Extreme Makeover: Cubicle Edition

The cubicle may be the most reviled part of office life–it’s cramped, it’s dreary, and it leaves you exposed to the lunacy of your coworkers–but a new book by lifestyle writer Kelley L. Moore aims to make those gray walls less dull and more personalized.

Out this month, “Cube Chic: Take Your Office from Drab to Fab!” (Quirk Books, $15.95), includes 22 “inspirational” designs for sprucing up a standard cubicle, with decorating themes like golf, casino, hip-hop, and disco, and instructions for achieving each look. The Safari Cube, for instance, features a Cheetah-print desktop, tribal masks, and, for some reason, a wooden ladder to nowhere. (I’ve got enough useless junk in my cubicle, thank you.)

Moore makes the questionable argument that her creative cubicle designs are about more than just personal style: “If you can transform the three walls of your work area into a space reminiscent of Studio 54 or your favorite golf course, then you’re almost certain to have what it takes to move up from your cubicle to an office with a window,” she writes in her introduction. Yes, if you’re looking to make an impression on your boss and colleagues, the Pub Cube, complete with bar stools and a neon beer sign, or the Nap Cube, a George Costanza number with a mattress under the desk, are sure to do the trick. And here I thought career advancement was tied to job performance (and office politics).

As imaginative as they are, the cubicles pictured somehow still feel…like cubicles. On the other hand, the designs are definitely not drab. And a little decorating project could make for a good way to procrastinate. So maybe I should go look for that ladder…

How much effort have you put into decorating your cubicle? Does your company allow elaborate decorations?