If you’re a Design Girl, there are few joys in life as gratifying as scrolling through Instagram’s array of stunning workspaces. You could spend hours plotting your dream office (as if you haven’t done that already).
But before leaping into action and completely redesigning your desk or home office, know that pretty decor shouldn’t be your only concern. In order to optimize your productivity, creativity, and focus, you need to follow some rules, says design psychologist Sally Augustin of Design With Science.
1. Pick the best color palette for the type of work you do.
Since all jobs have different demands, it’s important to surround yourself with the color that encourages the right mindset. In collaboration with Sherwin-Williams, Augustin did a survey on how Americans respond to different color palettes. “If you do more knowledge work, like in an office setting, it is important to be relaxed so you should opt for soothing blue shades,” says Augustin. “If your work is more active, red offers a good burst of strength.”
2. Make your space easy to adjust on a day-to-day basis.
“People love to have the option of customizing their work experience,” Augustin says. “If they can adjust the lights, their chair, or even move the furniture around whenever they want to, it gives them a sense of control and confidence.”
If you’re in charge of the room’s design, using a light dimmer and furniture that is easily manipulated is your best bet. If you don’t have as much control, opting for an adjustable chair or some desk decor that you can freely rearrange will give you some ownership over your work area.
4. Add some living creatures.
Believe it or not, looking at plants and fish tanks can help you think more creatively. Having plants in your immediate surroundings is linked to improved performance, says Augustin. Fish, whether they’re in a small fishbowl or larger tank, can provide a sense of calm that might aid your ability to focus and stay stress-free.