7 Ways to Create a Functional, Inspired Home Workspace

Home workspace with art

A 2010 study found that employees who have control over the layout of their workspace are happier, healthier—and up to 32% more productive. The same study also demonstrated that workers who have creative control over their office surroundings, either control of the design of the office itself or modest modifications to their desks, are likely to produce better, more efficient work. What does that mean for your own workspace? Whether you spend your days working in a creative environment or have a more traditional setting, the aesthetic of your office can directly impact both your mood and your motivation. For those who have recently shifted to a work-from-home scenario, it’s important to establish a functional home office setting that fosters both productivity and creativity.

One of the easiest ways to kickstart your creativity: think more like an art museum curator. Investing in an art-filled, creative work space can improve both employee wellness and the bottom line, as the benefits of art on creativity are known to reduce stress, improve memory, and increase empathy. Incorporating art in your space can also improve your mood, as data shows that 67% of people believe that art in their work environment has made a positive impact on their morale.

No matter what your industry may be, there are science-backed reasons to prioritize surrounding your daily workspace with art and design. Read on for simple ways to achieve a functional, inspired workstation.

1. Identify a Theme

When brainstorming ways to incorporate art in your office environment, first determine how you’d like the space to make you feel. Do you prefer a calming environment that promotes concentration, or an office that encourages productivity and creativity? Easy adjustments to design and layout, like curating a collection of art and objects, can help make your working experience more nurturing.

Office decor can even enhance your work performance, as those that choose to personalize their spaces are 17% more productive than those who don’t. Whether you have a casual, contemporary, or formal style, consider global influences and your desired color palette when choosing the mood of your space. Once you’ve landed on a theme for your office, determine the style of art that best complements the theme you’ve selected. Keep in mind that certain art movements often utilize specific color palettes.

For a soothing environment, look to the Impressionists for soft, calming pastels, or consider the ingenuity of Dada art to stimulate energy creativity. Determining your theme will help you select pieces that will work best. If you need a little inspiration, consult with a professional interior designer and read up on interior design trends for inspiration.

2. Determine Your Color Palette

Next, select the colors and patterns you’d like to incorporate into your office. If you’re looking to create a minimalist environment, or work best in a bright, creative space, the colors you incorporate will directly impact the art you choose.

Regardless of theme, consider incorporating hues based on the psychology of color. If you work in a creative role, yellow can be a good color to feature, because it is linked to improving optimism. Blue is often recommended for office spaces, as it is known to stimulate brain activity. When considering what hues to feature in your space, consider the intensity of the shades you choose. Brighter, more saturated colors are likely to add energy, while more subdued hues can create a more mellow environment.

Because research shows that color profoundly affects our behavior, adding colorful decor can be a great way to incorporate hues for psychological benefits. Create an accent wall, include a colorful statue or vase, or hang vibrant posters to incorporate bright accents in small, tasteful ways.

3. Build a Gallery Wall

Whether you are starting from scratch or already have a collection of paintings or prints that you love, building a gallery wall can be a strategic way to use wall space in your office to showcase your favorite art and artists. Creating a dedicated space for art in your workspace can improve mood, too; viewing artwork that one finds beautiful is shown to have the same affect on the brain as falling in love.

To create a gallery wall with art you enjoy, choose a dominant hue and incorporate small pops of color to add interest. If you are creating a home office, make the space feel personal by combining art with your child’s own artwork, posters and prints, or even family photos. A wall full of mementos and art you love is a great way to showcase your personal style.

Once you’ve acquired the pieces you’d like to highlight, lay all of your items on the floor to finalize your vision for the wall. Typically, it’s best to place pieces at least 1 ¼ inches apart to provide breathing room between objects. Be sure to consider the furniture in the room before hanging your pictures so that the wall feels balanced with the rest of your space.

4. Highlight Unique Pieces with Shelving

Adding shelving to your office is a simple way to showcase a variety of artwork. You may choose to incorporate floating shelves, or perhaps opt for a more structured bookcase or display system in your space. Vertical storage is a great way to incorporate art beyond hanging paintings, prints, and posters.

When styling the shelving in your office space, get creative with the types of pieces you include. From personal photographs to valuable collectibles, shelves provide a great canvas to showcase smaller objects that inspire you. To create a shelf that is visually interesting, group together pieces bearing different shapes and sizes to add layers and depth.

5. Mix and Match Styles

One of the easiest ways to incorporate art in an office environment is by combining artwork of different styles and price points. Blending original works with more budget-friendly prints and posters can help make a space feel unique and inspiring. Go for an unexpected approach by pairing a DIY art project, a vintage propaganda poster, or an Old Master painting with piece from a completely different style or period, but with a similar color palette.

Mixing unconventional styles will help you create a space that’s truly one-of-a-kind. No matter what kinds of pieces you add to your space, 78% of people agree that having art in their office helps lower stress.

6. Incorporate Excellent Lighting

To ensure your space is stimulating and to display your art in its best light, consider the lighting options in your office space. Natural light can do wonders for stimulating your mind, and also provides one of the best environments for showcasing art. Rooms that have east- or west-facing windows will receive direct sunlight in the mornings and evenings, so north- or south-facing windows are usually the best option if you are able to pick your workspace location. Be mindful that direct light can cause prints, photographs, and other works to fade over time; valuable works of art should always be protected in proper environments. For more tips on art lighting, click here.

If you are in a space with large windows, play them up to your advantage. Combine multiple light sources: Lighting experts recommend using both a general indirect lighting source, such as a chandelier that directs lighting upwards, and a small source of direct lighting, like a desk lamp. Fluorescent lights can work well in an office environment, but halogen bulbs are the best for illuminating detailed works because they give colors greater clarity. If you really want to use lighting to your advantage, consider adding a dimmer system so that you can adjust your lighting based on your mood or the time of day that you are working.

7. Think Beyond Your Desk

When adding art to a home or corporate office, be sure to keep the broader office aesthetic in mind. While many people tend to focus on their individual workspace, areas like conference rooms and waiting spaces also have potential for showcasing art and improving the design of your overall space. Consider incorporating paintings that complement the furniture in a sitting area so that guests have an inspiring place to relax.

Incorporating art throughout your workspace can also aid productivity by encouraging you to take more frequent breaks. Experts recommend following the 50-10 rule to increase work productivity, which means working for 50 minutes and then taking a ten minute break. Creating inspiring spaces beyond your desk offers a space to take a breather from your workload.

No matter what you do or where you work, there are many benefits associated with adding art to the space where you work. From sculptural pieces to fine art to posters, there are many works of art that can and should be used to build an inspiring workplace. Keep these seven tips in mind when designing your office space to ensure that you create a workspace that you love and where you produce your best work each day.

Photo Credit: 1) Tuft and Trim 2) Brittany Goldwyn 3) Polished Habitat 4) Modish & Main 5) Joyful Scribblings 6) Love and Renovations 7) Tuft and Trim

Sources: Artiq | Forbes 1, 2, 3 | Biz Journals | Little Van Gogh | Wall Moulding | Huffington Post | Just a Girl and Her Blog | A Little Design Help | NHBCA