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United Way Sacramento Gets a Bright & Inspiring Makeover

by Caitlin Kelch

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Non-profit organizations and their volunteers spend the majority of their time and money creating programs to benefit their communities. With such a broad and important mission, keeping spirits high and motivations strong is key to achieving the best possible outcomes for those they serve. We teamed up with  to bring United Way’s California Capital Region meeting space a well-deserved, bright refresh that serves to invigorate the United Way team and volunteers that power the Square One program in their community. Today we’re sharing the results of that very special project.




The Carpet and Rug Institute reached out to us a few months ago for some design refresh ideas for United Way Sacramento. After looking at photos of the space, we were immediately struck by the dark colors of the walls and busy carpeting that defined the space. In order to create a more welcoming and energetic space for the UW team and volunteers, we recommended painting the walls soft grey and playing with the colors in their signature programs collateral to keep the program and its mission top-of-mind. We also communicated that the current carpet was weighing down the space.

By incorporating functional, but playful elements like pennants, felt signboards and bright yellow chairs, the room became a light space filled with reminders of why everyone who passed through the door was there – to bring “light and bright” to the community they serve. With  donating the new carpet tiles in a textured light grey, the space went from a drab, cave-like environment to a place that felt large and limitless, like the Square One program goals.

We worked with the UW team to choose objects that represented the Square One program’s mission, which is to make a significant increase in the number of children who graduate from local high schools and move on to successful lives. Tomato Red, Taxi Yellow, Soft Blue and Periwinkle serve as the color story of the program and highlight the four steps to their initiative: Keep Kids in School, Keep Them On Track, Set High Expectations and Ensure Strong Support.

United Way improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.

Working with , the United Way team chose a light grey carpet as the foundation for their new, inspiring space. They liked that working with carpet gave them a ton of design flexibility and let them go light without fear of wear and tear or staining. With health as one of the foundations of their program, it was important to create an uplifting environment for their team and volunteers with a light workspace. This was made possible with the help of carpet that promotes indoor air quality by trapping harmful particles and helps keep the noise down in their busy areas.

The carpet also offers a safer space for their elderly volunteers. Polished floors in public spaces can be tricky for those with mobility issues, so the UW team was confident that carpet was a great choice.  California is known for its environmental progressiveness and almost all carpet, including the carpet tile installed in this space, is certified as . This designation ensures the carpet is among the lowest-emitting products on the market.

Image above: Some of the United Way California Capital Region Team Members

Hats off to the Carpet & Rug Institute, United Way CCR team, installers and volunteers who pulled off this much needed refresh!

If you’d like to donate to the United Way, you can find your local chapter. To donate to the California Capital Region’s Square One Program, click .

Additionally, CRI is offering our readers a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card. Just visit to enter to win!

This post is sponsored by The Carpet & Rug Institute, all opinions are our own.

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  • Just wanted to let you know, this is the exact kind of sponsored post that I don’t mind seeing. Using design to improve lives is great. The United Way is a great organization and I’m glad to see this transformation.

    • Thanks Rachel!

      We agree and wish that there were more opportunities like this one. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.


  • Such a smart reminder on how design for a community space can feel as warm and inviting as a private home! Wonder if this type of post could be expanded on? I’m sure there are awesome examples of how D*S readers have also spruced up classrooms, libraries, etc!

  • Hi Grace! I am back here after a long time and am so happy to see this particular post. I’m your fan in India who keeps giving your book to people as a wedding gift.
    We are in the middle of a hugely ambitious building project for our foundation here for kids with special needs (www.latikaroy.org) and I love the ideas you’ve shared with United Way. I wish you were close enough to help us in our planning!

  • Oh man, beautiful office space, but coming from a facilities manager, that carpet is going to get wrecked – hard. Doesn’t matter what kind of a stain repellent you’ve got going on there. Even though it is carpet tile and they can replace the dirty ones, it’s sadly impractical and they will spend a lot of money replacing a lot of carpet tile… or just living with stained and dingy carpet :( If you are designing a public or commercial space, for the love of glob, don’t use light, solid carpet.

    Though I do love that you are working with non profits. Really enjoy this kind of content!!

    • I was thinking the same thing. I think it’s going to look great for about a week, then it’ll start showing wear almost immediately.

  • I LOVE this type of sponsored posts. There are so many non-profit organizations that work in less than beautiful spaces, and seemingly lots of DIY blog types that re-do rooms and things that already look pretty darn good. Hopefully the same level of design and care can be applied!

  • Yeah, going with the lighter carpet is kinda confusing to me, it looks really good but I agree with MJ on this one! Keep up with the sharing!!

  • Such an improvement to the space! It’s really astonishing how much design can affect your mood and energy. After the changes I definitely feel like the space is lighter and more welcoming. Well done.

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