15 Home Studio Must-Haves

Last week I dived into why I have a home studio, and since then, I have had a lot of questions about what I think you need to create a good home studio. Now I am not expert by any means, but I thought I would make a quick-fire list of fifteen items that have made my studio experience better. Either because it has allowed me to continue creating, or just made me more comfortable within the space for long periods. Don’t worry; there aren’t any big-brands or crazy expensive must-have items - just regular things that you could even purchase at a dollar store. So let’s jump in!

1. Pens & Markers - a lot of them. I’m not saying buy a bunch of microns and high-quality markers. Just grab a bunch of different varieties: thick, thin, metallic, neon, etc. So when that idea comes, you have something to write it down with it. Plus make sure that you check if they work every few months - nothing is worse then a dead marker.

2. Extra sketchbooks. The same thing as the pens, once you like a sketchbook, buy a few copies of it and store it away within your studio space. This way, you never create something you love on a random piece of scrap paper or a napkin that ends up going missing. Or even worse - writing it down in the note section of your phone, only to find it months later and have no idea what it means. 

3. Tape. Every single type you can grab.

4. A printer with a scanner option. It’s not only great for documenting paperwork, but you’d be surprised how many applications need you physically to print a form, fill it out and email them the scanned copy of it. 

5. Extra ink and paper for the said printer. (duh) 

6. An actual comfortable chair, not that old dining room chair that squeaks or that wobbly stool from the garage. Find a chair that you can sit on for hours at a time; I recommend chairs with wheels - just in case you never want to get up. 

7. Drawers. Tons and tons of drawer space. They will help you store, organize and keep your work and supplies safe. My area has nine drawers, two milk crates and two medium-sized IKEA boxes - and I could still use more.  

8. Clamp light. Document your work professionally in your own space. All you need is an extra pair of hands or an object to lock it on to as you take your shot.

9. A white wall or large piece of foam core for said documentation. 

10. Lysol wipes, or a lint brush/roller if you make textile work like me. Keep your space clean, and there will never be an excuse not to use it. It sounds silly to say, but actually, wipe up spills when they happen or don’t let dust bunnies take over. Being messy doesn’t make you an artist; it just makes it harder to work in the space. 

11. A fan for when it’s hot as hell outside, and a space heater when it isn’t. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wear a bunch of layers when I’m supposed to be working. I find it constraining and, overall, just too hot. So prepare yourself for all weather, and to be comfortable within the space. But get an actual sized fan, or space heater - the cute mini ones for your desk, often advertised on Facebook won’t do you any good when the storms come. 

12. Post-it notes, and a dedicated place to hang them. It’s simple, have a great idea that you want to explore or something that you need to remember. Just create a small section of your studio to stick them to, and this way you won’t forget. 

13. Several different types of room lighting. Yes, your room has one light in the centre, but that won’t be much help when you are working. It is always a good idea to have a variety of light intensities, hues and sizes within your space. Not only will it make it easier to see the art, but also to do quick documentation if necessary. 

14. Paint and brushes. Even if you don’t paint as part of your practice, this medium pops up at the worst time, and you never have time to run to the art supply store. So keep one tube of the primaries, plus black and white within your drawers this way you are ready. As for brushes, I have a set from the dollar store, which I keep on hand just in case. Paint doesn’t expire, so keep it closed, and it will be waiting for you until you need it. 

15. A candle. Okay, I know this one stands out from the other ones of the list - but trust me, it fits in. I find myself wanting to snack all day when I’m in the studio or continuously sipping on coffee. But recently, I received a coffee-scented candle, and have been using it ever since. I light it right before I get started for the day, and my whole apartment smells like a coffee shop. It allows me to drift further into my work and focus better during long periods. Now it doesn’t have to be coffee-scented or even a candle. Just find a way to make your space inventing to more than one of your senses, and you will find it easier to stay there and work. 

So that is my list, what do you think? Did I miss one of your favourites? If so, let me know! I love knowing what others put within their creative spaces - maybe I’ll even fall in love with one of your recommendations. See you next week!

- Sarah Zanchetta

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