12 Ways to Make an Art Studio at Home
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
One of the things that people consistently say gets in the way of making art is not having an art space. I’d like to share some ideas for creating a fun, funky, and functional art space you can really use in your home.
You will find space for art making in your home when you acknowledge that making art is a key ingredient to your happiness.
Inspiring Art Studio Spaces
Before we talk about practical ideas, let’s dream a little, shall we? Let’s look dewy-eyed at some amazing art studios, because I think dreaming about your ideal studio might inspire you to incorporate some of the elements in your art space.
- Scroll through the huge cache of beautiful studio spaces on Houzz. (Wear a bib, you’ll need it. You’ll be drooling over these studios.) They have a great post on 11 Tips to Get the Creative Space You Crave.
- Kelly Rae Roberts, a mixed media artist, shares her colorful, eclectic studio here.
- My lovely friend, Sara Roizen’s light-filled finished attic studio is airy and full of promise.
- Brit + Co offers some amazing ideas for a beautiful art spaces from various artists.
- Hannah, illustrator and owner of the Rasin Heart blog, has a lovely, playful art desk.
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Create an Art Studio in YOUR Home
We aren’t all able to create gorgeous studios like the ones in the list above, but I believe that if you truly want to make art and creativity a part of your life and your self-care practice, you can find a space for it. It’s about making your art a priority. Here’s some of the best ideas I’ve found for carving out an art space at home.
Stop waiting for the ideal art studio. Find a spot, claim it as yours, and make art.
1. Divide a room into living space and art studio space. Use shelving, a table, or a screen to delineate (or hide!) the art area in a family room or living room.
2. Take over a corner. Place a desk and some shelving with baskets to hold art materials in the corner of any room. Voila! Instant art space.
3. Convert a closet. Squeeze some clothing into another closet, or create a clothing rack in the attic. Use a small desk, chair, and perhaps mini shelving to create your mini art studio.
4. Install a fold-down table with some storage, like this one* somewhere in your home.
5. This table from Ikea folds down into the wall, making it a good option for an art space in a common room, such as an eat-in kitchen or dining room. You might combine that with this inventive solution for storing paint: 28 Ideas for Craft Paint Storage
6. Take over the garage, attic, or basement. Be sure to consider heating, cooling and humidity issues.
7. Make a rolling art cart. This post from ArtBar has some inspiring ideas for using shelving and rolling carts to create an art space at home. You might also like this post from Tinkerlab on how to create space for art making in your home. She is focused on kids, but the same ideas can apply for adults.
8. Repurpose an old piece of furniture as an art table, desk, or storage like the dresser I resurfaced and repurposed below. You also might like the Junquemail Contessa’s repurposing of a changing table for art supplies.
9. Use a mobile art caddy. This mobile art caddy from Dick Blick would be another way to keep art supplies at the ready, yet out of the way in a common room such as a dining room or eat-in kitchen.
10. Convert an antique into an art supply station. Check out Kelli McKinley Hansen’s inventive use of a mail sorting cubby. See how I’ve repurposed two pieces of furniture in this post.
11. Carry an art pouch. Whether carving out a dedicated art space in your home feels impossible, or you like being able to make art anywhere, a portable art kit is an essential tool. I’ve been a fan of using little and big pouches as portable art kits for some time, this post gives some ideas for decorating your own. I find the more special it feels, the more I want to pick it up and use it!
12. Make an art tool bucket. This tool bucket makes for a great portable art station with all its pockets.
Would you like to see my studio space? You can check out a video tour of my little studio here.
I can’t wait to hear about the studio space you create for yourself.
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I finally converted our never used tiny formal living room in the front of our home and converted it into an art studio. It’s the first room people see when they enter our home, but I do keep it rather neat (I’m just a neat person by nature). I’ve recently started art journaling, and I love your blog. I’m still struggling with what medium to use since I’m an oil painter and that’s all I really know.
HI Ricki Jill!
Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! What a fabulous place for a studio in your home. I love that your art is your guests’ entree into your home. Oil painting on canvas is very close to my heart, but so is art journaling, so I’d say there’s hope. Do you have interest in using acrylic paint on paper? How about checking out the tissue paper painting tutorial? That will be very different and perhaps really fun. You might also like playing with painting watercolor circles – just make bubbles – perhaps use your brush to “drop” in a second color and see what happens? This is such a wonderful and open time for you because it’s all new. Will you let us know what you enjoy? If you haven’t already, you might also like our private FB group, Creative Self-Care, for more ideas and inspiration. If you are on the mailing list, I also periodically share there about live art workshops and other fun artsy resources.
