In this odd, socially distanced era, having a creative space at home is really important. Research shows that engaging in creative activities lowers cortisol levels, which helps reduce stress, while also triggering the reward center of your brain. Who doesn’t need a stress reliever right about now?
Human engagement with art is traced back to our cave dwelling days. “It might even serve an evolutionary purpose,” says a leading researcher in art therapy, Girija Kaimal. You don’t need to be a trained artist to get creative. Just make something; you will literally feel better.
Setting Up an Art Studio at Home
Even if you have a small space, setting up an art studio at home is easy to do. You don’t need a dedicated craft room to get started, just a small nook or corner of a room is enough to get started. Ready to get started? This article covers everything from choosing your space, storage solutions, supplies, and a few project ideas.
The location of your art studio depends on what you want to make. For example, a potter would need a significantly larger space for their pottery studio than someone working with embroidery. However, with the right storage, which we will get to later, the possibilities are endless.
Potential Spaces for Your Studio
The corner of a room: Let’s say you don’t have a spare room, office, or garage. Maybe you live in a tiny apartment. The beauty about making stuff, is that you can spread out and pack it back up when you are done. Find an underutilized little corner in your dwelling to deem as your creative space. If you don’t have room for a table, invest 20 or 30 bucks into one that folds for easy storage. You’ll find that when properly stored, art materials and craft supplies don’t take up much space.
Garage: This is ideal for someone who works with larger projects, or has many projects going on at once. Maybe you actually use your garage to park your car and you can’t see the potential for using it as a studio space. If you strategically set up your space to exist along the perimeter, you can move your car out of the garage while you are working.
Spare room or office: If you have an extra room in your house, why not make it an art room? Or if you are currently using your spare room as a home office, turn part of it into a maker’s space. Keep all of your art supplies stored away when you are not using them. You can also keep a tarp on hand and double your desk as a work table.
Dining room: When you need mostly table space, a heavy duty tarp placed over a dining room table makes a great workspace. Dining rooms doing double duty as an art studio work well because they usually offer plenty of natural light, which is ideal.
If you find yourself not having enough space, you might consider moving some stuff you aren’t using to a self-storage unit until you can sell it or figure out what else you want to do with it. Alternatively, some storage facilities can double as art studio spaces–but not all. You’ll have to check with management first to see if it is okay to use a unit as an artist’s studio.
Any craft or art is going to require supplies, and you will acquire more over time. That means you’ll need to come up with plenty of creative storage space for your tools. Here are some storage solutions that work well for home studios:
Utility Carts and other Wheeled Gems
You might be familiar with IKEA’s 3 tiered RASKOG Cart that has become an organization staple for any room in the house. This item is so popular that Michaels, Target, The Container Store, even Walmart, have copied them—and for good reason. It’s the perfect piece of furniture for a tidy workspace. Put your tools, paint, paper, and other supplies in this vertically slim apparatus. Did we mention the RASKOG has wheels?
If you’d rather have your items more contained, check out IKEA’s HELMER drawer unit on casters. It actually takes up less space than the RASKOG cart and has more individual drawers for organization.
A clear plastic set of drawers on wheels is a great choice for holding art and craft supplies. This one from the container store has a wide flat top that can serve as a side table while you are working.
Wall space is often underutilized and you can save a lot of square feet by going vertical. A favorite for any room is the IKEA Billy Bookcase. It’s shallow and tall so it hardly takes up any floor space. One of the best things about the Billy Bookcase is its ability for transformation. With a few tools and materials you can make these affordable shelving units look like fancy built ins.
The classic Metro rack isn’t just for restaurants. The beauty about this option is the ability to take it apart, making it perfect for renters or storage units. They are sturdy and won’t succumb to scratches or dings. It’s functionality is undisputed and that sleek steel look will give your studio an industrial feel. Bonus: the design of the wire rack serves as a place to hang supplies from S-hooks.
DIY! Building your own shelving unit is a great project for different skill levels. Check out this super cool DIY modern shelving unit made with wood planks and common shelf brackets. If that project is too challenging for you, try this unit that utilizes the ubiquitous wooden crate and some very simple hardware (no saws needed).
A peg board is always a smart option for hanging tools and supply baskets on the wall. You can customize your own or buy one from many different retailers.
Hooray! Now your space is ready. You can’t have a studio without supplies. So, we’ve put together a list for you along with a few storage containers that any artist or crafter could use.
The following supplies can be used for a wide variety of crafts. These essentials should be a part of any home art studio:
- Tool Kit – Every DIYer should have one of these. In addition to a cordless drill, this tool kit recommended by the New York Times will tackle almost any project.
- Xacto Knife – The ergonomic alternative to the box cutter. This tool is great for tedious cuts and different shaped blades are available for multiple purposes. Check out these inspiring projects provided by Xacto!
- Self Healing Mat – These are incredibly useful and will save your furniture from getting damaged. If you buy one of these you will have it forever.
- Good Pair of Scissors – Can’t stress this enough. It’s much better in the long run to buy a good pair rather than replace cheap dull ones over and over.
- Rulers – You really can’t have too many of these!
- Tape – Oh tape! Let me count the ways. For crafting projects, Frog brand painter’s tape is one of the best for good adhesion without leaving a residue. Washi tape is a favorite amongst the crafting community because it comes in so many colors and patterns. Check out this Buzzfeed article packed with Washi tape project ideas.
- Sketchbook – The window to your potential project! Plus, drawing or doodling is proven to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Modge Podge – This tried and true material is useful for so many projects like this awesome vintage suitcase renovation.
- Glue Gun – A must have item for beginner and expert crafters alike. Did you know they make hot glue with glitter in it?
- Tarp: Cheap, totally reusable, and always handy for those messy projects.
- Good Paint Brushes – You might not need anything too fancy but here is a list of paint brushes reviewed by artists and students to point you in the right direction.
- Acrylic Paint – Add some color to your projects. A set like this one is a good place to start.
- Gloves – Protect those mitts, especially if you are working with any type of chemical or solvent.
- Shop Towels – These are much more absorbent than paper towels and so durable, you can reuse them a few times.
- Clamps – Irwin quick grip clamps are easy to use and really well made.
- Dremel Tool – So many uses and so many attachments make this a perfect tool for artists, crafters, and DIYers.
The best way to stay organized is to have a dedicated place for everything. Here are a few containers that made the list:
- Double Tiered with Locking Lid from The Container Store – Perfect for separating different sized items
- HDX Totes by Home Depot – classic choice for durability and affordability
- SOCKERBIT Box with Lid by Ikea – classy choice for crafters who want to hide things in plain sight.
- Reuse a Shoebox – great for a collage project!
- Thrift Store Containers – Hands down the most affordable and environmentally responsible choice. From tins to cigarboxes, you can find tons of unique storage solutions at any secondhand shop.
Now you are ready to set up your a studio in your own home! Happy crafting everybody!