9 Cheap Ways to Refresh Your Writing Space for Maximum Inspiration

9 Cheap Ways to Refresh Your Writing Space for Maximum Inspiration

While a sunlight-filled office with exotic artwork from global travels, bright flowers, and a stunning ocean view sounds like writer’s heaven, not every creative has that kind of writing space.

But you can transform whatever space you do have into an oasis by making a few simple changes.

Whether you write from a spare bedroom-turned-office, a corner of your bedroom or even your dining-room table, you can turn your work space into a place for creativity and inspiration.

And you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it.

1. Focus on natural light

While some people prefer to work in a basement or other space without the distractions of windows, other find windows and skylights essential to creativity, productivity and overall happiness. Assess your space to make the most of whatever natural light you have. Consider positioning your desk or work space near a window or skylight to take advantage of sunlight.

If natural light isn’t an option in your particular space, or it’s limited, some experts recommend getting a light box in the winter months to help boost mood.

2. Consider your lighting options

Natural sunlight is a writer’s friend, but you’ll likely also want to consider other lighting sources, especially if you work in the early morning or evening hours.

Look into a desk lamp, a fun chandelier, or even a lava lamp. Check out these useful tips for lighting your room for maximum productivity.

3. Make an indoor garden

While Instagram is full of people writing from a hammock, it’s not practical for most to work outside all day, every day.

The next best thing is bringing nature into your work space. Plants are a simple and inexpensive addition that can add a touch of nature while also helping purify the indoor air.

When selecting plants, consider how much sunlight you have available and be realistic about how much time you’ll actually devote to caring for them.

Attention-intensive plants (like bonsai trees) can be a good fit for people who will spend the required amount of time taking care of them, but are perhaps not the best fit for people who can barely remember to water a plant once a week.

Whether you prefer flowers, ferns, or succulents, adding plants can cheer up your space without costing a fortune.

4. Add a zen garden

If keeping plants alive is a bit more than you bargained for, consider a rock or zen garden.

While some people think it’s a bit cheesy, others think it’s a fun way to meditate for a few minutes at a time. Rake the sand, rearrange the rocks and take a few deep breaths before returning to your writing.

writing space

5. Add a fresh coat of paint

Spruce up your space for the cost of a gallon of paint.

Whether you’re just touching up an aging eggshell paint job or looking for a whole new color scheme, consider the impact different colors have on your work life. Select a color that will inspire you and help you work. Consider accent walls or even painting a mural.

If you’re a renter who is not allowed to paint, or it’s just too much of a pain, you can find some inspiring tapestries to hang. And the great thing about tapestries is you can swap them out whenever you want.

6. Use artwork

Keeping inspiring objects nearby can lead to a huge boost in creativity.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy art to derive the benefits. Display your kids’ fingerpainting masterpieces or scout local street fairs for unique and affordable pieces.

Etsy is another good place to find artwork that speaks to you but isn’t too expensive.

7. Essential oils

If you enjoy essential oils, consider adding a diffuser to your office space and using a variety of oils depending on your needs.

According to Entrepreneur, a few scents to consider are lemon (good for concentration and calming), lavender (eases stress and calms) and cinnamon (improves concentration and focus).

While using scents in a shared office space can be tricky if people are sensitive to them, if you have your own space, you’re free to enjoy playing with a variety of different scents.

8. Music

While some work in silence, many writers prefer to crank up the tunes.

Whether you find inspiration from Tchaikovsky, Dr. Dre, Garth Brooks or Justin Bieber, focus on having a way to listen to the music that helps with your writing.

You don’t need a huge stereo system that shakes the walls, but consider adding a speaker or two to listen to your favorite music.

Of course, your laptop will also work just fine. Have a playlist at the ready for when it’s time to get to work.

9. Exercise equipment

Getting some exercise is a great way to relax and recharge your creativity.

Install a pull-up bar, keep a yoga mat handy or bring some dumbbells into your space.

