Sometimes I get the craziest ideas at 3 a.m.
I woke up last night thinking about my art room. It’s on the first floor between the living room and the kitchen. It occurred to me that it would be more convenient if the art room were adjacent to my basement storage space where I keep art supplies. If I moved the art room to the basement I’d also open up a room that could be used as a library and a home office, something I’ve been trying for months to find a space for in our small cottage home.
And so, at 3 a.m. and with no planning, I started moving supplies and setting up lightweight shelving. A few years ago I’d have done it all myself in a day. Now it will take me several days and I will need my grandsons to haul the furniture and heavy boxes.
It was a good idea though.
Arts and crafts are messy projects. They will quickly turn your home into an artistic disaster if you let them and moving my projects off the first floor will eliminate a lot of the mess that was always spilling over into our living space.
The basement room is a pretty room. long and narrow, at the back of our walk-out basement. It’s not really underground but at ground level. It has a door that opens onto the garden and it has windows on three sides. We use it as a guest room but otherwise we’ve not known what to do with it and it had become a catch-all space where we stashed things to get them out of the way. I once tried to make it the home office but it is too far from our modem and the Wifi doesn’t work well there.
If you don’t have your own creative space already I would encourage you to find one. Hobbies can be one of the most rewarding things in a person’s life and well worth whatever space you are able to dedicate to it.
Re-purposing an entire room to be used exclusively for art isn’t a possibility for everyone. I’m lucky that, while my house is a small 1000 sq. ft., it has lots of rooms, albeit small ones, and I can spare the space. There are other ways to create space for hobbies though, even if you can’t spare an entire room.
If your guest room seldom gets used, consider making it a combined guest/hobby room. This is what I have done. Although I had the space to leave my comfortable double bed right where it was, you might move yours out to make room for work tables instead. A sleeper sofa and a large coffee table can provide you with a place to sit and work on projects and still allow a place to sleep the occasional overnight guest or even yourself if you get carried away and work on your hobby late into the night as I sometimes do.
The laundry room is a space where there’s often room for expansion. Or a closet can be emptied and equipped with a table, chair, pegboard, shelves or other specialized storage. Closing the door hides the mess.
Basements are often dark and damp but yours just might provide you with the only space that you can spare. Or maybe you could find a place in an attic or corner of the garage. If it’s not an inviting space you won’t want to use it. Before you start moving in the hobby supplies, brighten the space by painting walls and adding good lighting. Place a rug on the floor for softness and warmth. A large mirror can give you the feeling of having a window especially if you dress it with curtains or a valance. A space heater might be needed for the colder months.
An outdoor shed might be just right for what you want to do. You can buy one pre-built for under $1000 at Home Depot or Lowes. Be careful where you locate it though. Sitting in the hot afternoon sun will make it too hot inside for comfort. Dress it up with flower boxes and a pretty paint job and you’ll have your own little hobby shack!
Maybe a rolling cart filled with supplies or a desk in the corner of your bedroom is all that you need to get you started. Lift top coffee tables make working at the living room sofa a possibility too, and most of them have storage space inside.
Creating hobby space doesn’t need to be expensive. If you don’t already have a work table, shelving, and lamps, etc. that you can “borrow” from other rooms in your home, check your local thrift store. I bought vintage lamps at my favorite Goodwill for less than $5. A table that folds up for easy storage and for transporting to the craft fair cost less than $50 at Lowes. Inexpensive plastic bins and drawers came from Target and the Dollar stores. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are great places for finding inexpensive shelving and cabinets.
Create your space with no budget at all by being creative and re-purposing cast-off items to new uses. For example, an organizer designed to hold coffee pods in the kitchen makes a great holder for bottles of acrylic paints. Or attach a binder clip to the bottom of paint tubes and hang them from a pegboard. Magazine holders keep scrapbooking and craft papers neat and tidy. The top of a dining room hutch can be hung on a wall for shelving. If you need ideas for re-purposing your particular cast off item check out Pinterest for inspiration and to see what others have done.
Here are some of my favorite craft room ideas from Pinterest: