Updated: Oct 16
It can seem so hard to produce beautiful artwork when you don’t have adequate space. Trust me, I’ve been there… actually who are we kidding? I’m STILL there. My husband and I currently live in an apartment hosted in a 100 year old school building. It’s old and lovely and so, so small. So at this point my "studio" is a corner right off our living room area, but I've set it up to make the most of the space, and it's served me well over the last 2 years.
If you’re an artist, or really anyone with any creative interests, you know that these supplies take up a ton of space, and it can be really disheartening when you feel like you don’t have the space to create at the capacity you want. But trust me, you can make it happen. I currently sell original paintings, record online courses and create fine are prints out of my tiny studio – so I want to show you my set up. And hopefully it will inspire you to set up your own creative space!
When it comes to small spaces, organization is key. My family is probably laughing as they read this because I'm a notoriously unorganized person, but these key items have really helped me be a little better in that area.
Cube storage from Target has been the answer to my prayers when it comes to storage. I currently have 2 of theses pieces lined up along a wall. It not only provides a lot of storage, but tons of counter space to work on!
The top row holds all of my paint, varnish, shipping supplies, etc. I left the bottom row empty and those little cubbies currently hold all of my small frames, palettes, papers and canvases.
Another point for cube storage here because it doubles as a table top where I keep my printer and rolls of paper, scanner, paper cutter and a small shipping station complete with label-maker and scale.
I also have a small desk up against the adjacent wall. This is mostly work space holding my Canvas lamp for recording my process a tiny easel for my smaller paintings, and this cute drawer set for my oil pastels.
Last but not least, I use this fold up easel for my larger paintings. It's pretty light-weight and can be easily moved around. It can be folded up flat and stored under the bed or laid up against the wall. It's also really nice for paintings because it can stand up straight like a normal easel or lay your canvas completely flat. (great for varnishing!)
But where do you store your inventory?
Long story short? On the walls! But here are all the details:
Paintings: As far as paintings go, we're hoping they sell and will soon be moving on to new homes, but that isn't always the case. When I have paintings left over from a collection launch or paintings-in-progress, I hang them up. I just have my own gallery wall of ever-evolving work and it's kind of fun. So don't be shy, hang it up in a way that inspires you and compliments your space!
Note: It's easy to let this get messy and unorganized, and that does not put your work in the best light. So every now and then, take a minute and reorganize your work in a lovely way. Your self confidence will thank you for it. I use tacs so I'm not making huge holes all over my walls, and I've seen other artists install floating shelves to hold multiple canvases!
Frames: I frame a lot of my work, and those guys take up a lot of space AND they're pretty expensive, especially when you're just starting out and your work isn't guaranteed to sell. So here's an easy fix. Just buy one in each of the sizes you need. You can easily switch out the frame to photograph each painting while keeping your inventory and costs down.
I actually made this photograph with only one frame. Photoshop is an amazing tool, people! Tutorial coming soon 😉
When you're finished photographing your work, just keep the frames on the hung pieces to keep them out of the way. Done and done.
How do you make the most of your tiny space? I'm always looking for new ideas!