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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Any creative ideas for an art room at home?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26789points) June 3rd, 2010

We do not currently use the front room of our home. It’s an odd shape to decorate functionally. 100 years ago it was an exterior front porch, and now it is walled in. It runs the entire length of the front of the house, but it is probably ¼ in depth as it is long. Basically it’s a very long and skinny rectangular room. Three walls are completely covered with windows (but it is on the wrong side of the house to be a sunroom). The other wall has 2 sets of french doors, making wall space VERY limited. As it was a porch, the floor is gently sloped towards the front – so placing tall furniture is nearly impossible, it won’t stand up without leaning unless it is quite bottom heavy. There is a picture of the room (poor quality cell phone pic, but you get the gist of it) here.

Now, since we are not using the room for anything, I would like to turn it into a work space. I do a lot of painting, drawing, and sewing.. and I’d really like to stop doing that in my kitchen. I hate having to drag everything out and carry it back every time I want to do a project. What I need are some creative ideas for utilizing an awkward space. How can I make it my own? I need attractive storage ideas for paints, brushes, spools of thread, lots of fabric, as well as a place for at least 2 sewing machines. Right now it is painted all white and needs quite a bit of work as a general room. It’s been pretty neglected. I had hoped to keep it white and decorated in very neutral colors, so that my environment doesn’t interfere with whatever creative work I’m doing at the time. But I am open to color suggestions, furniture ideas, storage ideas, and definitely window treatments. Sorry this ended up being so long, but I appreciate any ideas!

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17 Answers

PacificToast's avatar

If you still had light, you could put cabinets in where the windows are, and maybe a table that works like a bed in the wall does. Flipping down, I mean.

gemiwing's avatar

How wonderful to have such a bright space to do your work in!

I would make a riser just big enough to level out the floor so you can put your sewing machines on it. Then at the opposite narrow end I would set up another identical riser for your table/drawing.

Another option is like @PacificToast said- make a table that flips down from the wall. Then you can adjust each supporting leg as needed to create a level surface. On the underside of the table I would affix locking drawers to keep pencils, scissors and the like. Then when the table is up or down- they are easy to hand and stored safely.

For storage I would look at hanging baskets and a bucket tree ( large home depot style buckets- strung together with string or chain – with bolts keeping the bucket stable, put about three high so you can reach the top and then hung from the ceiling).

Another option is a hanging drawer. Take a large drawer (or just a divided wooden box) about 1/5ft by 3ft and suspend it by pulley system. When you’re working- down it comes. When you’re done- hoist it up and tie it off.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@PacificToast I would have to see how much wall space I actually have to see if a flip down table would work, but that’s a smart space saving idea. I used to have a table like that when I lived with my parents, my father built it for me in his workshop. It even had a lip on the edge and adjustable angles, so it could be used as a flat table or as an easel. I miss that table :)

@gemiwing WOW, what brilliant suggestions. I never thought to hang things from the ceiling for storage.. but that would make so much sense in this room. Thank you!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oooh, can you find one of those old fashioned cubbies to attach to the wall? My inner 5 year old likes cubbies.

SamIAm's avatar

first of all, realsimple.com will become your new best friend.

i recommend getting a drafting table from ikea – they are inexpensive and wonderful… very large and you can choose the legs (some of which have build in shelves). also, so you are not blocking too much of the windows, you can go to a place like home depot, or the container store and design your own shelving/short bookcases.

Sites like thecontainerstore.com and realsimple.com are going to be very helpful.

i have a lot of organizing ideas so if you would like more info, PM me. :)

Merriment's avatar

Since sewing isn’t the only art you do in the room, I would want to have separate art areas so as not to have to worry about fabrics getting paint on them.

I would make two L shaped work tables/desks in the opposing corners using either recycled solid core doors or 5/8 inch plywood. You can build storage into these L desks by using either stack-able drawers, filing cabinets or milk crates as your “supports”.

The good thing about re-purposing things like solid core doors and old filing cabinets is that you can get them cheap at yard sales and such and then use your artistic flair to repaint and decorate them with a unifying theme.

I used old plastic milk crates and new fabric tote squares to make myself a closet organizer. link

Buying a couple wire baker’s rack shelving units would be a good storage solution for your fabrics if they are actual bolts of cloth.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

These are all really creative and functional solutions.. thank you so much!

anartist's avatar

Does it have north light? Artists like that.
I would run, build a long wall of countertop/desk/workspace/drawers/cupboards including map drawers if you are a printmaker along the length. Get cheap but colorful faux oriental runners/rag runners, have the lower cupboards and drawers full of art supplies, hang plants at every space between windows, have decorative chairs for working/visiting/lounging, and tiny folding teatables for using it as a lounge/hangout, have audio run to it.

You are so lucky to have this space. I would ADORE it!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@anartist the windows face the north, yes. The light played a big part in me wanting to use this room as a workspace – rather than building myself something in the basement, for example. I love your decorating suggestions.. especially incorporating a hangout area. I often have someone with me when I’m working on a project, one of my sisters, or my husband.. and I’d like to have a space for people to sit and just hang out with me while I’m out there. I have been wracking my brain over this room for months now.. and from listening to everyone’s suggestions today I finally have a vision for it in my head. I love that so much! Thank you!

gemiwing's avatar

Oh! I just found this and it made me think that if you hang a rod (non-tension) across the narrow bits you could hang shelves from that rod. The ones in the link are a little too…utilitarian for my taste so I would get lightweight pre-fab shelves and bracket them to the pole. I would get shelves without a back on them so you won’t lose any light. You could drill four openings in the top layer- use industrial velcro straps (they come in white) and make a large loop on each side- like a large shelf/purse lol. Stabilizing the bottoms would be mainly done from the wide placement of the straps on the top. I wouldn’t use this for storing heavy objects- yet for fabric/ brushes etc it would be handy.

An easier option is to install the pole wherever you like and use those hanging clothes sorters. The cloth ones that look like shelves. Since they aren’t very strong I would recommend them as a stopgap until you can do the wooden ones.

I’m so excited for you- you’ll have to share pics once you get it all set up!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@gemiwing that is PERFECT. Ugh, I am so inspired now.. I want to run to the hardware store immediately. lol.

gemiwing's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie I’ll go get the car! lol

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@gemiwing you can’t see me, but I literally just jumped up and down in my chair with excitement. lol. I am so pumped now, I was expecting ideas.. and what I got was inspiration. That’s a good good feeling. :)

NicoleSochacki's avatar

I would repurpose as much as possible…use old doors for tables/worktables and orphaned drawers for storage space…wicker baskets can hold supplies, bookcases are good for storing supplies as well as having things on display for decoration. Clear glass jars and containers showing off buttons or spools of thread are aesthetically pleasing as well as inspiring. If you see what you have you’ll be more inclined to create.

NicoleSochacki's avatar

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/roundup/repurposed-orphaned-drawers-roundup-117869

Here is a link to photos of different ways to repurpose drawers. Too cute.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Wow, that IS cute!!

isuppose's avatar

I’m on board with @aprilsimnel ‘s cubby idea. It’d be awesome to have a bunch of them on the wall to hold different art supplies, or maybe mount some shelves on the wall too. What I would do is make a table that is connected to the wall and have it go either all the way around or around most of the room, it’d give you alot of space for working.

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