6 Tips for the Perfect Creative Cave

Imagine you could climb into your own subconscious and construct the creative work space of your dreams. Well, if you focus on the right things, you actually can. What you’ll need to hone in on is the way your mind works in relation to the layout of the room. Next, you’ll need to layer in the personal details that get your creative juices going.

In the age of quarantine life, we’re spending more time than ever at home. During such an uncertain point in time, there’s a silver lining for artistic minds. Scientists in the field of environmental psychology have found evidence that we’re more likely to come up with effective creative solutions from our own home than any other space we work in. This is an opportunity to redesign your space in a way that pushes the boundaries of your work and dramatically increases productivity.

Of course we all have our own unique quirks that get us in the mood for inspiration. Some artists like to spread their papers and work across walls or desks, while others need a clean surface to think with clarity, but it’s been found that there are specific design characteristics linked to improved creativity. Whether your space of choice is a studio, a desk, or the living room couch, there are some constant laws of space that benefit all creative people. Here are the top tips to help you carve out the ideal creative cave that’s unique to your preferences as an artist.

Wide Open Spaces 

Environmental science has found that the more expansive our sense of space, the more likely we are to connect with our source and generate new ideas. According to psychologists, the perception of things far away from us stimulates abstract thinking. The best way to enlarge an enclosed space is to open it up with views, whether that’s through a window or French doors. In addition, structure your set up so you’re facing that view of the outdoors. No window available? Another solution is to put up artwork of landscapes and far away travel destinations. The mind is impressionistic and responds just as well to implied distance as it does to the real thing. Decorating your home office with views of exotic locations, or even artifacts from foreign countries can have the same effect as an authentic outdoor view.

Reflect On The Essentials  

Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize what you’ll need to practice your craft most effectively. If you’re a performer, finding a quiet, undisturbed  space may be a priority for rehearsals. Writers will need to take their posture into account and consider where they’ll be most comfortable typing, as they’ll be in that position for an extended period. For visual artists, make a list of your supplies and decide how you’ll organize them. This doesn’t need to involve a trip to the container outlet. Glass jars can be washed and recycled as containers for pencils and brushes, and crates can hold larger items.  Look around your home and see what you can reclaim and repurpose. To keep things simple, begin with just the essentials. You can always add on more of what you need later.

 The Adjustable Mood Board

If Pinterest culture has taught us anything, it’s the power of the vision board and the inspiration it brings to our lives and creative projects.  It helps us visualize our concepts more strongly and pitch ideas effectively when words aren’t enough to get the point across. These days, many people turn to the digital version, but it’s just as important to have relevant visuals and quotes pinned up in your creative cave to help you brainstorm ideas. These motivational images need to be updated, depending on each project. That’s why your mood board should be fluid and easy to refresh. Tools like bulletin boards, art ledges and white boards are cheap, and you can start from scratch when you move onto the next project.

Be One With Nature

Taking a hike or nature walk is invigorating to our sense of self, and it stimulates brain activity, which is what we need to stay productive. If it’s convenient, consider taking your craft outside on a warm day if you live near a ravine or quiet park. If you don’t live close to nature,  bring that feeling into your work space with a plant, a vase of your favourite flowers, or even a bowl of fruit. Additionally, try to work in natural light if you can. After seeing the NASA study about the spider plant’s ability to remove 95% of toxins from the air, it’s been my favourite desk companion ever since.  I also like the sense of calm the greenery brings to my creative cave.

Think Outside The Cubicle

Your creative cave is unlike the other rooms in your home. It’s more dynamic in its energy, and it’s the space you want to feel comfortable in. Not everyone works best with a desk and chair, though. It’s about choosing a set up that brings you security as you connect with your creative source. Best Selling Crime Author, Fiona Barton says she does all her writing in bed. Other artists use hammock chairs, day beds, or sit on a cushion on the floor. Corporate culture has caught onto the fact that employees are most productive when they’re comfortable. Some forward thinking companies added fun slides and colorful decor, and had a flexible work from home attitude, even in the pre-COVID days.  You really can’t go wrong when you figure out how you work best. It’s about what provides you with the most calm and least amount of distraction.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

If you don’t currently have an ideal work space, keep focusing on the possibility of your perfect creative cave. Work to implement this article’s tips into your current set up, but if you’re on the market for a new studio or office, keep a vision board or list of what your space will look like and provide for you, and take steps to make it a reality. This doesn’t have to happen overnight. It could mean rearranging and decluttering other rooms in your home to make more space. It could also mean saving for a renovation or rented space. To save on rent, you could also initiate (socially distanced) shared space with other artists or entrepreneurs also looking to expand their work space horizons.


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