Is a Vintage Movie Poster Acceptable Office Decor?

Is a Vintage Movie Poster Acceptable Office Decor? Is a vintage movie poster professional enough to hang on your office wall at a new job? Reader E wonders…

I just changed jobs and now have a ton of wall space. My mom graciously had a vintage Wizard of Oz poster professionally framed for me. I haven’t found a place for it in my house — is it too “cutesy” for work? (Pictured: Reader E’s poster.)

I work in state politics. As far as mirroring my boss — she has pictures of her family on the walls, some awards, etc. Alternatively, I have some D.C. pictures, etc., that would be more professional, but I wonder how I would match my accessories to those pictures — the pictures are more office-hallway professional-ish. Thoughts?

Interesting question, Reader E! We’ve talked about office decor before, but not in a really long time. As I’ve noted before, I think a lot of this comes down to a few factors:

  • Presentation. Your Wizard of Oz print is framed — this goes a really, really long way toward making it appropriate for an office. I used to work with a guy who had a sports poster stuck up on the wall with sticky-tack and… well, let’s just say I noticed it, and not in a great way. (It hung over the beanbag chair he kept in his office, if memory serves.)
  • Viewpoint. Who will be viewing the poster? I think you can get away with a lot of “fun” things for office decor if the item in question faces your desk, and the visitor or client only sees it when they turn to leave.
  • Kitsch factor. I think a single Wizard of Oz print can be a cool, personality-defining piece in your office. I think having three or more Wizard of Oz pieces in your office — figurines, other themed art, etc. — well, let’s just say you have to REALLY want people to know that you’re a REALLY big fan. If you are and you do, then, bully for you. But be aware of the fact that you’re making a pretty loud statement.

Readers, what are your thoughts? What have you decorated your office with — and where did you find it? What factors did you think were important in picking pieces and deciding placement?


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  1. Framing helps. It also matters where you are in your career, I think – as with clothing, being slightly more conservative when you’re more junior is probably a good idea. At this point – eight years in – my office decor includes diplomas, a couple of bobbleheads, a bunch of running trophies, a weird-looking hedgehog someone gave me (not, like, a LIVE hedgehog – a decorative hedgehog), an owl sculpture, a bunch of pictures from places I’ve traveled to, an icon of St. Michael the Archangel, and the taxidermied head of an alligator. When you’re more established, you can be more of an oddball/yourself (in my case, they’re largely the same).

    And yeah, someone probably recognizes me now, given the specificity of that array of items. Oh well!

    • Wildkitten :

      I would really like to have a live hedgehog at my desk. New life goal.

      • Living or dead, I’d be afraid David Cameron would take the hedgehog as a challenge.

        • Well played!

          Of course, this is only a problem if you have Cameron in your office, in which case you’ve got more to worry about.

        • Oh gosh! I don’t know what is more alarming, the act itself or the fact that no one finds in surprising / unbelievable.

      • Well-behaved pets at work would be the greatest.

    • At the mother ship office of the firm I worked for, one of the partners had an office full of taxidermied animals wearing various outfits, mardi gras beads, etc. He would occasionally gift associates with small animals.

    • I’m 28 years into my career and part of senior management. I have a Wizard of Oz poster and a shoe museum poster in my office. Not worried at all about it!

      If I were to walk into your office and see your poster it would prompt a fun conversation about my favorite movie and I’d probably remember you better and in a more favorable light

  2. This would be totally acceptable in my office. If you want to keep things low key, have the poster be a central focus, and keep everything else a little less whimsical, not that the poster is whimsical, but you know what I mean :)

    • I’d say go right ahead. Extra bonus, you may find senior staff taking a look, and launching into memories of when they first saw the movie, or of how their kids liked it or didn’t. Good segue into a little informal chat, if someone’s looking for that opening.

  3. I know this isn’t a open thread but I need help and was hoping to get some early. I’ve recently been hired on as a 1099 for a company that I had previously been doing volunteer work (For profit company – I proposed my own unpaid “internship” because I really wanted to help them and because it was a great way to learn.

