How To Set Up An Inspiring Workspace, Part 1

In which I offer some tips for setting up a workspace that will inspire you to be productive! 


If you write blog posts, stories, or poems, or if you make videos or draw or paint—no matter what you do, you need a place to do it, right? You need a workspace.

That workspace can be your couch or random coffee shops or the local library or a hot air balloon, if you like. But sometimes it’s nice to have a desk as well, if you have the ability to do so. Now, I’ve had some people tell me that they never get any work done at their desk. One possible reason is that they haven’t set up a workspace that is inspiring and right for them. So today, I’m going to share some tips for doing just that.

Things To Consider:

Location

In the real world, you might not always have a choice in where to put your desk. It will go where you have room for it, even if that means its in a high-traffic area of your home. If that’s your only option, you can still make it work. However, if it’s possible, try moving it to a quieter location. Ideally, one with a door. Even more ideally, one with a door that locks. If it doesn’t lock, build a barricade… Or, just put out a “do not disturb” sign. (But building a barricade is more fun).

IMG_1459Also consider windows. Does being able to glance out the window inspire you or distract you? If the view is ugly or distracting, you can always hang some curtains that can be closed. If you are easily distracted, it might be better to face a wall. I turned my desk to face the wall, with the window to my right. That way, instead of seeing the side of the house when I glance up, I can look at my bulletin boards. But if I need a glimpse of the sky, I can glance to my right.

Do not overlook such mundane considerations as whether you have electrical outlets in reach and whether the lighting is adequate.

How Much Space Do You Need?

If all you do at your desk is use the computer, go ahead and have a cute, tiny desk. For example:

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Image Source: Pinterest

 

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Image Source: Pinterest

 

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Image Source: Pinterest

As cute as these are, I can tell you right now that none of them would work for me. Why? Because I need space to for my laptop, spreading out books, notes, charts, etc., as well as having a place for my snack and my coffee. Even my current desk isn’t really big enough. If I had a tinier desk, I wouldn’t do any work at it.

But, if you mostly just use the computer at your desk, then something cute and tiny would work perfectly for you, and a big desk would be unnecessary.

So when you’re setting up your workspace, don’t just go by what looks cute on Pinterest. Think about what will actually be functional for you.

Are You a Minimalist, or No?

My brother, Keegan, has a very modern, sleek desk set-up. No knick-knacks. I, on the other hand, like a gently cluttered look. I used to spend hours looking through “I Spy” books; not searching for the objects, just gazing at the pictures. I loved the tiny things—buttons, bottles, miniature objects. I loved that there was so much going on. I need to have stuff to look at.

If you need clear spaces to be calm, only put the essentials on your desk, and have storage nearby so that you have a place to put any supplies you use. Likewise, if you love having interesting things to look at, consider storing some of your office supplies out in the open, in unique containers. For example, I have this shadow box in which I store small supplies in tiny bottles and little clear containers.

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What To Include:

You should start with all the main components and essentials: Computer, lamp, writing utensils, etc. It’s a good idea to have index cards, sticky notes, and notebooks for jotting things down. A clock might be handy as well. Do you tend to have a lot of papers? It may be a good idea to have a tray, magazine holder, letter sorter, or something else to keep your papers organized. Nothing is more stressful and space-eating than stacks of papers on your work-surface.

Get Creative!

I have an easel on my desk. It holds my planner, and I can also set papers there or stick notes to it. It’s a great place to put to-do lists and other things I want to have in my line of site. It’s not necessarily its intended usage, but it works. Before you rush out to an office supply store, look at what you already have. That way, it won’t only be functional, it will also have character.

Make It Personal.

Photos of pets, family, etc. can inspire you while you work. It doesn’t have to be a typical family portrait, though. I have a vintage look going on in my room, so I have a very old photograph of my relatives. It’s a personal touch that fits with the look I’ve got.

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I also have part of my teacup collection on shelves above my desk. They’re lovely to look at, and meaningful to me.

Like Something? Run With It.

Everything on your desk should make you smile. Think about what makes you happy. For example, I have a fondness for office accessories in the shape of animals. It started with this little guy, a bulldog tape dispenser from target:

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Then, I got this tortoise-shaped magnifying glass at a thrift store:

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And finally, this peacock letter holder, also from a thrift store:

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My little zoo is all gold-toned, so they tie together quite nicely.

