Can Your Home Make You More Creative?
Creative Spark. Image via Unsplash
We all recognise that our homes are our sanctuaries, our refuge from the world, and the place we go to recharge our batteries – literally and metaphorically – reconnect with loved ones and where we feel most ourselves. What you may not have realised before is that these qualities also allow us to become more creative, and this can be an amazing asset in many ways. Whether you need to problem solve in your life, run a small business, sometimes work from home or have a hobby you’re passionate about, being able to tap into that creative flow is a hugely valuable asset – and one that your home can massively enhance. There are many studies out there linking your ability to be creative and productive directly with the environment that you work in. You may be repurposing existing space within your home (many a great novel has been written at the kitchen table) or you may be lucky enough to have a space that you can dedicate exclusively to your creative pursuits. Either way, if you set up right, you’ll find that you can get into that flow state far easier, waste less time in procrastination and really get to the heart of some great work, fast. Optimise the space you have and getting creative becomes simple.
Choose A Space Of Your Own
If you are lucky enough to have the physical space available, then you can choose to make a dedicated creative space fitted to your own needs. Having an area that you always work on your projects is important. You can actually train your brain so that it learns to associate the space with tackling creative tasks. Eventually, just entering your space will get those neurons firing as you are so used to becoming creative in that location. Your dedicated space is going to be your creative haven, so make sure it’s a space where you feel at your most comfortable.
You’re almost always going to want lots of natural light for anything visual, so a dank basement is out. Cosy little corners are great and they can be almost anywhere in the house – just as long as it’s somewhere that makes you feel at ease.
Making Room For Creativity
If you don’t have a convenient spare room, then it might be time to apply your creative thinking to finding a space in your house where you can work effectively. Think about if there are other unused spaces or areas with potential that could be transformed into what you need. If you have a small attic, then a loft conversion could give you the perfect space to sit and think, with a beautiful view over the rooftops. Or if you clear out the unloved clutter, arrange damp proofing and a new garage door installation, the place where old camping equipment and Christmas decorations go to die could become your brand new studio! Space free in the garden can be transformed with the addition of a garden studio. These standalone structures sit halfway between an outbuilding and a permanent dwelling and can be wired for electricity. They are easy to construct and cost a lot less than a traditional extensions while providing vital extra space for that coveted craft studio, home gym, office or guest bedroom. They can be configured in all sorts of ways and customised to suit your needs, and don’t require any upheaval in your current living space.
Even if you don’t have any of these spaces or live in a smaller apartment there are ways to create a space of your own. Use a decorative lacquered screen or a shelving unit to divide some space off from your main area to create a little corner for your creative endeavours. If you have stairs you could look at opening up the space underneath them and making a small study area. Apply your creative thinking to where you live and you’re sure to find somewhere you can call your own.
Let There Be Light
A hugely important factor in the space you have chosen is light. For some activities, especially painting and crafting, or activities like cross stitch and dressmaking, choosing an area that benefits from a lot of natural light is important. It could be a light filled conservatory, the corner of a dining room with big windows or a loft conversion with large Velux windows installed, but opening up the space and flooding it with daylight will be a huge benefit. However, this isn’t the case for all types of creative work. If what you have to do is more in the mind – writing, composing music or graphic designing – a recent study from Germany showed that you may actually benefit from low lighting. The Journal of Environment Psychology stated that for these types of creative tasks, dimmer lighting “elicits a feeling of freedom, self-determination, and reduced inhibition.” So choose your space according to the type of creative work that you need to do. Fitting a dimmer switch system or opting for a selection of cosy floor and table lamps for a diffused glow is one option. Or if you’re working on something where extra light is a benefit, consider brighter task lighting such as an anglepoise lamp or even LED strip lights along your work surface or around the edges of the room.
Introduce Some Ambient Noise
You may think that you need peace and quiet to get on with the business of being creative, but a certain type of noise can be really useful – Ambient Noise. This is a sort of low level background hun of around 70 decibels, and studies have shown that it actually aids the creative process and has help us to think clearly. It’s the sort of noise you’d find in a coffee shop or conference centre. But how do you achieve this optimal noise at home? Well, if you’re feeling fancy, you could invest in a white noise machine to provide the ambient environment that will help you create – and coincidentally it can also give you a great night’s sleep. If you aren’t wanting to splash out, Spotify has ambient noise playlists that you can use with a pair of noise cancelling headphones to create the right environment to aid your creative flow.
Find The Balance Of Tidiness
There is a fine line between atmospheric clutter and total disorganisation that you’d be wise to find in your creative space. The journal Psychological Science has found that a little disorder actually encourages creativity and a bias towards new ideas, so it’s a good idea not to go to sterile with your decor if you want your brain to be sparking out new concepts. On the other hand, you can go too far and certainly where your creative process involves problem solving and logic, too much clutter can be counter productive. If you are doing something involving lots of parts, like crafting, you will benefit from a system which helps you to organise your supplies so you can see exactly what you have and get inspired. Fishing tackle boxes or vintage apothecary drawers for a more aesthetic twist can work well for this purpose. Add a few framed pictures of people you care about and consider making an inspiration board where you can pin magazine tears, fabric samples and other things which inspire you to create.
Build In Space For A Break
With all the activity, sometimes you just need a bit of calm, so it’s a great idea to dedicate a corner of your space to winding down and cleaning your mind. Regular breaks will help you to stay on track with your task and keep you focused – you might want to try the Pomodoro Technique to manage your workload and schedule in regular screen breaks. Add in a cosy wing chair with a footstool or a pile of floor cushions where you can move away from your work for a few minutes. You could even pop down a yoga mat if you like to practice. A pile of magazines can serve as inspiration or you may want blackout blinds that you draw down to help you have a quick power nap. You could also look at adding a coffee machine or a mini fridge with cold drinks so you can take a break whenever you need. Find whatever recharges you and gets your creative juices flowing and go for it.
Image via Unsplash
Creativity With Colors and Finishes
Consider painting your creative space a bright color as this is more stimulating than the restful neutrals you may have in the rest of your home. Studies have shown that a green environment is one that makes us most creative, so if you can select a green shade for the walls it may give you that little extra inspiration. Alternatively, introduce natural green with some lovely plants – succulents like Cacti or air plants are a great bet as they are very low maintenance and oxygenate the atmosphere well.