    I’m looking for general advice regarding working as a independent contractor. Specifically, costs related to doing my job. For example, if I propose advertising, obviously if they wanted to go along with my recommendation, they would pay for that. But if I recommended a specific web tool that had a monthly subscription, would that be something they might cover, or would it fall to me?

    Beyond that any specific advice on maintain sanity while working a full time job and managing my side gig. Note: In case it matters, side gig is social media. And it has NOTHING to do with my actual job so there is no conflict on either side.

    • Wildkitten :

      Ask them if you can bill them for it. If not, make sure to list it as a business expense on your taxes.

    • Anything you propose, outline all costs upfront, like below:

      “I’d sugegst we do a short Animoto video. The professional account is $20 a month, and my services to put it together would be $100, so your first invoice would be $120 and then you’d decide whether or not to carry on with the Animoto subscription–it will be registered under your email and credit card”.

      The caveat to that is standard tools of the trade. For instance, if you were a graphic designer, it would be assumed you would have Photoshop/Indesign,etc, and it would be weird to ask them to cover it for you.

      As for the side gig, set strict rules for yourself. Make a schedule, and keep to it. It’s so easy to get sucked in and give yourself no time for yourself, and you’ll just end up exhausted and unable to do either job well. I like to give myself 3 nights a week where I do nothing. So I work my day job M-F. Tuesday-Friday, I work my side gig after work. Saturday, Sunday, Monday nights…I do what I want!

  4. Not appropriate. And I wouldn’t be matching your office accessories to the pictures on the walks anyway. It’s much too much and too juvenile for someone at your stage in your career.

    • I think it CAN be apropriate as long as the movie is famous and for GENERAL AUDEINCES. You want to be sure NOT to aleinate anybody who come’s into your office by having a controversial movie, meaning anything other then G rated. My freind wanted to hang a poster of Delivereance with Bert Renolds, but decided not to b/c her boss did NOT like the movie when the hillbillies did stuff to the guys in the boat. FOOEY!

  5. Wildkitten :

    I would only put that up if I had an amazing Wizard of Oz story that I wanted to tell people when they ask me about my framed poster.

    • KateMiddletown :

      +1. People are going to use it as a conversation starter so if it’s not something you want to talk about with literally every person who comes in your office, I’d steer clear.

  6. Senior Attorney :

    I would absolutely hang this in my office. At one point I was heavily into martial arts and I had a large framed drawing of Bruce Lee in my office and nobody batted an eye. As Kat says, I think the key is that it’s a quality piece and it’s nicely framed.

  7. BeenthatGuy :

    Unless you are in the movie business, I don’t see how this is appropriate. This would never fly in my office (a commercial REIT). All our desk accessories are company issued and our wall art comes from a pre-approved source. I must be brainwashed after all these years.

    • It’s pretty common in a lot of industries for people who have private offices to be able to decorate them.

    • Anonymous :

      The company you work for has a lot more money than the public universities where I have worked!

    • Well THAT sounds like an Orwellian nightmare.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, at first– but then you grow to love the faces of the anonymous children in your pre-approved desk frames. If only they were really in my Family Unit! Good thing I have these company issued tissues to dry my brainwashed tears.

  8. Anon Worker Bee :

    If you do put it up, be prepared to listen to people sing Wizard of Oz songs every time they come into your office…

  9. I have two large, framed posters in my office. One is from a museum exhibit and the other is a drawing of a cool city. I like how they make my office feel warm and pleasant. I’ve received compliments from clients–one who was just walking by on her way to another office. Posters can definitely work. But I wouldn’t do matching accessories, especially if they are whimsical.

  10. I’d say know your office. In my smaller law firm, everyone has art that reflects their interests, but is well framed and looks nice. Like, black and white baseball photos, travel photos, unique art pieces, horse racing, trail and topo maps….

