the STD merch, so it’s just the regular candy dish.

  157. NMitford*

    This “flower” arrangement beloved by the CEO of a company where I used to work: antlers and dried grasses in a footed metal plant stand that was plunked on the reception desk one day (the reception was thrilled, let me tell you).

    https://imgur.com/a/JGeJhlE

    Tusky, a walrus skull with tusks, hung on the opposite wall.

  158. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

    I know I’m in the minority on this one but I support everyone with wacky office decor. I want more of it, even if I hate the decor they choose. I totally get why most professional spaces are bland as hell and there are a lot of very good reasons to not express yourself at work.

    But that also is kind of a sad and disconnected way to construct a society. We spend so much of our lives in spaces and with people where it’s not really safe or wise to bring your full self. That’s not a problem that can be solved with individual solutions so I’m definitely not saying more people should be expressive at work. I am saying that it brings me joy when I see folk bringing more of their whole selves to their space despite the risks.

    Obviously you still need to be aware and respectful of how other people experience the space and plenty of people aren’t (ie bikini car wash calendars and giant Jesuses) but I super appreciate all the folks who get it right or close enough to count.

    And to be on topic, I will add that when I had a private office I used to decorate it for halloween with black gauze and gothic wall art, but everything was still G rated cause I know people can have strong reactions to some of the common themes in Halloween decor (ie death and violence).

    1. Shutterdoula*

      This thread is mostly *celebrating* offbeat office decor.
      It’s not a statement about society like you seem to think.

  159. Carter*

    I had a boss once who was a little scattered. Good at her job, but details outside of her job were not her strong suit. I regularly had to call to reschedule meetings because she wouldn’t organize her time all that well. It was a running joke in the department that you couldn’t get a meeting with her without it being rescheduled three times first.

    When she started, there was a huge very dead plant in her office from someone before her — like up to my chest — that for unknown reasons she wouldn’t let anyone else deal with.

    She would make comments like “I really need to get rid of that thing” and “I’m going to take that to the dump.” I offered. The office manager offered. Random admins from other teams offered. No, no. It was her office, she would deal with it. She was always too busy.

    The huge, brown, flaky dead plant sat there in her office, which had glass windows and doors, for more than a year shedding pieces of itself for the poor janitorial staff to clean up before she finally went on leave for two weeks and someone (my guess is the office manager but I don’t know) removed it after hours.

    She never mentioned the plant’s absence, but her office suddenly looked A LOT more put together than before (her calendar still wasn’t but that’s another story)

  160. Loremipsum*

    I worked for a government agency that occupied the top floor of a Class B office building in the central area of a major city. Passing the concierge desk, the glass, steel and marble floor to the elevator, I would enter with various tech startup workers, sometimes with a courier rolling in a keg of beer for their Friday afternoon parties. The doors would open and I would see brightly-colored walls, Keith Haring-like murals, digital displays of colleagues excitedly collaborating at lab benches etc, until I got to the top floor that was occupied by the agency. Down a beige hallway, passing the restrooms(that you had to enter a code for) and badge in – it was 1967 all over again. They didn’t want to spend any money on it as it was the government of course and they were constantly having people come in to assess it and decide if they were going to move out when or before the lease was up. Tan walls, old cubicles with high walls, ancient printers, and that distinct smell – like carpet that has been dampened and dried repeatedly as the roof leaked and into the office. People had those huge At-A-Glance calendars that would just have the days Xd off up to the present. Then they had a retirement incentive and dozens of people took it so it emptied out and the furniture was piled into rolling bins. My office was windowless and originally had some kind of machinery or copiers in it and there were three people in it. I arrived as late and left as early as I could and asked to be transferred out of there. It was definitely the worst office environment as far as decor I had ever been.

  161. RussianInTexas*

    Some years ago in the old office, the office manager got a budget to redecorate our floor. We left work on Friday, and the office was just your standard shades of grey drab cubicles, grey carpet, cream walls.
    We came back on Monday to the wonderland: battleship grey walls with random bright red accent walls. Grey and red carpet tiles. The break room was also painted grey with the bright red accent wall, except the old maroon and cream linoleum and maroon furniture stayed. It clashed terribly.
    Few months later the office manager retired, and the wall situation was reversed over the weekend once again. We left the office nicknamed “Battleship West(streetname)” on Friday and came back to the all cream walls on Monday.

  162. Not doxxing myself*

    I worked in a public library that was designed and built in the 70s and so parts of the building were also designated as “public art” and couldn’t be changed. The exposed ductwork was painted either bright purple or teal and the metal rafters were bright orange and yellow. There were also spotlights on tracks above the reference desk in harvest gold, brown and red. You could still find the original wall colors in some staff areas and there was a lot of harvest gold and avocado.

  163. Jordan*

    I used to be part of a legal services non-profit that represented Texas death row prisoners. At the prison that held our clients, before going to the visitation room, you check in at the inmate services office. Which had on one wall a gigantic mural of Calvary. Braided barbed wire was painted along the top of all four walls in the room and the work was in the style of Thomas Kinkade. The staff said this was the work of a talented life-sentenced inmate.

    What shocked me most was that this was a religious mural in a government building holding people the State intended to execute. (And if Jesus wasn’t the original example of a wrongful execution, I’m misreading my Bible. But I digress!)

    The mural was up for a couple years, then got painted over. I always wondered how that happened, but was too busy at work to find out.

    1. Goldfeesh*

      Maybe the prisoner was making a point that the administration/staff was missing.

  164. sofar*

    Best: Our office has a big set of shelves in the lobby with various metal free-standing letters that are arranged to spell words like “Innovate,” “Inspire,” “Data,” “Diversity,” “Teamwork” and such. Our employees have found fun and amusing nonsense ways to rearrange the letters that tend to stick around until someone notices and puts them back the “correct” way. “Innospire” and “Dab” were some of my favorites.

  165. Prof Ma'am*

    Not office decor but bathroom decor. Our department admin put no less than 8 smelly soap bottles in the women’s bathroom. Think bath and body works cucumber melon and vanilla sugar. This was in a bathroom that had soap dispensers already! There was also at least one diffusor and each stall had a little bottle of poo-pourri. It was too much smells. TOO MUCH.

  166. Seriously?*

    You know that George Costanza poster in his boxers? A colleague (who I grant you, is not my favorite person) has that hanging next to their door. I find it inappropriate, but maybe I’m a stick in the mud? I mean, have it in your home office, sure, but not in your work office.

  167. Clisby*

    My first career was in journalism, and one time I was interviewing the state Agriculture Commissioner in his office. Mounted on the wall was a taxidermied 2-headed calf (or, rather, the front half of the calf), with 4 legs.

    Turned out this calf had been born on his farm, and for some reason he chose to memorialize it.

    I have no recollection of the interview, because my horrified gaze kept wandering to the calf’s heads.

  168. Noether*

    Do an image search for “John Horton Conway’s office”. He was a mathematician who filled his office with models of polyhedra hanging from the ceiling, a pile of tennis balls to demonstrate sphere backing, and so.

  169. Anon for This*

    After Princess Diana’s death, a guy I worked with turned his cubicle into a shrine to her. Pictures everywhere, news reports, etc. I moved on to another job, but when I was back recently for a meeting saw the shrine is still there. And has been updated.

  170. Eeyore is my spirit animal*

    This is not weird within the context of my employer, but it always shocks outsiders.
    I work for the Army and there are so many full-size replicas of weapons, hand grenades, various types of artillery rounds, targets decorating civilian offices. Some are injected plastic and some look incredibly real. None of them are real, that is a good way to get fired and banned from post.

    The oddest single item was a bull scrotum that was tanned and turned into a pouch that he used to hold paper clips. It felt random because he was a forester not a biologist or rancher. The biology folks always had skins and feathers floating around their offices.

  171. sara*

    We’ve since moved to a different office with fewer walls, but our last office space in the main conference room had a gorgeous photo mural. We work with farmers, and the mural was of an orchard in full-bloom. Plus around the office were photos of other orchards, fields etc at various stages of the season.

    New office space is bigger, almost always has enough desk space for everyone at the office each day, has lots of windows etc. But also has basically no walls for hanging art, so nothing’s been hung yet and it’s a bit of a bummer.

  172. LovelyTresses*

    I work at a legal non-profit specializing in civil rights, founded about 15 years ago. We’re larger now, but when we were first founded, the entire staff was just two attorneys: the founders. One of the founders’ husband made some sort of…metal art, wall hanging as an office gift/decoration. I’ve never met him, but based on the art piece I have to assume he is an amateur artist (at most). The art is VERY large, contains a metal sun, metal shrubbery, and a metal scale, to, I assume, represent the scales of justice (what all of the other aspects of the art meant is unclear). If you recall Phoebe’s Gladys/Glynnis art from Friends, you’ll have an idea of what this art was like. The entire piece has EXTREMELY sharp edges and sticks out pretty far from the wall when hung. This monstrosity has traveled with our organization from office to office and every new staff member usually works up the courage to inquire about the “interesting” art piece sometime during the second or third week of work. I’m shocked we haven’t had any workers comp claims related to the art yet, lol

  173. AmberFox*

    Pre-pandemic, one of my colleagues in another office kept what we knew as “the graveyard.” Not a real graveyard, mind you. Just a wall where he pinned up the cubicle nameplates of anyone in that office that left the company that he happened to know. (And possibly from a few he didn’t know personally – I didn’t ask!) It used to feature in his cubicle decorations when the office was still doing Halloween cubicle decorating competitions.

