Blogversation 2012: How do you set up your workspace?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

Lesley Ware asks today's Blogversation question about your work environment

Today’s question comes from Lesley Ware,
On Twitter, Lesley is @creativecookie.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been hugely sensitive to the look and feel of my workspace. Lighting, sound, artwork, the chair, and sometimes even what’s around my feet all affect my mood and ultimately my ability to get stuff done.

In less than two weeks my family will be moving to another Brooklyn abode and I’m excited about having a new dedicated creative space for work. To prepare, I’ve been collecting swatches, magazine pages, paint chips and pinning inspiration on Pinterest. (

I know responses will vary based on if you work from home or an office building but I’m curious to know:

How do you set the stage for your personal workspace? Do you go for a conservative or creative office space? How does space affect your creative expression? What are your top must-haves for a blog-friendly work environment?


Categories: career, creativity, home and family, lifestyle

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Like Kim Ann, I like my place neat, neat, neat. However, I’m a Cancer and like to nest so my OCD constantly butts up against my nesting desires. Well, it butts up against my craft supplies as well. I use my home office as a studio as well as office so it was chockablock with yarn, jewelry supplies, torches, hammers, needles, books, and a variety of tools and materials for my omni-crafting. I finally bought a huge IKEA jobber with all sorts of cubbies that now houses everything tidily. I also have a lovely long glass-topped white desk that is a pleasure to work at. I

    I also try to apply a bit of feng shui to my office (which is happily in the prosperity corner of my home) and to my desk (I even wrote an article about it at Craftstylish: Being mindful of the space definitely helps set intention for a prosperous and productive experience in my office (which also has three windows for great lighting).

  2. When I started at the AP in 2006, I had to restrain myself from squealing when my boss showed me my new office — it had huge east-facing windows with a view of the Empire State Building and abundant sunshine.

    It was the exact kind of space I’d imagined when I’d done my career vision statement after graduating from business school. I had the privacy to play music as I worked and good natural light to have plants. Looking out those windows never failed to make me smile.

    But I now realize that office didn’t make me any more productive. I just enjoyed what it did for my ego. It made me feel I’d arrived.

    When I work on our couch, with my laptop on the coffee table, for example, I’m more comfortable and there are fewer distractions. It’s pretty much the way I worked on homework all the way through my MBA, even though I had a well-furnished home office.

    I think what’s going on inside me affects my work more than the outside, as long as I’m comfortable.

  3. So excited for you Lesley! Congrats!

    As a true-blue Virgo I’m all about my work space/environment being neat! neat! neat! Additionally having a window is very important to me! I’d say it is a non-negotiable at this point. I also like to have fresh flowers by my side. I get a nice inexpensive small bouquet of roses at a good bodega and cut them short and put them in a small vase and they sit to my left. I smell them through out the day and let my eyes fall on them too while at my desk. I also have a beautiful pink feather pen that I use when I’m blue to cheer myself up and help me remember to not take it all too seriously! I light a beautiful candle when possible for the aroma as well as the sense of it being a special time of creation. And of course my ipod is close by! I love music in the back round for some of my work day! And of course I have a few dance breaks to get me back into my body!

    @Lauren: Once I lived in an apt with no windows on the two long walls but only on either end and I hung some huge canvases of nature that I got from Ikea for 150/200 bucks that totally lite the place up! The other suggestion if you can get away with it is hang or wrap something with small white xmas tree lights! Adding them to a big tall plant or a garden rack/armoire really add brightness and levity. I’d also get some floor lamps or side table lamps that are lovely and with bright colored shades! They will also help counteract the florescent lights.

  4. I worked for years in a tiny office with no windows, my constant view the rear ends rushing past my door, heading to a meeting or the restroom. I had a Gauguin print of a Tahitian scene hanging in that little office. “My window,” I’d explain to anyone who admired it.

    These days, I work for myself. I have no office, other than my lap top, and I use it on the dining room table, the living room couch, and in the local coffee shop. When it’s warm, I thrive creatively on my screened porch. After years of being chained to a desk in that small, windowless space, I love not having an official office or a traditionally defined workspace. I work where the sunshine suits me. I keep my files in a big basket, with those related to my current projects in a tote bag, ready to come with me wherever I feel like working.

  5. Lesley, how exciting that you get to build your new workspace from scratch. Here are some elements of my work space:
    1. I have set it up so I stand at my computer. Easier on the low back. Makes ya think twice about spending hours and hours on the computer.
    2. I separate my markers and pens by type into separate mugs- ball point, crayola markers, colored Sharpies, black pens that I use for labeling.
    3. I keep my vision boards – boards where I pasted down images of what I want to bring into my life – right near me
    4. I have a 16-cubby book shelf right next to me and I use each square cubby for a different category of items – stationery/stuff for correspondence in one, children’s picture books in another, empty folders and filing supplies in another, art/design books in another. I often change the location of things around, which kind of helps move energy around too. I don’t want things to become too static.
    5. I open the window in my office often to let fresh air circulate.

  6. I am lucky to have a big work space with lots of natural lighting, but my work space doubles as my dining room table. I “pack up” nightly to return “home” … and I travel quite a bit, so organizing my work in piles (call these people, timely projects, read, long-term ideas to think about, talk to Holly or my dad about…). The piles help because it keeps me focused and I like getting to the bottom of them. It’s a physical to-do list. The piles that need to go on the road with me are already organized, so when I’m packing for my trip, I have everything I need with me (and leave the rest at home, as to not carry more stuff than I need to).

  7. I’ve been sitting at the same desk, in the same cube for (gulp) 18 years! I sit in a dark corner with florescent lighting under my bookshelves lighting up my desk and no lights above me. As a meteorologist that would like to actually watch the weather live and not just on the computer, I have no windows to look out of. In fact no one in the office does. And I can’t exactly tell if it’s raining or not. When the A/C kicks on, it sounds like it’s raining, and when it’s raining hard, I just think the A/C just kicked on at full force.

    I have a few certificates of Kudos and a couple awards hanging up but that’s it, except for my collage of 4 by 6 pictures on my pin up board that includes my family and friends I’d rather be with at the moment (including you and John) and pictures of places I’d rather be, including the olf Tiger Stadium post card John sent me back in 1997 as well as an airplane view of the Muckegon Channel and State Park Beach. Then there’s a couple work related maps hanging. I really need to fix things up a bit. I probably be sitting in this same chair and same desk until 2025 when I can retire.

  8. I’m actually wondering the same thing! I just got a new office that has no windows, bright florescent lighting, and big, wide, blank walls. Plus a row of cubbies stretching along the back wall. I definitely need some inspiration to lighten the mood up! Would love to hear suggestions.

    Usually, I prefer keeping my work space simple, clean, with large windows for natural light. But, now that I’m in a windowless office, I almost need to fill it with brightly colored pictures and paraphernalia to keep it bright.


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