If you’ve ever worked at home, you know what a tricky game it can be. It’s lonely. It offers no motivation. And it’s dangerously close to the couch and the pantry. While at first you might have looked forward to working from the comfort of your home, it soon gets old. Before you know it, you’re feeling pretty bleak about the whole situation.
But what if we told you that you could create an office space that you actually wanted to work in? One that puts you in a better mood, leaving you ready to get started and then stay on task? It all starts with setting up a bright and cheerful working environment. A bright environment means a bright mood and a bright mind (cue the lightbulb). Let’s look at a few ways you can brighten your at-home office to reap the benefits of productivity.
Not only can color make an office space visually more interesting, it can affect your mood, as well. Ever heard of color psychology? It’s the theory that color can impact mood, actions, and even physiological functions. We won’t go into the science of it here, but we will give you a crash course on which colors do what:
- White: Gives a sense of freshness, cleanliness, and modernity.
- Black: Signals luxury, mystery, and power.
- Silver: Feels innovative and modern.
- Red: Evokes boldness, action, confidence.
- Orange: Arouses energy, enthusiasm, and happiness.
- Yellow: Associated with warmth, energy, and attention.
- Green: Conjures associations with nature, safety, and luck.
- Blue: Elicits feelings of productivity, stability, and calmness.
- Purple: Associated with imagination and mystery.
- Pink: Feels romantic, calm, and nurturing.
If you want to create a bright space, add a splash of color with a fun chair, a pair of curtains, or a whole wall. Pick a color that stimulates energy, productivity, or any other mood boost you think is essential to your work life. Choose light or vibrant shades of the color so that you don’t end up making the room darker with, say, navy.
In honor of the current obsession with succulents, we decided to add plants to our list of office must-haves. But seriously, it’s about more than a corny cactus. Plants add life —literally!— to a home office. The pop of green adds a hint of color to your desk. Plus, an interesting texture always makes a space feel more dynamic.
In addition to aesthetic powers, plants can also impact your mental and physical health. According to studies completed by the University of Exeter, the Human Spaces report, and the University of Technology, Sydney, plants boost productivity and creativity while reducing stress. Adding greenery also helps clean the air naturally by removing carbon dioxide and other toxins from the air. In short, it’s not just a silly succulent. Plants benefit both your physical and psychological health so that you can keep your headspace and your air clean as can be.
Illuminate with Natural Light
Embrace natural light in your home office. Natural light brightens a room more effectively and naturally than artificial light. While you can still supplement your lighting with a lamp, creating a natural lighting situation will prevent your room from feeling stuffy or cramped. Keep your room bright rather than dingy with a few helpful hints about window treatments.
- The more versatile, the better. Choose blinds, shades, or curtains that you can adjust depending on the time of day.
- Choose an option with slats for the most mobility. Wood blinds, commercial metal blinds, and plantation shutters provide a full range of motion, from open to closed to everything in between.
- Light colored wood feels natural and organic if you want a fresh, beachy vibe. Or, if you’re going for a sleek, classic feel, you can choose commercial blinds made from aluminum.
- Vertical blinds draw the eye side to side, making the room appear wider than it is. The roomier your office looks, the brighter and more airy it will feel to you.
- When it comes to shades, roller shades can help keep a space clean and fresh due to their minimal shape. Shades are also ideal because they come in a variety of semi-transparent materials that create soft, rather than dreary, lighting.
- Curtains help introduce color (here’s your chance to add that pop of color that we talked about), texture, or pattern to a drab space. This type of window treatment comes in the greatest variety of designs, so have fun with it. The other tremendous thing about curtains is that they still look stylish while pulled completely open to allow natural light in.
- When it comes to the materials of curtains and shades, choose light colors and fabrics that aren’t completely opaque. You want to filter, not block, the natural light.
Do a Clutter Cleanse
A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. Keep your space mess free to relieve both stress and visual chaos. Piles of paper and junk add visual weight to the room. They crowd the space, making it seem smaller. As soon as you remove the clutter, your space will feel instantly larger and more spacious. In general, keep all visible spaces clear to give the space a neat, light feel.
Sticky notes everywhere? Paper? Knick knacks? These can also mess with your carefully created color scheme and draw away from the desired look you’re going for. Furthermore, your extra efforts to brighten your office have gone to waste if you can’t find anything in it. You’ll be more frustrated than before if you don’t organize your own chaos. No space can be bright if you have a dark cloud over your head.
Creating a productive space doesn’t require an entire overhaul of your current office. You can brighten your office, and your mood, with a couple small tweaks. First, add color and natural light with an open window framed by colorful curtains. Next, clear off those stacks of old papers and replace them with some greens. Finally, experience how it feels to be productive while working from home.