How do you picture the typical startup office? Its layout is probably airy and open with plenty of room for play, much like Foursquare’s headquarters. Designs like these are hyper-focused on creativity and employee happiness. And while those are two good things…

What works for one startup may not work for all.

In order to encourage personal and professional growth, your office design ideas must strike a balance among these three things:

  • Representing your brand’s core values
  • Encouraging employee happiness
  • Boosting productivity

You cannot encourage growth when employees are feeling stifled. But haphazardly adding ping pong tables isn’t going to increase productivity either.

Instead, consider the following 7 office furniture ideas to inspire happiness and productivity. Decide how they fit into your brand’s core values and you’ll likely experience massive growth.


  1. Expanding Kitchens with Islands and Countertops – Whether you’re in HR or IT, you probably spend your morning looking forward to the lunch break. So it shouldn’t be surprising that studies have linked food with happiness. And the best way to tap into that happiness is by giving employees more space and better tools to enjoy their lunches. Make the space feel more homey and inviting with islands and custom countertops.


  1. Outfit Meeting Spaces with Unconventional Furniture – Poorly run meetings have given this collaboration method a bad name. To combat the negative connotation, try an overhaul of your company’s meeting space. When it comes to furnishing these spaces, think “anti-boardroom.” Low tables with seating poufs or large oak picnic tables may work well.


  1. Increase Transparent Elements – Mounting research shows that natural elements can boost creativity, and it doesn’t get more natural than a view of the outside world. Reinforce the design with glass tabletops and furniture accents to give employees a less obstructed view.


  1. Create Health-Conscious Spaces – At Trivago’s Dusseldorf office, you’ll find many unconventional office design features, but one that may be worth replicating is their rock climbing wall. Position workstations in full view of the climbing wall to encourage fun without taking up floor space. Way to boost morale and ROI!


  1. Create an In-house Coffee Bar – There’s an obvious link between coffee and productivity. Coffee is a stimulant that keeps you alert and thinking on your toes. But did you know that there’s a connection between coffee and happiness? German researchers found that people responded better to positive words when dosed with the equivalent of 2-3 cups of coffee. So what better way to boost office morale than with a full-scale coffee bar? To keep the vibe fun, consider adding an actual bar to your well-stocked coffee stations.


  1. Replace Sitting with Standing Desks – Standing desks have been around for a while, but employers are embracing them now more than ever. And that’s a good thing because they have been proven to improve employee’s health and productivity. It’s a win-win.


  1. Design Semi-Open Floor Plans – Open floor plans can sometimes hinder productivity because they don’t allow for privacy and personal space, but don’t forgo the concept completely. Consider mixing open collaborative spaces with more traditional workstations to create a team environment without sacrifice.

If you’re looking to encourage growth in your startup, office furniture is a great way to start. Office furniture changes how people work, and it can impact morale and productivity.

About Christina Dillon:

Christina Dillon is a professional content writer who happens to reside in Austin, Texas, but she’ll always be a New Yorker at heart. She enjoys writing for creative small businesses that share her passion for design.