How to Create a Workspace Inspired by Beatrix Potter

Never let it be said that lack of a beautiful home office begets writers block, but let's be honest: it's delightful when the space we work in, be it portable or stationary, sparks the creative fire, isn't it? And while there are some gorgeous home decor makeovers out there, sometimes all you need is a bit of innovation, encouraged by creations or creators you love.

Today we're bringing nature to the forefront for a workspace inspired by Beatrix Potter.

Animal Pals

Beatrix Potter not only wrote about sweet, mischievous animals like Peter Rabbit and Squirrel Nutkin, but had a veritable menagerie through the years in her home. She befriended dogs, mice, and a hedgehog (named Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, of course), among other critters, and was also a fervent champion of Herdwick sheep.

While allergies, locale, or other circumstances might prevent you from doing the same, you can bring animals into your workspace in a few different ways.

Is there a chill in the air? Are your fingers skittering over the keyboard as you shiver? Keep a wool blanket or shawl nearby to lay over your lap or around your shoulders! If you're allergic to wool, you may fare better with alpaca instead, or another fibre.

For a more lively presence that doesn't (have to) mean adopting a live animal, perhaps you'll find yourself crafting a new pet to sit at your desk! These sock sheep are adorably snuggly, and doesn't this bunny have the sweetest face?

If your workspace is on the smaller side, you could print and frame a photograph of a beloved pet or a print of one of your favourite animals.

Nature Studies

While pursuing a career in the sciences was all but closed to Beatrix Potter, she still devoted much time and energy to nature. This included a passion for creating incredibly detailed drawings of fungi; a far cry from the whimsical illustrations that we know so well from her books, yet no less stunning!

To bring some of this natural beauty to your workspace, scout around your own backyard, neighbourhood, or local area. You'll need to do some due diligence to figure out what's safe to bring home (for you and any children or pets), particularly without disturbing the local ecosystem, but chances are you can find some leaves or flowers to tuck into your pockets. Personally, I love wee bowls of fallen acorns, pine cones, and chestnuts.

Once you have some new treasures at home, you can either enjoy them as-is until they're too dry and wilted to keep any longer (a bud vase or other small container is a lovely touch for a simple workspace), or you can find a way to preserve them.

If you've never dried flowers before, take a peek at this extensive overview, or if you'd prefer a video, perhaps try Pressing Flowers Between Glass!

Not quite sure what to do with the flowers and leaves you've dried? One of my favourite things to do is tie a few strands of embroidery thread (your choice of colour!) to each stem, then pin them to the wall with thumbtacks. A bit of arranging, and you'll have a natural wall tapestry!

If you can't find any natural bits and bobs, or prefer not to bring them home, you could recreate them in sketch or watercolour form. This also opens up the possibility of incorporating botanicals from further afield!

To get started, try this video tutorial on How to Draw Leaves and Botanicals or this video with 9 Simple Floral Doodles. For a written tutorial with photos, try this DIY Botanical Leaves Paper Craft or perhaps Paint Along: Cosmos Flower.


Beatrix Potter is one of the most well known letter writers in the English language, and for good reason: not only is her illustrated correspondence a treasure to behold, but the origins of Peter Rabbit can be found in a letter she wrote to Noel Moore, the five year old son of one of her dear friends (and past governesses), Annie Moore.

While much correspondence these days takes place by phone or computer, there's something magical about a new arrival in your mailbox. If this is an experience you cherish, why not keep a few supplies in your workspace to make snail mail (a) easier and (b) a delight, both for you and the recipient?

You don't have to stop at paper, envelopes, and stamps, either. You might want to keep handy:

  • return address labels; just peel and stick, and a wayward letter can always find its way home!
  • pre-filled address labels for those you write to most often
  • art supplies, if you fancy doing a few doodles or illustrations on the paper or envelope
  • stickers and washi tape, for a decorative touch
  • past favourite letters, postcards, and cards to revisit, perhaps in an archival box

Childlike Wonder

"I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense, to fear no longer the terror that flieth by night, yet to feel truly and understand a little, a very little, of the story of life."

Beatrix Potter

One of the most important keys to living a creative life is to cultivate curiousity and wonder. While this looks different for everyone, we must not let our free-spirited Muse be swept out of reach by stale, dusty order. For the best of all worlds, imagination and logic need to journey alongside each other.

Everyday life for any adult possesses no shortage of reminders of the necessity of common sense; how, then, to nurture a spirit that a child would recognize?

If your own childhood was full of imaginative play, this is the perfect time to dig up a childhood memento and give it pride of place in your workspace. It could be a photo of the forest where you used to play hide and seek, or a tuft of fur you found snagged on a branch, or a pin commemorating the summer reading challenge where you first discovered your favourite book series.

If the past doesn't yield any helpful mementos, look instead to something new that helps you connect to your imagination. Perhaps a map of your most beloved fantasy world, or a quote print from a wise and whimsical character, or a snow globe depicting a scene from a fairy tale?

Most of us may not be able to tuck into a charming farmhouse in the Lake District to work on our creations, but with a little ingenuity, we can bring nature's beauty and mystery into our workspace, wherever we call home.

For more ideas, hop over to my Pinterest board, Writing Spaces: there's a section especially for those wanting to channel their inner Beatrix Potter!