If you have a lot of room, consider a treadmill or other exercise machine to hop on for an impromptu brainstorm session. Or just get a good pair of running shoes and keep them in an obvious place so you can grab them and go for a jog when inspiration is fleeting.

Whether you work from a tiny desk in your studio apartment, a custom-designed office space or even a corner of your basement, these ideas can help you make your writing space more inspiring.

How do you transform your workspace into a place of inspiration and productivity?

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  • This article is really great ! I love the suggestions! Thanks!

  • Great ideas, Kristen! I plan to try several of them. Soft music helps me. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so natural light is a must in the winter.

  • Tom Bentley says:

    I feel truly blessed that my office is a ’66 Airstream trailer, parked out in the backyard, open to the semi-rural fields and hills of the neighborhood, with only a few houses in sight.

    The trailer is a perfect little cocoon, with its own bathroom and heater, and the Atomic Age light fixtures. It’s a quiet place to write and reflect and write some more. And I’ve even gotten used to the bright orange plaid upholstery—1966 was that kind of year.

    • ashley owen says:

      Have to admit that I’m a bit Jealous Tom.. I’m from the sticks and am now stuck in a very dirty city. I miss looking out onto fields and meadows while I brainstorm for my next project.
      Your trailer sounds like a great inspirational place to work.
      I recently repainted my work room bright purple and started a small cacti collection for my desk. Seems to be helping the old writer’s block.

      • Tom Bentley says:

        Ashley, the Airstream IS pretty sweet. I think you’re doing the right thing in changing up your environment to suit your feelings. I hope city life can offer up its own kind of flowers to you soon.

  • aadryanaa says:

    I was given a mini-zen garden as a gift about 1 year ago. I immediately put it to good use, seeing how I managed to ‘kill’ a few cactus plants over the years 😀

    I also think having a tidy desk and a clean room in general is a big help. Having too much stuff lying around tends to get me defocused, I imagine it’s a pretty common effect for many writers.

  • Thank you for the tips! I’m intrigued by the zen garden and would love to learn how I can do that in my home. I diffuse oils every day to focus and love it. It also helps as part of my little ritual to get in the writing zone.

  • I am not a good writer, your article is very interesting, I will follow this next time.

  • Samson says:

    This is amazing. And that point on music it resonates so well with me. I can write a quality 3000 word plus blog post with my head phones on than when the place is quiet
    I am yet to understand this. I actually though I am the only one, I am glad to see that there are other people like me.

  • PJ says:

    Sometimes just cleaning up from the previous writing session helps. Jettisoning the empty iced-tea glass and food wrappers, organizing my research notes – anything that allows me those precious few square inches of white desk space – is all I need to take that deep breath and dive back into my story.

    • Donna Allen says:

      This is a must for me. I enjoy my space for the very reason that I don’t have to clean up if I don’t want to, but it does boost my productivity to clean up when I switch from one project to another.

  • These are amazing idea’s. I never thought about adding plants to my space or painting a wall. My office is often filled with odds and ends or just junk, that might be the first step in clearing some of that away and it would boost my attitude and production. I love the suggestions! Thanks!

    • Colin Coles says:

      Thanks Tina. We all have methods of finding space to write. It can be ten minutes in a meal break or as in my case a more regularized approach. Often it is in unrelated activity that ideas arrive. It pays to just jot them down or record them on a phone or ipad, I find.
      I enjoy composing poems for entry to free competitions. I don’t consider this writing – more recreational, but contributory.

  • Colin Coles says:

    I sit by a patio window, Which looks on to a small garden. The green leaves of plants like the wall clematis and palm tree are restful. The palm tree, once a a house plant has now gone native, with the belief it lives in a tropical clime. The plants shrunken by icy frost do not display well. By mid to late afternoon, black birds, and thrush are on the wall. Once confident of a safe haven they fly down and scurry on the pebbled path in search of grubs and worms. Awareness of their presence is not a distraction, but by this time I hope to have written several pages, if not a thousand words.! The garden can be in darkness- when there is a manuscript due submission. Then it will be early morning.

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