    1. Sola Lingua Mortua Lingua Bona Est*

      I had one of those In Memoriam walls at a previous job and a virtual one in my farewell email in the position I left last month. They were people who had been dear to me and important in my training or development, and/or with whom I had worked closely.

      I was known as the “historian of the team/department” in both roles.

  174. Sex Couch*

    I worked for a nonprofit and we were at the mercy of our board president’s wife. She would was an aggressive thrifter who fancied herself an interior designer. We had an entire storage unit for extra furniture, carpets, tapestries, holiday decor that we didn’t need. She had very free-form tastes, often donating things that were bright neon orange, visibly sexual nude paintings, creepy clown statues. My boss, who would have chugged a gallon of mud if the board told him to without question, was adamant we swap out the perfectly normal new sofa in our waiting area for one the board president’s wife donated. He stressed how important it was to accept this furniture and thank the president’s wife, as it was very important to the board president that we accept her donation. The day it got delivered he took one look at this sofa and it went right back onto the delivery truck, my boss red up to his hairline. It was a sex couch. It was a very discreet sex couch, but one quick google told us it was a very expensive bespoke sex couch from a high-end BDSM company. You could see where it had uh…spaces for attachments, hidden compartments, and platforms that pulled out from under it. We didn’t get anymore donations from her after that.

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      If that was a thrift find, WHAT a thrift find!!!!

      (Ordinarily that’s not the sort of object that you’d want to get “used”, but most of them are constructed to be easy to wipe down with a disinfectant of your choice, excluding fire.)

  175. Camelid coordinator*

    A famous architect designed the student center at my former esteemed employer and also picked out all of the office finishes. Everything—the walls, the chairs, the rugs, the desks, the visitor chairs, the filing cabinets, the window frames, I could go on—was grey. It was very depressing, and we were not allowed to paint the walls a different color or buy other furniture.

    The furniture was uncomfortable and not functional, as you might guess since the architect picked it out. He was supposed to be some kind of genius, and buildings almost identical to this one litter other Ivy League campuses. I always wanted to go in and see if those have the awful decor also!

    1. Rainy*

      I’m guessing it wasn’t actually Arthur Erickson, but that was the first name I thought of. Grey, depressing, and uncomfortable were his hallmarks.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        While going through a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, the tour guide had to keep warning the taller members of the group to duck due to the low ceilings and fixtures. She explained that Frank Lloyd Wright himself was not a tall man, and he “didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about other people.”

        The house was gorgeous and would have been incredibly uncomfortable for the family with small children he’d designed it for.

        1. Rainy*

          I spent a year in architecture school many years ago before switching to something with a significantly more bearable asshole quotient, and the profs were all in love with Frank Lloyd Wright. We had two FLW buildings in town, one of them a house where reportedly Wright would show up periodically and move the furniture back to the exact spots he specified in his drawings, while berating the owners for moving it and “spoiling his vision”.

      2. Nightengale*

        I lived in a Louis Khan for 3 of my 4 years of college. Outside – gray. Inside – grey concrete with holes we were told was supposed to have been faced with something at some point. Fortunately the furniture was regular college dorm furniture, not amazing but not hard and gray either. There were lots of corners, supposedly to make the building somewhat riot resistant. Every so often, one would come back from class and find 50 Japanese architecture students with cameras or sketchpads examining the exterior and hoping for a glance at the interior.

        It was strange living in a dorm you knew was in architectural textbooks but also generally considered ugly.

  176. Popchickaboom*

    My husband has a demotivational poster up on one wall, that you can’t see from the hallway. He changes it out every 6 months or so.

    They had a renovation, and put in a wall of framed caricatures of every employee. It looks really cool. You have to be there 6 months to get one. And if you leave, it’s gifted to you.

    1. Rainy*

      I have always wanted that Meetings demotivator but I’ve never quite been bold enough to get one.

      1. AnonORama*

        I have that as a coffee mug, but only use it in front of coworkers I know will be amused.

        Also, I don’t want to re-tell the story I told above, but at an old job someone swapped a cheesy motivational poster for a Demotivator and it stayed up for years. Might still be there!

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      We have a friend who was a high-ranking military officer. He had the Demotivators poster with the big snowball on it in his office. Most people didn’t notice it, but every now and then a four-star general would do a double take.

  177. The teapots are on fire*

    I was interviewing for my first librarian job in a small community college in rural Georgia. As the tech services assistant opened the door of my possibly-future office, she said very kindly, “Now, I want you to know, the color can be changed,” in a tone that said, “We had nothing to do with this.” If you took Pepto-Bismol pink and made it just a tiny bit mauve-y, that would be the color. It was…a lot for a very small room with no outdoor windows and fluorescent light. Because this lovely Southern grandma gave me a cue, I was able to say, “Well, it’s not necessarily a color I would have chosen.”

    By the time I started the job, the color had been changed to an institutional gray. Apparently my predecessor in the job had been difficult in all kinds of ways and this was a kind of cleansing for them.

    I was fine with it.

  178. Nesprin*

    A couple of years ago, facebook built and opened a building that was a single 1/2 mile long open office.

      1. JustaTech*

        The thing is that they do a lot of fun and reasonably-practical decorating so it doesn’t *feel* like a half-mile-long open office.

        That said, I still don’t understand how my husband and his coworkers get anything done in any Meta office.

        1. I Have RBF*

          They are infamous for igniting the horrible trend of open plan hellscapes in tech. Classic cargo cult: Facebook does it and they are very successful, therefore if we do it we will also be successful. I work remotely now.

  179. Anon for this*

    I work in a conservative university setting and a colleague in another office is full-on Disney — every inch of wall space, desk space, etc. So much so that I know that people have talked about them behind their backs.

  180. Honey cocoa*

    My husband used to work at Netscape way back in the day. The majority of co workers were quite young. One of them had suspended camo netting from the light fixtures effectively tenting their entire cubicle.
    There was also a designated nap room, which I had to point out was a bad sign.

  181. To See You Better With*

    This must have started in the late 70’s, but I saw it in the early 80’s when my dad took me to his office. It was a very large and respected firm that sold and repaired expensive engines (marine, power, diesel, etc.) made by a large American company. We lived on an island that’s part of the US and is surrounded by a lot of deep seas, so there are a lot of fishing aficionados living there. Deep sea fishing is a sport. The firm’s owner had stuffed fish on every available wall of the showroom – and the showroom was massive because they displayed enormous engines, earth movers, and so on. Anyway, all these fish were of the marlin variety, glass eyes and so forth, so on top of being a bit… eek… they were also huge. My dad managed to get one of his own – a 130+ lb. fish he’d captured during a tournament that lived in our house. Oddly enough, when we moved to the US mainland, the fish mysteriously did not make the move…

  182. Ann Onymous*

    We had a motivational poster that said “individually we are a drop, together we are an ocean.” Being a building full of engineers, somebody added a post-it note showing that given the average volume of a drop of water and the number of employees at the company, we were more like a cup than an ocean.

    1. BellyButton*

      LOL sometimes I miss work with engineers. their very practical and literal humor always amused me. In my 20+ yrs working, engineers, hands down, the best notes like this.

      1. Engineer Who Can't Resist*

        Perhaps the “we” in the poster is everybody on Earth. But even then, 8 billion drops of water would only fill enough 1-gallon buckets to line up for 27.5 miles…

        OK, I’ll stop.

  183. Geek at heart*

    I used to work across the street from a trading card clearing house. They had just acquired the office space, so I got to watch the castle with a dragon go up in the main lobby, and walk by their themed meeting rooms on the ground floor with huge windows to the street. Harry Potter, Star Wars, video games . . . I desperately wanted to go in and ask for a tour.

  184. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    I asked if I could have a disco ball in my office, and they let me. The only thing I’m sad about is I can’t make it spin.

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      Disco ball high five!

      My cubicle was a stop on the Facilities tour, I’m pretty sure. I had it arranged for maximum storage space (I was the team admin and got tasked with having all sorts of things to hang on to) and comfort. When my team moved buildings I asked if I could get the cube desk panels rearranged and Facilities said sure, it wouldn’t be any extra work, they were going to have to customize everyone’s anyway. So I had a fairly conventionally placed corner panel across from the cube entrance with my workstation. Then the back of the cube had the two other desk panels at counter height, exactly tall enough to fit a set of cube shelves under one half and one end of a tiny couch (IKEA deck furniture, two seats) under the other half. There was a rack with coffee syrups. And a disco ball overhead. It was completely over the top. I wasn’t the one who started the flag war though, that was the U Mich contingent.

      Each of the office buildings on that campus had a distinct color scheme. Not to a completely overwhelming level, lots of it was muted, but you could tell what building you were in by what color it was. The problem was that the designer had basically flipped the initial design over three different ways for the first quadrangle of buildings, so the relative positions of the men’s room and women’s room varied based on what building you were in. It was a rite of passage to actually or nearly walk into the wrong one.

      1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        The buildings were pretty hard to navigate even though they were very similar, and in my first location I had to guide lost workers in search of their meeting room constantly. So I printed out a map of each building with the conference room names visible, highlighted those rooms, put a You Are Here symbol where my cube was, and pinned the maps to the outside of my cube. I expected that the next person might take them down, but as far as I know they could still be there.

  185. Cleaning decorations*

    I consulted with an organization that had a display wall of cleaning product containers in their reception area. (This was relevant to their business and made sense aesthetically.) However, the whole office smelled like a mishmash of different cleaning products and made my eyes water. Definitely not a scent-free office.

  186. Pixel*

    3) At a different job, the engineers decided that since the original cubicle numbering system was completely irrelevant due to people moving around and some general rearranging, that they gave every hallway and corridor a street name with its own sign. Which, honestly, made it a lot easier to find people once they had actual addresses.

  187. RussianInTexas*

    Another one, and not décor but security.
    At the previous jon I had to visit two of the Supermajor Oil Companies offices here in town few times for meetings. Both had super security, for an office building. You had to provide your drivers license, the security would scan it, you would get a visitor’s badge with your photo on it, and that badge would not actually give you any access, you would need an employee sign you in, AND provide which floors you were being taken to.
    Mind you, these were just their regular offices. My own office had badge access for the doors, but that’s about it. And we actually processed the data for the aforementioned Supermajors.

  188. Tammy 2*

    My former manager, a proud anti-choice advocate, had photos of fetuses in his cube. (My workplace has rules about how/where “political statements” can be displayed and these were within the guidelines.)

    I added an RBG dissent collar pin to my lanyard and am grateful every day that we both moved on before Dodd.

  189. Seven If You Count Bad John*

    The head admin assistant at the main corporate office of a call center where I worked 20 years ago LOVED PINK. Everything in her cube was pink. All shades of pink all together! She wore pink at every opportunity. Her cube walls were covered with pink paper. Any cube furniture (stapler, pen holder, paper clips, picture frames, highlighters, binders) were pink. She had a bouquet of pens in a pink vase with pink flowers on the ends (this was the first time I encountered this technique for identifying/preventing stolen pens). If she could legally write using a pink pen, she would. (As the exec admin, sometimes he had to—reluctantly—use blue or black.) Her Windows backgrounds, application themes, and screen savers were pink.

    I’m a pink hater, but the overall effect was actually extremely cheerful and somehow not at all overwhelming. (I think it helped that she was amazing at her job and overall an actually generous, kind, and cheerful person—I almost talked about her in the Random Acts of Kindness thread a couple weeks ago.)

    The company went buns-up a few years later. I hope she landed somewhere pink-friendly!

  190. Name Anxiety*

    I helped out in a school once where a long term substitute teacher had put up one of the iconic red white and blue posters of President Obama on the wall. I guess the school usually had a picture of whoever was president hanging there so no one thought much of it until after she was long gone and they tried to remove the poster (2016) and realized that it was permanently affixed to the wall and could only be removed by also cutting out the drywall behind it. I have no idea what she used to attach that frame to the wall but it’s still hilarious. If anyone claimed it was partisan, or inappropriate for a school, they were told that they should vote yes for the next levy/bond so that the school had money for the necessary repairs. To my knowledge they haven’t passed a bond yet, so it’s probably still there.

    1. Anonymouse*

      She used a permanent sticking charm like what Sirius Black used to put up the motorcycle-girl poster in his bedroom.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      I like to think that getting extra bond money for the school was part of her plan from the beginning!

  191. Ivy*

    Not the actual workspace, but the bathroom! I’m a woman in a blue-collar, still very male-dominated industry. I once had to work out of my employers’ “original” sites for a few weeks, a converted industrial space from the last century. It had been built with one multi-stall restroom on each floor, both men’s by default. At some point in the 90s, after complaining from all sides, the 2nd floor restroom was converted to a women’s room – by changing the sign on the door and filling the urinals with bouquets of fake flowers.

  192. PDB*

    I worked in recording studios for most of my life and decor is second to acoustic properties. The most outlandish was the intricate wood work at The Record Plant in Sausalito. I wish I could post a photo. It’s unbelievable.

  193. Intermittent Introvert*

    A friend in the office next to me loved big blow up Christmas decorations—the ones you put on your front lawn. Our offices were small but had high ceilings. I walked in one day to a huge Christmas-y character looming over me from the top of the file cabinet. Made me laugh. He didn’t see clients in his office so just he and I and the occasional passing faculty member got to enjoy them.

  194. Pixel*

    4) Current job: I WFH because I have ADHD and sensory processing issues, and I cannot work in a building that is all glass and concrete internally such that they have those ridiculous soundproof pods for people to make phone calls in — except half of my job involves phone conversations. There is NO sound mitigation at all — even most of the floor is uncovered concrete. It’s terrible. Even the offices and conference rooms are entirely glass, which as we know is a fantastic sound insulator. [/sarcasm]

  195. Death Ray Romano*

    I’ve always decorated my office(s) with a semi-retro living room-vibe. Retro table lamps, a nice throw pillow on the extra chair, framed art prints, books on the shelves and a vintage two-drawer card catalog next to my computer. It was never over-the-top and people seemed to enjoy it. However, it was always a pain to move!!

  196. Memematic*

    When email first became popular in the mid-90’s, I started working at a police dept. as part of a work-study program in high school (so I was a minor). I worked in the records office, which had 6 desks/workers in its own open office, one of which was against a large wall. One of my full-time colleagues would get funny emails – this is pre-memes, but they were memes all the same – would print them and display them on the wall. Every square inch of that wall was covered in memes, all of them on 8.5″ X 11″ paper (not subtle at all) and all of them in B&W because this was also before color copiers/printers were widely available. To be fair, the memes were hilarious! But some of them were NSFW for sure, and definitely inappropriate to show to the high-schooler working there. She was told to take them down halfway through my tenure there. It was a sad day.

  197. birdsofafeather*

    when I was working in an office they renovated the entire interior and let an engineer choose the color scheme. the posts going from floor to ceiling were squared, and were painted a sunny yellow. I couldn’t shake the vision of massive sticks of butter holding the ceiling up for the rest of my tenure.

  198. Lizzay*

    Not the worst, but definitely not the best. Within the last 10 years (but pre-pandemic), our office was moving and downsizing – going to open floor plan/hoteling. Previously I had been pretty vocal about how drab and blah our offices were (think off-white formica desktops & walls, dark grey steel filing cabinets, patterned dark grey carpeting), so I was assigned to the decoration committee for the new place. I was relatively excited about and hopeful that I could help put some imprint on the office – if we had to have the terrible open plan/hoteling, at least it could look nice & be a (relatively) exciting/fun/energizing workplace! We had 2 or 3 meetings, with a person or two from each segment. You know how too many cooks spoil the broth? When we moved in, our new exciting/fun/energizing workspace had: off-white formica desktops, off-white walls, dark grey steel filing cabinets, patterned dark grey carpeting. The only pop of color I was able to get through was a dark blue (that really read more like a neutral) on the desk dividers. People were concerned that yellow would get dirty or purple would be ‘tiring on the eyes’.

  199. How We Laughed*

    The only optometrist in my town was a trophy hunter and his office had taxidermist animal heads all over the place… and two bears, posed as if to attack, flanking the door so that was what you saw when you first came in. That place gave me the creeps, especially when he dimmed the lights for the eye exam and there would be a subtle glow on the glass eyes of the mounted animal heads.

  200. jaques*

    I was an intern in a small, niche healthcare clinic which had a weird obsession with the person who founded the clinic. People always would talk about “what would Jane do”, and there were pictures of her EVERYWHERE. One day when I was bored I waked around the clinic and did a count of all the photos. I counted 21 photos, again within a pretty small clinic space. This person had retired from the clinic many years ago and had since passed away. I could understand the one photo in the lobby with a memorial plaque. But did we need a gallery wall with 5 different photos of her in the lunch room?

  201. Zelda*

    In a previous job, a redesign involved painting a very large wall in a houndstooth design using neon yellow and black. It appeared that the wall was moving. Other questionable decisions were made, but that wall is what I remember. Just awful.

  202. Yeah, Not Anonymous At All*

    My desk currently has a (plastic) human skeleton inside a cage made from two laundry baskets. He’s kept company by a bat skeleton and rat skeleton.

    Legacy from a former coworker – it was part of her Halloween home decorations.

  203. anonstaffer*

    I work for Congress, and many of the Members of Congress’s offices end up being pretty eccentric because they tend to feature gifts from constituents and home state-themed decor that can get a little over the top. In December, there’s a holiday hallway decorating competition, so you’ll be walking through the marble halls of the office buildings and going from like surfing California Santas to Arizona cacti hung with lights to things like one conservative Member’s very officially Christmasy Christmas tree with a “naughty list” of progressive Members and all the terrible things they’d voted for, like not cutting Medicare benefits.

