From brand-spanking new cubicles to used cubicle setups, any cubicle-sized workspace could stand improvement through intense personalization. Let’s face it: most cubicles are impersonal little cubes, and morale (along with productivity) would suffer intensely if you couldn’t personalize your workspace the way you see fit.
From the outset, there are immense challenges to implementing your cubicle ideas: fabric-covered walls don’t do much for privacy and personal space (and the fabric used for your cubicle probably isn’t the prettiest, either). You don’t want to stand out too much from the rest of your officemates, nor do you want your new cubicle design to offend their sense of propriety.
(Actually, sometimes a bit of cubicle subversion is called for, c.f. Jamie Zawinski’s Tent of Doom, erected in opposition to a stifling Star Trek-style cubicle setup.)
If you’re not Jamie Zawinski (and you likely are not), you need to personalize your cubicle within limits: keep it personal and refreshing, but keep your new cubicle ideas strictly within the bounds of what your company will allow.
What could you introduce into your cubicle as a perpetual Function-5 key to the dreary workspace? Here are a few suggestions:
Living things. Living biological specimens do wonder to spice up the ol’ used cubicle, but if you’re out for weeks at a time, get something a little more low-maintenance.
An evergreen like the Amazing Desktop Dinosaur Plant handles not being watered quite well. You might also like to try succulent plants; these buggers are easy to maintain and don't need watering very often.
If you want to cheat, get an electric-powered “plant” that can sit in your cubicle without requiring any care beyond the occasional battery change. This electronic “flip flap” plant is unobtrusive, rather cute, and adds a touch of character to your cubicle. It only works on cubicles with access to some natural light, though, so forget having one if your cubicle doesn’t get much light in the first place.