I walk to work every day. Since I work at home it takes me about 10 seconds to get to the studio. Not much exercise, but the payoff is that I get to stay in my jammies, if I’m so inclined. I also live in a rural area so it’s highly unlikely a client, customer or even a neighbor is going to stop by for a “quick” chat.

So, I don’t need a decked-out studio designed to impress anybody.

Except me.

My studio is my creative space. It has to look like and feel like one even when I’m the only person in it. So, an electric blue wall faces me as I work at my table. Memorabilia and my favorite tchotchkes fill white shelves along the blue wall. Since I love typography, framed ampersands hang all around me. My file folders are multi-colored, of course, as is my tape dispenser.

I firmly believe that working in a customized inspiring space is a lot more important than we might recognize. Since I work in creative industries, it’s a must. I need the extra push in energy that a stimulating environment gives me. It’s not that I can’t create in a dump, but I feel much happier in a space that lifts me up. And happiness contributes to creativity and production. That’s a given and there is ample scientific data to back that up.

Data aside, I learned this lesson long ago when working in the graphic arts department of a mid-size company.

On a magical Monday morning I walked into our five-person workroom that, the previous Friday, had been decorated with utilitarian beige cubicles, commercial carpeting and anemic hanging plants.

That Monday the room was unrecognizable. The floor was covered in a herringbone pattern of mottled red brick dry-grouted in a thick layer of white sand. Sand! The cubicle walls were covered with burlap in various earthy colors (this was the 70’s so you’ll have to trust me that this décor was tres chic). The shriveled pothos plants were replaced with verdant hanging ferns and huge potted palms and ficus.

But the crowning glory in our newly embellished space was a stereo – a stereo! – with sizeable speakers prominently placed at the center back wall.

Wow. Shangri-La!

Turned out, in a covert mission I appreciated (but cannot endorse … mostly), our über creative architect and two other operatives/team members revamped Uglyville over the weekend.

Without permission.

Upper management reacted with some, um, displeasure at the clandestine antics. But in the end, the Primary Big Boss intuitively understood the needs of creatives, so he let it go.

A wise move. Allowing us a little freedom to express ourselves in our surroundings was good for business.

In fact, the most interesting development after the revamp was that our room (thereafter dubbed “The Hippy Room”) became an energy hub for the whole office, whether for sharing ideas, successes or birthday cake.

Our creativity blossomed in that environment, as did productivity. We felt so … artful. And just feeling that way infused validity and confidence into our work. We became a creative team, not just five people working in the same room.

The team I worked with in that day made my job worthwhile in so many ways. But I also know without doubt that the creative upgrade in that workroom helped cultivate fresh perspectives, more inventive thinking and a far more engaged and energized group.

A lot of us are working at home these days, whether by choice or forced to do so by current circumstances. Whether you work in a creative or noncreative field (though I would argue there’s no such thing as a field that doesn’t require creativity) give yourself permission to spend time designing your space.

Let it feed you and free you. Customize it to include whatever you find invigorating – your favorite art, your kids’ art, colorful pens, music, unusual organizational items, your dog, your cat, a dart board or fresh flowers. Whatever.

Edifying your workspace is not an elective. It’s a requirement. Make it you, make it fun and make it important!

Let's Muse Together

Yo! Grab a cuppa something foamy and a low-cal pastry and let's chat about creating havens in our lives - with art, with things we love and with people we love.


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