Zen style is optimal for a workplace because it has a calming influence on those who work there. This helps people to stay focused and minimizes stress. A Zen workplace has a tidy, relaxed feel with many natural touches, helping people to feel connected to the outdoors even when they have to be inside much of the day. Psychologists widely agree that nature has a therapeutic effect on people, so a Zen office can have a similar effect, helping people to stay energized and upbeat throughout the day.
Blue and green colors, or light, natural colors like beige and eggshell, serve as a calming color palette in a Zen office. These colors are found often in nature, so they give a room a more natural feel. Colors should be light and refreshing, helping to keep the mind clear and at ease. As HGTV says in an article on Zen bathroom design, you could use bolder colors if you gravitate toward them, but choose muted tones like cranberry rather than fire-engine red. You might use such tones as accents within a lighter-colored room.
Likewise, natural wood creates a calming office environment that brings a touch of the outdoors inside. The combination of natural wood and natural colors is reminiscent of the forest, meadows and sky. Lighter woods, like lighter colors, help to create a bright, airy feeling in an office. Wooden flooring completes the look, as illustrated in HGTV's article "Zen-Inspired Home Office."
Placing plants throughout the office creates an inviting atmosphere as well. Plants should be chosen based on how well they do in an indoor environment, and placed accordingly. Flowers by the window can add a bit of color, or long-stemmed white flowers can add an understated elegance, especially when planted in a simple white pot. Larger plants can also be attractive, but plants that tend to grow large and sprawl outward may overwhelm a Zen office. They may work for a larger space if trimmed occasionally, while smaller bamboo plants may suit a smaller office better.
Incorporating water is a great way to add dimension to a Zen office. A small fountain with a gentle trickle will help to relax and clear your mind, while creating a tranquil atmosphere. If clients visit the office, it will also help them to feel more at ease within the space.
A Zen office minimizes clutter, which requires the help of organizers and some careful planning. Shelves should be clearly labeled, and files hidden from view. Desk drawers should be used for specific purposes to minimize confusion. Clear labeling, plus regularly sorting through old papers and getting rid of what is no longer necessary, will keep an office well-organized and more inviting.
Environmentally Friendly Design
Zen style centers around balance and harmony, so ideally a Zen office would exist in harmony with the environment. It would use natural light whenever possible, positioned and designed to receive the maximum amount of sunlight possible. This natural light also helps people to stay in a positive mood and makes the space more inviting. It should be well-insulated to minimize heating and air conditioning costs, with the option to open windows and roll down blinds as need be. An environmentally friendly Zen office will more fully encompass the principles of balance and simplicity.
- HGTV: Zen-Inspired Home Office
- HGTV.com: Choose Natural Colors for Your Zen Bathroom
- "Zen in 10 Simple Lessons," Anthony Man-Tu Lee, David Weiss, 2002
- Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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