How your surrounds can effect learning

Lighting has to do a great deal with learning. As a matter of fact the University of Alabama has created a few tips in order to create the optimum environment for studying. It should come to no surprise, that lighting is a part of this formula. When it comes to music, there is no difference to this formula. A good environment and good lighting create a place where learning can flourish! Here is one piano teacher’s experience as she renovated her music studio…

88 Notes School of music before

88 Notes School of music before

88 Notes School of music before

88 Notes School of music before

As a business owner and more importantly a professional music teacher who strives to provide quality music education, it was important to me when I was creating an environment in my studio space that portrays a certain element of casual elegance. Through my teaching experiences as a classically trained pianist, I have learned that the environment in which learning occurs greatly affects students’ concentration, love of learning, and overall learning retention. I believe that you cannot ignore the education of times past, nor do I believe that I would be doing my students any favors by teaching only the classics and ignoring our current learning styles, technology and environment. Whereold meets new is where well balanced and well-rounded education occurs. Our learning space needs to reflect the old and new balance.

Beautiful Crystorama Olde Silver Three-Light Chandelier Bellacor #492099

Beautiful Crystorama Olde Silver Three-Light Chandelier Bellacor #492099

When I started working on the build-out for my new teaching space, I wanted an environment that reflected my teaching style and philosophy: classical elegance with a contemporary edge. I centered the design of my school around the lighting fixtures I chose – Crystorama fixtures which perfectly blend modern edges with antique simplicity! The clean design of the fixtures made designing the rest of the space simple. My school now reflects the elements of education that I stand for while maintaining the open creative space I desired.  I have incorporated classic antique pieces such as a century old book cabinet and sofa as and my half-century old piano with cutting edge computer & software along with fixture designs and flooring to blend the old and new. Current students and new clientele alike walk into my school and express the inviting atmosphere with delight. The lighting pieces truly made all the difference!

Wouldn’t you want to learn in this space?

MellisaAbout Mellisa Weinert, MAME, NCTM:
A nationally certified music teacher with a masters degree, Mellisa has a passion for instilling her love of music into others, no matter the age. Her philosophy is that music is for a lifetime and her goal is to nurture that love to everyone that she has the privilege to teach. She also has a definite style and viewpoint on how to create the best environment for the benefit of her students!

Creating a Clean and Contemporary Office Work Space

Most employers allow a certain amount of workstation “flair” that employees can decorate their offices with. While some may choose to adorn every square inch of their walls with pictures of friends, family, and pets – this constant reminder what you’re missing can become rather distracting. Creating an optimal, yet inspiring workplace requires the right balance of visual pop with as little clutter as possible.

office cube

With slight exception to tech companies and ad agencies you can fully expect the average workstation to be gray, beige, or the international color of boring…taupe. There is no better way to counter the void than with a brightly colored accent piece. The contrast between the clinically inspired desk and wall colors adds a much needed burst of visual stimulation. Be sure not to overextend the accent color – a greater impact will be achieved if this is a pop of color rather than a workplace theme.

Lamps are a great addition to any work space and can be used as your primary accent piece. Even in well-lit offices the addition of a desk lamp can provide a serene area perfect for reading lengthy documents. Combined with a daylight bulb, the glow of lamp can provide a warm and inviting atmosphere in your workplace. The clean and pop-art inspired lines of the “Profile” Table Lamp by Kenroy Home present a whimsical pop of color and visual stimulation consistent with a contemporary workspace layout. Additionally, a large complaint about workplace lighting comes from the use of overhead fluorescent tube lighting. Convincing your employer to remove or dim bulbs over your workstation in favor of a smaller desk lamp can literally save you from a lot of headaches.

Photo provided by Kenroy Home

Photo provided by Kenroy Home

In most cases all of your “go-to” items can be confined to a decorative tray – this keeps important papers and supplies in a well organized manner. While all these items can be neatly stacked on your desk, the decorative tray provides an added level of comfort and style to your work space. Smaller inset trays and jars can be applied as well to keep items such as paper clips, push-pins, and writing instruments nicely arranged.

Flowers and other plants can provide a soothing atmosphere to counterbalance an influx of calls or demanding emails. In celebration of the 2014 Pantone color of the year – a well placed orchid can provide an elegant touch to your now streamlined desk. Just like the other accents in this modern design theme – smaller is better.

Empty Office Chair and Desk

Instead of a wall of photos, use your computer’s desktop background to prominently display pictures of loved ones. Most operating systems come pre-stocked with a photo-slide screensaver – this gives you a visual reminder friends and family while you’re at work, without the desk clutter. Remember to keep it simple when creating a modernly inspired workstation you should strive for the perfect balance of form and function, with a minimalist design philosophy.


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Home office options: Choosing the right desk chair

The home office was once a “nice-to-have” feature – today, it’s almost a requirement. As work schedules have evolved to include flextime and work-from-home benefits, it’s necessary to have a place where you can close the door, focus and get the job done. But having the space isn’t the only key – a functional office set-up is equally essential. One of the key elements of that is a office chair.


Zuo Modern Contemporary Unico White Office Chair

Here are some important considerations that any home office worker should make when picking out this all-important décor element.

  • What’s your floor like? You’ll need to base your shopping search on whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting, StationaryChairhardwood or a rug that lies under your desk. Wheeled chairs are best for hard surfaces, rugs with short, very tight pile, or flat-woven carpets like kilims or sisal mats. Wheels and plush, long carpet are a headache waiting to happen; if that’s what you have, choose a stationary chair.
  • Assess your need for ergonomics. If you find yourself getting sore and stiff after the workday, you should consider a chair that provides ergonomic support. Ergonomic office chairs are also a nice option for families that share the office among multiple people – they can be more easily adjusted to different heights.
  • Create an attractive place to work. Carefully designed spaces can provide more harmonious visuals, with less clutter and fewer distractions. That translates to a more productive work environment. Think of your home office design as equally important to your living spaces. That thoughtfulness can pay off, too, if you ever decide to sell your home – prospective homebuyers will be wowed.


Desktop décor: Elevate your workspace style

Ditch the yellow legal pads, toss the clunky plastic accessories – there’s a style revolution coming to a desk near you. Work will always be work, but doing the tasks you need to do can be more enjoyable – and more productive – if you have an inspiring place to get it all done. With a few simple décor changes, you can elevate a basic desk to a workspace that wows.

Follow these desk décor tips to get started:

* Light it up. Lighting is incredibly important to your ability to work well. Too little light causes eyestrain and fatigue, neither of which is good for you or your productivity. One of the must-haves for any workspace is a desk lamp. Opt for a stylish version, like Koncept’s Z-Bar Mini lamp, which bends and moves to let you get just the right angle. It’s sleek style and availability in a rainbow of colors landed it on Oprah’s most recent “O List” in O Magazine.


* Color coordinate. Most desks eventually become a collection of mismatched bits and pieces – a brown pencil cup here, a red stapler there, a purple plant pot over yonder. It all adds up to visual mush – not exactly inspiring or motivating. Choose one or two colors that you really love and make them the exclusive colors for your desk (aside from neutrals like silver computers or black phones). Organization stores sell desk accessories in just about any color you can imagine; select something you find energizing (and match it to your lamp).

office* Add a touch of nature. Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb in the world, a plant on your desk can do you good. Some beautiful foliage adds a bit of extra style while also giving you a soothing visual – and a little bonus air purification. Look for plants that will thrive with limited natural light and don’t need too much attention.