Recently, there was a conversation in the Creative Freelancer Conference LinkedIn group that caught my eye. Writer Sheila Hart-O’Connor posed the question: How do you make your creative space inspiring?
I was working on a similar blog post, so I’ve compiled the comments from my fellow creatives with my own thoughts on the subject.
Tips for making your creative space more inspiring:
Luke Mysse suggests putting artwork on the walls, rotating your “gallery” to keep things interesting. I currently have a collection in my office that includes paintings I’ve created, artwork from local artists, and pieces I’ve collected in my travels.
Designer Lisa Youngdahl, who recently moved to a community studio space, adds that seeing what others are working on supplies constant inspiration and new visual perspective. She also displays her own design work in her studio—which can be a nice boost on those “down” days.
I’m a big fan of having plants in the office. Not only do they provide an interesting and organic design element, but they can also help clear the air. A well-known NASA study has shown that many common houseplants improve indoor air quality by helping remove toxic chemicals frequently found in offices. Don’t have a green thumb? Choose from one of these easy-to-grow houseplants.
Emily Brackett mentions how paint colors on your walls can be used both as calming effects, as well as branding elements. And don’t be afraid to change the colors to match your current creative mindset. A great way to preview colors is a paint visualizer such as ColorJive, which allows you to “paint” different options on a photo of your room. Fear of commitment to paint? Add color to your walls with drapes, fabrics or large DIY painted panels. This is also a good temporary solution if you rent your workspace.
Good lighting is also important, especially for those who work with exact colors and tones. Bright, natural light from large windows is best, with good spot lighting on areas where you do more precise work. Writer Deidre Rienzo points out the importance of natural light—but also mentions that workspace lighting challenges can be overcome creatively with light fixtures, fabrics and plants. A quick visit to your local home improvement center can provide lighting ideas and inspiration.
Most of us agreed with professional organizer Debra Baida that a nice, clean desk is crucial. As Debra says, “Open spaces help the energy flow.” And nothing stifles your creativity like rifling through folders to find a creative brief. There are many organizing systems available online, such as Unclutterer. Choose the one that fits your personality and work style. If you need more help, Luke Mysse recommends the book Order from Chaos by Liz Davenport.
Graphic designer Gerry Suchy recommends “having a large dog under your desk.” As a fellow dog owner, I totally agree. Pets seem to bring a sense of calm to a sometimes-stressful environment. And they don’t forget to wash the coffeemaker or return your stapler. Not to mention, they get you out into the fresh air several times a day—which is a nice way to get inspiration. However, be prepared to do some serious vacuuming (especially around computer equipment).
What other ways can we bring inspiration to our creative workspaces?