Design and feng shui tips for a productive home office

Use artwork, scents and plants to make your study an ideal place for work

Make sure you have plenty of light

Lighting is essential when it comes to preventing eye strain and headaches. Natural light is best, so ensure your window treatments allow sufficient daylight through. In the evenings, you will need both general and task lighting. Opt for warm white, which best mimics natural daylight.

Keep your room cool

Studies have shown that temperature can have a significant impact on your concentration and memory. The optimal temperature for focused work is 23-25 deg C. While this varies between individuals, it is generally agreed that a working space that is too warm can be most detrimental, causing alertness and energy levels to plummet.

Keep your study cool with air-conditioning or a standing fan next to your desk.

Aim for a clutter-free study

A clean study helps the mind focus. Keep essentials organised on your desk. The rest of the clutter should be stored out of sight.

It is also a good habit to set aside time for tidying your study after you complete your work. This simple routine ensures you start each day on a fresh, distraction-free note.

Face your desk away from distractions

One of the best places to position your desk is next to a window. It ensures sufficient natural light and air circulation.

However, veteran feng shui practitioner Liu Tian Huang cautions against placing young children directly in front of the window as it can result in them being distracted. Similarly, avoid placing your desk too close to high-traffic places like a doorway.

Optimise the air quality

Feeling sleepy? That could be due to poor ventilation. Maintain constant air circulation in your study with a fan and open window.

Alternatively, invest in an air purifier that helps filter out allergy-causing particles and microbes. The best ones have a HEPA filter, which can trap harmful particles such as pollutants, pollen, pet dander, dust mites and tobacco smoke.

Spruce up your walls with artwork

In feng shui, paintings depicting mountain and lake sceneries are good in a study as they symbolise academic excellence.

"They are a representation of knowledge, wisdom and problem solving," said Mr Liu, who is also the author of a best-selling Mandarin book, Mastering Eight Characters: Practical Case Studies.

Scent your space

Fragrances like peppermint and citrus can improve concentration and lift spirits, making it easier to focus.

Add scent to your study in the form of a low-maintenance reed or electric diffuser.

Add plants

Adding greenery instantly enlivens your study or home office. Shop for low-maintenance plants that do not require frequent watering.

For the feng shui-conscious, Mr Liu suggests the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum or chamomile.

In Chinese culture, these are associated with qualities of uprightness and perseverance. Artwork depicting these plants work just as well.

He added: "Avoid plants that have an overly strong scent or are sharp and pointy, like cacti, since they create negative energy (she qi)."

Paint your study a calming shade

Colours set the tone and mood of a space. In a study, where calmness for a focused state of mind is needed, it is recommended that you use tranquil, earthy tones such as pale green and eggshell blue.

Stimulating colours, like red, are great for promoting creativity, but should be used sparingly.

Ms Lynn Lee, senior product specialist at Nippon Paint, advises balancing strong colours with a neutral palette of whites and greys.

Invest in proper ergonomic support

Avoid aches and strains by ensuring your furniture gives you adequate support. This means adjusting your desk height or adding a laptop stand so that your screen is at eye level for comfortable viewing, as well as investing in a chair with good lumbar support.

This article was first published in Home & Decor Singapore (