Setting up a small bedroom art studio on a budget with these easy ideas

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Many people would love to have a space dedicated solely to their art, but don’t have the money or space for it. Not having your own art studio can be really frustrating. If you don’t design your small bedroom art studio properly you will end up working in cramped and uncomfortable conditions.

I worked out of a small bedroom art studio for many years and these tips will show you how to set up a small bedroom art studio on a budget. You’ll be able to create a comfortable and inspiring workspace without spending too much money.

TL/DR – My best tips for setting up a small bedroom art studio on a budget

  • Set up near a window or door to get fresh air. Use a fan or heater if needed.
  • Use a chair that can double as storage as a fixed-height easel.
  • Get a rolling art cart with wheels to store and keep your art supplies handy.
  • Use flexible, adjustable, and dimmable lamps that you can use to create a mood or strong lighting effects.
  • Use a painter’s drop cloth to keep your floors and furniture clean from splashes and paint drops. You can pack this away when it’s not needed.
  • Source cheap or free furniture and storage solutions from Ikea, Goodwill, or free items on Craigslist.
  • Use stackable plastic containers to store your supplies.
  • Use the end of your bed as a seat and work from the space that is usually available at the end of your bed.
  • Large works can be hung and worked on from your wardrobe.

If you would like to go into more detail, I have lots more information listed below plus links (click on the images) to where you can source various products.

How do I set up an art studio in a small bedroom space?

First, you need to consider how much free space you have or how much available space you have, some bedrooms can barely fit a bed and a bedside table let alone a small art studio but regardless of size, with some creativity and planning, you can do it.

When I was still living at home I had a small bedroom that I used as my studio. We didn’t have a garage, attic space, or even a spare room that I could use. My mom suggested I use the kitchen or laundry but the last thing I wanted to do was pack up and set up my space every day. I wanted something semi-permanent.

I had a few specific things my studio needed to have:

  • Be able to fit in a 7×10 foot room that already had a single bed, a small wardrobe, and a dresser. I used the end of my bed as a seat and placed the easel at the end of the bed.
  • Needed to have a bright white light that I could move around as needed as I liked to work during the night when everyone went to bed.
  • Needed to be well ventilated as I used many toxic materials as I worked in oils and alcohol markers.
  • Needed to have lots of storage space and room for storage containers that contained my art supplies and work in progress.
  • Space for a foldable easel and chair. I would fold mine up and store them behind the wardrobe.
  • Be easy to clean and maintain. So I needed smooth surfaces made from plastic and stainless steel.
  • As I was broke, the solution needed to be free or cheap. So I sourced my furniture from Goodwill and Ikea. Below is a quick search I saved for Craigslist for L.A. using the search words “free furniture” or “curb alert” and you can see lots of free furniture you can get. Just change the city/state to one nearest you.

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=free%20furniture

What do you need for an art studio in the bedroom?

Setting up my small bedroom studio space required that I be creative with my small space and you will need to be too.

After doing some research on small bedroom art studio ideas, I found the following tips to be the most helpful:

  • Use a small area in your bedroom for your art studio. This can be a corner, alcove, or even just a small section of the room.
  • Set up shelves or storage containers to hold all of your supplies. This will help keep the space organized and tidy. A rolling art car is your best bet here. It will allow you to store all your art supplies in a neat cart with wheels that does not take up much space.
  • Make sure you have good lighting in the space. This is important for both working on your art and for photographing it later on. Lighting is key!
  • Ventilate the space well to avoid fumes from toxic materials build-up.
  • Keep the space clean and clutter-free. This will help you focus on your work and avoid distractions.

Small bedroom art studio layouts

As the average small bedroom in the USA is 10 feet by 10 feet, small bedroom art studio layouts need to be simple and functional. Remember you will be sleeping AND working in this room so it should also look good, and it needs to be comfortable and safe.

Based on the assumption that most small bedrooms will contain a single bed, a dresser or wardrobe, a chair, and one window at least, I have put together a sample layout that can help.

  1. The area in space 1 can be used to store your bulky art supplies such as storage containers or the rolling art cart.
  2. The area in space 2 can be used as a working area for your easel when you are painting. I suggest this can be stored away when not in use next to the wardrobe in space 4.
  3. The area in space 3 is on top of the wardrobe or behind it. I would use this to store canvas and plastic containers on the wardrobe.
  4. The area in space 4 I would use to store away the folding easel or have a small skinny shelf.
  5. The area in space 5 I would keep a small caddy or shelf for art supplies such as paints and brushes that can be easily accessed from the desk or chair.
  6. The area in space 6 can be used to add a small storage container, ottoman with storage etc.
  7. Additionally, any non toxic items can be stored under the bed in containers. Your desk can be used as a storage space if you have one with shelves.
  8. If you have a smaller room as I did, you can follow a similar layout and reduce the space available to you between the bed and wardrobe. This will still leave you a long wide space to work from and to use a rolling art cart.
Small bedroom art studio idea
Sample small bedroom art studio layout.

