How to set up a home office art studio on a budget

Written by fred samsa
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How to set up a home office art studio on a budget
You don't need a warehouse loft to have an art studio. (studio_of_the_gods image by Dmytro Ruksha from

Depending on the city where you live, art studio rental fees can approach the cost of renting an entire apartment. Not only can setting up your own studio at home save money, but you will likely get more use out of a conveniently-located home studio than you would from a studio in a separate location. Although setting up an art studio in your home can take a day or two, it is well worth the initial time investment to have an affordable, convenient space to create.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 4 millimetre plastic sheeting
  • Canvas dust sheets
  • Staple gun
  • 1 x 6 wooden boards
  • L-brackets (optional)
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Chop saw or circular saw
  • Two window fans
  • Respirator
  • Plug-in fluorescent lighting
  • Full-spectrum "natural light" fluorescent bulbs

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  1. 1

    Choose a room for your home studio that is near a bathroom. This way you can save the cost of installing a studio sink. Keep a can of powdered bathroom cleanser such as Ajax or Comet and a sponge under the sink for convenient clean up.

  2. 2

    Check yard sales for large, sturdy tables to use as studio furniture. If you are a painter, avoid spending money on expensive easels by working on small paintings directly on the wall, or by resting large paintings on old paint cans.

  3. 3

    Plan for efficient storage. Many rooms in homes or apartments will feature clothing closets; use this space wisely. Remove the horizontal clothes-hanger bar, and line the interior of the closet with shelving for art supplies. To save money, make your own shelves out of cut 1-foot-by-6-foot boards, using wooden strips or L-brackets for supports.

  4. 4

    Install window fans to provide ventilation. Avoid the cost of installing a professional ventilation system with strategically placed window fans. Ideally, you will be able to achieve cross-circulation with two windows; set one window fan on exhaust, and use a fan in another window to introduce fresh air. Wear a respirator when working with strong solvents.

  5. 5

    Install economical lighting. Rather than paying for expensive halogen or direct-wired fluorescent lighting systems, install simple plug-in fluorescent lighting for a fraction of the cost. Replace the bulbs in your fluorescent lights with full-spectrum "natural light" fluorescent bulbs, available at any hardware store. Save even more money by keeping your lights unplugged when not in use.

  6. 6

    Protect the room. Since you are converting a room in a house or apartment, you may need to convert it back at some point. However, there's no need to install expensive false floors over your existing floor. Simply cover the floor and walls with 4-millimeter plastic sheeting, and then cover the floor with an additional layer of canvas dropcloth. The plastic will protect the floor from incidental spills, and the canvas will keep the plastic from tearing.

Tips and warnings

  • Never work with paints or other toxic materials in enclosed spaces--always ensure adequate ventilation when working in a home studio.

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