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Windowless Office? Look on the Bright Side

Try these 5 mood-lifters to make you happier in your workspace


by Kara Baskin

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Getting fresh air and sunshine during the workday boosts productivity. It also helps you sleep better: New research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reveals that workers with office windows sleep on average 46 more minutes a night.

See also: Make Your Office a Place You Want to Work

That said: Most of us don’t work outdoors, and many of us lack windows. If you’re not lucky enough to have a room with a view, don’t despair. Log as much time outdoors or in natural light as you can (lunches, even taking short breaks for a brisk walk), but don’t stop there. Outfit your office to be sunnier. Interior designer Erin Gates, author of the forthcoming book Elements of Style (Simon & Schuster),explains how to transform any workspace into a productive, creative sanctuary with splashes of light.

1. Diversify. “Do not rely on overhead lighting. Use a desk lamp, an overhead light, and a floor lamp. If you’re in a cubicle, at least get a desk lamp—and make it decorative. Pick a fun, bright color. I like Lamps Plus’s Color Plus line, where you can buy a lamp in any Pantone color.

2. Paint. “If you have your own office, get risky with paint choices. My office is the brightest coral ever—it’s very Royal Tenenbaums. This is the best place to take a color risk. Not sure what color to choose? Open your closet. Choose the color you see most.

3. Reflect. “If you have even one window, hang a mirror opposite it or perpendicular to it. This tricks your eye into thinking there’s an extra light source.

4. Look Up. “To mimic being outside, paint your ceiling light blue (in this case, go with a neutral wall color). If your ceiling is even and isn’t cracking, use a semi- or high-gloss finish. This will reflect the light.

5. Customize. “If you don’t want to paint, try customizable wallpaper. You can even hang it in a cubicle. One of my favorite places to shop for wallpaper is Spoonflower. They’re like the Etsy of wallpaper shops: You can design your own, choose from hundreds of motifs (like this sunshine stripe), and even order peel-and-stick wallpaper, which is easily removable if you switch workspaces and land that window office.”

Photo Credit:  John Millar/Getty