Use a small desk as your work surface – it can double as storage for your supplies

A small desk is the perfect work surface for a small bedroom art studio, which you can use to place your art supplies when you’re working. And, if you need extra storage for supplies, you can keep them in the drawers or on shelves above or below the desk.

I like small desks with foldable sides that you can lift up if you need the extra space and fold down when not needed. I also like desks with shelving or desks that allow you to stack plastic containers on top and underneath.

Here are some examples that I found at Ikea. You can find these elsewhere but as Ikea can be found all over the world I will use it as a universal reference.

Screen Shot 2022 06 28 at 2.43.38 pm
Desk with shelving – available at Ikea

Another great option is the floating desk / wall mounted desk where it doubles as shelving space and the desktop can actually fold back up when not needed, freeing up lots of valuable space. See below.

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Get creative with storage solutions – use baskets, boxes, and shelves to store materials and tools

Here are some ideas for small bedroom art studio storage:

  • My number one tip is to get a rolling art cart or A-Frame panel cart that you can bring out loaded with all your art supplies ready to go whenever you get into a creative mood. It has wheels and is small enough to not take up much space but big enough to carry all your usual art supplies in one easy-to-access area. Note: Check the dimensions of these before buying as I found some are quite small and some are large. Measure your free space and see if it fits.
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  • Use an over-the-door organizer to store paints, brushes, and other small supplies.
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  • Hang a corkboard or peg board on the wall to organize and display inspiration and reference images.
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  • Use stackable plastic storage containers to store small items. Remember to check the sizes as these do vary from very small to quite large.
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  • Use a seat or ottoman with a flip-up lid that doubles as a storage unit.
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  • Use a foldable easel or an easel that contains storage space. I actually used to use a small easel that I could place on top of a TV cabinet and I used the cabinet as storage space for my supplies and for a small TV and stereo (I still to this day paint and draw with background music or tv shows playing). An alternative to a small easel is to just use a chair. Place the canvas or board against the chair back and on top of the seating area and you have a fixed easel at no cost.
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  • You can also hang larger artworks from your wardrobe using door hooks that you hang from the outside Mount your canvas with a wire or rope and work on them from there.
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Get creative with lighting solutions – use lamps, track lighting, and dimmable lights

When it comes to small bedroom art studio lighting:

  • Use adjustable lamps to create soft, diffused light. Mine has a flexible neck that I can twist and turn as needed. Get one that can clip to your desk, wardrobe door or shelf (see image below, click to find out the price).
  • Track lighting is a great way to create task lighting.
  • Dimmable lights are perfect for creating different types of lighting moods.
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You can actually purchase all these quite cheaply and use non-permanent solutions that you can either pack away when you are not using them or take them outside.

I still use an old mechanic’s work light that I hang off the door that illuminates the room like daylight using white light. It also creates dramatic lighting effects when needed.

How to protect your furniture, walls, and floor

Protecting your flooring from paint and other materials is quite easy and cheap:

  • Use a drop cloth to protect your furniture and flooring when working, it does not need to be a permanent fixture but one that can easily be folded up when not needed. I use a cheap $5 one from my local hardware store’s paint section.
  • Washable paint is a great way to protect your walls, if you can’t re-paint the walls put up a splash guard to paint does not go on the walls.
  • Paint can be very messy, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your belongings. Place a drop cloth over furniture such as your bed.
  • A drop cloth is also great at catching any brushes or drawing materials that may fall out of your hands or off the table or palette.
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How to protect your health

When working with paints and other materials, it’s important to take precautions to protect your health. Remember you are sleeping in this room and you need nice clean air to get a good healthy sleep.

  • Wear a mask to avoid breathing in paint thinner vapors and paint fumes.
  • Keep your workspace clean and free of clutter.
  • Wash your hands after working with paints and other materials using soap and dry them properly.
  • Dispose of unused paint properly or seal them up and put them away.
  • Take breaks often to get fresh air. Walk out of the room and get fresh air.
  • Wear gloves to avoid getting paint on your hands.
  • Ventilate the room well to avoid breathing in fumes. You can use a small fan to help circulate the air. I used a combination of a fan and an open window and made sure the fan and window worked together to get any fumes out of the room. I also made sure I stopped using any materials that could cause fumes to linger about an hour before going to bed. That doesn’t mean I didn’t breathe in anything bad but I tried to minimize it.

Setting up a small bedroom art studio – Wrap up!

Working in a small space can be challenging, but it’s possible to create a beautiful and functional art studio on a budget. With a little creativity and these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating art in no time!

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