Sunday, April 14, 2013

Studio Synergy

About once a month, I approach my workspace only to find that it has gone completely out of control. In fact, there is little if any work SPACE at all. Today was that day.
It was a particularly grey and dreary week (hello, springtime in Chicago) and my energy has been sapped for days which also sapped my creative energy. Waking up on Sunday morning with the intention of dragging myself to my "studio" to make some art only to find there was no place to make anything challenged my already blue mood.
Sometimes, the creative process involves simply a day getting your shit together.

As I cleaned up and organized supplies, threw away empty paint tubes (why do I keep these? Does anyone else find themselves doing this??), and took many avoidance breaks to look at art online I thought I would share some organization tips for small studio spaces with everyone. My studio is in my bedroom.

I have a large master bedroom so I was able to make a corner of it into my creative zone. In my last home, I had a studio space set up in the basement and  I found that it was never somewhere I wanted to go. Having my space in the bedroom keeps me connected to creativity as all of my stuff is right in front of my face at all times. It's more readily available when inspiration hits. It works for me. Choose what works for you and what makes sense in your home. Your creative space should be your sacred space and have synergy with the flow of your lifestyle.

Other simple things that are must-haves for your creative space are:

1. Storage

I have some built in shelving in the MBR that is seperate from my closet (so it's extra storage and I don't have to compromise closet space) I steal some of this space for supplies I don't use all of the time like stamps, tape, beads, ephemera, canvas, paper, etc.

2. Shelving and Storage Containers

This simple stainless steel shelving unit sits next to my drawing table and holds supplies I use often like my paintbrushes, colored pencils, paints, pastels, glue, etc. This is an inexpensive shelving system that takes up very little space and can be purchased at Target, Walmart, or any type of discount store like this. Easy to assemble, too. I use cheap plastic shoeboxes to keep my supplies organized so I can find what I need when I need it and I label them with post-it lables.

 3. RePurposed containers

Also useful are shower caddies that can be found from $1.00 to $5.00 either in the dollar store or larger discount stores.

I put my colored pencils in solo cups organized by color and put the solo cups in a caddy which keeps things organized but also portable.

Re-use those plastic food containers that have see-through lids! They make awesome art supply storage, are stackable, and also are portable if you ever feel like being creative somewhere outside of your studio!
I use jars from Spaghetti Sauce for my water basin when I am painting. You can get creative and decorate the jars if you want to!

4. Lighting

Nothing is better that natural light but that's not always available so I use a clip on lamp for my easel and an OTT Light on my table.

 If you've ever tried to mix paint in bad light, you know it's a disaster. Invest in good lighting for your studio space. It makes all the difference!

5. Large, Flat Work Surface

I still use my drawing table from when I was in High School. But 2 filing cabinets with a top across works great too:


Certain items stay on my worktable such as water jars, acrylic paints, watercolors, mediums, paint brushes, pen and ink, drawing pencils, pastels, and a sketchbook. All great for quick inspiration.

Inspiration can be fleeting so you must be ready to record your ideas quickly! A well set up workspace that has synergy with your environment and lifestyle will make it easier for you to capture the creative vibe & create quickly and more often!


  1. Hi Michelle, Looks like you are doing great - and got everything covered for your studio! I love peeking into other's work spaces! Mine is actually in the master bedroom, but I have a second small bedroom where I sleep. I agree with you, you have to do whatever it takes to make a space for creativity!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I love looking at other studios, too! Some are so gorgeous! But I've learned to be happy with what I have. It's usually all I need!
      Hope to see you again soon! Thanks again!

  2. This has inspired me to re-vamp my storage in my art space! These are some great ideas :-D

    1. Thanks! Small spaces require creative solutions! I don't have one but I want one - there are canvas "over the door" shoe organizers that have tons of pockets for paint brushes, pencils, papers, and other stuff. I've looked at WalMart but they never seem to have this item. Great for small spaces!
      Under the bed storage is another good option, too. Something to think about!

  3. Hi Michelle- I actually have a whole room now that most of my kids are gone! lol is STILL a mess! I NEED to purge! Sweet blog :)


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