Fostering Creativity

Foster Creativity with this Practical Guide to Setting Up an Art Studio at Home

Our friends at put together this wonderful step-by-step guide to creating your own art studio. Maybe this will inspire you in the new year!

Whether you enjoy doing some oil painting, sketching, or creating sculptures, it’s essential to have a place at home where you can be creative. If you don’t have an art studio at home, it’s easy to set one up in just a few easy steps. No matter what type of arts or crafts you love to make, having your own area to express yourself is key to letting your creative side shine. This guide explores ways to help you get started creating art at home with your own studio. Read on to learn some helpful tips and tricks to begin setting up your very own creative space.


Before you start planning your art studio, there are several important things to consider, including:

  • Budget: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy an art studio at home. However, it’s important to set some cash aside and create a budget, so you don’t end up spending too much. Think about what you’ll need, including lighting and supplies, so that you’re prepared for these costs as you go.
  • Lighting: When it comes to creating art, natural light is best. However, you’ll also need ample lighting to work on your art at night and at different times during the day. Look at the area where you want to set up your art studio and ensure that it has enough lighting. If not, consider adding some brighter overhead lights or a few task lights, such as a floor and table lamp with an adjustable shade so you can direct the light as needed.
  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial, especially when working with paints, glues, and other potentially volatile mediums. Be sure that you have enough windows in your art studio and consider installing a ceiling fan for extra air circulation.
  • Sink and water: Working with paints and other supplies can be messy, especially if you’re dealing with oils or watercolor painting at home. If possible, choose a room with a sink or have one installed. A utility sink is an affordable, durable choice. These sinks have a deep basin and are perfect for busy artists who need quick access to water.
  • Workspace: Consider how much room you’ll need to work. You may only need a small studio if you like to draw, but a larger one if you’re working with massive sculptures. Think about your workspace before you designate a place to set up your studio, so you’ll have enough square footage to create your masterpieces.
  • Privacy: It can be tough to get creative if you’re in a noisy part of the home. Choose a studio location that’s quiet and private when possible. This will allow you to focus and really immerse yourself in your art without outside distractions.
  • Floor protection: Carpet is not recommended for an art studio since it will absorb paint and other materials, leaving stains behind. Make sure you install flooring that’s easy to clean, like linoleum or vinyl material, for quick and easy maintenance.
  • Chair: A comfortable chair is a must when working on your art. Look for chairs with ergonomic support so you don’t end up with a sore neck or back. Chairs with wheels make it easy to move around the studio as needed, too.

Where to set up the studio

When you’re ready to set up your art studio, think about where you plan to get creative. Here are some ideas to consider when setting it up at home.

  • Shed: A separate outdoor shed is an excellent spot for art. Set this area up with new lighting, all of your supplies, and more. Sheds are also great for drying paintings and sculptures or for storing your larger pieces.
  • Spare room: A spare bedroom is a perfect place to set up your art studio. It’s easy, convenient, and gives you quick access to the studio from anywhere in the home.
  • Garage: Your garage is a fantastic place to set up an art studio, and many already have utility sinks in place. The garage door lets lots of light in, and concrete flooring is perfect for dealing with spilled paint. They also offer plenty of ventilation and storage space too.
  • Patio or outdoors: If you’re feeling inspired, have some fun creating your artwork outside. A screened-in patio is an excellent choice to help you avoid dealing with insects or debris.
  • Attic: The attic is an excellent area to work on your art. However, make sure that it has proper heating and cooling to keep you comfortable and protect your artwork from extreme temperatures.
  • Basement: Your basement can quickly transform into an art studio. Use this space to get creative while enjoying some quiet and privacy. Make sure your basement is dry and free of water issues to protect your artwork and supplies. Paint the walls white to create a brighter room and a nice blank canvas to work in.
  • Corner: If you don’t have an extra room, consider designating a corner of the living or dining room to become your art studio.
  • Under the stairs: Reserve a spot under a staircase for a small art studio. This is ideal for sketching, drawing, or for making smaller paintings. Attach a wall-mounted easel or some shelving to the wall to give you more room.

Popular types of art to make at home

The type of art you choose to make at home is entirely up to you, but it often depends on what type of space you have to work with. Here are some of the most popular types of art to make at home.