    I also really love the random historical artifacts sprinkled around. I just learned this week that the couch former President John Quincy Adams died on in the Capitol is now in the Women’s Reading Room in the House of Representative (a kind of library space reserved for female Members of Congress). There’s no plaque or special demarcation or anything on it, so apparently a lot of Members sit on it without any idea that a President died on it.

    1. Sharkie*

      This is the most DC comment I have ever seen on this site. I love the random artifacts that just appear

  204. H.Regalis*

    When I worked at the public library years ago, on the mezzanine level between two floors, there was a GIGANTIC painting of an ISA Brown chicken. The painting was like 25’x30′ and was loaned to the library by the artist. It was awesome and I was sad when the library had to return it after the loan period ended.

  205. SheLooksFamiliar*

    I landed a consulting project years ago for a privately held company, fairly large and successful at the time. I was referred to the project owner, we hammered everything out on the phone, got the contract via fax – lol – and I saw the office for the first time on my first day. The furniture was bland but functional. The wall decor, though…

    The CEO was a Civil War buff. Through the years he had put reproduction and original photos of the era on every bare bit of wall space…including slave auctions, slave ships, and worse. Just heartbreaking, horrible depictions of human suffering sharing space with less-offensive pictures. It was awful.

    I was told that almost all of the employees had asked to remove the depictions of slavery in any form, but the CEO refused. The Civil War was over, he said, those are just images from the era and not an endorsement of slavery. I’d also heard that senior leadership backed their employees, and insisted that a remodel was long overdue. No dice.

    So my first day was when the penny dropped on why they wanted someone to build a new recruiting program for them, and that they had lied about their employee turnover, on both why and how much. After trying to work with them for a few days, and meeting the CEO myself – he was a jackass in more ways than one – I told them I wanted out. They didn’t complain about me breaking the contract, at least.

  206. Velomont*

    I’m not sure if this counts as decor but, in the fall of 1997 I was staying in officers’ quarters in a military base. In the cleaners’ lounge, which was a small room about 10′ x 6′, every bit of wall was covered in newspaper clippings with photos of Princess Diana from tabloid coverage of her death. There literally was no uncovered wall visible.

  207. Kyrielle*

    One coworker set up her cubicle as a tropical retreat – appropriate plants, shades/fans, bits of kitsch themed accordingly, etc. (No sand, fortunately!)

    …and netting over the top. These cubicles were 5’6″ tall, so very few of us could visit her cubicle without ducking, and it was better to stay to the edges since it dipped slightly in the middle. She could walk under it, and I still do not know if she just didn’t think about anyone taller, or if she did it on purpose to make people just walking into her personal space much less likely.

  208. sgpb*

    I worked for a woman who liked to buy taxidermy pieces at estate sales and flea markets. She would bring them into work and put them all over the office. She would buy outfits for them and dress them up for the holidays. They all had really fun names but the only one I can remember is the owl “Hoot Bader Ginsburg.” People literally gasped with joy/surprise when we were doing a team building game and she said the prize was to name the new skunk.

    1. AnonORama*

      I find those super-duper creepy, but this is such a wholesome way to use them that even I probably couldn’t complain. Probably.

  209. Wine not Whine*

    OldJob was in a historic mansion. The public meeting rooms (and the C-suite offices) were lovely – the original family’s rooms, all meticulously restored, full of antiques and collectibles.
    The rest of us had half-height mini cube farms in the old servants’ quarters. The third floor had been the attic, and the ceiling sloped sharply over the left side of our desks. They were occasionally (unintentionally) “decorated” with live spiders or centipedes… Oh, and no elevators, no plumbing on our floor, and most of the building was not at all ADA compliant. (because historic landmark, so no major changes allowed)

    My new job is 100% remote and my desk is in my living room. One of my major hobbies is historical reenactment; if you look closely when I’m on camera, you can see several swords, musical instruments, and a plumed Elizabethan hat behind me.

    –and now I’ve thoroughly doxxed myself.

  210. Autoeng*

    I worked with the company Modine, in Racine, Wisconsin. They have two on-site wind tunnels for vehicle testing (heating, cooling, powertrain cooling, etc.). Wind tunnels have a turbine/fan to create the airflow. When their first one was built after the Great Depression, the ‘fan’ they used was a WW2 era B-25 Mitchell propeller, and it is still operational (they have a newer, larger, more modern tunnel in addition). Many WW2 vehicles were tested there. They have a spare prop on hand, in case it ever needs replacing, and it’s one of the first things you see when you enter their lobby! As a bit of an aviation geek, it was really interesting.

  211. I get to read books and talk about them with nice people, it rules*

    I don’t know if this counts, really, but some time back a friend who was working at King’s College London took me in to see the terrifying wax statue of Virginia Woolf in the lobby of their office building, and I do recommend googling it if you enjoy very creepy statuary

    1. Roy G. Biv*

      I Googled it, and now I am afraid of Virginia Woolf. The statue is in a cupboard, like one of the horrors from Cabin in the Woods just waiting to be released.

  212. Pixel*

    5) Second college thing: The Purpleness

    My student job in college was as the assistant for the Alumnae Admissions Volunteer Coordinator. She had a lovely office in the main administration building, which was built probably before 1900 and then retrofit for offices. When anyone closed a door on that hallway, all the walls would shake. This will become relevant in a moment…

    The walls of all the campus buildings are liberally festooned with art. Mostly professorial and student art. In my boss’s office were several lovely pieces, and then there was The Purpleness. The Purpleness was student art. It was unsigned*. The Purpleness was a large canvas, something like 4 feet wide and 6 feet high, painted in a sort of gradient ombre with many dark shades of purple, going from lighter to darker top to bottom. And then….then….the nutball woman who created it covered it with SAND. While it was still wet. [We had a theory that it was from one of a particular art professor’s assignments on texture.] The sand stuck to the wet paint…mostly. But not very well. Remember the bit where anytime a door was closed on that hallway, it shook all the walls? Yep. The Purpleness shed sand CONSTANTLY.

    My workspace was a table on the only available wall, which was the hallway wall. This also happened to be the wall that The Purpleness was mounted on. My table, therefore, was directly underneath The Purpleness. I brushed a lot of sand off that table.

    On December 1, which is the Day Without Art**, I walked through the building, noting all the artwork covered in black fabric. I walked into my boss’s office, to see…The Purpleness, in all its purple sandy glory, uncovered. My boss explained that there had been a discussion and it was concluded that The Purpleness was not Art and therefore did not need to be covered.

    *If it HAD been signed, I would totally have hunted down the artist and given her what for.

    **The Day Without Art is a day of mourning and action in response to the AIDS crisis.

  213. Sharkie*

    I have worked for many pro sports teams across North America. Most of the offices I have been in have been cool. They have weird quirks ( I am currently being stared at by a NBA player lifesized cut out) but most of them have cool nods to the team history or city. However in one of the prettiest offices I have worked in, they locked us in a literal storage room since we were entry level employees and had to “earn” the right to have a desk at such a nice office. Oh and there was a giant board in the closet that had all of us ranked by different metrics, but really it was how much the boss liked you.

  214. Tradd*

    This was all at the same company years ago.

    One coworker had so many little knicknacks on her desk that when IT needed to do something with her computer, they demanded she move everything before they’d even touch her computer. That was one was a packrat.

    Another coworker would print out photos of grandkids her kids sent her. She then would pin them up on her cube walls. She had multiple layers. She wallpapered her entire cube with grandkid photos. They were just printed out black and white on cheap copy paper at the office so not even nice looking photos.

  215. Your Social Work Friend*

    My dad’s home office is a hilarious mix of classic movie academic, former military, and child left alone in the dollar tree. What can be seen in the background of a call is a built in book case filled with leather bound classics and some interesting things from his travels (carved ostrich egg, for example) and a big white board; the other half of the room is his “love me” wall of degrees, military honors, pictures, etc. His desk, however, is completely covered with things like a barrel of monkeys game, rubrics cubes, coffee cups, and assorted crap he’s gotten in Christmas stockings like balsa wood airplanes, nerf guns, and mini whoopee cushions.

  216. AnonForThis*

    Ophthalmology clinic and offices. The department head was a huge movie fan, so framed movie posters from his eye/seeing/vision-themed movie poster collection were everywhere. Anything from old horror/thriller/SF films to the documentary “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”. One small waiting area had “For Your Eyes Only” and “Goldeneye” (both Bond films); many other side rooms/halls had similarly themed groupings.

    The conference room had a row of old movie seats (velvet-lined, from an old theater that closed up) around the room and a legit movie theater popcorn maker. There was a running joke that eacj year, the new residents would be required to make a batch of popcorn without burning it as their hazing. (Yes, instructions were on the machine, and yes, supplies were in the nearby cabinet at all times.)

    1. AnonForThis*

      I see someone with the same anon handle posted above about MIT; I am not that person. I was anon-ing to avoid identification and chose this handle before seeing the others.