  11. I don’t think this is full-stop inappropriate. A lot of wall art is a gray area. However, if your litmus test is “I can’t find a place for it in my house, I guess I’ll put it in the office,” well, then I think you have your answer. People that come to your house are likely friends who don’t judge you. People who come into your office will constantly be forming opinions about you, your personality, your work product, your professionalism….if you don’t have a solid reason for having such a conversation piece (beyond “I JUST LOVE THAT MOVIE”) I simply wouldn’t do it.

    This falls squarely into the “sure you could, but why?” category, unless you lovelovelove the poster.

    • Anonymous :


    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I agree. I don’t think there’s a good enough reason to hang it and if you have to ask, then in this case, you already know the answer.

  12. I think it might be as simple as whether you are comfortable with it up. If you are, go for it (but no, I wouldn’t match accessories – your desk should have desk items and office supplies). But if you’re constantly going to wonder what other people think about it, then I would not put it up. Personally, I would do it and not care. I think the vintage aspect wipes out any childishness.

  13. I'd like to sell a word please :

    An organization I would like to work with but not for, because their work environment/hours expectations are too high, is looking for free lance writers! I’m excited, because I’d love to have my name come out on their letterhead. I have a PhD, academic articles, and university teaching experience related to their topics.
    What’s stopping me? They want applicants to say how much we charge per word. Depending on how long it takes me to research/write, and how I value my time, I could justify anything from $25 to $750 for a 500 word blog post. How should I come up with one figure, or at least a more reasonable range, for my work?

    • Coach Laura :

      I don’t know but I googled “how do freelance writers get paid by the word” (because I’m curious too) and found lots of articles. The Professional Writers Association of Canada has this along with other price points:

      Advertorials (articles commissioned by advertisers)
      $0.40 to $2 per word
      $100 to $3,000 per article
      $40 to $100 per hour

      Writer’s Market has an article “How Much Should I Charge?” that looks good.

      • I'd like to sell a word please :

        Thanks. It looks like I was low-balling myself on both hourly and per word rates. Not surprising, considering that starting salaries generally qualify academics for EITC.

  14. Anonymous :

    The Wizard of Oz is a safe movie. You can easily think up a couple work-acceptable things you like about it, for the inevitable conversations, or just tell people who ask why it’s there that you wanted a conversation starter.
    But be prepared for the deluge of WoO related holiday gifts, including tchotchkes for your office.

  15. Lorelai Gilmore :

    I actually think that in this case, it would work better if you had multiple vintage movie posters. That way it reads less “I am a huge Wizard of Oz fangirl!” and more “I’m a film buff.”

  16. Anonymous :

    It would be fine in my fairly casual big law office, especially if it’s professionally framed (to a lot of people, expensive = good, sadly), but I agree with the comments that it will be a conversation starter and everyone who walks in will ask about it. If that’s fine with you, go for it. Also, definitely no other Wizard Of Oz themed stuff in your office (much as I love the movie!). That takes it from interesting framed poster to weirdo fan territory.

  17. lawsuited :

    At the risk of outing myself, my office art includes mounted first edition comic books of a certain kick-ass female lawyer superhero. They aren’t offensive, make my office a happier place for me, and provide co-workers with a little window into my personality. It sounds like your vintage Wizard of Oz movie poster ticks all those boxes for you, so I think it’s great!

  18. This would be totally fine in my office. I am a lawyer in a pretty casual office, except when meeting with clients, opposing counsel, or going to court. I also never meet with clients in my actual, personal office. I always use a meeting room.

  19. If others in the office have personal artwork then I say go for it. If they don’t- everyone just has standard issue vanilla filler art- then I’d avoid it. I’m moving offices and have framed some family photos and my diplomas to hang on the wall in the new space and plan on bringing in a nice lamp that I can put a real (non-fluorescent) light bulb in.

  20. anonymama :

    If you work in state politics, and are from Kansas, but now live in DC, then the poster is pretty perfect (you’re not in Kansas anymore!) if a little bit corny.

  21. I’m assuming that this is a lovely piece that looks great framed, but, unless the state that you work for is the state of Kansas or your job is directly related to child or family services, I think this poster is better suited for the home than office.

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