How to Create a Creative Workspace (Ideas, Design, Desk)

  • Written By: Michael Haralson
  • Date: January 2, 2022
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Having a dedicated creative workspace where you can focus and concentrate on bringing out your most creative ideas is something that many people need, especially creative artists and illustrators. Not only is a dedicated workspace a place for creative focus and concentration, but it can hold all the tools that you need in one place, further enhancing the creative atmosphere required to bring out your boldest work.

So how do you create a creative workspace so that you can work remotely? You do this by choosing the right furniture and decor for your creative needs, arranging your layout so that it enhances creativity, focus on your workspace desk, and provide yourself with the right tools.

There are, of course, many different kinds of creative artists. 

Illustrators, graphic artists, animators have different needs from musicians, writers, and composers, but all can benefit from having a dedicated workspace to do their work. 

Whether you are building a workspace in your office or a home office, the issues you need to consider are the same regardless of the location. The main thing is that the environment and the tools should encourage a creative state of mind and lead to taking action on the work you need to do. 

Read on for some great ideas to help you create this setting.

The Creative Workspace – Qualities, Environment, and Ideas You Can Implement Right Away

Getting the right type of environment and atmosphere you want to enhance the flow of creativity you have is not difficult, but there are some excellent guidelines. In particular, the qualities you decide to put into place when building your workspace can be the make or break element. Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Qualities of a Creative Workspace

The top-level quality elements of a creative workspace are those that enable you to be as creative as possible. It means choosing aspects of your workspace that improve rather than hamper and disturb the creative juices flow. The qualities are decisions on high-level elements such as:

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Have all the tools you need to keep your creative juices flowing in your workspace – Freelancing Boss

● The amount of technology you want to have in your workspace
● The amount of comfort
● How flexible and mobile the furniture or items are
● What creative style is the decor

To illustrate this, say, for instance, you want to create a workspace for making sketches. Your workplace doesn’t need large monitors and computers. Instead, it requires an artist table desk or a drafting table and lots of different colored pens and pencils. If you like to make your sketches with natural light, the possibility to move your desk next to a window when the sun is shining through gives us an extra chance to create the right creative atmosphere.

How Environments Impact Creativity 

The environment you create for your workspace also has a lot to do with impacting your creativity level. The lighting, noise level, and even whether you will sit or stand comfortably can affect how the mind will start to think. According to the Atlantic magazine, “a little bit of ambient noise (between 50 and 70 decibels-the average noise level of a coffee shop) slightly disrupts the mental process, which one study showed to help people engage in more abstract thinking during a word-association task”.

YouTube Video – Perspective on How Your Environment Impacts Your Creativity

A YouTube Video – by “The Magic Sauce”

By comparison, if you create an environment that is completely silent and has dark green or blue colors, once you start to sit comfortably, you may not have a very creative mind, rather you might want to nap instead. 

Based on the quality elements that you want to have in your workspace and the types of projects you will be working on, you can determine the right combination of factors to make the right creative environment. 

Creative Workspace Ideas – Try These Out!

In the table below, I’ve listed some ideas which you can implement into your workspace quickly and easily. For each idea I have made a short description, roughly estimated the cost range, and the difficulty to implement (easy-challenging-difficult). I also indicate whether extra space is required to build the idea into your workspace and lastly, estimate the creative impact on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest impact) indicated the amount of space needed,