  • Painting and drawing: Whether you’re doing oil painting at home or using watercolors, this is one of the most popular art forms to enjoy. Sketching and drawing are also popular mediums, and none of these require a lot of extra room unless you’re planning to paint a mural or work on an extremely large canvas.
  • Sculpting: From clay to wood carvings, creating sculptures is a wonderful medium to enjoy making at home. Be sure you have all of the tools you need while allowing plenty of extra room to get creative. Easy cleanup is also important for this type of art, so look for the right flooring material when you set up your studio.
  • Jewelry making: Custom jewelry is a beautiful art form that’s perfect for a home studio. A spare bedroom or attic is ideal for this type of art. Organize your jewelry-making materials and label them clearly so you can find everything you need as you go.
  • Sewing: From beautiful quilts to custom clothing, sewing is a true form of creativity. Set up a sewing room where you can use your sewing machine, cut fabrics, and get as creative as you want without interruption.

Painting/drawing materials required

Here are some key materials you’ll want to have on-hand if you enjoy painting or drawing at home:

  • Drawing: Make sure you have a good variety of graphite pencils, colored pencils, and pencil sharpeners. Stock up on paper and get a few quality sketchbooks to work in. A durable table and comfortable chair are also key items to include in your drawing studio.
  • Oil Painting: Gather lots of beautiful oil colors to get started on your artwork. Make sure you have a quality artist palette, several different-sized brushes, a sturdy easel, and canvas in several sizes. A drying rack is also important to allow your artwork to fully dry before you display it. A paint extender can be helpful, too, especially if you want to change the texture of your oil paints when applying them to canvas. Primer isn’t required, but it can help provide a good base before you paint.
  • Water Painting: Watercolor painting is a very popular medium. Make sure you have plenty of brushes on hand and containers to hold your water as you go. An easel is highly recommended, however, you may also paint while working at a table or desk. Don’t forget to stock up on canvases or quality watercolor paper too.

Sculpture Materials Required 

Sculpting at home is a great way to decompress and get creative. Here are some things you’ll need to start sculpting in your new art studio:

  • Modeling clay: When working with clay, you’ll need to make sure you store it properly to prevent it from drying out. Stock up on clay in different textures and colors and gather tools like carving knives and a V-tool for relief carving. Ensure you have access to water since clay dries out quickly and needs to stay moist while working. Armature wire, shaping tools, and calipers are also necessary modeling clay tools to consider.
  • Wood carving: Working with wood can be messy, so make sure you’re in an area that’s easy to clean up the sawdust. Choose different species and colors of wood to work with. You will also need sandpaper in different grit levels to help smooth and sand your sculptures. Hand chisels and gouges are also crucial when you’re working on the fine details of wood sculpture. Wear a mask and make sure your studio has proper ventilation, so you’re not breathing in the sawdust as you work.
  • Ice Sculpture: You’ll need a deep freezer if you plan to work with ice, and a garage or shed is ideal for this type of art studio. Choose large, clear blocks of ice that are at least 50 pounds or more. Look for quality permanent markers to draw your design onto the ice. A rubber mat is great for holding the block in place. Other items to include are durable rubber gloves, an apron, and safety goggles. You’ll also need sharp carving tools or a small chainsaw and a sharp chisel to make ice sculptures.

How to organize the space

No matter what type of art you enjoy, it’s essential to keep your art studio organized.

  • Shelves and racks: Freestanding shelves, wall shelves, and racks are a must for an art studio. Use them to stock and store cans of paint, brushes, clay, and tools.
  • Folding table: A folding table frees up space when you don’t need it. They’re also portable, making them a handy item if you want to do some artwork outside.
  • Plastic containers: Clear plastic bins make finding all of your art supplies easy. Make sure you separate your art items by type, then store them in the bins. A plastic container with a lid will keep your things clean and free from damage.
  • Mason jars: These handy organizers are great for paintbrushes, pencils, and much more. You can place them on a desk or table, on shelves, or hang them on the wall for quick access.
  • Wine rack: Repurpose a wine rack and use it to organize your art items. It’s a perfect way to hold small jars of paint. You can also fill the wine rack with the Mason jars to keep each one separated and organized.
  • Pegboard: This handy accessory is a perfect addition to an art studio. Mount some pegboard to the wall, then add hooks and small bins to hold everything neatly in place.

Whether you love to paint, draw, or sculpt, setting up an art studio in the comfort of your home will let your creative juices flow. Think about your budget, the best lighting, and which part of your home you plan to use before you get started. With some patience and creativity, you’ll be able to enjoy your at-home art studio in no time.

