Vanessa Turner - Artist & Coach

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Creating Without An Art Studio

Creating without an art studio is possible! Many artists abandon their chances at developing a successful creativity practice by relying on the famous crutch…”I don’t have an art studio”. Whilst an art studio would be deemed ideal by most, it is certainly not a requirement.

In New York City, even seasoned and financially successful artists choose to work out of bedrooms and living rooms due to the costs and/or constraints of living in the city. There are a number of artists that must work from home and a number that choose to work from home, simply to be closer to family, and in a space that they dearly love.

For many artists, like myself, that work from home, having a separate room dedicated as an “Art Studio” is not feasible. And, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. Many of us have gotten creative and developed beautiful spaces in which to do our work.

Creating without a studio is possible and you can certainly create great work! Here’s how:

Creating Without An Art Studio - Artist At Easel

Let’s Have a Tough Talk

  • Do you feel that you can’t create because you don’t have a studio?
  • Are you saving creative projects for when you have a studio?
  • Does seeing beautiful photos of other artists’ studios on Instagram or Facebook leave you feeling defeated?

If the answer to any of these is ‘YES’, let’s do some re-framing sis. Unless you are couch-surfing or in a housing crisis, it’s likely that your home has space somewhere that you could create in. Your mind has probably been trying to talk you out of it because it’s going to require a bit more effort since it’s not your DREAM studio. And yes it will involve adjusting.

But listen! You can still do amazing work if you just get started!

4 Tips on Creating Without A Studio

1. Identifying a Creative Space

Let’s start with defining your ‘Creative Space’. This can be a corner in your living room, bedroom, the edge of your dining room table, a refurbished closet space etc. This is a space dedicated solely to your creative work. Find a spot, and claim it!

What’s more important than the location of your space, is how you ‘feel’ when you are in the space. You want an inviting space that encourages you to remain committed to your creative practice. Your environment has a huge impact on your creativity. If it’s dusty, cluttered, dark or depressing, it will affect how your ideas flow.

Thus, it’s important to curate your space so  that it’s enticing and feels comfortable. You want your creative space to feel like your sanctuary. For may surround yourself in your favorite colors, create an inspiration board/wall, or have selected objects nearby that feel meaningful to your work.

To inspire you, and get you creating without an art studio, here are some creative spaces from my fellow artists on insta:

Beautiful outdoor studio space of Darice Machel McGuire(@daricemachel)

The beautiful creative space of a landscape artist, providing lots of light for her beautiful work.

The vibrant creative space of Jessica Pittman (@jdesirejcpstudios)

Another lovely example of artist’s home studio space with a portable easel and lots of table space.

2. Choosing Your Storage & Tools

Consider using a trolley on wheels which has multiple drawers. This allows you easy access to a multitude of supplies without them taking up an enormous amount of space. Similarly, an expanding toolbox (like a fishing tackle box) is a handy method of storing  smaller supplies. Another option is to use a nearby closet or cupboard as your storage space. I currently use one side of the entertainment unit’s drawers and you would never know from sight alone.

If you’re working in your dining room or at the end of a table, consider using a table top easel. These are great when you don’t have space for a standing easel.

When using a dark corner or an area with low light, consider buying a daylight lamp or bulb for your space. Simply install the bulb in a nearby lamp or use an easel lighting attachment.

With nearby wall space, you can hang rows of string from nails and use pegs to hold paintings that are drying or those that you simply wish to keep within your sight through the creation process. Being surrounded by your own work is also a great way to inspire yourself and stay focused.

If you’re worried about destroying floor finishes (i.e. carpet or tile), decorator’s drop cloths are cheap and offer an easy solution to keeping the floor clean. When done, these cloths fold easily and can be placed within one of your trolley drawers.

3. Don’t Be a Hoarder

It also helps to be a little cutthroat when it comes to the hoarding of supplies and materials. I try to stay really lean in terms of paper, sketch books, paints etc. This helps to reduce over spending on art supplies while ensuring not to overcrowd your workspace.

4. Discipline & Focus

Last but least, to truly realize your potential, it will require discipline and focus. There may be many distractions around you such as chores, electronics etc. that will be vying for your attention. Be mindful of this. You owe it to yourself and your work to make the most of your time when in your creative space.

You’re Creative Space is Waiting to be Discovered

I hope this helps you to generate ideas if you don’t have a studio or a lot of room to make your art. Do not let the lack of an art studio space stop you from creating. There are always workarounds, and while they aren’t always ideal, they can be enough to keep you going while you work towards something more suitable. Creating without an art studio is possible!

It’s amazing how when you make a decision, like giving art space and time in your life, however small right now, creative solutions present themselves to you and opportunities start to show up!

Repurposed Closet Space (Before)
Repurposed Closet Space (After)

Check out this before and after comparison of Yvette Miller’s beautiful space! Yvette converted a closet space to an amazing little sanctuary (@yvettemillerlondon)


  • Thanks again for the feature. Such a good article which I think will help many creatives!

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