How to Set Up a Studio

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Whether you're starting a new job with an empty room to fill, moving from one space to another or setting up your first home office, having some place dedicated to your art, writing or crafts is a wonderful boost to productivity. Perhaps you already have a home office or home-away-from-home studio, but find that the elements just aren't conducive to getting work done. The following tips should aid you whether its a first-time setup or a redesign of an existing space.

Things You'll Need

  • Office furniture
  • Lighting
  • Storage Options
  • Identify your primary workspace. Be it a computer desk, a table, an easel or some other work surface, each person has their own main space they work from. You'll want to position this table or desk in an area that feels best to you--for instance, some prefer not to have their back to a doorway or window and others prefer not to be facing a solid wall. Once you decide where this area is, even if it's in the middle of the room, you can begin to build out from there.

  • Position lighting relative to your body. Cast shadows can interfere greatly with your work, regardless of what medium you use. Place a light source above and to your left if you are right-handed, above and to the right if you are left-handed. A main light source (overhead fixture or window) should not be behind you, as it can cause glare on computer screens, but ones in front of you can cause headaches and eyestrain if misdirected. If your space is limited to one overhead fixture, invest in some lamps and task lights and leave the overhead lights off.

  • Arrange supplies in an as-needed basis. No matter what the discipline, everyone has some primary tools they use for every project, and then others that are either specialized or just seldom used, but worth keeping around. Keep the everyday items on a stand or in a cabinet or drawer at your primary workspace, preferably at arms reach, and then organize your other materials by how often they are employed.

  • Set up stations for separate tasks. For those who work in multiple disciplines or whose projects require many different tool and skill sets, having more than one workspace allows you to go from task to task without stopping. Examples of permanent setups would be a photo box and tripod for shooting pictures of just-finished jewelry or sculptures or a computer station for scanning art after it comes off the easel or drafting table.

  • Use shelves, cabinets or bookcases to make use of vertical space. Even small studios can be "expanded" by lining the walls with tall bookcases or mounted shelves. The more opportunities you have to keep your supplies and finished projects organized, the less often you'll have to wade through a messy studio or stop what you're doing to find a missing item.

  • Add more tables and cabinets for workspaces. Especially true for arts and crafts, there is no such thing as too many work surfaces. They are good for spreading out a large project, letting wet paint dry without being disturbed and providing more room for you to work on other projects. The best use of space is one that combines a work surface with storage space.

  • Find a comfortable chair. Unless you stand for the majority of your work, you're going to want a chair that offers the right amount of support to avoid posture issues. If you sit on a stool instead of a standard chair, adding a padded seat cover can make it more comfortable, and having a step stool to rest your feet on will help with your posture.

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