7 Easy Ways to Elevate Your Workspace with Art

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A recent study found that employees who have control over the layout of their workspace are happier, healthier—and up to 32% more productive. What does that mean for your own workplace? Whether you spend your days working in a creative environment or have a more traditional setting, the aesthetic of your office can directly impact both your mood and your motivation. The study also demonstrated that workers who have creative control over their office surroundings, either control of the design of the office itself or modest modifications to their desks, are likely to produce better, more efficient work.

One of the easiest ways to kickstart your creativity: think more like an art museum curator. Investing in an art-filled, creative work space can improve both employee wellness and the bottom line, as the benefits of art on creativity are known to reduce stress, improve memory, and increase empathy. Experts say that people’s opinions are formed within the first 30 seconds of entering a space. Incorporating art in you space with shelving can also improve your mood, as the data shows that 67% of people believe that art in their work environment improves their morale.  No matter what industry you work in, both your reputation and that of your company’s are likely to benefit from investing in an inspiring office.

If you work from home or own your own creative space, you probably have more flexibility to incorporate art that inspires you; however, no matter where you work or what you do, there are science-backed reasons to prioritize adding more art and design to your office. Read on for simple tips from our friends at Invaluable for elevating your working environment with art.

1. Identify a Theme

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When brainstorming ways to elevate your office environment with art, first determine how you’d like your workspace to make you feel. Do you prefer a calming environment that promotes concentration, or an office that encourages productivity and creativity? Easy adjustments to design and layout, like curating a collection of art and objects, can help make your working experience more nurturing.

Office decor can even enhance your work performance, as those that take time to personalize their space are 17% more productive than those who don’t. Whether you have a casual, contemporary, or formal style, consider global influences and your desired color palette when choosing the mood of your space. Once you’ve landed on a theme for your office, determine the style of art that best complements the theme you’ve selected. Keep in mind that certain art movements often utilize specific color palettes.

For a soothing environment, look to the Impressionists and their soft, calming pastels, or consider the ingenuity of Dada art to stimulate your creativity. Determining your theme will help you determine what pieces will work best. If you need a little inspiration, consult with a professional interior decorator and read up on the latest interior design trends for some inspiration.

2. Determine Your Color Palette

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Next, select the colors and patterns you’d like to incorporate into your office. If you’re looking to create a minimalist environment, or work best in a bright, creative space, the colors you incorporate will have a direct impact on the art choices you make.

No matter the theme, consider incorporating colors based on the psychology behind them. If you work in a creative role, yellow can be a good color to feature, because it is linked to improving optimism. Blue is often cited as a recommended color choice for offices, as it is known to stimulate the mind. When considering what hues to feature in your space, consider the intensity of the colors you are using. Brighter colors are likely to add energy, while more subdued hues can create a mellower environment.

Because research shows that color profoundly affects our behavior, adding colorful decor can be a great way to incorporate hues for their psychological benefits. Create an accent wall, include a colorful statue or vase, or hang vibrant posters to incorporate bright accents in small, tasteful ways.

3. Build a Gallery Wall

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Whether you are starting from scratch or already have a collection of paintings or prints that you love, building a gallery wall can be a strategic way to use wall space in your office to showcase your favorite art and artists. Creating a dedicated space for art in your workplace will help stimulate your mood daily, as viewing artwork that one finds beautiful is shown to have similar benefits to falling in love.

To create a gallery wall with art you enjoy, choose a dominant hue and add small splashes of color to create interest. If you are creating a home office, make the space feel personal by combining art with your child’s own artwork, posters and prints, or even family photos. A wall full of art and family momentos you love is a great way to reflect your personal style.

Once you’ve acquired the pieces you’d like to highlight, lay all of your items on the floor to finalize your vision for the wall. Typically, it’s best to place pieces at least 1 ¼ inches apart to provide breathing room between objects. Be sure to consider the furniture in the room before hanging your pictures so that the wall feels balanced with the rest of your space.

4. Highlight Unique Pieces with Shelving

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Adding shelving to your office is an simple way to showcase a variety of artwork. You may choose to incorporate floating shelves, or perhaps opt for a more structured bookcase or display system to your space. Vertical storage is a great way to incorporate art pieces beyond paintings, prints, and posters.

When styling shelving in your office, get creative with the types of pieces you include. From personal mementos to valuable collectibles, shelves provide a great canvas to showcase smaller objects that inspire you. To create a shelf that is visually interesting, group together pieces of different shapes and sizes to add layers and create interest.

5. Mix and Match Styles

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One of the easiest ways to incorporate art in an office environment is by combining artwork of different styles and price points into your space. Blending original works with more budget-friendly prints and posters can help make a space feel unique and inspiring. Go for an unexpected approach by pairing a DIY art project, a vintage propaganda poster, or an Old Master painting with piece from a completely different style or period, but with a similar color palette.

Mixing unconventional styles will help you create a space that’s truly one-of-a-kind. No matter what kinds of pieces you add to you space, 78% of people agree that having art in their office helps to lower stress.

6. Incorporate Excellent Lighting

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To ensure your space is stimulating and to show off your art in its best light, consider the lighting options in your office space. Natural light can do wonders for stimulating your mind, and also provides one of the best environments for showcasing art. Rooms that have east- or west-facing windows will receive direct sunlight in the mornings and evenings, so north- or south-facing windows are usually the best option if you are able to pick your workspace location. Be mindful that direct light can cause prints, photographs, and other works to fade over time; valuable works of art should always be protected in proper environments. For more tips for lighting art, click here.

If you are in a space with large windows, take advantage. To enhance the lighting in your space, combine multiple light sources. Lighting experts recommend using both a general indirect lighting source, such as a chandelier that directs lighting upwards, and a small source of direct lighting, like a desk lamp. Fluorescent lights can work well in an office environment, but halogen bulbs are the best for illuminating detailed works because they give colors greater clarity. If you really want to use lighting to your advantage, consider adding a dimmer system to your workspace so that you can decide your lighting based on your mood or the time of day that you are working.

7. Think Beyond Your Desk

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When adding art to your office, be sure to keep the broader office aesthetic  in mind. While many people tend to focus on their individual workspace, areas like conference rooms and waiting spaces also have potential for showcasing art and improving the design of your overall space. Consider incorporating paintings that complement the furniture in a lounge area so that guests have an inspiring place to relax.

Incorporating art throughout your office can also aid office productivity by encouraging you to take more frequent breaks. Experts recommend following the 50-10 rule, which means working for fifty minutes and then taking a ten minute break, to increase workplace productivity. Creating inspiring spaces beyond your desk is a great way to create a place to take a quick breather from your workload.
No matter what you do or where you work, there are many benefits associated with adding art to your workspace. From sculpture to fine art to posters, there are many works of art that can and should be used to build an inspiring workplace. Keep these seven tips in mind when designing your office space to ensure that you create a workspace that you love and where you produce your best work each day.