As I’ve mentioned, I have been checking out Pinterest and watching you-tube videos for storage ideas for small spaces. One thing I’ve noticed is the word budget means very different things to different people.
I don’t consider an art room filled with Ikea furniture, cupboards, counters, drawers, shelves, etc. to be a budget room. Evidently many do. That’s fine for them, but for me it has to be as close to free as possible. Since I’m sure there are others in the same boat, I thought I’d share some of my cheap studio/workroom ideas with you.
First, shop through your house. Old dressers, desks, tables, shelves, shoe racks, door pulls, lights and lamps, etc. Old doors which are flat work well as a work surface. The nine hole cubbys (like the ones on the back wall of my workroom) can be used as the legs for the work table. I bought half of mine at second hand stores or at yard sales. The rest were bought on sale at huge discounts.
Before I was able to afford to purchase these I used cardboard boxes for my storage. (Not as table legs!) These worked pretty well. I kept the boxes from Aldis and Save-A-Lot then covered them with wrapping paper I had on hand. I have a quilter’s desk unit now, which was discounted due to superficial damage. A folding table would work too, or a piece of plywood on saw horses.
My plastic drawer units were all purchased second hand, except one. And that was on sale for half price. The two white cupboards and shoe cubby came from our local Habitat for humanity store, if I remember correctly. Which is a great place to buy cabinetry, should you need some. Measure your space before you leave the house so you know if what you’re considering will fit. Also, don’t worry about the color of the cabinets. You can paint them any color you want. You can also find lights, work tables, shelves, chairs, office furniture, peg boards, cork boards, wall hooks, door knobs, hinges, paint, brushes and rollers…It’s a wonderful place to find everything you need to make an art space for cheap.
But before you do that, tell family and friends you’re looking for whatever it is you need. They may know someone who is remodeling, or may even have some of the stuff you need themselves. They may even give the stuff to you for nothing. Free is a beautiful thing!
Keep your eyes open while driving. I have found some really great stuff along side the road. My work bench in the back room and the drop leaf table are just two examples of roadside finds. We brought them home, I sanded, primed and painted them. They are both used all the time.
Things like back of the door plastic hanging shoe holders work really well for storing larger bottles and cans. Great for sprays, mediums, adhesives, cleaning supplies. Save the plastic containers with lids from cottage cheese or whipped topping. These are nice for embellishment storage. Mason jars with lids are also good options. Dollar Tree has lots of containers which work well for craft and art supplies. Foam core can be used to make all sorts of storage. I buy mine from Dollar Tree and it works great.
Harbor Freight has a lot of stuff you can use in an art space. So do hardware stores, home improvement stores, kitchen/restaurant suppliers, office supply stores, second hand stores, overstock and scratch and dent stores. You can also find some really good deals at yard sales and estate sales.
Of course if you or a loved one likes to build stuff, you’re really lucky. You can customize everything to your specific needs. And you can buy wood at Habitat for humanity too. My husband built my bookcases, which double as my walls for my work room. He has the stuff all cut for the third. I really should paint those before he puts it together. It’s easier that way.
As I’ve mentioned before, good lighting is essential in your work space. I use Ott lights, all bought on sale, for my task lights. I have a natural light florescent in the ceiling and a hanging chandelier over my work surface too. This is one area I feel is very important. More important than any other stuff in the room. It’s important for your health and your art. Even though Ott lights are expensive, even on sale, they are worth every penny. If your funds are limited, spend it on good lighting.
And remember, it’s your space. Use whatever you have to make it uniquely yours. And don’t become discouraged when you see the gorgeous rooms on Pinterest or you tube. You don’t need a magazine worthy space to create amazing art.