Where can we check out your work in oils? I’m so glad to have you as a part of this wonderful community. I look forward to connecting more.
Thanks for your reply, Amy! I think I’ll try a few of these techniques because I do like to play! I’m intrigued with the watercolor circles. I have so much invested in oil paints that I don’t want to get any acrylics, but I do want to try watercolor techniques because I have a few watercolors and I like Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. Tissue paper sounds fun!
As far as my art, I have an art page on my blog where I post paintings from time to time.
Here is the link:
Thanks for the link to the FB page. I joined your group!
Have an artful weekend!
HI Ricki Jill:
Your paintings are so lovely! I especially responded to the onion and the Ball jars. the jars really point to how making art from life is about “learning to see.” Glass is one of those things we think we see and it plays tricks on your mind when you try to render it. I feel like those are the best exercises in mindfulness and being present with what actually is.
I’ll be curious to hear how it goes with these other mediums. So glad you joined Creative Self-Care.
hi amy im 12 and looking to start up my studio in our garage and i was wondering if u have any tips on how to keep it neat,mom-aprooved, and most of all colorful. Garages are typicaly concret and ugly and i dont want to be deppressed wheni go into my studio to paint,poetry,draw,color…………. i hope u see this and help me btw im using my moms computer so this might come up as a woman not a kid…..also i was wondering how u started a blog because ive tried for years and cant seem to do it. It either costs money or they wont publish it or i cant figure out how to post something……. the list goes on and on HELP
Hi I’m Lara, I’m 12 yrs old and go to Tyalla PS
My room is pretty small with all my stuff in it. I LOVE art and I was wonderering if you know anywhere that has cheap furniture and art furniture.
Hi Lara: I’m so happy you are so into art! YAY! Ikea is a good place to check for affordable, creative solutions, in my experience. Good luck!
I think getting an outdoor rug, and hanging up some of your artwork on the wall around your part of the garage would make it more decorative, and deviate the attention from the concrete. I don’t have a sure answer for the blogging part, but I wish you luck!
I have done this also…. we have had a front sun room and I had wicker furniture in there and my daughter for a Mother’s Day gift- painted the walls and ceiling for me, but we never ever use it and it’s our front door and lots and lots of light. So it became my studio and retail space for customers to come. I do wedding glasses, design card boxes Ect. It’s a fun and useable space now and no one comes into our home…
I just love the idea of the combined studio and retail space – folks love to get behind the scenes. Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂 Amy
Thats such a perfect use of the space!!
Do you have a photo of the front room that is now the art studio room?
Love it !! I’m about to do the same in my breezeway !! Two huge floor to ceiling windows on each end of the narrow / long room … will have east/west light .
Why I didn’t think of it sooner!!
So excited to convert and get my easel up and start painting again!! ❤️
Sharon that sounds amazing!!!! Send pics! Enjoy! Xo. Amy
oh my gosh! I just moved into a condo and have 2 living areas. I cant see having a formal living area that I would never use and was thinking of turning it into a artroom.
I would love to getbyoyr ideas and see a pic of your room!
Oh that’s very exciting! You’ll see some more about my space here: https://mindfulartstudio.com/studio-tour-get-organized-get-inspired/ – I’ve also added 2 Ikea Kallax shelves that are pretty but also functional! Good luck xo
I’m having to solve this issue now. We are moving in a month, I know the approximate dimensions of my new bedroom. I had to figure out how to have a bed, suitable bedroom storage, plus the distinct “cozy corner” and “art studio” areas i want without crowding myself out (which is the reason we’re moving: 4 adults under one roof! we need more space). But I figured it out on graph paper. Reality shouldn’t mess my plans up much.
Several years ago my dad made me a shelf unit with the first shelf serving as a desk. I did use it that way for a while, but it’s currently used as general storage. In my new room, it will be devoted to making art, which I hope to start selling. Everything easily accessible from my seat at the desk will be strictly for my art, and also for other creative endeavors if I can afford to allocate the storage space. The top two shelves will be general storage, hidden in these huge fabric bins I found on Amazon. I also found some small wooden drawer units there too. I’ll visit thrift stores and yard sales this spring and summer so i can hopefully find things I need cheaper. I’ll be building my ideal art studio over the next several months because I can’t afford to trick it out all at once. So the time and piecemeal nature of shopping at thrift stores etc isn’t an issue.
