How to Decorate Your Office for Maximum Productivity

A woman writes at her desk with her laptop open.LightField Studios / Shutterstock

A well-decorated office may seem like a luxury, but what if it makes you more productive? Research suggests that something as simple as a fresh coat of paint can affect your mood and outlook. This is inconclusive, but it actually promising possibilities.

In addition to color, there are many other factors in decorating your office that can contribute to productivity. Decor taste tends to be very personal, so what works for one person may not work for another. It takes some experimentation to find what works for you.

But where to start? Whether you work from home or not, try out some of these visual enhancements in your office and see if you don’t get an improvement in your productivity.

Change colors

As mentioned above, color psychology is a very controversial area that suggests color could change your mood. However, one of the reasons the research is so inconclusive is that reactions to color are very personal.

For example, in some cultures white suggests cleanliness and purity, but in others white is the color of mourning. Depending on where you’re from and your personal experience, you might have a very different reaction to a white office.

If you already know which colors improve your mood, go ahead and paint your desk. However, if you can’t decide or aren’t allowed to paint, add a “temporary” color. Hang a new set of curtains, a colorful painting or picture. This way you can easily try out a few colors until you find what works best.

Add new lighting

Studies also suggest that natural light is one of the most important things an employee can have in a workspace. Natural light seems to help people do more and feel better while they’re doing it.

If you have a window in your office, keep the blinds and curtains wide open and try to end your work day before it gets dark. If you don’t have natural light in your office, better artificial lighting is the best thing to do.

Make sure your desk is well lit with ambient lighting that doesn’t leave dark shadows in your workspace. Add targeted lighting, like a desk lamp, wherever you work on specific tasks. If you have several different light sources, you can also adjust the brightness of the room to suit your mood and the task at hand.

Luckily, it’s easy to upgrade your office lighting with cheap lamps and fixtures. Even in a heavy corporate office, no one should object to you adding a nice desk lamp to your cabinet.

Besides adding or changing light fixtures, using different bulbs can also help you get more done in the office.

Warm lighting tends to promote relaxation, while cold lighting tends to promote relaxation. improves productivity. If you replace warm-toned bulbs with cooler-colored bulbs, you could be doing more.

Want to want it? You can also buy smart bulbs which allow you to change the lighting color as you need.

Experiment with the scent

Candles and a scent diffuser on a small table in front of a plant and framed artwork.Ina Ts / Shutterstock

Certain scents can have a significant impact on your mood. However, just like with colors, your reaction to scent is very personal. A scent that helps one person focus can induce relaxation in another.

There is a scientific reason for this. In your brain the olfactory bulb is close to the amygdala and the hippocampus, both associated with memory and mood. A smell can trigger memories much more effectively than a sound or even a sight. Indeed, these other senses are dealt with further from the emotional and memory centers of the brain.

So while some scents may have specific effects on your mood, those effects depend on your past experience with that scent. Lavender can relax most people, but if you’ve had a bad experience in a lavender field, it probably won’t work that way on you.

Try candles, diffusers, and other scent sources to find ones that help you focus. Although it takes some trial and error, experts suggest that lemon, jasmine, peppermint, cinnamon, and rosemary could be good productivity-boosting scents.

Green It Up

According to some studies, the sight of living plants helps some people focus. Plants also make your office prettier and more welcoming, which can help you feel better when you start your workday.

If you can’t put plants in your office, try spending time outdoors on a break from work. Take your lunch outside or organize your brainstorming session in a nearby park to enjoy the benefits of greenery that encourage concentration.

Try curved furniture

Some experts believes that soft edges on furniture can help reduce stress and free the mind to focus and be more productive.

Hard or sharp edges can subconsciously put you “on edge” as they can hurt you if you encounter them. Softer textures and rounded corners reduce that extra stress.

Office furniture is often a bit austere and harsh, but if you’re lucky enough to buy a new desk, chair, or cabinet, consider going for a softer, more rounded design.

These ideas should get you off to a good start. However, our reactions to our surroundings are largely personal, so feel free to experiment and bend the “rules” to find what works for you. If nothing else, just rearrange your desk.

If you want more suggestions to improve your focus and productivity, we know it!

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