Have a Bulletin Board With Useful Stuff

I have cork squares with charts and helpful notes for writing (for example, a chart of all the personality types and their traits, one with examples of body language for different emotions, a note reminding me what to include in every scene, etc.)

Also on my bulletin board is a pocket to hold bookmarks. Since I also read at my desk, it’s nice to have those in arm’s reach. Bulletin boards don’t have to just be utilitarian. I also have a couple of cute bookmarks from a local bookstore that make me smile pinned up there.

Storage!

We talked about this a little earlier, but it’s worth its own heading. Think about storage when you’re setting up your space. I will always regret that my desk doesn’t have drawers. If you have a lot of papers or supplies, think about that, and choose one with drawers, if possible. I have a file box, magazine holder, and basket under my desk to keep some of my stuff in, so there are solutions if you don’t have drawers. Also, having a lot of different storage containers on a tray is always fun:

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The good thing about trays is that if you need more desk space, they can always be moved.

 

So, to wrap up, your workspace should be in a good location, reflect your personal style and needs, and have storage systems in place so that you can get the most out of it. It should be a place where you feel happy and productive.

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In part 2, we’ll examine two workspaces and why they work.

What’s your workspace like? I’d love to hear about it!

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21 thoughts on “How To Set Up An Inspiring Workspace, Part 1

  1. What a helpful post!
    I too like a bit of clutter instead of a sleek desk. And I loved the ‘Make it personal’ advice. I think it makes the place more homey and motivational.
    Great work! 🙂

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  2. I love your desk it has so many pretty things! I always try to keep mine nice and clean and at the end of the week is full of books, food, papers, coins and just stuff y leave there haha. Great post! It’s really important to have your workspace

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the small buttons and objects! I have a desk but tend to use my bed for everything work related (Writing, reading, homework, etc.) I have a corner of books to inspire me 🙂 Very cool post! Can’t wait for part two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, you must be like my brother. All he has is monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers. And a lamp. His desk looks to me like a barren wasteland. I’m like, how are you not bored?There is nothing to play with! Everyone is different. 🙂 And it’s hard, believe me. But believe it or not I’ve had this one since I was seven years old and I’ve managed somehow. Still, if I ever get another desk, it will definitely have drawers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a helpful and well thought out post- I’ll be taking a lot of these into consideration. Depending on where I am, my workspace changes- I don’t know how I do it, but most of the time I’m lugging along a laptop and a lot of books and notepads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the feeling. I do a lot of housesitting for various friends and relatives when they go out of town, so my other “workspace” is an enormous tote bag that I can stuff laptop, notebooks, planners, books, etc into and then unpack on a kitchen table at someone else’s house. In fact, that’s the case this weekend. And I was missing my desk so I finished up that post, which I’d had in drafts. Glad you found it helpful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It doesn’t even bother me anymore. I find myself doing it naturally, like I’m from some sort of nomadic book-carrying tribe 😀 When I studied, it was the same- to and from the library, I’d be carrying books. I like to think of it as my exercise, but that wouldn’t be right. This post does remind me though, I really need to get my own desk and put all my writing stuff there. And a bookshelf!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like your desk/setup. Mine can’t be as personal because: the Muffin. He grabs/throws/chews on potentially everything in the house. But one day I’ll have it arranged just how I want. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post, Chloe…and you’ve inspired me to think about making an office space a priority…I’m not kidding myself, I don’t have the energy (or the inclination to muster it) in the foreseeable future (as in, the next couple weeks)–but, I am feeling happy at the mere thought that–now that it’s come to my attention–I am going to end up with a lovely and private space to write. I don’t know about you (or others), but I really need privacy when I’m writing…when interrupted by husband or dogs, it takes everything in me not to turn into a mini version of the Hulk–I become gripped by disproportionate frustration and impatience…and, once distracted, it takes a while for me to resume writing and focus. Thanks for the tips and inspiration…and, for your lovely writing…always such a pleasure to read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Privacy when writing is very important. I get easily distracted and so I’m pretty irritable when I’m interrupted. I’m so glad that this post inspired you, and I hope you have a lovely writing place soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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