Table 1 - Creative Workspace Ideas

Workspace IdeaDescriptionCost Level RangeDifficulty to ImplementExtra Space Required?Impact on Creativity and the Workspace (1-10)
Big tablesBig, wide tables that enable space for drawing or sketching$100-$300EasyYes6
Different color lighting and adjustable brightnessBlue or green spotlights to change the mood. Adjustable light dimmer can also change the mood$100-$200EasyNo9
Hang inspirational items on the wallCan be a painting or poster or a handicraft item. Should inspire$50-$200EasyYes6
Music which you enjoyMusic can be energetic or calming, choose what you enjoy$0-$50EasyNo8
Ambient soundsSounds can be a rainforest or ocean waves or just non-descript sounds. Enhances focus$0-$50EasyNo5
Corner for colored pens and pencils and paintsPlace all the multi-colored items in one place for easy access so you can work with full color$50-$200EasyYes6
Large monitors or multiple monitors with graphics software, with drawing pad A tech setup which makes it easier to do your work$100-$500ChallengingYes8
Different types of seating, like a sofa or beanbag chair Different seating gives you a different perspective and level of comfort to enhance creativity$200-$500EasyYes8
Drafting tables or angled desksAngled desks make it easier to draw and sketch. Choose the angle that suits you$100-$300ChallengingYes6
Large whiteboardA large whiteboard enable you to put all ideas on it and brainstorm. Also, you can keep ideas that you are focusing on visible$300-$600EasyYes8
Workspace IdeaDescriptionCost Level RangeDifficulty to ImplementExtra Space Required?Impact on Creativity and the Workspace (1-10)

Designing a Creative Space

Once you have made some decisions on the quality and environment you think you would like for your workspace, it’s time to get into some of the details and design it. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the design principles, which may help you to create a better environment and creative atmosphere. It will enable you to make further decisions on how to organize and arrange your workspace.

Psychology of Space in Interior Design

One of the conflicting things to challenge you in the design of your creative workspace is how many items you should have. How many pieces of furniture do you need, what types of accessories will you need to make your space as creative as possible?

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Sufficient space to be creative is needed – be sure to implement this in your workspace – Freelancing Boss

According to Wikipedia (Source Here), “Through interior design psychology, the performance and efficiency of the space and the well-being of the individual are improved.” Design psychologists, a field of psychology in its own right, have been studying the effects of visual spaces within interior design. 

Adding some features to interior design, say higher ceilings or paintings hanging on the wall, which remind a person of their creative interests, the result is that it stimulates creativity. Some other ideas that design psychologists have found on the following:

● Keeping your space free from excess clutter
● Windows to lead in natural light and views of nature
● Plants and flowers
● Tools which enhance creativity – like a drafting table with writing instruments

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Related Workspace and Work at Home Articles You Might Also Be Interested In:
How Can You Create the Perfect Freelancer Workspace at Home?
Small Home Office Desk: Ideas, Colors, Accessories
How to Have a Minimalist Home Office Desk Setup (Workspace, Computer, Decor)
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Comfort vs. Productivity and Creativity 

In terms of making your space creative, we’ve covered a lot, which by way of design, can put your mind into a creative state. It can also make you feel very comfortable. Will we be productive and make progress on our creative projects if there is too much comfort? Additionally, it’s been well noted that creativity is not the same as productivity, as it is measured in different ways. 

So one of the aims of your creative workspace should be to encourage both creativity and productivity so that you can make progress on both. Some ideas to add to your efforts when building your work are choosing energetic colors for your workspace to enhance productivity and making comfortable chairs and beanbags available to promote creativity. Also, you can adjust the atmosphere by selecting energetic music instead of the soft and calming music type. If creativity is the target, focus on this first, and then adjust things as needed to make yourself productive.

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Your workspace needs to enable both creativity and productivity – Freelancing Boss

Lighting and Its Effects on Mood and Creativity 

Lighting has a substantial effect on your mood and creativity. 

Many experts suggest bright lights to stimulate energy and being productive. It may not work the same for creativity. 

A German study (Source Here), found that dim lights are better for stimulating creativity and summarized: “These results indicate that dim illumination heightens perceived freedom from constraints which in turn improves creative performance.” It might be worth considering.

While you may want your workspace to create an energetic atmosphere by lighting and sunshine shining through the windows, it may be a good idea to enable your workspace to change the light to enhance creativity. 

You can experiment to see if a dimmer environment sparks your creativity. Try dimming the lights and shading the windows for the periods you want to be creative and then compare them to the opposite – bright lights and bright sunshine. 

