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Life hacks

5 Ways to Spruce Up a Blah Office

June 7, 2017

Hint: Lighting is everything

You spend a third of your day in that cramped cubicle or ho-hum home office. These design hacks will perk up your space and your attitude.

Play With Light

Many offices are riddled with abrasive fluorescent fixtures. To combat this, Jana Bek, an Ann Arbor, Michigan—based interior designer, suggests this trio of lighting as space allows: a floor lamp for warm uplighting, a table lamp for a flattering glow (try a pink lightbulb for even more ambience), and a small swing-arm lamp for detailed tasks. For an array of all three types, visit lampsplus.com.

Have an Inbox (Ahem, a Real One)

“Most people’s ‘in-basket’ is their entire desk,” says David Allen, author of Getting Things Done. “Having a single collection spot for action items clears mental and physical clutter.” And make your inbox a pretty one (Rustic letter tray, $13; staples.com): A 2012 study in Journal of Consumer Research found that selecting products with good design can improve your self-image.

Infuse the Air With Citrus

“Lemon, sweet orange, and grapefruit essential oils are uplifting,” says Sharon Falsetto, chief editor at the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Open floor plan? Forgo a traditional diffuser and instead sparingly spritz essential oil diluted with distilled water at your workstation.

Add Artwork

Bek swears by actual artwork at a desk (versus the laminated motivational poster variety): “A piece of framed art instantly gives a space a finished, homelike feel.” A beautiful piece like a painting or print, she points out, can relax and inspire. Plus, it creates far less visual clutter than a disarray of paper ephemera pinned to a corkboard. (Here and There print pictured; minted.com for more.)

Bring a Plant to the Table

“Plants literally permeate life into a sterile workplace,” says Christopher Satch, head of plant science and education at The Sill, a plant retailer in New York City. In addition to physical benefits (all that oxygen!), indoor plants may promote creativity. ZZ plants and snake plants require minimal watering and sunlight. (From $20; thesill.com.)

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com