In his book On Writing, Stephen King suggests that new writers should start out with an emptier, private space that is conducive to creating an atmosphere of focus and intent. With time, he says, the writer will collect things that inspire but do not distract, and the space will soon be filled appropriately.
I found this all very interesting, as I normally need quiet to work: aurally, visually, mentally. The challenge for me is to create a space that is not distracting, but at the same time, not sterile. After all, the blank white page can be intimidating enough!