Most of my crafts will live in my “cozy corner”, where I’ll keep cute magazine holders on shelves to corral scrapbook paper, journaling supplies, coloring pages. Hidden but organized and easily accessible. I have issues with not using my stuff if it’s hidden in a drawer but I’m hoping the cardboard magazine holders will be a suitable alternative for me.
So yeah, the name of the game is repurposing spaces and furniture and scaling down as much as feasible while meeting your needs as a person and as a creative.
Sounds like you have some great plans, Sarah – I hope you got a few here if you needed also! xo
As usual a well thought out and useful article!
Thank you so much, Bunny! You are the sweetest. You seem like your studio is really together! I hope it gave you a few ideas, perhaps for organization.
Love the post & your blog! I always struggle with my art space in my own home. Thanks for all the tips – they’re great!
I know! Sometimes creating space for yourself and what you love is paradoxically difficult. It’s strange. And yet, whenever I spend some time de-cluttering and re-prioritizing, it opens things up for me so much. I hope this is helpful. Love that tree image on your blog. So lovely.
I live in a tiny house. Any ideas on where to store by oils/ art supplies?
Hey Mary Beth: There’s a bunch of storage ideas right here, I hope you find one you like. And for art supplies, I really like Dick Blick online and you’ll find a list of all my favorite art supplies right here. XO
I love your article! Creating art in tiny spaces is hard, but sometimes very necessary. I appreciate all your insight since I have very limited space myself.
I am a creative blogger as well, just got started. I love your blog, even the very name of it is great. Can’t wait to find more treasures on here.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Your site is lovely and I love your creative free spirit that shows up so well in your pictures. Let me know if I can help you find anything here!
Aw, thank you so much! I appreciate your response and your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to look at my page.
Have a great day!
Just found you Amy and can’t wait to go back and view all these creative suggestions. Then to the daunting task (after downsizing), of attacking 2 stuffed closets for some functional artist space…..so on with the show! My deepest thanks….Nina Imajo (As it has been said: ” When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”)
HI Nina! I’m so stoked you found me too, Nina! Are you making a mini studio in a closet? I’d love to see some pics of your process! If you haven’t already, hop on over to Creative Self-Care, our private FB community where you can share your creative life. And I especially thank you for your comment here.
Love the suggestions! I took over a lower deck. It’s really just a deck with a roof and a table… some bins for supplies- but it works and makes me happy! It helps that I’m in California.
Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! I’m so thrilled you stopped by. What a great suggestion for folks in warmer climates. Thank you so much for sharing it. Sounds like a lovely and relaxing place to create, surrounded by the outdoors.
Are the pieces on your website, http://threestoryranch.com map collages that were sewn or made encaustic or altered digitally? So beautiful!
Thanks for peeking at my website! Most of my paintings have some added paper- typically maps. Nothing is digital. Everything is encaustic…. which also ties in nicely to an outdoor studio. No need for an exhaust system! Funny you ask about sewing. I have been thinking that I want to add stitching and fabric. My daughter is really into sewing these days.
Enjoying your site.
I am just finishing the artspace of my dreams but it has been a long time coming. For a very long time I used my dining room as an art room. I kept a plastic table cloth underneath my good one and all my art supplies in my sideboard. I just pushed back the company table cloth and painted, sewed, beaded, collaged and you name in there. There really isn’t an excuse to not be creative, all you need is a flat surface and a small place for supplies. I even worked on a tv tray one winter after having surgery on 6×6 canvases for an entire winter. If your space is small – make small art. As your space grows so can your work… the most important thing is to keep making art.
Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! This is such a wonderful, wonderful explanation of how we can give ourselves permission to make space for our art. Thank you for these two wonderful examples. Also, I love how on your website, http://www.bellamarcella.net you call yourself a “creative diva!” Way to own it. Beautiful work.
Thanks for the inspiration. We definitely have space available we just gotta make a plan and do it. Our creative family needs to have an organized space for art!
amazing i never knew about this. ive been struggling to greate an art studio forever do u have any more tips too? these were very cool. thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m so glad you found this helpful. Actually, there’s so much here, I think you might have the most luck focusing on one or two ideas and implementing those in your space. If you are interested in getting a “view” into how I organize my own space, you might check out this video.
