bedroom working

(Credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

NEW YORK — Need to increase your productivity? Then it might be time for some spring cleaning. A new study finds half of Americans believe they accomplish more when facing a totally blank wall in their home.

Even more people (53%) say that they can’t listen to music or spoken-word sounds like podcasts while working. If something in the room is out of place, 66 percent can’t think about anything else until it’s fixed.

Out of 2,000 people in a recent survey, 39 percent say that their emotions and mood are markedly impacted by their immediate surroundings. One in four claim that their environment can “completely” change how they feel. The greatest mood influencers include how clean or tidy a room is (52%), how it smells (52%), and what temperature it is in there (49%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Aera, the results also reveal that 78 percent use a specific routine or space in their home to feel more relaxed. That includes 84 percent of boomers (age 57+) and 67 percent of millennials (ages 24-40).

Where do Americans go to unwind?

Room ZenSeventy-five percent say they need to feel “cozy” in order to relax. Another 40 percent indulge in some kind of snack or beverage as part of their de-stressing process.

On the other hand, 75 percent have a similarly designated routine or area which helps them feel more productive. In fact, 77 percent of millennials and 65 percent of boomers have a specific de-stressing routine.

Four in ten Americans head to a different part of their house to feel more productive. Another 31 percent will do the same to get away from a potential distraction. For 45 percent of all respondents, the bedroom is where they feel the most relaxed. At the same time, 25 percent also name the bedroom as the place where they feel the most productive.

Sensational mood-boosters

Other elements can also serve as double-duty mood boosters, especially colors. Nearly two in three people (65%) said they find blue colors “relaxing” and 39 percent find them “energizing.” Meanwhile, 55 percent and 47 percent, respectively, said the same thing about smelling cinnamon in the house.

Room Zen“Engaging the senses is one of the easiest and most effective brain hacks,” says Sandra Barvaux, VP of Fragrance at Aera, in a statement. “The olfactory system, especially, since it is most closely connected to the emotional center in the brain. Even small, simple changes in an environment can powerfully impact mood and productivity.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 66 percent say they’ve put more effort into optimizing the way their home makes them feel. Among the 23 percent of Americans who’ve reportedly purchased furniture in the past 12 months, comfort ranks as the biggest priority. Researchers find 61 percent purchased comfortable seating (sofas and couches) while 48 percent opted to get desks or office chairs.

However, over a third (36%) have bought new decorative items or accents, including 40 percent of women compared to 30 percent of men.

“While how something looks might be the first thing you notice, thinking about how it feels, smells and sounds is just as important when considering the overall mood it will help create in your home,” Barvaux notes.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor