How to organize an art room?

  6 answers
  • Flipturn Flipturn on Mar 31, 2019

    What sorts of art projects are being worked on in this room? Large easel painting, childrens' crafts, clay, etc? What are the dimensions of the room?

    Please tell us a little more about your situation so that we can try to offer you some realistic suggestions on how to set up the room.

  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on Mar 31, 2019

    Susan...Plastic totes...jars...tins....baskets

  • Pamela Pamela on Apr 01, 2019

    wow !!! sounds like an awesome project !!! i would get shelving , even just the freestanding kind and set shelves for the different crafts . get some baskets for unsightly stuff, marking the basket with its contents. if you dont already have a desk , try making one yourself. my dad made mine by laying a flat thick piece of wood ( home depot or Lowes will cut it to size for you , for free ) and lay it over 2 file cabinets ( 2-3 drawer) one at each end. That way you not only have a desk , but drawers for storage as well .

  • Twyla J Boyer Twyla J Boyer on Apr 02, 2019

    Not sure what kind of art you do, so some of this might not apply, but a lot of it will because supplies are supplies. This is all based on things I have already done or am doing in my egg art studio (I do pysanky) and in my sewing room. This response is all about practicality and doing this on the cheap (so you can use the money for art supplies rather than furnishings). If you want pretty ideas, feel free to skip this whole response.

    Make a map of the room - take measurements of not only the length and width of the floor, but also the location and height of windows and doors and outlets and such. This will help determine what sort of furniture will fit and where.

    Make a list of the supplies you use and figure out roughly how much of each sort of thing you tend to keep on hand. Then add 20% because we are all supply hoarders and will grow into the space.

    Looking at your supply list, think about which things need to be the most accessible - what do you need to be able to reach without crossing the room? Then what is less important to have accessible, what is heavy or fragile, and what needs to be kept away from heat and/or light.

    Assess the furniture you ave available for your studio. It doesn't have to be intended to be used in that way - just check out what you have that you can use. In my egg room I have art paper drawers, a pantry cabinet, wire shelves, plastic drawers, office chairs on wheels, shoe shelves that are meant for a closet, and wall mounted shelves. In my sewing room I have a sofa table, a computer cart, a slim desk with open shelves, a large dresser with two short bookcases stacked on top, wire shelves, and a children's wardrobe from IKEA. The wire shelves in both rooms have shoe pockets hanging from them. The room is for making art, not to be art itself, so the fact that none of it matches and it isn't all pretty doesn't really bother me. Look on Craigslist and at yard sales and thrift stores for additional furniture needs or shop online or in regular stores. I bought my sewing desk (really, just a desk that I use for sewing) from for $40. If the different colors of all of it bothered me, I could paint them (probably using oops paint!), but it doesn't bother me a bit.

    Figure out what sorts of storage containers would work for your supplies and within the available furniture. Again, other rooms in your home, thrift stores, yard sales, and places like Dollar Tree are great for finding containers. If the mismatch issue bothers you, you can always spray paint them. I find different colors help me remember what I stashed where.

    Make a plan for where things will go - a map of the room for furniture placement, a sketch or list of containers that will fit in various places, and lists of what goes in which places. That gives you something to look back at when it's all a little chaotic. It also helps you recognize that you really are making progress when it seems like it's all just been a big mess for a really long time.

    If there are pieces of furniture or containers that you really want but can't afford right now, make a list and buy them as you can afford them (using cardboard boxes or whatever is free until you can buy what you really want). Share the list with family and friends so they can donate things from their homes that they aren't using, offer to trade stuff with folks, or put wished-for things on your holiday or birthday list for when folks ask what you want.

    Start with what you can do - if you can clear out the room and start from scratch, that is the best, but it's not always possible. Clear as large a space as you can and know that you will live in clutter for a while.

    Label things. Take pictures. Adjust the plan as needed. (I adjusted mine when I ended up trading a set of art paper drawers to a friend for a kitchen table - we were both thrilled with the deal.)

    And keep going till you get through it all. It's a colossal pain, but it ends up being totally worth it because when it's done, you can walk in, sit down, and just work without having to search for the supplies you need.

    Couple extra hints:

    When you have a great space, people will want to come play with you. Try to plan for small gatherings of artists/teaching classes in your space if possible. That will keep you from getting it all set up and then needing to rearrange it to be able to share the joy.

    Reward yourself along the way. It is motivating. For instance, I promised myself I could put together my new sewing desk when I got the flooring ripped out and replaced. That inspired me to keep going.

    Check out places like Harbor Freight that sell tools. They often have great storage for art supplies - and it's usually far less costly than if you are buying the same exact thing from someplace that sells art or craft supplies.

    Make no apologies for setting up your space in the way that works for you. It doesn't matter if others find it weird that you are using an antique sofa table as a sewing table. As long as it is yours, use what you have the way you wish.

    PLEASE post photos when you get it done!

  • Elise Elise on Apr 04, 2019

    Great answers! Don't forget a clothes line strung across the wall to hang and dry children's paintings or just for display. If you don't have easels, hopefully you have a spacious table.