Whether you’re stalking boards for fashion inspo, recipe ideas, or workout tips, we all know how real Pinterest envy can be — and in no area is it more intense, perhaps, than interior design. For the creatives among us (and aren’t we all creatives?), the beautifully appointed workspaces and retreats pictured on social media are an envy-inducing category unto themselves. As much as we’d all like to have a Pinterest-perfect room in our homes dedicated to creative projects and pursuits, space and money is often limited, so those dreamy retreat spaces stay confined to our imaginations.

We spoke to creativity expert Lynn Newman, and her thoughts on creative retreats will give you hope. The good news? A truly effective creative retreat doesn’t have to take up a literal room in your home.

“You don’t actually need a physical space — or you can have one if you want to,” she says. “I see it as a creative inner space, which can be done anywhere and at any time. It’s the intention to take time out of yourself to play.”

This advice may rob you of an excuse to redecorate (sorry!), but it will also empower you to be your most creative self, even if you don’t have an art studio or craft room. What makes a creative retreat? According to Newman, that special inner space (or physical space, if you have it) is all about getting out of the stress of the everyday world, developing a relationship with yourself, finding clarity on how you relate to others, letting people know you’re taking time off, and doing what you need to do to have the retreat experience.

“I find people can spend too much time designing their space and less time creating in it,” Newman says. “It can be a distraction in a way, and I find far too often that once the energy has been spent to set it up, people then don’t use it.”

Newman notes that her own creative retreat is simple: a painting board screwed into a wall in her living room, with paints and brushes always laid out. “Even though I’m busy throughout the day, I may find myself doing a stroke here or there, or adding color,” she says. “Over time, small minute intervals there add up.”

To create a retreat in the spirit of Newman’s advice — and without taking out a loan to renovate your house — stick to the basics. First, make sure you’re setting aside the time to be creative. Figure out the circumstances in which you find yourself feeling inspired. Do you like music or quiet? Do you need a certain period away from social media to get into a creative mindset? How can you eliminate distractions? Once you understand those things, it will be easier for you to figure out — in time! — how you can build a simple retreat that will make you want to work on creative projects.

Where are you most creative? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)