Artists of all kinds revel in the feeling of being immersed in their studios, painting, drawing, sewing, or playing the day away. While it’s not entirely necessary to have a dedicated studio space if you’re an artist, it does help. Being able to leave things out, be away from distractions, and have inspiration up are all important for artists of all kinds. An art studio can also increase the value of your home and make you more willing to go create something. So look around for that empty corner, extra bedroom, or basement door, so you can create a space, even a small one, where you can be as creative as you want to be.
1 Start Dreaming
If you want to make an art studio at home, the best way to start is to dream. Spend some time dreaming about what you want in a studio, what you need, how you want it to look, what storage you want to use etc. Gather your ideas all up in one place, such as Pinterest, and use that as a starting point. Don ‘t just think about the space, dream about using it, the kind of artwork you want to do once you have space, and get excited about the space you’re building. A dedicated art space or studio is important, it keeps out distractions, gives you a place to work without worrying about messes and allows you to have some privacy. Once you have a multitude of ideas, it’s time to get started on actually creating a studio space.
2 Picking a Place
The biggest, hardest step will be determining where to create your new art studio. This decision can be made easier if you have an extra bedroom or basement/attic to use. However, even if you don’t have much extra space you can make a place for art in your home. When looking around for space, consider a few factors.
- What kind of work will you be doing?
- What kind of equipment will you need nearby?
- How much storage space will you need?
- Will you need a place to put things to dry?
- Are there enough electrical sockets?
- Is there an internet signal?
- Do you need natural light?
- Do you have space to display your work?
- Is it easy to clean?
Whether you’re composing Moonlight Sonata or painting the next Mona Lisa, you need to consider as many factors as possible so you pick the best space possible. Basements and attics can be ideal, but remember that paint, electronics, and other materials won’t do well in the cold or heat relative to those areas. A good way to decide on what space to use to make two lists, one with needs, things your studio must-have for you to work effectively, and wants, things you would love to have, but are not necessary. Then try to find a space that matches as many needs and wants as possible.
If you do have the luxury of reserving an entire room for your studio, consider doing work on it to make a more comfortable space for you. Plain white walls are dull but can be good for ensuring your palette remains neutral. However, a coat of paint may help you to make the space your home and could lead to inspiration as well. Choose a color that is fairly neutral, as you may unconsciously choose similar colors to the wall color. If you’re feeling really adventurous painting a mural for your studio on one wall can be a great way to make space your own.
If you can’t or do not want to paint, consider putting up a wall of artwork and inspiration. Add articles, cutouts, fabric, the artwork of your own or some else’s, photographs, sketches, and whatever else will inspire you and your work. Putting up your own work is also a great way to gain inspiration and decorate your walls.
4 What Do You Want To Work On
Once you know where you’re going to create your studio it’s time to think about what you will be working on. Desks are the traditional furniture of choice and often come with a few drawers or shelves for storage. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and fit into a lot of awkward spaces. You can even buy desks that are adjustable so you can work standing. However, a desk might not be right for space or style of working.
A table can also be a great option, like desks they come in many shapes and sizes, but tables can also be expandable and collapsible which makes them ideal for small spaces and makes it easier to declutter your space. Some artists may prefer to work on easels, which allows them to focus on a single piece while their paint, draw, etc. Others may prefer an angled drawing table. Whatever you choose to use as a surface for working, make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold your equipment, and that it’s comfortable to work at for several hours.
Whether you have a huge basement, or a little corner in the office, storing your supplies is important. Start by doing an inventory of the supplies you have, and try to widdle it down as much as possible. Take pens and pencils out of bully packages and put them in bags, throw out empty paints, combine spools and bobbins that have the same color thread, make sure all your instruments are working properly and do whatever else you can to purge your supplies down as much as possible.
Once that’s done, become a collector of jars, boxes, and containers. The options you have for storing your equipment, the better off you will be. There are many varieties of storage units you can buy to store things, including dressers, shelves, wardrobes, filing cabinets, old card catalog, rolling karts, and more. All of these things and more can be used to neatly and effectively store everything you need.
6 Lighting It Up
No matter what kind of work you do, you will need to light up your studio. A north-facing window, if you live in the northern hemisphere, or a south-facing window in the southern hemisphere, are the least likely to fluctuate over the course of the day. However, having natural light in a studio can be difficult to deal with. As the sun moves, and the light changes from day to day it can affect how the colors you’re using look. Whether you have a window or not, artificial lights can help illuminate your space easily. There are three different kinds of lightning you can pick from incandescent/halogen, fluorescent, and LED.
Incandescent and halogen bulbs usually have a yellow tint in their light which can affect how colors look. These bulbs also tend to run hot, which may not be best in small space.
Fluorescent bulbs tend to have a whiter light, but a short lifespan. They also have a tendency to dim and flicker over time and because they contain mercury, they require special disposal as hazardous waste.
LEDs are probably the best options for studio lighting. Not only are they energy-efficient, but they also give off even, bright, white light for up to 50,000 hours. You’ll want to look for a light with a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating of 90 or more on the 1-to-100 scale to ensure colors are accurate.
Another lightning consideration is the actual fixture you plan to use. Spotlights such as standing lamps or clamp lamps won’t properly illuminate a canvas, and wall-mounted lamps can cause backlighting issues. In small corner space, an LED lamp will help give you proper light. In a larger space, a light panel on the ceiling will create consistent, bright light from corner to corner.
7 KEEP IT SAFE
A concern for many artists when setting up a studio—especially if it’s in the home—is how to safely work with inherently toxic materials. This is especially true if you work in oil paint, acrylic paint, and/or any other toxic materials. A priority for your studio space is to make sure your space is safe and able to keep hazardous materials contained. Oil paints can be especially hazardous when mixed with mediums in order to manipulate the paint. Acrylic paints can contain propylene glycol, ammonia, and formaldehyde. All kinds of paint can be toxic to aquatic environments because of the pigments in the paint, so it’s best to avoid washing paint down your drain. You prevent a lot of problems by ensuring your studio space has ventilation, like a window you can open.
When working with turpentine, mineral spirits, or citrus-based cleaners, keep the containers closed at all times when not in use, keep rags with solvent on them contained, and use as little as possible when cleaning your brushes. You may want to use gloves when painting in some instances, however, this may not be a solution for some artists.
One of the best solutions is to change what you use. Instead of using oil mediums and solvents with warning labels about the dangers of inhalation, linseed or walnut oil can be used to dilute your paints, and common vegetable oil can clean your brushes. Oil paints don’t give off gas as they dry, so this would help to cut down on toxins. Both oil and acrylic painters can also find alternatives to dangerous pigments, such as lead, cadmium, manganese, cerulean, and more. Make sure any hazardous supplies can be stored where children and animals cannot reach them and be sure to keep food and drink out of the studio while you’re working.
Having a studio space of your own doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Just grab something to work on, a lamp to light it up, and start getting creative!