Originally posted on is a Seattle-based home services platform that connects homeowners with local home improvement contractors. It’s the leading destination for professional installation, assembly, repair, maintenance, and other home services from quality pros to offer our services nationwide.
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Why Do I Need an Art Studio?

By Sabrina Hill – President of the Pastel Society of the West Coast & Editor of the PSWC Magazine

Attention Artists! Do you have a regular job? If you answered, “Yes.” then do you GO someplace to do your job? Is there an address that you journey to so you can do your work? Chances are that like most of us, you leave home to do a job and come home at the end of the day.

As an artist, do you have a studio? If not, where do you make your art? Chances are that you are making art in a makeshift place in your house that may also be used for cooking, dining, bike repair, or storage of rowing machines and old equipment…sound familiar?

If you are an artist—even if you think it’s a hobby—I am here to tell you two things.

  1. It’s NOT a hobby. It’s a part of your soul, and you must listen to your inner voice, and
  2. You need a studio. Period. Because art is work and EVERYBODY needs a place to go for their work.

Benefits of a studio:

  • You don’t have to bring out boxes of supplies to start a project.
  • You can find everything most of the time (nothing is perfect).
  • You don’t have to pack everything up and put it away every night.
  • You can see your work in progress in changing light and multiple times a day, often making corrections on the fly throughout the day.
  • You confirm out loud to the world that you are an ARTIST.

Now, some artists live in areas where studio space is plentiful and affordable, and it’s lovely to have a place to go to make art for hours at a time, but for many of us, renting studio space is not a viable option. If you have a house with an extra room that is ideal for a studio, ‘Yay’ for you. Some of us live with more limited space. That’s why we turn to the dining room. You remember the dining room–that space where you hardly ever eat and last year’s tax returns, two weeks of mail, dry cleaning, and all those Amazon returns sit, waiting to be sorted, sent back or put away.  Most homes have a designated space for a dining room, and it is often the least used room in the house…assigned to holiday dinners and tax season—and used maybe 10 times a year. Yet, we are giving up use of this space the other 355 days of the year. Tap into this space for your studio! Imagine if you could switch this and make art 355 days, and clean it up for a couple of dinners.

I can already hear your arguments:

It’s my grandmother’s dining table!

I use it during the holidays.

Where will I put my wedding china?

Everybody can see it (then why is it a such mess, huh?)

OK, let’s go through these excuses one-by-one:

GRANDMA’S TABLE. Yes, your grandmother’s table is a lovely piece. So, protect it by covering it or wrap it up with professional packing supplies (blankets, plastic) and store it in the garage. Use the matching credenza for art supply storage—imagine your brushes and paint tubes stored in glass jars in the glass cupboard. So fancy! So pretty! So Practical!

HOLIDAY NEEDS. 10 Holiday events vs. 355 days empty. Let your sister host the events and bring her a nice painting for her efforts. Or dine alfresco in the backyard. Or have art supply carts on wheels that can be moved out for the few times you need the room.

WEDDING CHINA. When was the last time you used your wedding china? If you use it often, make some room in your kitchen cupboards—move that electric pizza oven you thought you would need and any other misfit appliances that sit silent. You can even use the china cupboard for art supply storage!

EXPOSED VIEW. If your dining room is in full view, you may have to clean it up periodically. Or maybe you can install barndoors on sliders that can be closed for “company” occasions. If you truly entertain more than once a month and this is a critical part of your life and well-being, then celebrate your parties and forget about the studio. But if you are a frustrated artist with no place to work, the dining room is calling….

The most important thing about creating your own studio is believing, KNOWING that you deserve to have it. I often hear artists say that they don’t want the house to look messy, or they don’t want their small children to get into the mess.

I hear you.

I raised three children (3 kids in 3 years, I get it!) while being an artist. They knew my studio was MY space. They knew that they needed to be INVITED to touch things. They knew that there were consequences for using materials without permission. And they knew that if they showed an interest in anything I was doing; I would happily find time to show them how to do it—or find another time if I was busy working on a commission or in the middle of a piece. Best of all, they saw a fulfilled mother/artist who was not shy about indulging in her passion for art and not afraid to share her joy for art and life.

My studio drafting table–show ready. (It’s almost NEVER this neat!)

Things to Plan for When Creating your Own Studio

I converted our open-concept dining room into my studio, and I am thrilled about it. Here’s what I took into consideration when setting things up:

  • Storage- What kind of storage will you need? I use Husky toolboxes on wheels. They are under $250 at Home Depot. They can be delivered directly to your home and only required the attachment of the wheels. They have a lock if you have a little person who could get into your supplies. There are shallow and deep drawers that can accommodate spray bottles, cans of paint and even paper. I even bought one with a wooden top for working on projects. The best thing about these storage chests is that you can wheel them out of the room in the event you need a different configuration. You also may need open, vertical shelving for frames or canvases. 
I bought on of these Husky workbenches to store my pastels supplies.
  • Workspace- I have a drafting table in my studio that I use for calligraphy projects and as a surface to hold pastels when I am at the easel. I also have a fold-away typing table and a small open cart if additional surfaces are needed.
  • Easel- I splurged on a Sorge 8 ft studio easel. It’s a great investment (about $1000) and I use it almost every day.
  • Table- As I mentioned, I have a large drafting table that I keep it in the flat position. I use it every day. It was also a great investment (about $300)
  • Chair- I use an office chair that can be raised and lowered depending on whether I am at the taller drafting table or the lower easel. It has wheels so it’s easy to move. Also, easy to tuck away. If room permits, have a comfortable chair for visitors, which you will want to have periodically. 
  • Bookshelves- I have 1000’s of books in my studio. Make sure you have room for yours and a good system for finding them.
  • Wall Space- I put a series of bulletin boards up so I can display samples, cards, ideas, magazine clippings, quotes and an occasional grocery list. 
  • Lighting- I have good natural light, a good overhead light, and lots of additional lights. I try to use natural lights since I often work at night in the space.
  • Floor covers- I have hardwood floors in my house, and since I am not doing super chemically things in my studio, I have a cheap (but cute!) area rug under my table and easel. If I am using drippy, messy materials, I put down a tarp (cotton or plastic) for the duration of the project.
  • Water Source- If you are painting, you may need a water source. I am next to the kitchen, so that’s my main water source. If you are cleaning brushes or using any for of turpentine or mineral spirits, don’t use your kitchen sink, use a bucket or utility sink and know your local laws about disposal of hazardous chemicals.
  • Dangerous Materials Storage- Although I don’t use a lot of chemicals in my work, I do use Denatured Alcohol and mineral spirits occasionally. I keep anything like this in my garage, transferring what I need to a smaller container for “as needed” use in the studio. 
  • Trash- I have a small trashcan in my studio, but because of potentially flammable material, I am in the habit of moving everything out to the garage trash every day. Most days there is no issue.
  • Dust- Pastels=Dust. I use a paper towel the length of my painting folded under the work on the easel which catches most of the extra pastel dust. I also have a shop-vac and a hand-held vacuum to get everything up after I have finished a piece. 

There is a new magazine called In Her Studio that has tons of fashionable and practical ideas for studio space.

Setting Studio Rules 

It would be helpful for you to establish a few rules for your studio space. If you taught your kids to wash their hands before dinner or how to use a hairbrush, they (and spouses or significant others) can be taught the rules of the studio. 

  • DO ask to touch art in the studio. DON’T touch work on the easel or on the bench. 
  • DO come sit in the studio to chat and ask questions. DON’T be hurt if a deadline requires some quiet time.
  • DO think about ideas you may have to create your own masterpiece. DON’T use materials until you have cleared it with the artist.
  • DO tell others about Mom’s/Dad’s/Spouse’s amazing artistic talent! DON’T tell others Mom/Dad/Spouse will create art for them without asking first.
  • DO admire the work—finished and in process. DON’T offer criticism unless SPECIFICALLY ASKED to do so. (We can be fragile in the process!)

I will leave you with one last bit of commentary. Art studios can be messy places a lot of the time. And sometimes, we want to impress the neighbors or family or friends, so we try to put our My-house-is-so-fancy-and-clean-and-so-am-I studio face on. But people love art studios. They love the creative energy of an art environment. There’s a freedom in seeing someone else’s creative mess. I do a show almost every year in my studio, and I do tidy it a little bit, but people come in and LOOK PAST THE MESS to the art. They love seeing art in process, they love looking at art materials in use. They love imagining that they could make art with crayons and brushes and ink, and chalk. Indulge them. 

Now create your own studio!

View as you enter my house. My studio is on the immediate left and these are some of my books. This was in preparation for a show.