  217. Albatross*

    I work for a government agency that issues permits to close certain public roads for whatever purpose people need, from road work to filming. Our main lobby has a copy of a frame from a famous action film, with the lead walking coolly away from several exploding cars, stamped with the number for its road closure permit. We also have several photos of public art installations that needed road closures to install, also stamped with their permit numbers.

  218. Large cage of birds*

    There’s insurance company office that on a large corner lot along a busy street. I have no idea what this place looked like on the inside, but on the outside, for every single holiday, the lawn would be absolutely covered in large inflatable decorations. We’re talking at least a dozen, like I’m surprised there are this many Valentine’s Day inflatables.

    They must have gone under new management because it stopped at some point, but I miss seeing it. I always loved it.

  219. ArlynPage*

    One of my former colleagues built models of historically significant ships and aircraft in his spare time, and he would bring them into his office (maybe he ran out of space at home) so it became a lovely museum of history. I would often go into his office to ask him a question, and get so engrossed looking at his ships and planes that I would completely forget what I had intended to ask!

  220. mariemac*

    I work for a municipal government, and there’s a four foot long mounted blue fish on the wall in our office. It’s been there for 1o+ years and used to belong to a previous director. Not sure of the details, but it’s been there long enough that it’s considered city property and if we wanted to take it down, it would have to go through the city attorneys to deaccession the item.

  221. JustaTech*

    Here’s a worst: Have you ever seen those wood statues that are carved by chainsaw? They’re usually something like a bear, for sale on the side of the road in a forested area.

    Years ago one of our super important vendors (it’s a very symbiotic/entwined relationship at this point) sent us a statue of that quality of carving to celebrate the successful completion of a major project. So it’s not well carved, and the painting is sloppy. Basically, it’s ugly.
    But then a coworker points out that this is a statue of a creature from Native American religion, done in a style that badly mimics the Native American art of our region, but clearly wasn’t done by a native artist.
    “It’s basically a jockey statue” – referencing the common (racist) Black jockey statues that a lot of people used to have in their yards.

    When it was pointed out to management that this thing is not only objectively ugly but also racist/offensive, could we please stick it in the basement, management replied that it needed to be out in case our vendor ever visited.

    The vendor has never visited, and will never visit, so now we just decorate this thing for the holidays.

  222. evernerd*

    One year, one of our colleagues put up a sassy cartoon or two in the kitchen to encourage our admittedly sassy office culture. Then, many others followed suit. Now, we are the office with a wall of cartoons that use curse words we’d (mostly) never dream of using out loud. Other people from neighboring offices sometimes come in to use our cushy bathroom, and end up standing in the kitchen, reading slowly through the many cartoons and giggling to themselves.

  223. Lady_Lessa*

    I contributed two items I found in the lab where I currently work to the decorations in our lobby. An old double beam balance in a nice wooden case and a small alcohol (glass) lamp. Looks nice and dignified.

  224. Boggles the Mind*

    I work for a municipal government. Our Planning Director (she’s a hunter) has a bear skin stretched across one wall and a mounted elk head on another one. It’s very unsettling to walk into her office.

  225. CzechMate*

    I work at a university. There was a student photography contest a few years ago, and my office somehow ended up with a giant box of these still photographs from students. Many were taken by students during study abroad or on service learning trips, so they show a wide variety of human experiences in different countries. They’re very beautiful, interesting, and even emotional, and so we’ve been proud to hang them up all over the office. I mean, hey, we love to celebrate our students and the creative, interesting, thoughtful work they do.

    But then, a few weeks ago I went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and almost had a heart attack as I saw that a really haunting pair of eyes was staring at me (think: similar to the 1984 Afghan Girl National Geographic cover). Someone had decided that we should spruce up the bathrooms, and so they put a bunch of these photographs in the bathroom. I think, um, they decided that the most arresting, intense, or unsettling images shouldn’t be in the hallways, but why not put ’em in the bathroom, right?

    They’re in the bathrooms on every floor now.

    1. Tinkerbell*

      A friend of mine is a hobbyist photographer. She also worked at the main branch of our city library. She set herself a task of taking one artsy photo a day and the library management enthusiastically encouraged her to make them into a formal display. Her photos are GORGEOUS and she got several of cool architecture from interesting angles, staff looking businesslike, etc.

      But then she took some – which, in my opinion, were the best of the lot – of some of the homeless people who live under a bridge near the library and come in during the day for air conditioning, running water, to charge their phones, etc. One in particular was a striking picture of a man sleeping on a bench in the lobby with his hat pulled down over his face and you could practically see the stink lines coming off him. It was a very editorial comment on our city’s lack of commitment to helping the homeless and also the library board’s ongoing war between “we need to serve all our patrons” and “…but those particular patrons are scary and gross and nobody likes them so we’d like them to leave.” Suddenly the entire display was taken down and my friend was told “that’s not the image we want the public to have of us.” :-\

  226. Francie*

    A distant relative loves hunting and proudly displays his taxidermied trophies throughout his home. He is also a veterinarian and chooses to use the same decor in the vet office. I’ve always wondered how his patients reacted upon seeing a stuffed bear head and torso looking down on them while they waited to be seen. Subtle threat, maybe?

  227. Mona Lisa*

    I was hired into a newly created office in higher education, and the space we were assigned had previously been used for storage. It was mostly cleared out when we arrived, but a few strange items were left behind, including a large plastic pumpkin, which sat on the windowsill. It was Halloween shortly after we settled in so I cut out a face from construction paper and taped it to the pumpkin to make it a jack-o-lantern. Students commented on the pumpkin and how much they liked it so it quickly evolved into a joke where I would dress up the pumpkin in themed decorations throughout the year–the jack-o-lantern became the head of a snowman taped to the wall, we draped beads on it for Mardi Gras, it got covered in school logos for March Madness, etc. I believe we named it at some point, though years later it escapes me.

    I did visit the office again a year or two after I moved on, and the pumpkin was still sitting on the windowsill where I had left it.

  228. TRC*

    When I lived in the midwest, this probably wouldn’t have triggered more than a raised eyebrow or would have been a conversation starter.

    When I came home to a rainy west coast city, it was so bizarre and shocking that I almost tripped while walking down the hallway because it was so out of place and took me by surprise. This very senior person had recently added multiple mounted animal heads to his office walls.

    Again, I know this is perfectly acceptable in many parts of the country and that’s fine. It just one of the last things I would have expected to see in an urban office in a major west coast city.

  229. not outing myself today, hopefully*

    Decades ago I worked at a military R&D center as a lowly non-engineering teenage summer hire aka temp. The OTT decor I remember the most was the engineer who had installed — as in, cut through the cube wall — a functional sliding “confessional window” — with “confession hours” posted. Yes, he would hold those hours.

    I was told it was best not to ask why and to just try and avoid that cube/its occupant. Along with “the rat-trap” that seemed to have every single piece of paper generated by the U.S. military for three decades piled precariously in stacks from floor to cube ceiling. Along with the cube holding souvenirs of what I guess were “We almost blew up the lab! Cool!” experiments.

  230. Just a name*

    I knew a guy from law school. Freshly graduated at his first law firm job. His mother installed an antique roll top desk in his office. It was set up by the door, creating a hallway of sorts that you had to walk through got see him or you had to look over the top of the desk. Don’t think he lasted very long there.

  231. Happy as a Clam*

    Several years ago I worked at a company that was going through a rough period and had to reduce headcount. There was no big simultaneous set of layoffs; it was more like one person here, two people there, this contract not renewed, that person encouraged to job search. At the time, everyone’s office or cube was labeled with a name tag that had velcro backing. After a dozen or so people left, someone went around to their abandoned desks, collected the name tags, and stuck them all up on a wall in one of the empty cubes as a sort of memorial to the departed. (It was more gallows humor than actual mourning.) More tags were added one by one, and eventually people started putting their own tags up on their way out the door. It was immensely satisfying to add my own when I quit!

  232. Final Girl*

    For a brief time in my life, I worked at a tiny yarn shop in the country one day a week. It was on the first floor of a refurbished farmhouse, and I was the only staff member the day I worked. One day when I showed up, there was person standing right in the door — except it wasn’t a person; it was an uncanny valley mannikin with dead eyes and a wig. And it wasn’t alone. There wasn’t anywhere I could go in the shop without at least one mannikin staring at me. I’m not the sort of person who is scared of dolls or mannikins, but I felt like I was in the beginning of a horror movie.

    During a quiet moment, I ducked upstairs to the storage space to get a breather. There were two more mannikins, SITTING in CHAIRS as if in conversation, and one was fully naked.

    I nearly quit on the spot.

    1. Outofideasforname*

      This one from my hometown made the national news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-25592330

      The store was a legendary time warp, the ladies in haberdashery were always happy to talk yarn and buttons, and theyd not updated clothing styles, or stock since the 70s. To check out, you had to take your stuff to the nearest desk, where a handwritten itemised list would be painstakingly made by an octogenarian and totalled without calculator. You then had to take your stuff *and* the list up to the only cash desk, where they would take your payment, put it carefully in a cartouche and then in one of those whizzing vacuum tube transport systems, and 5-10 minutes later your change would arrive the same way. This was ca 2010.