Creative Workspace Desk Ideas for Artists and Illustrators 

Your workspace desk is often the place where you get the most work done when working on a project. As mentioned above, there are many different types of creative artists. When it comes to desks, there are so many different styles to choose from as well as dedicated desks for musicians, graphic artists, writers. To narrow this down, I’ll focus on artists and illustrators in the next session. 

If you are an artist or illustrator, all the creative things that you have thought of eventually should be materialized, and this happens on a workspace desk. There are many options to choose from when it comes to choosing a desk. Besides the type of desk, you must also decide what tools and accessories you want to have on your desk. Let’s take a look.

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Your desk is the most important furniture items in your creative workspace if you are an artist or illustrator – Freelancing Boss

What Should Be on a Creative Workspace Desk? 

I’ll start here with what should be on a creative workspace desk first, instead of the types of desks. 

Depending on the type of artist you are (graphic, painter, etc.) or illustrator (animation, sketch, etc.), you will need specific tools to create your work. Some artists and illustrators are digitizing their work, which means that having a computer and large monitors are a necessity for your desktop. Others prefer to use paper and pen or pencil with large drafting tables so they can physically draw and sketch for their work. 

It’s possible, depending on the size of your workspace, to have multiple desks. Some creators enjoy the possibility to sketch something on paper on a drafting desk and then digitize it and continue to work on it with a desk with a computer and large monitors. Having a desk just for painting and sketching can simplify what tools, paints, pens, and pencils need to be on this desk. Likewise, a dedicated desk for working on digitization artwork makes it easy to have one desk with monitors, a computer, a keyboard, and a mouse. 

So you first need to determine what types of creative work you will be doing in your workspace. Then you need to consider what kinds of tools will be needed and whether you want to have computers and technology tools. You can, of course, have a mix, but typically people choose one creative setup and develop it. 

Types of Creative Desks that Artists and Illustrators Use 

The types of desks, for physical sketching, coloring, and painting, can be horizontally flat, or they can be angled. Artists and illustrators sometimes prefer these angled desks because they can be adjusted 30 degrees or more, making it easier to create. Additionally, these desks have the option to be moveable and even can be adjustable for standing or sitting. 

Drafting tables are similar to angled artist desks. These days, you can choose an integrated workstation that will hold all the necessary tools, complete with drawers and cabinets. They also have adjustable angles to help you find that perfect tilt. 

If you are planning to have a computer with a monitor to digitize your artwork, it is probably best to have a horizontal desk with no angle. You can, of course, get creative and mount the monitor on the wall, but it might be better to have a separate desk for your computer and accessories. The choices for computer desks are many, but the main ones can be grouped as L-shaped desks, U-shaped desks, corner desks, and simple desk with drawers. As described above, the amount of space you have and how many things you want to have in the environment will be deciding factors for the desk.

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Creative Desks with Computer Displays 

One of the questions I often get when discussing workspaces and desks is computer monitors. How many can you have, and how big should they be? 

Again, for a creative workspace, it comes down to the type of work you do. These days it is possible to connect three or more 32″ (or larger) displays together on one desk, and to have them horizontally positioned or vertically positioned. However, it comes down to making practical decisions about what you need. 

Some creators who use technology prefer to take a minimalist approach, which means one monitor and wireless (or hidden wires) connectivity. If you want to know more about the minimalist approach to offices, check out my article here – How to Have a Minimalist Home Office Desk Setup (Workspace, Computer, Decor).

The benefit of having multiple monitors on your creative desk, especially if your original work in graphic design or illustration, is that you can see various artworks or have different software tools open. Ease of working is one of the key benefits. 

The good thing to know is that if you have a use for multiple monitors and you have the space for it, you can build it in a way to suit your workspace needs. 

#16 Conclusion 

So there you have it. To create a creative workspace, you need to make some decisions on what you want your workspace to be – covering the quality elements and the environment wanted. Consider the space you have and how much furniture you want to put in the workspace. If you aim for creativity, make use of the space by organizing the items you put as well as lighting. Finally, your workspace desk should be tailored so that you have all the creative tools you need, and there are multiple options for choosing the ideal desk. Test out some of these ideas and see if your workspace improves your creativity.

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