The Creative Space

How our surroundings can help us tap into our creative potential

Posted on: November 1st, 2011 by Shaun Hensher 14 Comments

Creativity Room

In the last article, The Creative Mind, we discussed the mental aspects of fostering creativity. This week, we pick up where we left off. If you haven’t read that article, I recommend checking it out.

Now that we’ve got ourselves acting like kids and thinking like crazy people, let’s talk about some of the external factors that help foster creative thinking.

The Creative Space

Before we are ready to start the process of ideation, it’s important that we take a look at our environment. An environment that encourages creativity can really help ease the process. So what makes a good creative space? There are two factors here — the physical environment and the mental environment.

The physical environment should be comfortable above all else. If we are too cold/hot or our back hurts because we have a crummy chair or there’s too much noise, we will be distracted and unhappy. In the last article, we talked about solitude, and it’s worth re-iterating here: a good creative space should give us the ability to have quiet, and to isolate ourselves if needed. It should also be a place where we can be loud and move around without disturbing others, especially if working in a group. It should not be boring and sterile. Nothing kills creativity like a vast expanse of grey cubicles. If your regular work area is like this, move somewhere else to do your creative work. Decent decor with a little colour helps. Having interesting objects around also helps for a number of reasons. Personally, I love having toys around. It doesn’t have to be Peewee’s Playhouse, but having an area to work in that stimulates the senses seems to make the process more natural. It’s also very important to have writing surfaces. Even if you work alone, having whiteboards, chalkboards, paper easels etc. is essential. I personally have in my office a big whiteboard and a door painted with chalkboard paint. I actually wish I had more writing surfaces. I find I do my best thinking on my feet. I like to move around, pace, pick things up, and write things down as they come to my mind in big chunky sloppy letters. You may find the same is true, especially if you have issues with maintaining focus (ADD etc.). Being on your feet keeps the energy flowing and keeps you focused. It also helps having the ideas up on a board to stare at while doing your deep thinking.

The mental environment is equally as, if not more important than, the physical environment. The crucial factor here is judgement. Whether working alone, or in a group, it is vital that all judgement be deferred to the latter portion of the process. We need to allow ourselves to bring forth every possible idea, even if crazy, stupid, or impractical. We need to remain open to experimental methods, sideways approaches, and outlandish solutions. If working in a group, people should be encouraged to share their ideas and should not be criticized. They should feel comfortable and appreciated, and all hierarchy should be left at the door.

Great examples of creative spaces

Creative office with... unicycle?
Stylish and cozy home office
Cool outdoor office
Awesome brainstorming space
Neat steampunk office
creative workspace
inspiring home office
fun office

So what do you think? How important is your work space in your creative process? What’s your creative space like? Please share!

If you like this post, please help me spread the word by sharing on your social networks.

Next up: The Creative Process | Reliable methods for coming up with great ideas

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14 Responses

  1. Audrey Ross | coconut grove luxury homes says:

    The contemporary designs are looking completely awesome. Also, so rightly stated that whether working alone, or in a group, it is vital that all judgement be deferred to the latter portion of the process. There is massive information in this post.

  2. Those workspaces all look great in pictures but the actual decor is not very important to me. A nice comfortable chair, the right amount of natural light, and some fresh cool air is what I value the most for a productive environment.
    Bonjour Tristesse recently posted..2011 European Film Awards WinnersMy Profile (dofollow)

  3. Michael says:

    People tend to underestimate what you just brought up in this post – but i bet it counts at least 60% of the creative process.

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  4. Rob Thomson

    I shared one of your photos on Pinterest. I didn’t see an icon here to do that. I think these are terrific examples of creative spaces. A couple of them look too empty to me, but a person may want to have a minimal area to have no distractions.
    Rob Thomson recently posted..Using the Internet to Sell Your HomeMy Profile (dofollow)

  5. ella says:

    I think that it’s very important, b/c it’s part of a routine that you set for yourself and as we know our brains love routine even if it is to get created
    ella recently posted..A Simple Birthday Party ChecklistMy Profile

  6. Selda | Continuum Condos says:

    Where you work does effect your productivity big time. I love simplicity..

  7. Hakan

    Very extreme work space samples. Simplicity vs Complexity – I always prefer less distraction in work spaces..

  8. jenni | zen cart tremaplates says:

    Nice share , really an innovative article.
    Thanks for sharing
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  9. I’m dreaming to have a workplace like those wonderful rooms. Thanks for the idea.
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  10. Julia Myah says:

    Great post..’ Thanks , dear you nice sharing with me.

    It is very effective for me, again thanks……

  11. Whoa. I would want the third panel to be my creative space.
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