As creatives, we do whatever we can to hone our craft. We learn how to beat creative block. We create networks of other makers and listen to their inspiring stories. Some of us have even quit our day jobs to dedicate ourselves to our crafts. Sometimes the secret to getting work done lies in our environment. Studies have shown that different aspects of your environment can actually boost innovation. Here’s how you can optimize your workspace or studio for ultimate creativity.

1. Designate a spot: The first step in creating the ultimate creative place is making the physical space to do it. You can train your brain to jump into creative mode by designating a set space for work — after all, that is why artists have studios. This is to be your creative haven, so treat it well and treat it with plenty of respect.

2. The right mood lighting: While we all love bright and airy spaces, a German study actually showed that you should try turning the lights down when you’re trying to get creative. According to findings published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, darkened lighting supposedly “elicits a feeling of freedom, self-determination, and reduced inhibition.” Well, sign us up! You can invest in a work lamp like IKEA’s AROD ($40) pictured above. But don’t skimp on natural light! Research shows that low exposure to natural light is a mood killer. *sad face*

3. Bring your sleep machine — JK, ambient noise machine: Perhaps you’ve already invested in one of these noise machines, like Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine ($100) to help you sleep at night, but did you these things can double as creativity boosters? Studies show that just the right balance of ambient noise (70 decibels of it, to be exact) optimizes performance.

4. Keep your desk cluttered: We’ve told you this before: Clutter makes you more creative. Before you brush this off, hear us out! A study from Psychological Science confirmed that disorder encourages creativity. They said, “People greatly preferred convention in the tidy room and novelty in the messy room.” We certainly like the sound of novelty. So, go forth and mess it up!

5. Make it comfy and cosy: Since you plan on spending a lot of time in your workspace, you should ensure that it’s as convenient and comfortable as possible. Psych Central suggests that you make it as cozy as you’d like and stock it with plenty of snacks so that you can spend lots of undisturbed hours there. If you’ve ever tried to get work done while hangry, you know what we’re talking about.

6. Be social: We don’t know about you, but we like having others in our workspace sometimes. It’s a good way to bring in some freshness. While you can be extremely efficient while working alone, studies show that bouncing ideas off others or working as a team can produce better results. So next time you’re in a creative rut? Call a friend.

7. Go green: While you’re free to paint your creative space any color you want, research has shown that green might be the color of creativity, as we previously reported. The Internet is teeming with green room inspiration, like the rustic and cozy space above. We just wanna snuggle down by that fireplace and read a book. (via Lonny)

8. Fill your space with inspiration: Psych Central suggests placing things in your space that create curiosity and surprise, and nothing does that more than an inspiration board. It’s pretty easy, after all. Every time you find an image or a thing that sparks inspiration in you, tack it to this board. After a while, you’ll have something unique and absolutely inspiring to look at.

9. Incorporate a place to clear your mind: It’s an all-too-familiar scenario. You’re creating some amazing work and then, blammo, you’re burnt out. According to the New York Times, taking regular breaks helps you stay on track. We suggest creating a little corner in your workspace reserved for doing just that — meditate, read a book or take a catnap, whatever helps you get your creative juices flowing again.

What do you do in your workspace to boost creativity? Let us know in the comments below!