I believe you can find room for creativity and art if you really want to include them in your life. On today’s episode of the Self Taught Artist, we’re talking about how to make the most of a small art studio at home, or, what to do if you have no dedicated art space at home. Lots of great tips are coming your way on how to store your art supplies, maximize vertical space, and even use some creativity to create an art studio out of a closet!
One of the roadblocks I hear aspiring artists talk about is not having an art space and how that gets in the way of making art. I know it is a bit of a hassle to always be rummaging around for supplies and not know where things are or constantly pack and unpack them. So that’s why today we’re talking about how to get creative with designing your home art studio – no matter how much space you have or don’t have! If art is important to you, let’s find a way to make it happen.
Here are some links to items I mention on the show:
My favorite rolling carts for artist supplies:
Elfa at the Container Store (there are lots of other sizes and styles available that you can add wheels to.)
Ikea Drop-Leaf Furniture:
Hello, and welcome back to the Self Taught Artist Podcast. I’m Lauren Kristine, your host. Today’s episode is a great one. We’re talking about how to make a home art studio. Even if you have no space, it can also help those of you working in tight spaces who want to make the most of the space that you do have to create your art.
Now, I was hoping to have the third installment of the color workshop ready for you today. But it’s not ready yet. Why is that? Well, I’m actually hard at work behind the scenes, trying to create some improvements to the podcast. Thank you very much for your patience as you wait for the color mixing workshop part three. I’m excited to share with you more in the coming weeks about these improvements to the Self Taught Artist Podcast that I’m working on.
Let’s do the Review of the Week. This one comes to us from goat gamer 54. So glad it’s back. I am so glad the Self Taught Artist Podcast is back. I found this show last year and was disappointed when there wasn’t any new episodes for a while. I’m glad there’s some newer content. This is a very helpful and informative podcast, I highly recommend it. Thank you so much goat gamer. I really appreciate it. I am very happy to be back podcasting as well. Last year, I had a lot of work and family commitments that led me to take a little podcasting break. And I’m really happy that I’m now back in the swing of things. I am thrilled with the growth of the Self Taught Artist Podcast and all of you my wonderful listeners are the reason why I keep making this podcast. Your reviews inspire me to keep going. Yes, it’s a lot of work putting out a weekly show for you. But I truly love it.
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Today’s topic is all about making an art studio at home. Even if you have no space or very little space, and how to maximize the space that you do have. Lots of awesome tips are coming your way. So stay tuned.
I believe you can find room for creativity and the arts. If you really want to include them in your life and in your self care routine. We’re talking about how to make the most of a small art space at home, or even what to do if you have no dedicated art space at home.
I’m very lucky as an artist to have a dedicated space in my home for art and creativity. Well, it’s half of my office, but really I call the whole room my art studio. I love this space. It is truly my creative oasis. But it’s not the size of the space that counts. It’s how you use it.
See, I haven’t always had the luxury of space. When I started making art. I was living in a one bedroom apartment with my husband. We had no extra space for my art. In fact, we already had way too much stuff everywhere. We had tried to combine our two lives into one small apartment space. And it was a lot of chaos and mess.
At that time, I like to say I had a mobile art studio. I used half of our kitchen table and I had a little cart that served a few different purposes. First, it gave me more storage space. And second, it was easy to wheel out of sight whenever I needed to hide my supplies. You know, like during dinner or if we had a dinner party.
Simply prioritizing art making and making any space for yourself is a huge step forward. Even if it’s mobile, even if it’s just a corner of the kitchen table that you use every now and then, and even if you have to pack it away every night, It’s important to design a space and a system that works for you, and where you live.
One of the roadblocks I hear aspiring artists talk about is not having an art space, and how that gets in the way of making art. I know it’s a bit of a hassle to always be rummaging around for supplies, and not know where things are, or always be packing and unpacking them. So that’s why today we’re talking about how to get creative with designing your home art studio, or your mobile art studio. No matter how much space you have or don’t have. If art is important to you, let’s find a way to make it happen.
