artist essentials for a home studio set-up

need some inspiration for your home art studio set up? let's talk about the essentials! - space, a comfy seat, lights, storage, artist aids, desk mounts, easels & drawing boards, aroma, art supplies, & whatever else makes for a space you want to be in!

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are you setting up your first art studio? or maybe you’re just looking to jazz up your creative spaces. This article is for artists setting up an art studio at home. 

1. a space to create

some creative space ideas for artists setting up an art studio at home...

first & foremost of course you need space!- to draw, paint, mould, sculpt, sew… whatever it is that you do!  

your space could be the dining table, the corner of your living room, an entire room in your house or maybe an entire room somewhere else.

wherever it may be, however small…a dedicated space to create is essential for a long-term commitment to painting.

This is my little studio space. 

It’s nothing like the dream studios I have collected along my pintrest scrolls- honestly some days the comparisons rob me of gratitude for the space that I have- it’s small & simple but it’s mine & I love being in it.

I don’t own my house & so can’t paint the walls or build in shelving as i’d love to. but with the right nik naks & of course lots of greenery, you’ll be surprised how you can transform a bland empty white box.

what if you don't have a big space for art?

If an entire room isn’t a possibility for you right now- say you’re setting up a space in the house every time you paint -it’s nice to organise all your artsy gear in a cart, basket, bag, whatever you like!

The easier it is to set up your art space, the better! when you’re trying to push through artist block or maybe just struggling to find motivation to create, it’s best to have as few barriers as possible. 

I feel like it’s just a given that every artist has a 3-tier metal cart like this…

They’re great for extra storage & also a solution for anyone who isn’t able to set-up a permanent artsy space. 

Pull her up to any table whenever you’re ready to create & have all your art supplies within arms reach.

If a cart still seems like to much space for you at this stage of your art practice, storing your supplies in a basket, box or bag can also work nicely.

Here’s the bag i keep all my travel watercolour supplies in- it’s literally ready to pick up & go for a en plain air painting session.

f a cart still seems like to much space for you at this stage of your art practice, storing your supplies in a basket, box or bag can also work nicely.

hHere’s the bag I keep all my travel watercolour supplies in- it’s literally ready to pick up & go for an ___ painting session.

2. a comfy seat

a note on prolonged sitting for artists setting up an art studio at home...

Something comfy for your touche is a must! 

Contrary to how we live now days our bodies are not meant to be sedentary. if you’re sitting for long periods I recommend investing in an ergonomic chair – something that is designed to correct posture & be kind to your back & neck.

Don’t forget to take regular breaks, stand, stretch, dance, make a tea – when you really get into a painting it’s easy to lose hours… if i’m intending a good flow state for a long painting session I sometimes even put a timer on my phone so not to stay sitting for hours.

3. light

a note on lighting for artists setting up an art studio at home...

natural light

Nothing beats natural light!

So if you’re lucky enough to have an artsy space near a big window then use it to your advantage!

As much as it’s nice to not face a wall, sometimes it’s not always practical to have your desk facing directly out the window (for example the sun sets directly into my studio window & is quite overbearing, especially in summer). Putting my desk against the wall perpendicular to the window gives me good natural light & stops me from getting blasted by australian sun. 

functional light

Natural light isn’t always enough for creating.

& if you’re anything like me, most of your artist hours are without sunlight.

a light alike this is perfect for lighting up your work when you are creating.

this is my studio lamp- i love it to bits! & no this is not sponsored…I paid for my lamp full price my my own money & I would 100% buy it again. 

mood light

To be honest, most time I spend in my studio i’m not actually painting. & a lot of artists experience this, especially those who are trying to monetise their work.

If I’m not painting I certainly do not want a big bright light on – I am a warm dim light girly through & through.

i am a big advocate for setting the mood by setting the space, & for me that means moody light – always warm, always dim & stained glass lamps are the dream. It really does set a calm space. 

note- candles live in holders or glass cases always – i am clumsy & my work space can get busy.

4. storage & organisation

some storage & organisation ideas for artists setting up an art studio at home...

A messy space is a messy mind – & a decluttered mind is so necessary to get into a good creative flow. 

The key to keeping an organised art studio is having a place for everything. You can only put things away if you have somewhere to put them… I’m a tidy-as-i-go girly but i know that doesn’t work for everyone! If you are someone who ends up in a mess after creating, you can make you tidy-ups easier by knowing exactly where everything lives. Less cognitive resources & all that…plus who doesn’t love cute baskets & organisation nik naks ♡ 

It doesn’t really matter which mediums you prefer or which craft you spend most of your time doing- drawers like this are always super useful, no matter what kind of artist in every artist’s studio.

Having a place for everything let’s you keep your studio space decluttered & ready for all your creativity. 

This is my little meedan artist box & i lovveee it. I like putting all my watercolour paint tubes in there so i can easily group them by hues. & aren’t the little gold handles so cute

Return of the 3-tier artist trolley- it feels like an artist-must.

Plus the more little storage nooks you have around, the better! Things can get messy in an art studio so it’s best to make things easy for yourself by having a place for everything. You can only put things away if you have somewhere to put them…

Because I have my paints & brushes on my desk, I use my trolley to store all of my book painting stuff – novels (which at the moment are all hp), my book press, sandpaper & vices. 

 

Can you really have too many baskets? well okay probably but it is handy to have a few!

I keep a couple of baskets on my desk. 

Okay this doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal but honestly this long desktop shelf has been a game changer for my painting space.

It’s so much easier to create once you de-clutter your space & find a set-up that works for you.

I especially love how I can just slide a painting i’m working on underneath & free up heaps of space for working on other projects or my website. 

On that note…heres more shelves more shelves means more surfaces, means more room to organise all your artsy stuff.

I love these little shelves from amazon – so cheap & sturdy & perfect for all my ceramic palettes. 

5. artist aids

some extra nik naks for artists setting up an art studio at home...

Here’s where all the random bits and bobs live…

This is a ‘leaning bridge’ & friends it is the bees knees. 

I found this on an occasion I just felt like buying myself a present- I typed something like ‘artist gadgets’ into amazon.

I looks like a bit of plastic because that’s exactly what it is but seriously this has changed my painting game! 

If your hands shake a lot this is perfect for you! So handy to help keep those final details nice & steady. & ensures you don’t smudge the rest of your painting.

I don’t think I could go back to a life without this tube squeezer thingy.

Paint is expensive! you don’t want any of it to go to waste. This thing pays for itself after squeezing to drabbs out of a couple of these tiny watercolour tubes.

& you can use this for everything- hand cream, hair cream, toothpaste, tomato paste – pretty much any type of cream & any type of paste…

A magnifying glass can always come in handy, especially for those final details. 

I am constantly using my magnifying glass, even though I see perfectly with my glasses. Being able to magnify my work helps me reduce eye strain & bad posture.

This colour wheel has been my colour theory bible.

I’ve been meaning to paint my own wheel but I love all the information packed on it. If I could go back I wouldn’t wait as long to prioritise learning colour theory – once you master colour theory you WILL take you artistic skills to the next level – I guarantee it!

This colour wheel is the perfect aid to start your journey learning colour theory.

If you’re into journalling it can be really helpful to keep an art journal.

A little book with reference to all the pigments in your studio, your favourite palettes & colour mixes, colour theory aids, technique swatches, piece planners, collection planners & reflection pages. 

You can find these artist journal templates on my website – 

6. easels & drawing boards

a note on easels & drawing boards for artists setting up an art studio at home...

When I decided to take painting seriously my goodness did I binge watch easel-reviews. I don’t know why I found easel-related decisions so hard but I just did! 

Some things you should consider before investing in an easel-
   ☼ what size your works will be
   ☼ whether you sit at a table or stand whilst painting
   ☼ whether you paint on a flat surface or at an upright angle
   ☼ whether you need an easel for your studio or on-the-go
   ☼ your budget

I use the work ‘invest’ because when it comes to art supplies this is exactly what I do. sure you can definitely find a super cheap easel at kmart or target- but let’s be honest, a lot of the time you really do get what you pay for. An easel is something I want to last, be sturdy & to be honest, yah, look cute as well. 

Easels are always useful to have in an art studio. They let you-
   ☼ paint ergonomically as possible
   ☼ stare at your work for hours on end (a frequent necessity)
   ☼ display your work

This is my meedan table-top easel. I use it to paint the final details of my artworks. & when I don’t need it, it sits up onto of my shelves holding either a recently finished piece or blank cotton waiting for inspiration. 

