5 Ways to Make Over Your Desk So It Inspires Creativity

featured on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

image credit: Elsa Noblet/Unsplash via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Elsa Noblet/Unsplash via MindBodyGreen

Your outer landscape has a direct impact on your inner one, whether you realize it or not. When it comes to decorating your home or office, there's real power in designing a space that speaks to your goals and intentions.

Plant-based athlete, author, and mbg Collective member Rich Rollsaid it best in a recent Instagram post about his at-home office scene: a converted shipping container filled with books, notepads, a skateboard, and other trinkets he finds inspiring. "The more fertile the space, the more fertile the mind," its caption reads. "Put intention into your personal space. Create the environment to create."

While research has found that some things are beneficial for nearly every work environment (adding a plant to your desk can increase productivity by 15%; sitting near a window while you work can improve sleep and boost energy levels), it's largely personal. So for inspiration, we asked some of the creative, design-oriented people in our world about how they invite productivity and inspiration into their workspaces. Here are some of their favorite strategies you can emulate in your office or home:

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If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

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Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui in a Small Home

I am living in a very small house with a combination of toilet and shower (too small) on the ground floor. We have the intention to create a proper bathroom (no toilet) on the first floor, but the only room where that's possible is in the wealth & prosperity area of the bagua. As far as I know, this is not the best place because of the downward flow of energy. At the same time, we want to make an extension to create workspace, but this is only possible in front of the front door line. I have a lot of doubts and even consider whether it is better to move.

Corina van T., Holland

Hello to Holland! 

Thank you for your email, and thanks for reading my newsletter!

For clarification, in your small house, you currently have a small bathroom with toilet and shower only on the ground floor. You would like to create a bathroom on the upper floor with a bathtub and sink, but no toilet. However you are concerned because this area is in the wealth/abundance area of your home.

I have a couple of thoughts and comments. First, laying the bagua on upper floors is sometimes challenging. You would determine the layout based on what direction you are facing and where you are located as you make your final step onto the floor in question. So, I would ask you to double check the bagua layout. It’s a little challenging and usually something that an advanced feng shui practioner should advise you on. But if the bathroom must be in the abundance area, or you’re not able to layout the bagua confidently, it is what it is! I suggest balancing the energy with plants. The thought with bathrooms is that there is a lot of water flowing out, which symbolizes loss of cash flow and wealth. By adding plants, you can use this downward qi flow and feed the plants so there’s an upward positive growth.

Your second question is in regards to a work space or office in front of the front door (or “kan line”), which places it outside of the bagua. My teachers have taught that an extension of workspace in front of the kan line (front door line) is fine. In fact, it might be beneficial in two ways. First, you are extending the “gua,” whether the gua is Knowledge, Path in Life/Career, or Benefactors/Helpful people. The extension improves and expands your work in light of the gua it’s in. Second, the office outside the front door can mean you’re out in the world more, and can receive support in this way for your career.

Finally, whether to move or not, well that's up to you. I don’t know exactly how challenging it is there, functionally and feng shui wise, but in BTB feng shui we try to make suggestions so you don't have to move, which can be difficult and disruptive. However, if moving seems like the best positive thing for you, it should be considered. My intuition tells me that the issues that you asked about are able to be worked with :)

by Anjie Cho


Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a Small Office with Windows

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Hey Anjie! I don’t know if this would be a good question for your blog, but I was just put in a small office with two other people. It has floor to ceiling windows on one side. Is there one item you’d recommend putting in a small office that would help with the feng shui? Here is the floor plan. Thanks so much! 

Mandy T., Livermore, CA

Hi Mandy!

For the readers, Mandy is one of my oldest friends! We used to make lots of trouble together as teenagers into our early twenties. But we turned out ok! So thank you for this question! 

Based on your photos, it looks like you have the floor to ceiling windows on the wall opposite the office door. This sort of design detail where there are floor to ceiling windows is not ideal feng shui-wise, however it’s fairly common in modern buildings. The floor to ceiling windows create less ground, and the qi can rush out, rather than gather in the space. In your case, there are two suggestions I’ll offer.

Feng Shui for a Small Office - Layout.png

First, you can strategically place a feng shui crystal ball as shown with the red star here. I recommend a crystal ball that is 40mm in diameter (or larger), and you use a red string to hang it halfway between the window and the door. The crystal should be centered on the door and hang from a red string (Holistic Spaces feng shui crystal balls come with a red string!). Ideally the ball will hang so that it’s the same height as the top of the door, but make sure the door does not hit the ball. The feng shui faceted crystal ball can take any qi that comes in from the door and disperse it into the room, rather than having it rush out the window.

Finally, I would also recommend that you ask if you can apply a frosted solar film to the bottom half of the windows. This will also help to keep the qi in the office and create more groundedness. If that’s not possible, you can try to arrange the furniture so that it blocks the bottom half of the window. There’s also a practical purpose: the people outside the window won’t be able to see up your skirt if your desk is up to the window! 

Hope this helps! I’d also be curious to hear about the two other people that you work with in there. I could offer suggestions on how to locate people and furniture with feng shui in mind for the most harmonious working relationships!

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design feng shui cerfication program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. Check us out at www.mindfuldesignschool.com

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Tips for Spiritual & Healing Providers

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What are some basic tips for people who provide spiritual or healing services to reflect a fun, sacred, zen-like atmosphere to spaces/venues that are already designed?

T.F, Stamford, CT

This is a situation that many face: how to create a holistic space with what you have. It’s a little like life, right? We come into this world with our cultural and environmental conditioning and limitations. My teachers would say that if you’re born a Honda you’ll never be a Mercedes, but you can be the best Honda you can be! Similarly, we can work with what we’re given. Most feng shui is remedial - we make adjustments after the fact. With my clients I actually incorporate feng shui into the architectural design. But not everyone has that luxury or foresight.

Space Clearing

My first suggestion is space clearing. In feng shui we use different rituals involving mantras, sometimes rice, sometimes oranges and others. If you want to do this yourself I recommend getting some orange essential oil and placing 9 drops in a bowl of water. With this bowl, walk around clockwise from the entrance sprinkling the essence throughout the space. Lately I’ve also been burning palo santo, a Peruvian wood used to smudge (or clear) a space. Remember when you clear a space, always put positive energy back in.

Commanding Position

Second, use the commanding position to layout the most important areas in your space. For a spiritual or healing provider, this may be your desk or the position in which a client receives your services. The commanding position locates us in an advantageous place so we can feel relaxed and in control of our environment. This position is that which is furthest back from the door, while not in line with or behind the swing of the door.

Five Elements

Third, use the five elements to create a balanced and harmonious space. Take a look at this previous Holistic Spaces blog article or explore our five elements series on the Holistic Spaces podcast.

Bring in Nature

Finally, for a healing and zen-like space be sure to have some green plants. Use non-toxic cleaning products and add fresh flowers when possible. The plants not only improve the indoor air quality, they add life energy to the space. Plants promote kindness and flexibility. Fragrant fresh flowers bring joy and improve energy flow.

There is also something my teachers call “method of minor additions” which involve the use of feng shui adjustment objects such as crystals, mirrors, windchimes, colors, etc. Unfortunately that’s where the feng shui expert comes in. This depends on the particular location, situation, and person.

Good luck with your space, and kudos to you for providing such beautiful services to help others.

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for an Office with No Windows

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What are some feng shui considerations for a psychotherapist’s office with no windows?

Erin H., Mountainview, CA

Hi Erin, 

Thank you for your question: what some feng shui considerations are for your office, since it has no windows. I think the answer for this question may be helpful to many people in windowless offices. 

It's ideal to have at least one window in any space, as having natural light and fresh air is vital to human beings. Everything living grows towards the light. When I work with my private architecture and feng shui clients, one of the main desires across the board is maximizing light. Light is so important, and without it, we can feel claustrophobic, suffer from health issues and even become depressed. As an architect, for any habitable space, there are actually light and air requirements. We need air circulation and light, and it's difficult if we don't have them both.

In feng shui, the windows represent the eyes of the inhabitants and can symbolize how we see the world around us. If it's not possible to change offices, I recommend including some artwork that feels like a window. This doesn't mean finding pictures of windows. Instead, look for images of landscapes or other settings where you're bringing the outdoors in. Hanging this kind of art on the wall can give the impression of having a window, even when there isn't physically one there. 

There are also seasonal affective disorder lamps, which simulate natural daylight, that may help. These can be used in any space, especially one without sufficient natural light, to counteract the negative effects of lack of sunlight. They are often recommended by therapists during the colder, darker seasons. In fact, as a psychotherapist, you may already be familiar with them!

Finally, you could also bring nature into your space with fresh flowers or green plants. It's true that most plants need natural sunlight to grow, but you can opt for a low-light plant or even add a fake plant to your space. If possible, aim for a real plant, as this can help out with indoor air quality as well. Fresh flowers are also an incredible way to bring in nature energy and connect you with the outdoors. Take a look at some of our posts on flowers for ideas on which blooms to select for your space!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!