5 Ways To Make Over Your Desk So It Inspires Creativity
Your outer landscape has a direct impact on your inner one, whether you realize it or not. When it comes to decorating your home or office, there's real power in designing a space that speaks to your goals and intentions.
Plant-based athlete, author, and mbg Collective member Rich Roll said it best in a recent Instagram post about his at-home office scene: a converted shipping container filled with books, notepads, a skateboard, and other trinkets he finds inspiring. "The more fertile the space, the more fertile the mind," its caption reads. "Put intention into your personal space. Create the environment to create."
While research has found that some things are beneficial for nearly every work environment (adding a plant to your desk can increase productivity by 15%1; sitting near a window while you work can improve sleep and boost energy levels2), it's largely personal. So for inspiration, we asked some of the creative, design-oriented people in our world about how they invite productivity and inspiration into their workspaces. Here are some of their favorite strategies you can emulate in your office or home:
1. Carve out space to move around.
When Sara Combs, interior designer and author of At Home in Joshua Tree, isn't in meetings, she likes to move around instead of staying confined to a desk. "I personally feel most creative when movement is involved: A change of scenery helps me stay inspired and energized," she tells mbg, adding that going outside, sitting at her dining room table, or heading to a coffee shop helps her mind stay open and receptive to new ideas.
Even if you don't have as much flexibility to move around, you can reap similar benefits by working in a shared area of your office. Sometimes just sitting in a different chair, even if it's just for a few minutes, can really help.
2. Bring in natural elements.
"Bringing the outside in helps create mental serenity in your workspace, which leads to overall physical and emotional well-being," holistic interior designer Laurence Carr shares. Spruce up your desk with photographs of the outdoors or a diffuser filled with essential oils if that's an option.
Of course, houseplants will do the trick too. "I love having a plant or two near where I work," adds Combs. "Watering plants is the perfect short work break and adds so much life to an indoor environment."
3. Surround yourself with objects that inspire.
Whether it's your favorite book or a beautiful ceramic, keep something tactile that you can look to for inspiration throughout the day. For Combs, it's tile samples, color fan decks, and design reference books.
4. Get reflective.
In feng shui philosophy, mirrors represent expansive, creative energy. If you can, NYC-based feng shui architect Anjie Cho recommends buying two small, round mirrors (around 3 inches in diameter) and hanging them on the walls in your space so they're reflecting each other—one on your left side, one on your right. If you don't have walls on either side of you, simply placing a mirror on your desk will do. Just make sure that it's reflecting something that brings you joy, such as a window with a view to the outside or an art piece hanging in your office.
According to feng shui, the desk should also be in a "command position," meaning you should be able to see the entryway to your office when you're sitting at it. "When your desk is in command, you're able to focus and concentrate because you are in visual and energetic command of the environment," Cho explains. "You can see who's coming in or out—no unexpected surprises."
5. Choose your crystals strategically.
If you get down with crystals, citrine is one that's thought to invite creativity and bust through stagnant energy. "You can locate it in the center of your workspace so that it can open and energize all the aspects of your work for maximum inspiration," Cho says.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.