52 Ways to Shift Your Focus: New Color, New Mood

Shift #36: New Color, New Mood

It’s easy to think that your home office or studio is work space that doesn’t need attention as long as the work gets done. I certainly don’t spend much time making sure my office looks lovely or has fresh flowers or an inviting chair for someone else to perch in. In fact, I have piles of paper all over the place, books stacked in a couple of spots on the floor, my favorite pens laying on the computer table and the desk, sticky notes pasted on available surfaces, printouts reminding me of assorted passwords clipped to my magnetic bulletin board that hangs on the wall near my computer. And let’s not forget the assorted toys that sometimes hang out on one shelf or another. The Goofy Pez dispenser has been perched on one bookshelf for a couple of years and I don’t eat Pez.

Every once in a while, I clean things up by recycling old papers, reshelving books, and putting the pens, except for one currently in use, back in a pen cup or drawer. I even dust.

Thing is, I always feel better after a clean up. I am ready to tackle projects again. But that feeling only lasts until the next stack of paper hits my desk and sits there, waiting for action.

Sometimes, a bigger undertaking is in order. Then, only a change of color will do.

A few years ago, I painted my office in a rich, deep orange over a couple of cold days in January. I still love this color for its warmth and its energy. It’s a color no one else in my family would choose for a room, which makes this space even more mine. The old color, a sort of light gold that lingered from the room’s prior use as a bedroom, didn’t inspire me. I thought I was successful at ignoring it until I repainted. The new color drew me, made me want to be in that room just because it made me happy.

Once I spent time doing the physical work of painting and all that goes with it, my investment in this home office was more concrete. This space was no longer a place where I dabbled in something. It was a serious work space.

The Paint Color Institute has a nice little summary of what different colors generally make people feel. Freshome Design & Architecture has another summary about color and mood. My tendency is toward warm colors in my surroundings, but I laughed to see that my kitchen, which is blue, might actually suppress appetites. (Not my own, I’ve noticed. Maybe it’s the yellow highlights.)

The point is to make sure that your home office or studio is not just the space no one else uses. It is the space where you create work and should be honored as such if at all possible. What colors make you feel like working harder? What colors make you feel happy? Perhaps, most important of all, what colors make you want to stay put and make something?

If paint isn’t in the budget, maybe a big piece of fabric in the color you love that can hang on the wall will make a difference for you. Or curtains. Something that draws your eye when you look up from your work and makes you feel like this space is yours and yours alone. Something solid that says this space is important enough to deserve your best efforts.

My office – with paper piles.


6 comments

  1. Your office is tidy compared to mine, Kath which is a mess but it's white. White doesn't distract me. I like black white and silver — so much so practically every room is white. Mind white is an expansive colour and when there is little space, that helps — that and mirrors.

  2. Wow. That is an incredibly vibrant colour. I am not certain I could work in it – I think (?) that I need to be soothed rather than energised. Throughout our house eclectic objects jostly for position on the walls and available flat surfaces. The ability to look up and smile – in reminiscence or just at the whimsy is hugely important to me. Just the same, a major declutter would not go astray.


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