by Lisa McGrimmon
My craft room isn't large or luxurious, but it is pretty and functional; it has lots of storage space, a spot to plan out my projects, and a good-sized work space. It was done frugally, and it is my favorite room in the house!
I've been working from home since 2006, and in that time, I've claimed a few different rooms in my house for my work space. Most recently, I've traded rooms with my younger son. He needed a bigger bedroom, so he moved into my old office, and I turned his tiny bedroom into my craft / office space.
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My favorite things about this space are the color of the room, (Benjamin Moore jalapeno pepper) the work and storage space, and the fact that it is all mine (My old office space had become a dumping ground for other people's stuff. The new office is tiny - it's about 8'6" by 7'6" - so it's really going to be impossible for people to dump their stuff in there.)
I'm also proud of the fact that I put this room together on a tiny budget. I used what I already had in the house, and I think I ended up spending about $30 total on a few necessary supplies.
The photo on the right shows where I work most of the time. It's a good sized desk that I bought from IKEA several years ago. It fits in the room, and as long as I keep it tidy there's more than enough space to work. It also has a good amount of storage, including room for hanging files.
That's a kettle and some of my favorite tea on the back left corner of the desk. You don't have to spend a lot to have a few little luxuries that keep you happy in your work space.
The shelves above the desk used to hold my son's Lego toys. Now they hold a ton of small craft supplies. I haven't labeled any of the buckets yet because I need to live with it for a while and decide what should go where, but once I'm satisfied with the storage locations, I'll label all of the buckets to make it easier to return things to their proper places.
The bulletin board is for displaying my some of my favorite things - mostly handmade cards from friends and family, plus there's a little bit of space to get papers up off my desk but not hidden out of sight where they would be forgotten.
Over on the wall on the right is my Monty Python poster that I've had for years. It's another thing that makes me smile and makes me happy to be in this room; plus my husband won't let me hang it up in our living room. ;)
Moving around the room, you'll see my big three month wall calendar. This is one of the few items I bought for the room (plus some colorful dry erase markers).
I realize a wall planning calendar might not exactly seem exciting to some people, but I am completely thrilled with this addition to my craft room. It has made a huge improvement in the way I work. In fact, I'm kicking myself that I went so long without one.
I have tried for the last few years to do project planning on my computer and smart phone. I've tried everything from writing simple to-do lists in MS Word, to creating fancy Gantt chats in Excel. On my smart phone, I've used complex apps that track everything and more basic apps designed keep things simple. Nothing worked for me, and I have felt a bit inadequate because I seem to be unable to make any project management tools work.
Then I had a huge epiphany!
I read an article that said people who are more visually oriented and creative tend to do better with pen and paper planning tools and not so well with digital planning tools. Digital planning tools are generally better suited for more linear thinkers.
That's why I feel like all of my plans disappear into a weird black hole when I try to track them on my computer or phone! I'm not bad at planning; I've just been using the wrong tools for my needs for years!
I remembered I used to have a three month planning calendar in my office when I worked as a job search workshop facilitator many years ago. I loved that thing! I had plenty of goals and statistics to track in that job, and I never missed a single goal because the progress was always clearly marked for me to see on my calendar.
I've been using this new calendar for about a month now, and it is wonderful. I get more done, and I don't lose track of longer term projects or things that are important but on hold for the time being. Truly, if you are a visually oriented, creative thinker, and you struggle to keep track of projects, consider getting a calendar like this for your work space. It has made a world of difference for me.
Next stop on the tour of my craft room - Storage and the belly cast I made when I was pregnant with my older son.
This IKEA storage cabinet (Trofast) came from my son's room. Once we rearranged his new room, there wasn't space for it, so I inherited it. It holds an enormous amount of stuff and the different bucket sizes make it quite flexible for storing different sizes of supplies and tools.
The belly cast above the storage cabinet is another thing I love but don't really want to display in my living room, so it's perfect in here. I've seen a lot of fancy belly casts and looked at a lot of options for painting it, but in the end, I wanted it to be subtle, so it's painted just slightly darker than the walls (Benjamin Moore dark celery).
The corner to the left of my desk has a tree silhouette my husband painted when the room was my younger son's nursery. It does look like it belongs in a kid's room more than an office, but I love this mural, so it stays (plus repainting the room is not on the top of my priority list).
The curtains are ones I made from a pair of bed sheets and Amy Schimler-Safford's Creatures and Critters fabric back when this room was a nursery. They'll be moved into my son's room, and I'll replace them with some simple cream colored curtains.
I also keep an old music stand in this corner. The theory is, I'll use it as a sort of standing desk so I don't spend so much time sitting. My work is very sedentary.
So far, I haven't really used it much, but I haven't given up on it just yet. I'll keep it in the room for a while and see if it gets used.
I hadn't planned on creating a gift wrap storage area in this room. It never occurred to me that there would be space. But when I started clearing out this tiny closet, I realized it would be a great place to store gifts and gift wrap supplies.
It's a funny little closet because it is not deep enough to hold regular-sized coat hangers, (part of the character of living in an older home) and I've always had to be a bit creative to make this space functional.
So, this little corner of my office / craft room was a bit of a happy accident.
It's not as fancy as some of the gift wrap areas I've seen, but it works well.
All of my rolls of wrapping paper are on the right side of the closet (you can just see one roll peeking out). The boxes on top store tags, bags, bows, and folded sheets of wrapping paper. The two large buckets are perfect for storing gifts. (Good thing my kids don't read my website or I'd have to put a lock on the door.)
I really am thrilled with this new space, and I have been working much more efficiently since moving into the space. I always look forward to working because I enjoy what I do, but I've been even more enthusiastic about it now that I have a great space.
While planning and arranging this space, I was reading the book Inside the Creative Studio by Cate Prato. I enjoy this book because it shows real studios that belong to professional craft artists. The spaces featured aren't the too-perfect craft rooms you often see online that look great but don't seem to be particularly functional. These are real, hard working, functional studios for real, hard working craft artists.
My Craft Room