How to Create an Inspiring and Functional Workspace

If we haven’t bumped into each other recently or if you don’t follow me on social media (seriously, what are you waiting for?), you probably don’t know about the latest good news: I got myself my very own workspace!!! I’m sharing it with the sweetest and most talented leather maker, Marie-Anne Miljours, and, the best thing about it all is that it’s a five-minute walk from my apartment! It’s not as close as my kitchen, but eh, compromises are part of adult life.

Moving work outside of my apartment had been on my mind for a couple of months, but the idea of having a second rent to pay was stressing me out a little. However, when you’re sharing a tiny 4 1/2 with no closed bedroom nor storage with your boyfriend, getting a second space ended up becoming a necessity for both my productivity and the stashing of the 243 beauty products I receive every week.

I moved into my office space about a week ago, which means that I’m at the best part: decorating. Any thought-out space should be functional, but I feel like it’s even more important for an office. Moreover, not only does it need to be practical in my case, it also needs to be inspiring. Because, SURPRISE, I don’t work in finance. A boring, beige, and sterile office? I’d rather have my armpits tweezed while listening to Nickelback’s Christmas album.

The question remains: how does one create a work environnement that is both productivity-oriented and inspiring? After reading tons of articles and asking a bunch of freelancer friends on how to achieve that perfect balance, here are the key notions you should keep in mind before going on an IKEA raid.

Evaluate Your Needs

First and foremost: what will the primary function of your office be? Mine will be for writing, doing interviews, taking pictures, drawing, possibly shooting videos, stashing tons of beauty products and drinking wine with Marie-Anne or any other friend who will come and visit me after 5pm.

So here is a breakdown of my needs:

  • A desk big enough to have a computer section and a creative section
  • Storage to organize my stationery and art supplies
  • Boxes to put away my beauty products
  • Beautiful furniture and photogenic accessories (Instagram, watch out!)
  • A wine bottle opener and two glasses of wine

I also have to accept that, just like Rome, my office space won’t be completed in a day. Investing in beautiful objects and hunting down cool vintage furniture is a lengthy process. Like Jafar would say: “Patience Joëlle, patience.”

Credit: Architectural Digest

Tailor Your Colour Palette to Your Mood

Just in case you didn’t know, colours do impact our state of mind. Just take a few seconds to look at brands that have a signature colour like Apple or Netflix: none of it is a coincidence. Each nuance has been meticulously selected in an attempt to reflect a specific image or produce a certain feeling.

If colours hold such a strong power on our psyche, needless to say that our workspace should undergo the same kind of highly selective process. Are you looking for an energizing space? Calming? Warm? Chic? On my end, I want it to be cozy like a big wool blanket and inspiring like an artist studio, so I’m going for a palette of warm beiges with pops of colours that I’ll achieve with posters, books, and random objects. Need help for choosing a colour catered to your personality? Here is a little guide on colour symbolism:  

  • Earthy tones: welcoming, comforting
  • Spicy tones: warm, confidence
  • Warm neutral tones: subtle, sophisticated
  • Cold neutral tones: logical, modern
  • Yellows: luminous, joyful, optimistic
  • Metallic tones: rich, elegant
  • Reds and oranges: active, energetic, sharp
  • Greens: fresh, nature, balance
  • Blues and purples: relax, calm
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Create Little Oasis of Joy

I love my job, but I sometimes wish I was sitting on my couch watching Sharp Objects while stuffing my face in a big bowl of mac’n’cheese. A good way to pull yourself out of those lazy ruts is to create little sparks of joy where you can. I don’t know about you, but if you hand a me a cup of delicious coffee, I can pretty much get through any tedious chore. Nespresso recently offered me an espresso machine (thank you, thank you, thank you!), so each time motivation slips through my fingers, coffee it is! Side note: I limit myself to three servings a day to avoid panic attacks and/or cardiac failure. I’m also a huge candle fan, so when I get bored, I light one to revive my senses. What about you? What helps you get through a boring to-do list?

Visualize and Get Inspired

One of the great perks of having my own office is being able to have mood board wall. The goal is not only to hang beautiful images, but inspirational ones that will make me coexist with my goals from dawn to dusk. A proof that visualization is a powerful tool: studies have shown that the same neurone pathways and chemical reactions are activated whether you’re doing a specific thing or just thinking of doing it. In other words, visualizing yourself living that dream life of yours, just like athletes do before a competition, subliminally helps you in taking the necessary steps to get there. Crazy, right?

Since I also tend to be involved in 17 projects at a time, that curated collage will also help me on a daily basis in taking the right decisions leading me to my goals, like “does this collab get me closer to that dream?”. Photos of people I admire, trips I want to take, my dream home, inspiring quotes: honey, call me Oprah.

Credit: Architectural Digest

The Power of Biophilia

Mmm, the power of what? The power of B-I-O-P-H-I-L-I-A, the theory stating that humans feel an instinctive need to connect with nature. That’s why integrating nature in an indoor space can have such a considerable impact, like slowing down our heart rate, lowering our stress level and even promoting creativity. So what do you do if your office window doesn’t open up on a panoramic view of the Atlantic ocean but on a dirty horrendous overpass? Well first, forget curtains to let in as much natural light as possible, collect photos of landscapes and animals, go for raw materials (wood, wool, linen, etc.) and adopt a bunch of plants. 

Credit: Architectural Digest
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Credit: Inside Out
Credit: Jenny Keenan
Credit: Krista Keltanen
Credit: Marili Forastieri
Credit: My Unfinished Home

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