      I’m still sad it closed more than a decade later.

    2. AnonForThis*

      I worked for a company that displayed a lot of art. For some reason, this included an extremely lifelike statue of an 8-year-old girl in a white dress universally referred to as “the creepy girl”. Some pranksters would move her around the building to add jump-scares.

      Her usual location was next to a huge bank of windows, and I can’t have been the only employee to notice her when leaving work late and worry a child had been left inside alone.

  233. jane's nemesis*

    I consulted with a team who had an office in the Watergate. (Yes, THAT watergate.)

    They had a life-size cardboard cutout of Richard Nixon in their conference room, visible on video calls!

    1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I think this wins. Really and truly laughing out loud on that one.

    2. ILoveLllamas*

      OH! That reminds me of something I had in my office for several years. Once upon a time, Carnival Cruise had offices in a building that I managed. They moved out of the building but kept leasing it for storage. Tons of weird stuff left there like gambling chips, roulette tables, furniture, etc. I was walking through the building because they were getting ready to vacate and stumbled upon a full-size cutout figure of Kathy Lee Gifford from her days when she did commercials for Carnival. It was a must-have item that I promptly took and kept behind my office door. I had so much fun with her! We would take team pictures with her in the middle. Also anyone who came into my office and shut the door for a private conversation would jump out of their skin because Kathy was there waiting for them. Good times! LOL

  234. Museum Bud*

    Worked for a museum as part of a short-term move project. We had to make a lot of boxes and other storage housing for the items, which also resulted in a lot small waste that was mostly thrown away. However, we did slowly appropriate some of the trash to create a new item of office decor, who ended up being our local minor deity for the move project. Imagine a being, mostly made of foam and cardboard, who all of the entry level employees referred to by name (his name was an abbreviation of the museum’s name, I’ll call him Bud here). He lived on the middle of our worktable, which was otherwise a no man’s land where materials would get stuck. Bud slowly accumulated a throne, hands, staff, hat, and holy book. One of the other short-term employees was his prophet. We blamed Bud when things went wrong and thanked him when things went well.

    By the time we relocated the items into the secondary location, Bud had to come with us. He lived up on one of the storage crates for a long time. As people left with the end of their contracts, we added photos of them on foam next to Bud. Eventually we had to move Bud from where he was in storage to a more private office space because it would not look great if community partners came in and saw the god we made out of trash just hanging out in storage. I was tasked with relocating him and as far as I know, Bud still lives on overlooking the office.

  235. FrigidLizard*

    I used to work with a lady who had an extensive collection of Lego sets and paraphernalia. Her office featured dozens of displays that she rotated out regularly. It was very cheerful to come in and see a Harry Potter castle or a Christmas train had appeared overnight.
    Several other offices had smaller sets displayed on bookshelves; I assumed there were several collectors at first, but it turns out that she would loan out parts of the collection that coworkers wanted to use for their own decor.

  236. Mrs Vexil*

    A coworker who, coincidentally, was let go just two days ago, had her cube decorated like it was a dorm room from the 9os. She is in her 50s, not a kid. Think a throw over the office chair, pillows, a space heater, a mini fridge, a large rug over the carpet, various lamps with fringed scarves thrown over them for mood lighting. Posters of Audrey Hepburn and Robert Redford on the cube walls. There was an upholstered armchair. She also used to bring in a crockpot and cook things like soup beans or chili, and host little luncheons.

  237. ILoveLllamas*

    Many years ago, I was in property management and one of our tenants was a renown expert in polygraphs. His waiting room was full of personally autographed pictures from various presidents (he was former Secret Service). Whatever. Until someone from my staff noted that most of the signatures looked the same….. yep, same handwriting and same ink….. Hilarious. He would also bring his 2 Irish wolfhounds to the office regularly to the complete abject fear of his neighbor, a US congressman. Good times….

    1. MigraineMonth*

      So he was a former Secret Service agent who forged presidents’ signatures and was a renowned expert in a scientifically debunked field?

  238. Ama*

    Oh man I didn’t think of this until this exact second, but when my employer moved into our current offices in 2017 they picked a carpet that they proudly pointed out had our brand colors in it (it’s mostly gray but there are streaks of black and red, which are the brand colors).

    We’re about to do a massive rebrand and neither of those colors are in the new branding. I guess we’re just going to have off brand carpet now. (/s)

  239. Percy Weasley*

    I used to work in a government office, in a division that had received an “Undersecretary Achievement Award.” Every time I caught sight of the plaque out of the corner of my eye, my brain read “Underachievement Award.”

  240. Jaded Amber*

    I worked at a NY company that was headed by a male version of the boss from Devil Wears Prada (but less classy). I had to be in his office A LOT for meetings etc, and there were two things there that I will never forget: an absolutely gorgeous embroidered antique haori (a jacket worn over a kimono) that was like mounted in a frame with no glass or any kind of protection from the elements – and a collection of books on Japanese kink binding that was just sitting on the conference table.

      1. Jaded Amber*

        My eyebrows got a regular workout while I worked there. My eyeballs, too – I did a lot of eye rolling.

  241. An Australian In London*

    20+ years ago I worked at a software company, one of the database vendors.

    After a few jokes about “prayers to the database gods” and a memorable incident where we did something, it failed, I said “Oh yeah we forgot to invoke the database gods”, repeated it and it worked… a few of us maintained a tiny shrine to the database gods in an empty cubicle.

    Every so often we would sacrifice a competitor’s software CD to the database gods. A colleague moved a couple of live plants to the shrine.

    To this day I maintain it is no coincidence that the three of us who sacrificed to the database gods were the most successful at client sites and were rated the most highly on customer satisfaction surveys.

    (Anyone who worked at this company now knows who I am. :) )

  242. Our Business Is Rejoicing*

    In my previous job’s old building, someone had put up a departmental Christmas tree (quite a few departments had decorations they would bring out every year) and when, one year in late January, it still hadn’t been taken down, they put all the Christmas decorations in a box and decorated it for Valentine’s Day. Thus began a tradition. Tree stayed up, and the department gradually acquired sets of decorations for all seasons–St. Patrick’s Day, Easter/”spring”, Canada day, summer, Thanksgiving, and Halloween.

    Later the company moved to a brand new building. The lobby art that was installed was/is a giant blue corkscrew-shaped sculpture. Yep, you got it. This is where you go to get screwed over.

  243. Hazel*

    My prior office before being acquired by a large corporation ( which i still work for) and switching to 100% remote, the entire building was like a time capsule from the 80s.
    In addition to ancient wall-to-wall floral carpet in tones of vomitous pink & an actual file room, we had a typewriter at reception in that actually got used sometimes by the owners and older staff. During the acquisition, we hired a GenZ sales rep who’s first question (about the typewriter) was”what is that??”. This was a case of a (locally very successful!) company that was so outdated it probably actually needed to be acquired in order to survive.

  244. SunriseRuby*

    The twenty-something bro who sat behind me in the call center I worked at about 7 years ago had a collection of rubber ducks lined up on the partition that separated our cubicles. There were some variations in size, but most of them were Jeeps or Joyin ducks, about two inches wide, in assorted colors, and there was barely any space between each one. What was cute for the first couple of weeks I worked next to him became annoying since I was afraid I’d knock some over every time I stood up. He had more ducks filling up almost the entire area of his desk around his phone, keyboard and monitor. Not just a flock, but a veritable fleet of ducks, and with a few other figures mixed in with them.

    He was fired a couple of years after I started working there, and though it wasn’t surprising to me, it happened all of a sudden. One day he just wasn’t there. The ducks stayed where they were for weeks, then they were finally gone one day, too. I don’t know if someone collected them and returned them to their rightful owner or just tossed them out.

  245. Slap Bet Commissioner*

    I work in theater administration and it is not uncommon in a theater to find a former prop/set piece used as decoration or even office furniture in the administration offices. But one of my absolute favorites was a theater I used to work at. Their prop team used a large space with high ceilings just outside of the rehearsal halls to store various chandeliers from previous sets. There were huge windows right next to it so it was really quite stunning.

  246. BananaSam*

    I worked for a property management company over a decade ago, and one of our commercial tenants had dinosaur bones in their lobby. Ridiculous? Yes. Bizarre and unethical? Possibly-I have no idea how one acquires an actual dinosaur skull. Awesome? I mean, of course I still find dinosaur bones as cool as I did when I was eight.

  247. Choggy*

    A guy in my department has his office decorated with Star Wars (I think) action figures, and every vendor swag he picked up from various conventions. It’s going to take more than a couple of boxes for him to pack up his office when he retires.

  248. anonprofit*

    I’m the one whose desk looks abandoned! We’re hybrid, and I don’t go in often, plus I have Temping Trauma. My desk just has a scattering of office supplies on it, in a way that looks random. I’ve been thinking I should do something about it because people keep taking my stuff and leaving trash on my desk, but I don’t want to bring anything in or spend money on stuff. My desk at home looks very very lived in though.

