5 Tips for Creating a Calmer Workspace, From Design Pro Camille Styles
Hint: Plants are more important than you might think.
Back in 2017, lifestyle blogger and Target Home Style Expert Camille Styles renovated an Austin, Texas bungalow, transforming it into a gorgeous studio for her team. The Camille Styles HQ was born. With lots of crisp white paint, natural wood details, the coziest sofa, and plenty of plants, the revamped bungalow was the ideal backdrop for photo shoots, as well as a dreamy space for writing and planning her blog. Two years later, the pretty-much-perfect studio had just one small challenge: "After years of working elbow-to-elbow with my team, it was time to finally carve out a private area for me to have one-on-one meetings, calls, and sometimes just hunker down and be super efficient," says Styles.
"I wanted to reinvent my little corner of the office as an earthy, bohemian space with cozy textures that made me want to curl up at my desk, kick off my shoes, and dive into work," she explains. Since the space was beautiful to start, all it took was a few simple touches to create a relaxing, yet inspiring office—and luckily, they're all easy to incorporate into your own space. Here are five easy ways to make a zen workspace, whether you have a full home office to yourself or a tiny cubicle to call your own.
If your office is making you feel overwhelmed, check out your desk. If it's cluttered or, well, just plain sad, it likely isn't a great place to work. Instead, follow Camille Styles's lead.
"I like to keep the surface of my desk clean and organized with a few inspiring touches," she says. "A cup full of good black pens makes me feel ready to take on the day, and I've always got a notebook or two for jotting down inspiration, a great scented candle with matches, my headphones for when I need to work without interruption, and a big carafe of filtered water that I fill up every morning to refill my glass and stay super hydrated throughout the day."
Even if you only have a cubicle, you can still incorporate a carafe of water into your daily work routine—who knows, it may end up making your desk feel a little more like a spa.
"I love having mood boards in my office with images of things that are currently speaking to me—but in the past, they've always ended up feeling kind of messy," says Styles. That is, until she found the perfect frames at Target. "These white wood framed boards are perfectly in line with the style of my office, and the frames keep the images feeling more contained and thoughtful," she explains.
If you have your own office, hang the boards up on the wall, or if you're in a cubicle, lean them along the back of your desk. Either way, surrounding yourself with images, quotes, or designs you love will keep you motivated.
Pick a color palette that makes you feel calm. For Styles, that meant adding a thick coat of white paint to the shiplap in the office (believe it or not, the shiplap was original to the building, discovered underneath the drywall!). Neutral decor and wood and white furniture keep the palette soothing, while minimizing visual distractions in the space.
In your own space, pick colors that match the mood you want to feel while working, whether that's relaxed, motivated, or creatively inspired. Soft whites and pale blues can be calming, while green could spark creativity.
Plants breathe life into a space, so in an office that can easily feel stale or boring, it's a quick way to perk up the space. "We chose easy-to-grow varieties that like lots of light since this room is all windows and—pro tip—we added a few of Target's great faux plants, too, like this fiddle leaf fig. When mixed with the real, you can't tell which is which!"
Above all, choose plants that work for your work space. If you're afraid you won't remember to water them often, opt for succulents. If you have a cubicle with zero sunlight, faux plants are the fix!
"Self-care is an idea that should be part of our work lives, too," says Styles. "It's really important to me that our entire office be filled with good energy and happy vibes." Besides encouraging her team to take breaks and enjoy lunches away from their desks, the office decor itself could inspire more self-care. "Cozy throws, big cushions, and a plush shag rug are so inviting that I'll happily get down on the floor to stretch it out or take a few minutes to curl up and meditate!"
In your own office, even tossing a comfy throw blanket over the chair and plugging into a meditation app can help make it a more positive space to work.