I believe that every artist deserves a space to create in. We need a dedicated area in which to work, and the freedom to walk away and leave things unfinished and waiting for our return. This might be an extra room in the home, or a desk just for you, strategically placed within a shared room. In my case, there was a little room off of the attic, that made a cozy studio space. I was happy to have it.
Over the years, I made a lot of changes in that space, and constantly struggled with arrangement and organization. Storage was an epic problem, since I enjoy several different mediums, and have a lot of art supplies. For a while, it looked like a train wreck, and I found myself almost avoiding the room because it was so messy. Finally, I took a good hard look at the potential I had been missing, and decided to devote time and a little money to making things work better. I emptied out the room, painted the walls, and started over. I got rid of the things I never used, and bought some decent modular storage units to hold the rest. My goal was to utilize every square inch of space as efficiently as possible. What a difference! It’s still a small space, but now it works for me rather than against me. I love being in my little studio and spend time there almost every day.
Here are some things I learned in the process, followed by some pics of my own studio. Maybe they will be of use to you, if you are setting up your own studio space.
1. Decide where you want your main work table to be. Avoid having your back to the door, or yourself facing a wall. Consider having the work table come out into the room, as long as there is good flow around it on 3 sides. It feels more open if you can look across the room as you work.
2. Have a secondary work area for things like paper cutters, and tasks that you do standing up. You can add more function by using 2 sturdy storage units to support a table board across them. Mine is a folding table top that spans over 2 large plastic drawer units. Not terribly expensive.
3. Think vertical for storage areas. One wall of storage space can hold a lot of materials.
Stacking modular components are wonderful for this. Also look into some of the wall systems (usually designed for workshops and garages) that allow you to snap on various storage baskets where you want them. These are great for use above and adjacent to work spaces, and fairly easy to install.
Be prepared to do a little DIY.
It’s a personal choice, but if you keep a consistent neutral color for all of your storage units, it will appear less visually cluttered, and more cohesive.
Assess what kind of storage you really need, make notes, take measurements and reference photos of the space you are filling. Much easier than guessing at the store.
4. Utilize the space under your work table for more storage units, like file cabinets or shelf units.
5. Get as much stuff up and off the floor as possible.
6. Allow for at least one or two strong focal points of displayed art work.
7. If you don’t use, or really value it, get rid of it, or store it elsewhere. It’s hard for artists to avoid clutter, especially in small spaces. The more organized you get, the less time you will have to spend looking for stuff.
8. Keep a good sized area of your work table open for projects, but have the things you use most within arm’s reach. Be selective about this. Time and use will tell you if you have it right.
9. Comfort items, such as TV or music should be considered as you plan. This is your space, so go for it. Think compact. Small TV, small speaker, and iPod will work great.
10. Your studio should invite you in, not drive you away.
And here are the pictures of my own little studio: