Designing a creative space in your home

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Designing a creative space in your home

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My Creative Space

Owning a home is definitely a labor of love. While homeownership can be expensive and time-consuming, there is one overriding perk that outweighs all other considerations: the ability to create your own ideal creative environment. The impact of environment on your level of creativity cannot be overstated.

Additionally, home decorating is an intensely individualize matter so don't expect others to approve of all of your choices. The following are some suggestions to help you in your quest to design the perfect creative space for your home.

1. Identify your ideal creative space

To get started, close your eyes and imagine yourself in your ideal setting -- the one where you are happy, energized, and in the mood to create. What did that place look like? For me, it is on a Florida Keys tropical beach, with palm trees, sparking blue water, and brilliant sun where I would have many open water sailing and scuba adventures interspersed with focused blocks of writing time.

Once you identify your ideal space, break it into different design elements and see how you might transport some, if not all, of the features into your home. Ideally you would implement these ideas in your home in tangible form, but sometimes you might have to settle for symbolic representations. For example, you probably could get real or fake tropical plants but may need to settle for pictures of boats and lighthouses.

2. Create dedicated space(s) for your craft(s)

If you're serious about your desire to become more creative, you should create some dedicated work spaces such as a craft room, garage, or library. A dedicated creative space allows you to leave out your tools and projects without them being disrupted.

Dedicated spaces can also provide some needed private time away from roommates or family. If your chosen creative mediums are very dissimilar (refurbishing antique furniture, baking, and playing the guitar), you might need separate dedicated spaces for each one.

3. Spice up areas with bold color choices

Researchers have found that colors can have a significant impact on mood, attitude, and productivity. In order to brighten up my home, I have painted my home full of tropical colors representing the sun, ocean, sky, and sand - yellow, ocean blue, pale blue, and two shades of peach. Personally, I find that exposure to pleasant colors helps me be creative.

I encourage you to read about color theory and its impact on mood and creativity. However, the research on colors and creativity seems to conflict. One study suggests that green enhances creativity while another study states that blue enhances creativity. It is probably less important to choose a particular color but instead focus on what energizes you mentally and emotionally.

4. Search for the right furniture (and get lucky)

The right furniture is probably the most important feature of your creative space. Furniture should support your creative activity while helping you feel comfortable and put you within easy access to all your creative tools.

After months of searching furniture stores for a comfortable mattress, I accidentally stumbled upon the cornerstone of my creative space, the desk/table shown in the picture. Within easy access of my creative space is my Ipod stereo, water cooler, treadmill, and kitchen (I frequently get the munchies when I create). Since installing this desk into my peach living room, my writing productivity has literally doubled over the past six months.

5. Master light, sound, and temperature (and food)

Creativity researchers have devised a creativity assessment test called the Productivity Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS), which is aimed at during the ideal conditions for an individual. My results revealed that the ideal creative for me is an environment that is bright, warm, quiet (or with relaxing music), and with plenty of food to munch on.

Take some time to identify (and perhaps experiment) your ideal conditions, and work to implement the lighting, sound, and environmental controls that you need.

6. De-clutter your home

While it is may be true that creative types tend to be less organized, it doesn't necessary follow that they work best in utter chaos. While I have personally a difficult time creating order in my environment, I am far more productive when my house is clean and organized. In order to devote more time to writing, I have retained an affordable cleaning service to help de-clutter and organize my home.

Travis Turner is pursuing a master's in creativity studies from SUNY Buffalo State. He writes frequently on creative leadership at and can be followed on Twitter at @CreativityProf.

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