Let’s face it: Your workspace needs an overhaul. The stark white walls seem bland. The no-name print that someone framed cheaply over the front desk is uninspired at best. But where do you start? By commissioning artwork—a practice that Grady Durham, founder and president of investment consulting firm Monticello Associates, has perfected. Durham has accented the firm’s neutral interior with work from a roster of local talent: A vibrant abstract painting by Denver-based artist Amy Metier hangs in the office lobby, while Rick Dula’s photo-realistic paintings of urban scenes add life to another wall. “Art is inspirational,” Durham says. “It leads to a positive work environment.” Follow his tips (at right) for successfully invigorating an otherwise ordinary space.

1. Establish a vision
Decide what type of art will best fit the business (sculpture or painting, abstract or still life?) and whether the company wants to highlight local artists. How much artistic freedom is the commissioner willing to provide?

2. Settle on a space

The commission will be more successful if the artist has a set size for the work and an idea of where it will hang or stand.

3. Determine a price range

Set a budget for the work. Durham recommends deciding on a realistic price range first, and then seeking artists who fall within it. “Typically, local artists are favored over national artists,” he says, “simply because they are more affordable.”