Best of luck!
Thanks for this! As a working mom of two small, curious children, it is difficult to carve out the space and time for art. In addition to the challenge of finding an area in our tiny home, everything has to stay out of reach and baby proofed. Do you have some tips for this situation? I’m sure there are other women who deal with similar struggles.
I’m so glad you asked this question because it is such a challenge for so many of us! You may have thought of some of this, but let me first direct you to another post where I tour through my own studio – you might find some ideas there, like the dresser and butler’s cabinet that I have repurposed for holding art supplies. You’ll find the tour of my studio here: http://mindfulartstudio.com/tag/art-studio-tour/ Once you watch the video some of this may spark more of your own ideas, but i used to put things to dry up on top of my taller furniture like the butler’s cabinet, that way I can also leave things in progress on a page. What about floating shelves that are too high for little ones to reach? I also think you could designate a drawer in a repurposed dresser for a drying area. At least my dresser is a very heavy one and little ones aren’t strong enough to open it. Salvation Army is a good spot for these kinds of things.
I hope this helps, and let me know how it goes!
Thank you for taking the reply! I look forward to trying to utilize some of these tips. I appreciate how thorough and responsive you are with everyone who comments. So many bloggers are understandably overwhelmed with comments and do not reply to many of them. I am sure I’m not alone in appreciating the time you take to serve everyone!
Thank you so much for noticing and your kind words. I really enjoy being able to help whenever I can!
I have 2 creative spaces in my home. Since moving and becoming an empty nester these spaces and activities have become a grace-filled use of my time. With that said, do you have any suggestions for what to do with my art? I can paint and paint and paint…and it stacks up. I have even painted over old stuff!
What to do?
Thank you, Jill
When working on canvas, I find that I tend to give a lot of my work to friends and family because it makes me happy to give and makes them happy to have original art from someone they love. Lately I do a lot of work in art journals, though, and/or work small, which is an incredible way to do a lot of work without running into storage issues. My class, Fluid Art teaches about working small with fluid paints. It’s a very addictive process working this way! If you are interested, you can learn more here: Fluid Art.
I turned the other half of my bedroom into an art studio and have used it for about 4 years.
I purchased an 8 foot buffet table then added a few shelving systems to house a crazy amount of art supplies. I’ve relied heavily on Dollar Tree shoe box containers and tubs. In that area I also have work clothes, a small toaster oven for clay as well as glues and every possible wet media you can think of. My art studio isn’t nearly what is pictured in the gallery photos in the entry but it is a special place for me. I got a few ideas from that gallery that will help me better use / organize the space I’ve got.
Also, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a small stow away art area by my bed. I’m disabled and spend quite a bit of time in bed and do the vast majority of art in bed these days. Getting a little stow away studio together will be needed.
I agree – we all can’t have those gorgeous, lofty spaces, but yours sounds wonderful. I too love the idea of a bedroom studio and have had them many times in the past. A little art caddy or repurposing a bedside table and adding a little lap tray might do the trick?
I just split my bedroom right in half. Half of it holds an 8 x 8 bedroom while the other 8×8 is the studio. I downsized on my bed so that it wouldn’t take up so much room. The bedroom side has a twin, a night stand, a lazy boy and a tall book shelf. My cat’s bed is right beside mine…matching the comforter and all. She’s my studio cat. 🙂
Here is a shameful photo of the other side of my bedroom. It so needs a make over and will get one. I want to have it finished by winter. It so needs a face lift.
I won’t lie and say it stays clean or anything. lol. I’m a messy artist.
As far as an easy bed side studio, I was thinking of a tote that fits under the bed. I can pull it out when needed. I have a bed side tray so that will work well. I’ll tell you what though, I’ve been looking in to better shelves on my studio wall above that 8 foot buffet table. I saw some really nice ideas for shelving that I think are possible for me.
Smiles to you and yours,
I love the idea of your cat contributing in the studio! I’m so glad that you are percolating with some ideas for the studio after looking at the post. That’s why it’s here! I loved seeing your lovely work in your studio too.
Helpful advice and creative ideas on setting up a home art studio. Thanks
I’m so happy to hear it Mark!