  249. NYWeasel*

    I worked for a prominent entertainment company that did a major redesign on the floor we worked on. Super funky shapes, bold colors, weird things like artificial grass going up the wall, etc. Spent millions on the project. We were a bunch of artists who don’t need to pay to make a space funky—we’ll do it organically if you give us enough freedom—so there was quite a bit of eye rolling at the vibe of Corporate Funk going on.

    Maybe a day after we moved in, one of the artists had been goofing off at lunchtime by moving pillows around, so say the hand shape throw pillow on the hand shape chair ended up being switched with the star shaped throw pillow on the star chair. Mysteriously by the mid afternoon, the pillows were back in place, which kicked off an enthusiastic round of “What’s the weirdest swaps we can make?” Next morning? All back in place…game on, again!

    This went on for maybe 2-3 days when one of my coworkers was sitting in the break area, and he saw our beleaguered HR partner, Sandra, put her hands on her hips and let out an exasperated sigh. “WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING?!” she grunted to herself as she started putting the pillows back in their correct places.

    My coworker felt bad for her bc clearly, picking up after juvenile artists was NOT part of her job description, so he helpfully suggested “Maybe if you let them stay out of place for a bit, people will lose interest in moving them around?”

    Until this moment, she’d been ignoring him but now she whirled around and laid into him. “Are you saying this is being done ON PURPOSE???!!! Is this a GAME to you all??!!!!”

    My coworker stammered “Sorry, just was trying to be helpful…” and beat a hasty retreat to his cubicle. She finished putting everything back in order and stormed away back to her floor. Once the artists got word that she was the one suffering for their hijinx, they stopped immediately, but not before we got a sharply worded warning that a photographer was coming to take pictures the following Monday and anyone leaving anything out of order prior to that might be fired. Hopefully they won whatever “Corporate Interior Design” awards they were chasing bc by the time I left that job a year or so later, everything was already falling apart.

  250. Just Another Cog*

    I’ve worked most of my adult life on college campuses, in support-level jobs, so I’ve worked in a lot of basements. People without PhDs don’t get windows, you see.
    My least favorite basement was probably the one at the midwest Big 12 institution, where, I was told, the school had gotten a whole lot of navy surplus anti-fouling paint after WWII and had painted all the basements with it. That may have been an urban legend, but it was a very believable urban legend, as the paint was the right color and had clearly not been refreshed in the right amount of time.

    1. Angstrom*

      Anti-fouling paint is used on the outside of hulls to inhibit marine growths and is full of toxic metals. It may well have been Navy paint, but I’d hope it wasn’t that.

  251. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    As a first-year student in college, I went to a job fair as a programming student. Eli Lilly had a station, and was giving away tiny (like 2-3″ long and wide, 1-1½” tall) beanie frogs as feelies to the students they interviewed. I stood in line for almost 3 hours to interview, an interview I completely bombed, for my violet, black, and green frog. It was one of the last ones left, and the line was longer than than the fair itself. (I didn’t sweat the interview bombing. I was a 1st year and there would be more to come as my education progressed; the joke was on me and it was the only one held while I was a student.) It’s lived at the top of one of my personal monitors since. When I started working remote, it joined my work desk and has been there ever since.

    It’s the primary piece of personalization I still apply to my workspace. It’s very rare that it doesn’t make me smile.

  252. Turtle Dove*

    About 25 years ago in the global IT company I worked at, a programmer in my department brought in his knife collection. He proudly hung a few dozen knives, some the size of swords, on the cube walls, inside and out. They stayed up for about a year until management made him take them home. He was very upset and complained loudly.

  253. Haven't commented in a while*

    Less tacky or awful, but more tone-deaf. My company did lay-offs and they had been saying for months how much they needed to cut costs and save money. Just after they cut our benefits and took away some others, they put out a video to show off one of the main office branches. In the back ground you could see a lot of nice little amenities, including a stand for teas and coffees holding a bunch of Stash brand tea. We were just like, you take our benefits but give yourself expensive tea? Yeah, just toneless.

  254. Momma Bear*

    I never got to see it, but headquarters for a company I worked for had a bookshelf that hid a secret room.

    These bad decorations make what I was going to say tame. It never actually came into the office but apparently one of my coworkers owned a human skull (I don’t want to know) and there was genuine consideration for having it on display. I said please no. The last thing we needed was to be haunted.

  255. Outofideasforname*

    Not my workplace, but here in the UK, honourable mention must go to the Student Centre of University College London, which has the auto icon (preserved, stuffed body) of philosopher Jeremy Bentham on public display in its main entrance. (in accordance with his own, extremely detailed will, on one of his own chairs andin full suit and tie)

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Bentham

    1. Unemployed Philosopher*

      It’s hard to believe that having Jeremy Benthem’s corpse on public display constitutes the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

  256. Samwise*

    Title this one, You’re a small small man

    Offices were one floor below ground. The head of our department was never going to be promoted further. Ever. His office featured a huge desk and on one long wall, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling drapes. Which obviously were never opened…

  257. Sarah*

    My first job out of college was a corporate environment with a start-up vibe. Quite literally cubicles and graphic-tees. My department was a little more business casual, but we shared our space with much laxer departments, so I started decorating my cube space with my Pokemon collection. It started small, but quickly ballooned, taking up all free desk, wall and floor space. I’m talking posters, plushies, playsets, and of course, Pokeballs. I never strayed outside of my cube boundaries and, I never let it impact my work. Everyone, my team included, reacted positively, and I even got a Pokemon cake for my birthday.

    The problem was, the children. Occasionally, usually in the summer, someone would have their kid in the office if childcare was missed or they were working a half-day. Every child of our 2,000 person company, at one point or another, ended up at my desk. Sometimes, with no notice from their parent. I’d be working, turn around, and a random 5-year-old would be staring at me. Truthfully, none of them were poorly behaved, but my collection was a collection. Things were taped or pinned down, and anything moveable was over a decade old and precious to me.

    I ended up bringing in spare Pokemon cards; I inherited many from friends and didn’t play myself, so I’d give them away to the kids and allow them (monitored) play time with my less fragile toys. Happy to report, nothing went missing. Sometimes, I really miss that cube.

  258. Redrum*

    About five years ago, I was at a conference at the Seattle Public Library. The entire hallway of the floor we were on was painted a deep red. Great color in small doses, but completely overwhelming. I felt like I was walking into a horror film.

  259. Eeyore is my spirit animal*

    My husband worked in a cubicle maze for many years with a coworker who quilted. She brought in wall quilts for entrance space and for the ends of all the rows. She would change them out seasonally. Directions were given such as “third cubicle past the snowman” and in general meetings they were the “floor with the quilts”.
    If you were interested, she would lend you a quilt for your cubicle space. My husband had one of sailboats for several years. They got a new manager that decided to have the quilts removed. There was quiet rebellion, and a lot of people moved their favorites to their cubicle.

  260. Cubicles & Chimeras*

    A bit silly but, when I was little I used to sneak little items into my Dad’s briefcase to surprise him with at work. I was visiting him at work about a year ago and there tacked up in his office was a “Girls Rule Boys Drool” sticker I snuck in his briefcase ~30 years ago.

    (I shot myself in the foot with that sticker, I’m transmasc.)

  261. Former Joan Holloway*

    I worked in administration at an incredibly toxic financial firm with multiple floors in an office building. I sat on the floor with all the executives, and it was fancier than the other floors; it had a lot of dark woods and heavy damask and brocade-type fabrics. There was also a room that the founder and CEO had designated as the “Living Room, which had sofas, delicate urns, and some pieces from the CEO’s collection of American political memorabilia and US flags. Meetings were held there very occasionally, but what it was really intended to be was a waiting room for every visitor who came to the offices, rather than having any kind of reception area. I was required to escort EVERYONE to the living room when they arrived; god forbid they not see it in all its glory before their meeting!

    Also in the living room, on a pedestal, sealed in a plexiglass display case, was an electric pencil sharpener that was essential to the foundational lore of the company. Earlier in his career, the CEO had supposedly closed some enormous financial deal while working at another firm, and he was expecting to be praised when he was called into a meeting, but instead, he was reprimanded for expensing that very pencil sharpener. Story goes that he quit and stormed out, taking the pencil sharpener with him, and went on to found his own firm.

    This story might lead you to believe that he adopted a very generous policy surrounding office expenses when he was running the show, but you would be sorely mistaken. Ordering office supplies was part of my role, and he personally screamed at me – literally screamed – because I had spent $8.99 when I ordered a box of 18 tampons to have in the restroom, in case someone needed one unexpectedly. The HORROR.

    His other decor quirk was that, despite being Jewish, he always wanted the offices decorated for Christmas. His seasonal decor of choice was dozens of potted poinsettias, which are finicky plants that dislike temperature swings and need to be watered frequently. I was tasked with caring for all three floors’ worth of the apparently very expensive poinsettias. Trouble is, the CEO thought the perfect place for most of these plants was atop hot air vents (which were promptly turned off in the evenings and on weekends) or in places with zero sunlight. The wild fluctuations in temperature, paired with the dehumidifying effects of being on top of constantly blowing hot air for 9 hours a day, meant that I could barely keep up with watering them, and they would wither and drop leaves, especially over the weekends, so on Mondays, I wouldn’t hear the end of how terrible they looked. He also didn’t want me to use water catchers under them, but he’d be livid if any water got on the carpet, so I had to ferry plants back and forth to a sink to water them. It was infuriating, and I got out of there as soon as I possibly could.