First and foremost, no matter what your space is, whether it’s a mobile art studio, a corner of the kitchen table, or you have a dedicated room in your house. rolling carts are amazing. They are the workhorse of my studio. And they have been since the beginning, when my studio was just a corner of the kitchen table.
You can get rolling carts that are small, and you can find them at IKEA, or the art store. And there are also rolling carts that are really tall, my biggest one is approximately four feet tall. My absolute favorite brand of rolling cart is from The Container Store called alpha, I now have a few of these alpha rolling carts. What I love about them is that they are metal. So they’re really durable, they can hold a lot of stuff. And you can customize them based on what you need, and the size of your supplies. So what I mean by that is you can buy bins of different depths. So you can store things very efficiently without wasting vertical space. These are my favorite. I will say they’re a little bit more on the expensive side. So wait for a sale, or checkout options at Walmart and IKEA. They have lots of different choices.
I personally love rolling carts because they move with you. And so if you are working off of a desk or a kitchen table, or just someplace where you have to move your stuff a lot, because you use that space for something else most of the time, I would recommend a rolling cart with wheels, because it is so easy to hide away all of your supplies. And also make sure wherever you set up for that day to make art, everything you want is within reach. But now that I have a dedicated studio space, I find them just as useful. And I absolutely love them. So I think it is worth the investment no matter what your space is.
Second, I would tell you to really take pride in your organization. And take a little bit of extra time to get organized, especially if you have what I call a mobile art studio. And you are working at the kitchen table or something like that. Now in order to get organized, it doesn’t have to be really expensive. You can arrange your materials simply and attractively using found items probably around your house or apartment. Things like pencils, brushes and other supplies can be stored in cleaned and recycled glass jars. For example. Look around and see what you have that you can reclaim and repurpose. Things like wine crates, Crocs and produce bins can help contain heavier goods, if you know need a place to put them. It just always helps if everything is organized and you know where to find what you’re looking for.
Of course, getting super organized is very trendy these days. So there’s a ton of different styles of organizing containers available at all different price points. Think about repurposing fridge organizing containers, baskets, organizer bins, underbed storage boxes, finding closet space where you could store some plastic tubs. Get creative with where you put your supplies throughout your house. There are just a ton of different storage solutions you can find at a Walmart or Target, or whatever store is near you.
But having your supplies and easy to move tubs or bins or plastic containers does help you to keep the mess contained, and also be able to access your supplies easily. But also hide the evidence really quickly if you need to clean up and get ready for dinner.
Table easels are another great tip, if you are working from a kitchen table or a desk, they are inexpensive, and they can help you to prop up your painting. So you are not bending over the table all the time, they fold up and can be put away very easily as well.
So if you don’t have a dedicated space, think about how you can set up your space and take down your space as easily as possible. And for me, that meant getting a rolling cart where I could store a bunch of things in one place and roll it in and out as needed. It looked like also keeping everything really organized so that I didn’t get frustrated by searching around the entire house for whatever art supplies I needed. I knew if I was looking for something where I could find it. And then of course, getting a table easel to help your back as well.
Now, if you have some ability to take over part of a room, or a corner of a room, these next tips are for you. Sometimes I think we get into this all or nothing kind of mentality where we say well, I don’t have a full room to dedicate to my art. That doesn’t matter. If you have a corner of a room, or a part of a room that counts as well. Kind of like how I have my room, my studio separated into an office space for myself and a studio space. You can do the same thing with a spare bedroom, a living area in your house. All sorts of things. So to separate a room into a living area or a work area or a bedroom area and an art studio.
I love the thought of defining that space by using say a bookcase, a table a divider or a screen that can be really really helpful especially if it’s in a living room and you want to be able to hide it away. But I’ll say it’s totally fine just to have a little bit of everything you love in one room.
