I’ve spent the last few blog posts trying to give everyone a little insight into my creative process and the best advice I think I have to offer other creatives. This week I’m discussing one of my favorite subjects and that’s creating a studio space in your home. In an ideal world we would all be able to afford studio space not attached to or inside of our homes, but alas, that isn’t always the case. This post is for those creatives who, like me, need to carve a section of their home out to dedicate to your work as an artist (or writer, or really anything because lots of people work from home).
I want to start off by explaining why I feel work-at-home creatives should have their own studio space. We are all affected by our environment. Our environment changes us and can have an affect on our level of productivity. Before I created my studio space I would work all over the house. In my bed, on the couch, kitchen table, the floor, you name it and I would often find myself a) distracted and b) frustrated because it wasn’t an organized setting. Those two issues combined together left me with a low level of productivity. When I finally took the time to clean up a corner of the house for myself, with storage and a desk, I found that working from home came easier. My studio space is the equivalent of having a desk in an office. When I’m in that environment I’ve created I’m telling my brain that this is what we’re doing right now: we’re working on our creative projects whether that be art or writing. It also serves as a signal to my family that I’m working and it is best to leave me alone, which is also crucial for those of us who work from home. I often was interrupted by the husband and kids when I didn’t have a studio space. Now, everyone knows that if I’m in my corner, I’m off limits unless it’s an emergency. To conclude then, the two reasons you should have your own work space are: 1) to help with productivity and 2) to serve as a signal to those in your house that you shouldn’t be disturbed.
The first thing you need to do is easily the most important: tell yourself you deserve the space. Too many people have told me they don’t feel like their work is important enough to create a designated space for. I’m here to tell you that is a lie. You and your work are not only important enough, but having your creative space is crucial to success. If you’re creating because it is what you’re passionate about, then it deserves its own space.
Okay, so now that you’ve done that, here are my other tips for creating and maintaining a home studio!
Pick a space with good lighting.
Ideally, you’ll have an empty room in your house or a detached space that you can completely turn into your own, but for some of us that isn’t the case. We either have to share that extra bedroom with a spouse or there is no extra room at all. In my case, there is no bedroom or separate space so my studio is a corner of our second living room/dining room. When I picked this space it was for two reasons. One is because I could fit into the corner space and give myself more room, but most importantly because of all the natural light.
It’s important to have a space with as much natural lighting as possible. As an artist this is crucial for really getting to see the colors correctly. If there is no window space though, be sure to pick somewhere that you can create your own light in. There should be an outlet nearby that you can utilize just for yourself.
Pick out furniture you love.
This is affected by budget and space obviously, but once you’ve picked your corner get yourself a good damn desk. If you already have one that you like, great! If you don’t go to thrift stores and hunt. You are going to be working here each and every day, hopefully, so you should enjoy things you’re using. This goes for chairs as well. A good chair is crazy important.
My personal suggestions for furniture shopping: if there’s one near you IKEA. You can build your own desk and they have tons of size and price options. You can also just buy the individual pieces. My desktop is from IKEA and the base is one that was donated to me by a family member.
After IKEA, thrift stores. I’m a heavy thrifter honestly and I’ve found some kickass shit this way. My storage drawers came from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore which are all over the country (click the link to search for one near you). Check out all your local thrift stores and I promise you’ll find a gem somewhere within your budget!
Give yourself storage space.
This ties into the last point, but is super, super important to help you stay organized. This is an area that I’m particularly fortunate in because the entire back wall of my house is cubbies. Obviously, that’s not everyone’s house, so make sure you space to put a small set of drawers. I say this because you don’t want to pile all your stuff on your desk. My desk only holds these things: current projects, books that inspire me, and tools that I use each day. Otherwise, it gets stored away. The less clutter filling your space the better. This isn’t always easy, I know I often have to clean up my studio space, but it is so helpful for productivity and a clearer head.
Make it your own.
I’ve decorated the space near my desk with artworks that I love and little pieces of daily inspiration. Your space should feel like an extension of yourself, not just another piece of the house. Don’t worry if it doesn’t flow with the rest of your decorations, that doesn’t matter, because this is your space. It reflects you and only you!
If you can, pick a good view.
This ties back into my first point, so if you do have windows pick one with a decent view! Mine looks out into the backyard full of lots and lots of greenery and my favorite cherry tree. There will be times when you end up feeling “stuck” in the house and it can help if you’re not staring at a wall or the rest of the house. Looking out at something serves not only as inspiration but as a relief.
And finally, don’t let other people invade!
This is SO CRUCIAL especially if your studio space isn’t in a completely closed off area of the house. The one downside to my specific space is it right by the backdoor which we use the most often. It is the door we enter and exit the house from daily, let the dogs out of, where guests usually knock and so on. This also means that my family has a tendency to want to “drop things off” right on my desk. Papers, mail, jackets…you name it. I put an end to that real quickly, trust me, but this rule also has to apply to myself. I do store my jacket and purse in my studio area (because if I don’t I’ll lose them) but otherwise nothing non-studio related is stored there. Don’t let your space become “just another part” of the house! To get the most out of it you should honor it as it’s own separate part, and if you do that others will follow suit.
So that is a short rundown of how to create a home studio!
In other news, in case the heading didn’t tell you, I’ve decided to start moving away from my maiden name (Walker) and change over to my married name (Rausch) since that is the name I’ll signing my artwork and writing with from now on. This means that my website address will be changing soon. The current URL will still work, but will redirect to the new one. If you’re curious why the change, I’ll be discussing it more in depth in a different post later on, but if for awhile you’re seeing two last names on this blog and my social media pages that is why.
Next week I’ll go into some of the projects I’ve been working on lately including the very exciting MerMay Challenge!