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Whether you’re a creative working from home, an aspiring novelist, or someone who loves to play with paint in their spare time, having the right space to flex your creative muscle can have a huge impact on your productivity. Here are some tips and tricks for creating a space that will harness your creativity and have you producing some of your best work yet.
Tip #1: Find the light
Studies show natural light boosts both mood and creativity, making the choice of where to put your desk or easel an easy one. If you don’t have a sunny spare room or free nook beside a window or beneath a skylight, use a mirror to your advantage, placing it to reflect the nearest source of natural light. You should also take the time to consider your window coverings, if you have them: can they be drawn aside easily or are they transparent enough to let the light shine through? If not, make adjustments.
Tip #2: Go green
Indoor plants are an excellent idea, not just because they’re one of the year’s biggest interior design trends, but because they lower stress and increase productivity. Just one little potted friend somewhere in your line of sight is all you need, so pick a variety that suits the conditions of your space and will look lush year-round, like an African Violet or Begonia.
Tip #3: Embrace curves
We’re hard-wired to love curves. We see them as less threatening than sharp lines, consider them more beautiful, and respond to them on an emotional level, thanks to the part of the brain they’re processed in (the anterior cingulate cortex, if you’re wondering). These responses mean we’re more at ease, more inspired and more in touch with our emotions in a space that showcases curved lines over straight ones: in other words, curves prime us for creativity. With this in mind, choose chairs, desks, rugs and other furnishings that feature ovals, circles or sweeping arcs for your creative space. You don’t have to avoid straight lines completely (in fact, doing so may give your room more nautical-porthole vibes than you were hoping for) but make sure the overall impression is more soft than sharp. If you’ve already got your furniture and it’s more square than round, soften lines with a well-placed throw, creatively-shaped lampshade or feminine artwork.
Tip #4: Get organised
It’s no secret that a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. Given the neurological process of creativity is one which necessitates cooperation between many different areas of the brain, it’s important to keep your mind as roadblock-free as possible. Depending on your creative pursuit, this might mean buying clever storage containers for your paints, brushes and canvases, investing in a filing cabinet, or keeping a black-board handy for errant thoughts and possible storylines.
Tip #5: Put colour to work
While we like to think colour preferences are purely subjective, the truth is some colours elicit universal responses, making them better suited to certain environments. Yellow, for example, is known to stimulate creativity and positivity, while red promotes courage, which is excellent if your work requires taking regular leaps of faith. If you need help focusing, opt for blue, and if you’re looking to create a warm, safe space, go for orange. Bold patterns can also be used to your advantage, as they tend to stimulate brain activity. Where you put your chosen colour is up to you – create a feature wall, incorporate design accents or go wild with art.
Tip #6: Create privacy
If you’ve ever felt uneasy about open plan offices, you’re not alone. Studies show they can negatively impact job performance due to their lack of privacy. Nearby noise and activity (not to mention that ever-chatty colleague) can interrupt concertation and flow, and the perceived notion of being on display can leave employees with a fear of their work-in-process being negatively judged. Avoid the pitfalls of the open plan office by making your at-home version a confinable space. If you have a whole room at your disposal, great! If you’re working from a corner or nook, use the surrounding furniture to your advantage, creating a clearly defined space.
Tip #7: Burn a candle
If you need help switching your brain on, try harnessing the power of scent. Fresh citrus scents, such as blood orange and grapefruit, promote concentration and reduce anxiety, while a whiff of coffee will leave you alert and energised, just like a cup of your favourite brew.
Tip #8: Choose pieces that inspire you
Stale environments lead to stale performances, so make sure your space is full of interest and vibrancy. Include unusual objects to promote innovative thinking, create a mood board you can update for each project, or surround yourself with personal items that keep you motivated. Remember it’s your space so include whatever speaks most strongly to you.
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