For me I keep half of my room with blank walls and I have my desk there so that when I’m on the computer, I can be very focused and I can still move my desk around a little bit. But on the other wall of my studio, it is floor to ceiling canvases everywhere on the wall that I have painted. So my view from my desk is actually looking at all of my art and all of my art supplies. And I love it I don’t have any divider at all. I am just looking at it because it makes me happy. So when I’m on all of my Zoom calls with my coaching clients and talking to people, I am looking at what I love most and I love it. But for you if you do want to separate your let’s say living room into a living area and an art studio, there are options to visually separate that if you want to.
Another great tip if you can take over part of a room is to repurpose a piece of old furniture as an art storage cabinet and art desk or an art table. I love the idea of getting a vintage piece for cheap off of Facebook marketplace or any secondhand store. You can paint it if you want to and wallah you have your own little art supply cabinet.
You could find a cabinet with doors or a dresser if you have the kind of space where you want to keep it neat and tidy when you’re not creating. your cabinet or dresser shape really doesn’t matter. But it’s just a great idea. If you want to be able to close it and put everything away then having doors might be a great idea so you can hide away all of your art supplies. Another benefit of doors is that it makes it really easy. To close it and not worry about, you know, if your child will start rummaging through your paints, for example, when you’re not around. So that can be the benefit of getting an old dresser, or a cabinet where you can store some of your art supplies.
If you have a dedicated space, you know, that’s the benefit is you can actually put in furniture, that makes sense. And you can leave it there, when you’re creating and when you’re not creating, so you just have a little bit more flexibility, than those working from a mobile studio where they have to set it up and take it down all the time. However, I do understand that even if you can use a corner of a room, you still might be thinking about how you can expand that space when you’re using it and minimize that space when you’re not using it. So for that, I would ask you to think about fold away furniture or folding furniture. Think about things like drop leaf tables, those are tables that can expand and can also kind of contract in terms of the space that they take up.
I found a really neat one at IKEA. Target also has a bunch of them. And I bet you can find them on secondhand marketplaces, or shops as well. The one at IKEA that I saw is called the Kallhall. It’s a bit of an investment. It’s runs around 230 US dollars right now. But it looks like it was really designed for crafting, because it has some hidden storage areas in it. And when you want a table, it folds out, you can expand it. And when you don’t, it folds down and it becomes a very small format end table.
I love this idea. Currently in my studio, the table that I use is actually a folding card table. But I always keep it out. I’m not folding it up and down. But I love the idea of one day being able to make that investment into a drop leaf table where I can make it bigger and smaller, you know, bigger on the weekend, when I’m making a ton of art and then smaller during the week when my room becomes you know, the majority of the time my office space.
I also didn’t know this was existed until I did the research for this episode. But there’s also a fold down table that you can mount to the wall. This is also from IKEA, and it’s a lot cheaper. And it’s great because it can provide a space for art in a communal area, like a dining room, a pantry, a small bedroom or a kitchen even. So this table is called the Bjursta. I don’t know how you pronounce that. So apologies to anyone who knows Swedish. It only costs $55. So it’s it’s literally just this table that bolts to the wall. And when you need the space, it’s there. And it folds out into a table. And then when you don’t need it, it folds into the wall. And it just looks like it’s a shelf. Super cool. I would encourage you to look at the shownotes I’m going to link it there. Again, I get no commissions for anything that I recommend on here. I just look out there for stuff that might be helpful to you. And then I share it that’s that’s what I’m here for it just expanding your mind about what’s possible and how you can get really creative with your space.
But let’s not forget about vertical space. vertical space can be huge if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. I’ve talked before about how I use pegboard to display my paints and I use the wall space that I have so that I can see all of my colors. If you have a dedicated desk where you can use the wall space above it. Mounting a piece of pegboard might be a great and inexpensive way to give yourself some customizable storage.
You can do lots of different storage configurations with pegboard because there’s so many different types of hooks and accessories available. benefit of a pegboard as well as that you can change your mind without drilling all of these extra holes into the wall. You simply mount the pack pegboard, and then everything else you can move around.
Also, don’t forget about the possibility of adding shelves to the wall. There’s a lot of inexpensive, inexpensive shelving solutions. And if you don’t have space for an easel, but you love painting standing up, consider mounting some hooks to the wall, where you can hang the canvas directly on the wall for painting vertically. You know, while you’re standing up.
You could also use a pegboard to hang canvas, or some heavy duty command hooks if you’re in an apartment, and you don’t want to even drill holes in the wall. When you want to hang your canvas there and work on it, you can and when you don’t want to, it’s just a simple hook on the wall. Not even that big of an eyesore at all. It’s all about getting creative.
So I hope I’m opening your mind to some new possibilities, including this next one, which I think is a great tip that very few people think of and this one is repurposing a closet. Have you ever considered creating a small workspace for your art, using a desk chair and miniature storage inside of a closet?
I had not even thought about this until one of my best friends in her apartment. She had you know she’d recently moved. And it was a great spot, but it was in a big city. So she had to downsize a little bit and she had no space for a desk. She couldn’t figure out how to squeeze a work area into that small apartment. I did some research for her and actually came up with the idea for her to convert her coat closet into a workstation. She put all of her coats under the bed. And in other closets. You know you don’t need them for a big chunk of the year anyways. And she added shelving to her closet and got a tiny little table that fit inside of the closet. She used one of her dining room chairs and just scooted it over when she wanted to use her closet desk. And that worked perfectly as a place to sit.
This closet desk was super cute and super functional. She also mounted a light inside the closet to make it brighter. And I think she’d put a mirror in there too just to give the illusion of more space and also get that light reflecting around. You could do the same exact thing with your art and create a little closet art space. The benefit of doing it in a closet is it when you close the door, all of the art magic stays contained in the closet. But when you open it, it’s like your own little world. You just pull up a chair, and it’s right there waiting for you.
Don’t forget about other spaces you may have in your house. Can you occupy the basement, the attic, the garage? Make sure to take humidity heating and cooling into account of course. But don’t forget about these often forgotten spaces, we overlook them. But sometimes with a little love, they can turn into the perfect creativity, art space for you.
No matter what hold on to your aspirations and your dreams for what your art studio space could look like one day. Even if you have to make do with your basement or your closet, or your kitchen table right now. It doesn’t have to stay like that forever. Keep a file of inspiration with ideas for your perfect art space for your perfect art studio, and then take baby steps to make it a reality.
My main message today is that you don’t need the ideal art studio to make amazing art. And you don’t need a lot of space in your house or your apartment in order to make amazing art. There are so many artists out there that are working at their kitchen tables. Even big ones that you might be following on Instagram and really look up to some of them I know for a fact are working at their kitchen table or in a spare bedroom at a desk. Not everything is as it seems and a A lot of people don’t want to show these kinds of things on Instagram or on social media or on their website.
Everyone shares the highlight reels on social media, they’re not showing the reality. And if you look at the reality of most artists, art studios, they are not Instagram worthy, Pinterest, perfect workspaces. But they work for that artist at that point in time. And that’s all that matters. My advice is to stop looking for the perfect art space, find a spot, make it your own, and just create something go out and make some art today.
All right, that is it for today’s podcast. Can you please take two seconds to hit the five star button and give me a rating on Spotify or Apple Podcasts? It helps me out so so much. Also make sure to hit the subscribe button so you never miss an episode. I would love to see photos of your art studio on Instagram. You can find me at Lauren, Kristine art and you can send me a DM or my email is Lauren. Kristine email@example.com I’d be really interested if you have any tips and tricks that I don’t know about. Maybe I will make a follow up episode to be a sequel to this one at some point in the future. All right. Until next time, my friends Happy Creating
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