  262. merula*

    I work in a building that was built in 1961, but remodeled since, and the bathrooms all over have been this 90s grey-beige since I started.

    BUT, in the sub-basement, I found what must be the original women’s bathroom décor for the whole building: baby pink. The stalls are pink. The wall and floor tiles are pink with black accent tiles. The sinks are pink. There’s a giant wall-to-wall mirror over a pink ledge, and a space where (I imagine) a pink sofa once sat.

    It’s my favorite place at work, and sometimes when I’m frustrated I’ll take a walk down to the sub-basement just to calm down in the pink.

    (From the door the men’s bathroom looks like it’s the same but in butter yellow. I should really check it out sometime, there’s never anyone else down there.)

  263. Sara without an H*

    I once worked at the library of a Respected Public University. (You’d recognize the name.) I reported to one of the Associate Deans. When I first visited her office, I noticed that she had a snakebite kit and a Ouija board prominently displayed on her shelves.

    It seems that the division she ran had been seriously dysfunctional when she took it over, and her husband had given her these items after listening to nightly reports about how screwed up everything was.

  264. Ally McBeal*

    I used to work at a college, and one day I was coming back from a meeting in a different building and noticed a couple paintings leaned against the hallway wall. Nothing fancy, probably like what you could get at TJ Maxx or World Market. I saw one I really loved (outdoor scene with water and trees and whatnot) and poked my head into the office next to the paintings and asked what was up. They were redecorating so the paintings were up for grabs.

    When I told them which one I wanted, the manager’s eyes lit up and she exclaimed “that one glows in the dark!!!” It most certainly did, and I had it hanging in my cubicle until the pandemic forced us home. I left that job and moved cross-country in 2020, so while I WAS able to get back to my office briefly to grab essentials, I wasn’t able to take the painting with me and frankly I’m still sad about it.

  265. Texan*

    I did some training at what was then Perot Systems. All of the hallways were covered floor to ceiling with memorabilia from Ross Perot’s presidential runs and other life events. All of the infomercial charts and graphs, buttons, paintings, quilts, hats, t-shirts, and about 40 million varieties of bald eagle themed art. It was a wild experience.

  266. Quality Girl*

    The hospital I used to work at completely rebuilt one of its wings. Our department was moved to the new windowless basement with a very small break room. It was small because halfway through the build they realized we needed a conference room so they used half of the break room for that. Some corporate art was hung on a wall in said break room. But just for a week or so, until they realized it was too nice for us basement-dwellers to look at so they moved it upstairs to the new ER hallway. Then they replaced it with something much smaller and never patched the sizeable holes in the wall from the original artwork. I left six years later and the holes were still there.

  267. AnonForThis*

    A company I worked at was big into decorating the office buildings to inspire creativity. One way they did so for the CEO to go to the annual city art show and buy whatever giant statues struck her fancy. Giant banana made out of bottle caps you could ride like a bucking bronco? SOLD. Weird 8-foot hairy metal creature? SOLD. Terrifyingly lifelike statue of a little girl straight out of the Shining? SOLD. Someone would trail after her with a checkbook, and then an entire crew would work to transport the art pieces back to the office campus. Everyone held their breath waiting for her to just walk up to an artist’s stall and announce, “I’m taking it all.”

  268. Anonymato*

    My dentist’s waiting room has lots of signs and plaques about how he supports Scouts etc. There is a sign “We cater to cowards” right next to the dentist’s photo from when he was in the army.

  269. OT4Life*

    Hospital room chic…I am an occupational therapist and I was working in a rehab hospital. The nurses needed a new lunch room so they took our office and we got moved to a patient room that they ‘converted’ into an office. By converted I mean, they took out the beds and replaced them with used desks and chairs. All the chairs had stains exactly where you don’t want stains. One look at the chairs and folks might think that Occupational Therapists routinely experience incontinence. We didn’t even have computers. They didn’t even remove the curtains and we weren’t allowed to make any changes, in case they needed to turn the office back to a patient room. The best part of the office is that they didn’t disconnect the Oxygen so we set up a lunch time Oxygen bar to pass the time. Eventually they needed to use the room as a patient room and we got moved to a literal storage closet. We had to set up a rotation for who used the office because it was so small, but at least we got computers!

    1. Distracted Procrastinator*

      My partner works in therapy in long term residential care. His experience is very close to yours. He finds it baffling how often they go around moving rooms from one thing to another with no real plan.

  270. slashgirl*

    My library at my smaller school when I started there. Around the top of the walls, all the way around the room, down 2-3 ft, (I’m estimating 10ft ceilings or close to it), it was a darkish sky blue. Not too bad. But on the wall that didn’t have shelves or windows, the next stripe (maybe 1.5 ft wide? I’m bad at est, keep that in mind) down was a garish yellow, followed by a horrible burntish rusty orange, then we had a deep ugly green and on the bottom, fire engine red. A nightmare rainbow.

    It was enough to take out my eyeballs. So, when I got the chance, I go the biggest sized bulletin board property services had and had them mount right in the middle of that wall to break up the colours. It wasn’t perfect but better. Then about 5 or 6 years ago, they took almost 1/3 of my library for storage and my consolation prize was brand new, proper shelving, which they put up. And THEN decided to paint my room. I chose beige because I didn’t want hospital/mint green. In addition to getting paint all on the edges of my new shelving, the didn’t paint behind the shelves–and it’s metal shelving and to this day, I’ve got one section behind my pic books where you can see some the old horrid rainbow. The rest of in behind my shelves is beige, but one that has a pinkish undertone whilst the new stuff has a tannish undertone. Still better than having bleeding eyeballs.

    Oh, and they also used those same wall colours to paint the risers on the stairs–one colour per riser. Still horrid colours but not close enough to really clash.

  271. I Have RBF*

    My previous chiropractor’s office had this really disturbing impressionist painting up, done in black, orange and red, with dead birds and smokestacks. It was very weird, and out of sync with the rest of the office.

  272. Cat Rolls*

    Vet tech. Our old building, purchased by the prior owner in 1991, was a patchwork myriad of paint colors: mulberry, Kelly green, 3 different shades of blue – set against that good ol’ beige tile floor. It looked like the 90s hurled all over the inside of the clinic. She refused gentle suggestions to update the paint because “those colors are soothing.” It stayed that way until she sold the place in 2020 and we moved to a new building.

  273. kp*

    In the lobby/front desk area upstairs at my old, very conservative job there was a sign that said we don’t call 911 with a gun hanging on it. I don’t know very much about guns but it was a real gun and one of the ones from old movies where the barrel thingy spins. Pretty wild to me, even for Texas, especially considering we were a health insurance company.

  274. Reed Weird*

    Not outrageously bad, but my company recently added on to the office and remodeled some of the existing space. Our space is an office built into a warehouse, so essentially part of the warehouse along the outside wall got turned into more office.

    The walls went from a warm light beige to a cool tone light grey, the carpet in the new area is a cold grey instead of warm browns, and the lights in the new area are a much colder bright white instead of yellow tone. It feels almost physically colder in the new part of the office, which isn’t helped by the fact that they didn’t want to pay to add windows to that section, so there is NO natural light.

    The offices along the outside walls are boxes with a single window in the door. Our Sales VP printed a picture of a window on a sheet of printer paper, black and white, and taped it to the outside wall of his office.

    They keep saying they’re going to replace the lights in the rest of the office with the new LEDs. I will riot.

  275. HBIC*

    In the early 90s I was the secretary for the detective division of our local police department. My office was public facing and we had a large waiting area/lobby, that was not decorated at all. One day I walked in and there was a HUGE framed print of “the Native American Ten Commandments” on the wall directly behind my head! We do not live in an area with a large Native American population so I was very confused. Turns out someone had donated it to the police chief and he hated it, so he decided to hide it in plain sight. Within a week, a very pious Christian person had filed a complaint because it wasn’t the “real” Ten Commandments. The print disappeared within a day and was never seen again!

  276. Colorado*

    I work in Boulder, CO and the other office is in Boston. To create, I don’t know collaboration or closeness, the Boston office has a huge, full size of wall mural of a beautiful view of the flatirons in Boulder, with the picturesque snow capped Rocky Mountains behind them, gorgeous town (I’m biased). In Boulder, we have the same massive, wall sized mural of supposedly the Boston skyline. Now I’ve been to Boston several times but this mural is basically grey high rise apartment buildings taken on a cloudy day. It’s god awful and I have to look at it everyday. :/

    And to add to the story of people who lose their minds over things at work…a fire extinguisher was installed (due to code) smack in the middle of this 50+ something foot mural. Upon visiting, the facilities director from Boston LOST THEIR FREAKING MIND that it was put in the middle of the mural. Oh, the chaos that ensued. The director called the contractor with furious rage. Of course the fire extinguisher had to be moved and the mural had to be fixed.