by Lisa McGrimmon
In the process of setting up my own studio space (several times, in several different locations) I've learned a few things about good craft room design. You need a space that is both functional and enjoyable to work in, and there are 6 factors that will help you achieve that goal.
Your craft room will be the center of your business; you'll spend a lot of time in there, so you'll want it to be a room that is uplifting and comfortable while still giving you the space to move about and do your work.
The perfect setup will vary depending on the media you work with. The amount of work space you need, the best storage options, and the safety precautions necessary will all vary depending on the type of materials and techniques you use, but these 6 factors are important no matter what type of materials you work with.
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If you are planning to buy any furniture for your craft room, be sure to measure the available space first. A work table or shelf can look like it's the perfect size when it's sitting in the showroom of a big furniture store, but when you get it into your smaller craft room, it can overwhelm the space.
Drawing the dimensions of your room to scale on graph paper, and then marking out ideal furniture placement and size is a good way to avoid the mistake of buying furniture that is just not right for the room.
Alternatively, if you're looking at a specific piece of furniture (this particularly helps with large furniture) and know the dimensions, consider taping out the dimensions on the floor of your work space. The tape will show you the exact space the furniture will require, and you'll get a bit of a feel for the amount of space that will be left in the room.
Good lighting is absolutely essential to good craft room design no matter what materials you work with. You'll need to consider both general lighting and task lighting. If you prefer to work with natural light, take this preference into account when deciding where to place your work space.
While you are planning and considering your craft room design, think about the tools and equipment you need to have readily available, and design your room with this in mind.
As you plan your storage and consider storage furniture and containers, remember to keep your tools and supplies:
Well Organized - So you don't waste time looking for things
Accessible - So everything you need on a regular basis is on hand
Within View - So you can get inspiration from the materials you use and so you don't forget about items your have on hand
Make good use of your space, as is shown in the two photos on the right. An entire wall can be equipped with shelves and drawers, and overhead space can be used effectively to make good use of all available space.
Creating effective craft storage and organization takes a little bit of planning. Avoid haphazardly storing all of your tools and materials, and give some thought and planning to your storage needs. You may need to live in the space for a while and experiment and change things around before you determine the best way to store your tools and supplies.
Be sure to use materials for your craft room that will be easy to clean.
Choose furniture that either will not be easily harmed by any chemicals or tools you may use, or that can be marked up and you won't mind (I learned this lesson the hard way after spilling jewelry resin on my good dining room table).
If you have the option of changing your flooring, ensure the flooring is made of a material that is easily cleaned, ideally something you can sweep up and mop when necessary.
Carpet is probably not the best floor covering choice in your craft room. It's generally harder to clean spills on carpet, and if you work with small components, anything you drop will be easily lost.
If you don't have the option of completely changing your craft room flooring, consider putting down a couple of inexpensive, low pile rugs in areas where you are likely to spill messy supplies. The rugs will protect your main floor from messes and can brighten up the area.
Design your craft room with good safety and ergonomic design in mind. Store any potentially harmful chemicals or tools out of reach of children and pets. Depending upon the nature of the materials you work with, you may want to consider purchasing a storage box that can be locked.
Ensure your craft room has good ventilation if that is necessary based on the types of materials you work with. You may need to locate your workspace in a garage or outdoor shed / studio if you work with tools and/or materials that really can not be used safely in the home.
Be sure to choose a work table and chair that allows you to work on your projects in the most natural and comfortable positions possible. A work space that requires you to work at odd or uncomfortable angles for prolonged periods of time can eventually cause injury which can jeopardize your business as well as your health.
Take a look at the ergonomically designed tools and equipment that are available at both art supply and office supply stores. These tools often cause very small shifts in your posture or your grip on a tool, and those small shifts can make a huge difference in your ability to work on a project without injury.
Store your tools or supplies in a way that forces you to get up and walk around every hour or so. It is ideal to get up and move every hour or so, rather than sitting for hours on end, but it's difficult to make yourself get up when you are engrossed in a project. If you store tools or supplies that you use with some regularity just out of reach of your work area, you will be forced to get up and move from time to time.
Finally, choose a room and area that is conducive to work. Colors that inspire you, space for storage, and add a few of your favorite things can make the room your own.
When you enjoy your surroundings, you'll work more productively than you would in a cramped, dingy room.
When you take your craft beyond a hobby and it becomes a business, it's really well worth the effort to plan and create a craft room design that will suit your practical needs and be inspiring at the same time.