I also have this second meedan table-top easel. It serves much of the same purpose as the first so I surely don’t need both but here we are. I prefer this one for sketching & working on paper that isn’t yet taped to one of my boards.

This is my standing studio easel – I do LOVE it but I also regret not spending the extra money to get a convertible one that lays flat. 

In saying that I think easels are so decorative & I love how it looks in the corner of my little home studio.

& I love using a studio easel for the final stages of a piece.

7. laptop & monitor mounts

a note on laptop & screen mounts for artists setting up an art studio at home...

this seems silly but there are so many benefits to getting your tech off your art table. 
   ☼ more space for art
   ☼ kinder to your neck, back & shoulders
   ☼ no spills on your laptop
   ☼ it looks neat

As soon as I had set up my screens I wondered why it took me so long to invest in one of these mounts!

Until now my monitor lived on a stack of harry potter books & i just kept my laptop on the floor so i could have more desk space – a very annoying set-up!

Now i can use both my screens AND have more space – happiness

8. aroma

Maybe this isn’t your thing & that is okay, but i’m all about vibes & this is my vibe – anything that can help put me into a peaceful state. My favourite aromas for studio days are sandalwood & lavender.

Be it a burning incense stick or a puddle of essential oils over a tea light, aroma can really elevate the experience of being in your studio space.

9. art supplies

suggested art supplies for artists setting up an art studio at home...

Well, obviously!

As I’ve mentioned, good art supplies are worth the investment.

I use winsor & newton professional watercolour paints & arches cold-pressed 100% cotton watercolour paper.

Check out next month’s article for more on my favourite art supplies for painting with watercolour – surfaces, mediums, palettes & other artist bits – all the absolute essentials you need to get started in one succinct list

10. whatever else makes for a space YOU want to be in

important tip for artists setting up an art studio at home...

I can’t give you any suggestions for this because i’m talking about all those personal touches.  

-your favourite wall art, ornaments, vibes- whatever it is you need to get that cozy feeling in your studio space. for me that’s ample plants, neutrals, gallery walls & warm light.

I’d love to know what it is that makes your studio a space you never want to leave. I know i could stay in mine all day – some days i literally do. 

Leave a comment below & join our artsy community for exclusive member offers & commissions. I’d love to hear from you ♡

something else to keep in mind when setting up your studio...

Although I am beyond grateful for my little home art studio, I still find myself longing for the dream spaces I have collected on Pintrest – I’ll just drop some of my studio-space-envy right here… – high ceilings, tall windows & accented walls – that’d be the dream.

It’s easy to get caught up in comparison…- the ultimate thief of joy. Setting up your studio space should be fun, intuitive & specialised to your specific needs.  Academic work does tell us that certain conditions can foster concentration, calm & creativity – for example natural & warm light, uncluttered spaces & nature. But at the end of the day, all that matters is that you create a space that you want to create in  ♡

referenced in this article

   ☼ Lofaro, C. (2016). The Impact of Studio Space on Creativity and its Implications for Artistic Practice. School of Education. https://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/16465/7/Thesis_CPL_Submission_Merged%20%283%29.pdf

   ☼ Chappe, A. (2021). The Effect of Architecture & Design on Mental Health & Implications for Open Art Studios. Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 511. https://digitalcommons.lesley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1515&context=expressive_theses

   ☼ Baracho, A. &Mota, S. (2022). Artists & Their Stiods: the complexities of artists’ studio selection in creative quarters in London & Southampton. University of Southampton. https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/472124/1/Ana_Silveira_MPhil_thesis_final_copy_unsigned.pdf

questions answered in this article

☼ how to set up an art studio at home?
☼ artist must haves for setting up a studio
☼ what do I need to set up at art studio at home?
☼ setting up an art studio for the first time
☼ tips for beginner artists
☼ tips for beginner painters
☼ how to start painting with watercolour
☼ watercolour for beginner artists
☼ what do I need for an art studio?
☼ which easel is best for my studio?
☼ how do I know which easel is best for me to buy?
☼ what do I need to organise my art studio?
☼ how do I organise my art studio?

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hi, i’m sarah, an australian artist head-over-heels with watercolour & all thing creativity-

it truely is good for your soul. 

& this ↑,  is my girl alys.

i am completely self-taught in all the mediums i use & here to share everything i know with you!

i write about all things watercolour, hand-made ceramics & my own artistic process.  

 

 

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