Psychology photo
Mark Sebastian via Flickr

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a dull, drab cubicle. If you’re going to be stuck in one place for 40 or more hours a week, it might as well be pleasant–for the sake of your sanity and your company’s bottom line. Research shows that how you arrange and decorate an office can make a difference for both mental health and productivity, which is why companies like Google shell out for sweet corporate digs.

Even if your workspace isn’t the hippest thing around, you can spice it up with a few relatively easy changes. 99U has a roundup of some of the latest findings in the science of arranging the most pleasant and efficient workspace possible. Some tips from them:

Psychology photo

A Google Cubicle

Decorate it.

A 2010 study of London office workers found that being allowed to decorate an office with as many plants and pictures as they wanted made workers 32 percent more productive than the control group that wasn’t given the same option.

A plant-filled office space in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


A plant-filled office space in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

By the same token:

Make it nature-y.

Studies have shown the presence of plants in an office can improve your ability to pay attention for longer periods of time and reduce stress. So go grab a fern… or a dozen.

Psychology photo

Oval Office

Make things round.

We tend to find curves attractive. A study published earlier this summer found that curvilinear spaces were more likely to be seen as beautiful than plain rectangular spaces. A previous study had also established that we tend to find round furniture more appealing than furniture with straight edges. So, basically, the Oval Office has the right idea.

Read the full list at 99U.