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Is it just me? Or are there others out there that love looking at the creative spaces of all the people?
Even before I started creating all the things, I would spend hours online, searching for images of offices, craft rooms, and art studios. It filled me with such joy to see how others furnished and decorated their spaces, and what organizational systems were working for them.
If I’m being completely real with you, there were times I coveted those rooms with the beautiful matching furnishing throughout their spaces, with the perfect storage setup, and the loveliest décor outside of a Magnolia Journal. I daydreamed about having my very own pretty place to create in.
The truth is those dreams weren’t realistic for the season of life I was currently in. Though I was blessed to have a room that I could use solely for my art and crafts, the harsh truth for me at the time was I couldn’t afford to buy all the cute furniture to fill the room or much less of anything really. So for a while I simply contemplated all the ways I would design a room IF ONLY I could afford it. Anyone else wasting time on this nonsense??
Well I want to share with you how I was able to get unstuck from the never-ending cycle of searching for the perfect creative space and the perfect craft furniture. The first and most important thing to remember is to start right now with whatever you have. DO. NOT. WAIT. A. MINUTE. MORE.
BIRTHING A NEW MINDSET
A couple of years ago I didn’t have a spare room I could use for creating. However, I’d already started my creative ministry and knew I needed to figure out where I could create on a regular basis. This was when “start right now with whatever you have” was born.
CREATIVE SPACES OF MY PAST
At that time, the family room was the only area in the house with enough space to house some creative supplies. I chose a couple areas in what would now be a shared space.
The collection of compact discs I never listened to anymore lined the shelves of a white makeshift bookcase (originally purchased as closet shelves for storage). I decided to move them to an out-of-the-way-spot to make room for my art and craft supplies. So in one corner of the room I assigned an area for these things.
In another corner leading to the master bedroom, a long skinny sofa table stood. The table held my color printer and some other odds and ends. Over time I accumulated a handful of craft cubes, which I purchased one at a time, piece-by-piece.
At the beginning I simply created on a tv tray or the coffee table. I eventually found a craft table I could work on and when I was finished, it easily folded up and rolled right into a closet.
INTRODUCING MY PRESENT CREATIVE SPACE
After moving to a new house, I gained a spare room that I would eventually turn into my art studio/craft room. And though it was small, the smallest room in the house in fact, excitement and gratitude filled me. I felt incredibly blessed to have a special area where I could create and make all the things.
Let’s start with some of the basics. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t have much money. So, I decided I would find one piece of furniture that I really loved and that I would design the room around.
I started with the cutest retro looking cabinet from Pier-One [check out the cabinets at Pier-One].
Once I chose my main piece of furniture, I began gathering other furnishings I already owned that would complement it. As you can see, the cabinet is made of a darker wood and these white funky doors. Inside there are two shelves where I store all kinds of paper (cardstock, sticker, vellum and more). On top of this sturdy cabinet sits my printer, the cinch machine, and three washi storage drawers (I could really use two more for my washi obsession).
If you refer to the photographs of my past creative space, you’ll see the folding, rolling craft table, which I ended up painting one of my favorite shades of green and then distressed with sandpaper.
I also lugged in a white folding table from the garage that I used when I taught local Bible journaling classes. I used four cut 10inch PVC pipes to raise that table, so I could use it in a standing position. Then, I positioned both tables against two walls, creating a large “L” shaped work area.
WHY I LOVE THOSE AWESOME ROLLING CARTS
I just so happen to own three of those rolling carts. The truth is, if I had the space in my little art studio for one more rolling cart, I would get another one. Seriously.
These rolling carts are so convenient in an art and craft area. They can be used in an array of different ways and you can store or keep a million different things on the shelves. The fact they have wheels to roll the carts near you when needed and out of the way when you’re not using it, makes these my most favorite item in the room.
[Find roller carts at www.amazon.com/shop/hispalette]
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
First, do you have an entire room or simply an area of the house you can utilize for your creative space? Knowing this decides whether you will need to find storage for the supplies that you don’t use on a daily basis.
Here we will assume you have some sort of space that you can add furniture to and that will house your art and craft supplies.
Start with finding that one piece of furniture that you will work around. You may have a specific desk (because the space was once your office) or a dresser (because it used to be the spare bedroom). Or, if you have the means, you may want to purchase that one special piece, which is what I eventually did.
Because this focus item was dark wood and white, I was able to use those few inexpensive white craft cubes (purchased from Walmart). This was the same furniture I used when I was creating in my family room.
Then, I looked around the house, the garage, and our offsite storage rental, for other furniture I could use in the room. We had two dark-ish bookcases in the hallway, which held a ton of books (many classics) that I didn’t want to get rid of, but that I wasn’t reading either. So, I packed up To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and the others.
Doing this gave me enough furniture for the room, to hold art supplies and craft tools. Once the pieces were strategically placed around the new craft room, that’s when I went on the hunt for storage containers. I used everything from Rubbermaid bins to coffee tins.
And now the difficult part is over. Essentially, all you have left is figuring out what storage ideas work for you and the way you create. This may take time. Personally, I tried many different ideas before I found the ones that really worked for me and how I process things.
We don’t need to save money and then spend money to buy all the cutest craft furniture. We truly can use what we already have and simply make it our own.
I consider my style eclectic, which means “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.” I’m not really a matchy-matchy type of person and being creatives, we know that art and design is subjective.
Don’t confine yourself to the rooms, all tidy and neat, that you see on Pinterest. As artists and creatives, we are known for taking things and turning them into something else. Why not do the very same thing in the spaces we create in?
NOTE: Be on the look out for more blog posts on creative spaces, storage and organization tips and ideas.
[BONUS CRAFT ROOM SAMPLE]
Below you will find photographs of @creating.hearttoheart‘s craft room. Like we discussed above, here my dear friend Minnie, took things she already had and placed them in her room, which held all of her supplies, tools, and books. You can see in the third picture, Minnie utilized a baker’s rack as a shelving unit. Also, since she did not have a desk or workspace, she took wooden planks and placed them over the top drawer on her dresser. Voilà! Minnie created her very own craft room.