Writer Virginia Woolf once famously coined the phrase, “A room of one’s own” in her collection of personal essays by the same name. She was talking about a room for writing, but her words could just as easily be applied to the artist and their studio.
Every artist, whether new to the game or a seasoned pro, needs a personal space to work without interruption and get the creative juices flowing. Building your home art studio is a great way to get the peace and quiet you need. It’s also an immensely satisfying process that will save you money while you impress your clients and create to your heart’s content. Listed below are the necessary steps to help you build and maintain a successful art studio in your home.
The location is probably the most important thing to consider when building a home art studio. If you’re lucky enough to have an extra room in your home, then your location problem is easily solved. For those of you that have a tighter living space, never fear! There are a wealth of options you may not have considered. For instance, a walk-in-closet can easily be converted into a modest studio space. Find another place for your clothes ( large clothes rack will usually get the job done) and move your art supplies in.
Alternatively, you could partition a section of a large room for your studio. Put your kitchen or living room to good use, and set up shop in an unused corner. Hang a curtain or install a large shelving unit to block out the rest of the world and voila! Instant studio. Even a cluttered basement or a vacant attic could make an amazing studio space with a little planning ahead.
If you don’t have a basement or corner to spare, you may have to consider some outdoor options. A garage is usually a good option, provided you can find a heat source when it gets cold. An outdoor shed is another good option for an art studio, and it can feel the most like having a separate space of your own. Building a shed for an art studio can be a pretty labour intensive process, so make sure you either hire someone or get help from a friend.
Personalise Your Space
Studios are incredibly intimate spaces and tend to reflect the tastes and personal habits of the artist. Some artists are neat freaks who prefer to work in an orderly environment and use an intricate storage system of shelves, files, and cubbies. Other artists may only get inspired in a scattered environment and would prefer to work in a messy studio.
Whether you’re a clean artist or a messy one (or someone who is in between), your studio should be a place where you’re comfortable, so keep it how you like it. Learn how to set your studio up based on your preferences. If you like an orderly studio, prepare to either build or buy lots of shelving and cabinets. If you like to store your work rather than hang it, make sure you have racks, large drawers and whatever else your medium demands.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Making sure you have the tools you need on hand is essential to setting up a successful home art studio. Most studios will need the same basic supplies, with a few variations here and there.
There are a lot of different options for storage. Old bookcases and shelves make great storage units, and milk crates are incredibly versatile and lightweight. You can always hang your work on the walls if you run out of flat storage space.Tupperware containers are an easy and inexpensive way to store mixed paint and other small materials. Don’t assume that you have to run out to the art store every time you need more storage; there are a lot of cheaper options out there that work just fine.
Natural light is an artist’s best friend, so lots of large windows are ideal. If you don’t have windows or you want to paint at night, install a few colour corrected fluorescent light bulbs in your studio – they most closely mimic natural light. Avoid using incandescent or halogen bulbs, as these will cause a distorted sense of colour.
Acrylic painters and sculptors need running water close at hand – drafters and oil painters not so much. Regardless, water always makes cleaning up easier, and you’ll find it’s next to impossible to work without it.
Whatever your medium, you’re going to need some work surface. An easel is a great option for painters, but propping the painting up against a wall is sometimes preferable (depending on size – bigger usually works better without an easel). A drafting table is nice for those that need a large flat surface, but if you can’t get your hands on one, a smooth floor can also work.
Not all mediums require ventilation, but for those of you working with fumes (i.e. oil painters), you’ll want to make sure you have some sort of ventilation system in your studio. Ideally, you would have a couple of windows outfitted with screens and box fans to help circulate air in and out of the studio.
Keep It Clean
Wherever you end up building your studio, it’s important to keep that area clean. Having aprons, sponges, and old rags on hand is a necessity for messier mediums, such as paint or clay. If you have storage space, keep a shelf or cubby devoted to cleaning supplies. If you don’t have any extra shelf space, a storage container or an old bucket is also a good way to store your supplies. Keep a collection of reusable canvas drop cloths on hand for spills, splatters and anything else that might fall to the floor. In a pinch, an old bedsheet will work just fine as a drop cloth. Protecting your floor will make cleanup a snap and ensure that your studio is always ready for you to work. Bonus: Keep the used drop cloth and display it as modern art!
Steal From Other Artists
If you’re still feeling stumped, take a look at the studios of other artists. You’ll quickly get motivated when you see just how many variations there are to creating a home studio. Check out the following websites for inspiration:
- Houzz is known for is beautiful design ideas, and this stunning array of home studios is no different. You’ll want to whip out a paintbrush by the end of the day.
- Huffington Post provides some inspiration with pictures of over 40 different studios sent in by their readers.
- Muddy Colours offers an impressive collection of functional studio spaces for the working artist.
While you’re sure to see lots of great examples online, you might benefit from a trip out into the real world. It’s not uncommon for professional artists to offer studio tours. You’ll be able to see first hand how their studio is setup, and more importantly, how it’s run. As an extra perk, you’ll be able to meet the artist and ask them for advice in person….What could be better than that?
Once you have your studio set up, it’s time to get inspired and go to work on your masterpiece. Let us know which art studios you’re drooling over and feel free to share a link to an image of your new studio in the comments section.
Featured Image is the home art studio of Olynuk Rachel