I have a wonderful, spacious art studio downstairs, but Parkinson’s is making the trip downstairs increasingly difficult. Your article has inspired me to create an alternative spot. Thank you very much.
Oh Dolly, I am thrilled to hear I could inspire a new solution. Your art time is SO IMPORTANT, especially with stress. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know.
Those who have additional room to create your art are blessed! I have SOME room, but not nearly enough for me to do the things that I would like to do with my art. I still have supplies in boxes that I can’t get to! I find myself buying things over and over again because I can’t find the items that I need when I need them. I often have to put many things away before I can do anything else. It really disturbs my method of creativity. Only another artist could vaguely relate to this artist issue. I am seriously looking to rent a space with ample cabinets, shelving, drawer space and a large work area so that I can unpack all of my boxes, organize my numerous materials so that I can find them when I need them and THEN lose myself in creativity. For me a little corner won’t do it. Your article has inspired me to look for the affordable space that I need. I thank you!
Kimberly – This sounds just so wonderful! I’m thrilled to hear about your plans and makes me think I also need a wee bit more space to organize a bit better. Even though I’m very organized, I periodically have to redo things. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear about what you find!
I’ve been following this post for awhile now. At the time I had a one bedroom apt w/ a studio in terrible need of prayer. lol. Now I’ve moved into a studio apt where everything has to be downsized. I decided to make the entire studio an art studio where I just so happen to live. I intend to take several ideas from the posts linked to so I can make the best area possible.
I know this entry was written a long time ago but it’s still relevant. Aell artists can relate to needing a refreshed space from time to time.
SUNDRIP – Art for Life
Faith – I’m so happy to read this! I still find this post totally relevant myself and reference it when I need a refresh in my own space. Small spaces and art. YAY. Art apartment. I love it! Please send pics!
Problem: Ventilation. I’m a beginner who works with soft pastels. Opening a window in our downsized apartment isn’t an option. No garage either.
Have tried a mask. It’s hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.
Light Source: Dining table sits under windows so I’m reluctant to use pastels near food. The only other windows are in the bedroom directly behind my computerized sewing machine. Am wondering if I should just try watercolors (have not been successful with them in the past.)
It sounds like watercolors might be fun for you given your reservations about the pastels. I have a fun little video for an easy approach here: Painting the Blues. You also might find a bit of freedom in doing this mini class about loosening up with your artist self: Freeing The Muse
I loke your texture paper/
Thanks Mireya! XO
What is the 5. This table from Ikea folds up very small and also features storage??? because the link does not show the table 🙁 I’d love to know more about that idea.
Hey Juliana: Oh, sounds like they are not carrying the original table I linked to anymore. I linked one that mounts on the wall and folds out of the way. Best of luck with your studio! What fun! xo
Love all the great tips and ideas. My wife had a cardiac arrest a few years ago and suffers brain damage. She is limited in what she can do and we have very limited space. So the idea of the mobile art cart was perfect. I bought a relatively cheap mobile cosmetic Cary with lots of compartments and converted it as her new portable art studio.
She loves it. Thanks!!
I’m so happy that it helped! 🙂
Hi Amy..I inherited my granny’s house and it’s perfect for me and my dog Dot. She has a little beauty shop on one end where the garage should be and I’m currently turning it into my studio. It’s going to be a modge podge of my 55 years of gathering.😆 Any ideas would be great…otherwise I’ll have to post pics when I’m done.
PS.. the walls are bright but dark turquoise (yes it was granny) and I’m going to keep them.😁
Hi Kim – Wow – hope you find one or two ideas that appeal here. What fun!
I haven’t had a dedicated studio for several years. When my cat’s vet asked me about the glitter on Simba’s tummy I knew something needed changing.
I am a senior woman living by myself and will be moving to the same town where my daughter and her family lives in a few months. I’ve decided to put my art and craft supplies into the bedroom and put a daybed in the living room instead of a sofa.
That way Simba won’t get into trouble and I can leave projects out as I can shut the door. I will invite him in to keep me company while I work but we won’t have the vet asking embarrassing questions about glitter again.
HI Fran – Oh gosh – maybe you can give your cat a second name? Simba Glitterbelly? I like it. 😉 I like your plan though – cats like to mess things up when you leave work out and in progress, and I think there’s some really powerful work that happens when we can just walk by and see something, and tinker a bit. I’m glad the post gave you a few art studio ideas to ponder! xo