Those of us lucky enough to do creative work for a living know that creativity is also hard work. Long hours and inspired thinking can be draining, mentally and physically. However, we’ve found that by rethinking the traditional workspace, our clients see a real boost in imagination and productivity—it’s all about keeping us energized and refreshed. And it’s no different if you work at home, as a well-planned workspace has a big effect on originality and productivity.
Take a look at our top six tips for home office and studio solutions, and what makes each one shine.
Light is crucial on so many levels. Natural light helps us to feel that we’re not stuck in an office. Task lighting is critical for keeping you from getting physically tired, and when you’re burning that midnight oil, a desk lamp shining directly on the work at hand helps keep you more focused and energized than a bright, ambient overhead lighting fixture. Bring in ambient light with floor lamps and overhead light fixtures during the day to boost the existing natural light and task lighting to increase focus and decrease eye strain.
Color seems obvious, but it’s a little trickier than adding a bright, red accent wall. People choose bright, bold colors in offices in order to create a space that seems like anything but a sterile office, and that’s a good instinct. But it turns out that, for most of us, more soothing tones help to keep stress levels down and energy up. Don’t be afraid to be brave with paint colors, but think bold rather than loud. Purples, blues and greens can make big statements without putting you on edge when you’re already on deadline.
Nature is another design element that tricks us into thinking we’re not at work. We tend to associate the outdoors with the activities that revitalize and refresh us, so bring in some of that green! Plants are the logical starting point, and pottery is a great way to bring in a few pops of color. Next, consider earthy textures and tones for fabrics, rugs and window treatments.
Organization turns out to be a big part of keeping stress levels down. Even if this isn’t your strong suit, simply creating a space that looks tidy will increase productivity and creativity. Make sure your desk space is large enough to accommodate what you do—and to prevent small piles from popping up in every spare corner of space. Keep it as clear as possible by using shelves above and below for in-boxes, frequent filing and peripheral equipment like printers and scanners. Cable management is too simple and cable management systems too abundant to ignore these days. They reduce the visual clutter that drives most of us crazy and make the ever expanding technological aspect of our lives much easier to manage.
Inspiring, personal artwork will keep you thinking beyond the bounds of your immediate space. It will remind you why you do what you do and give you the energy to do it. Framed photos of family and friends engaged in fun and meaningful off-duty activities transport you from the office, and research confirms time and time again that we often have our most brilliant ideas when we’re momentarily focused on something else.
A good office chair is, hands down, the most effective investment you can make in terms of productivity. What’s the number one reason we walk away from our desks? Because we’re uncomfortable or tired. Of course, you want to get up and move every hour no matter what you’re sitting in, but find a chair that helps you maintain good posture and forget you’ve been sitting at your desk for three hours straight. Sit in as many chairs as you need to in order to find the one with the ergonomics that address your particular body.
Whatever you do, make sure you create a space you love to be in and you’ll truly notice an improvement in productivity and creativity. We’d love to hear what you’ve done to make your home office work better for you!
About the Author:
Interior designer Kerrie Kelly writes on task lighting, naturally lit interiors and window treatments for Home Depot. Kerrie is the author of Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide. Window treatments of many varieties can be viewed on the Home Depot website.
Recommended Books to Help You Get Inspired by Your Home Office:
- The Home Office Handbook: Rules of Thumb for Organizing Your Time, Information, and Workspace
- Feng Shui Quick Guide For Home and Office: Secrets For Attracting Wealth, Harmony, and Love
- Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
- A Space of My Own: Inspirational Ideas for Home Offices, Craft Rooms Studies