How to set up your studio: a practical guide for artists

Abstract artist Claire Desjardins, in her painting studio.

As an artist who breathes life into colors and shapes using (mostly) acrylic paints, the organization of my studio is not just about tidiness; it’s about creating a space where creativity flows unimpeded. Here, I'll share some insights into organizing an artist's studio, especially tailored for those of us who work with acrylics and have a plethora of materials that need a home.

Designate zones

Acrylic artist paints in art studio. 

First and foremost, divide your studio into specific zones. Think of it as choreographing spaces for various dances of your art journey.

  • Painting area: This is your stage. Natural light is a boon, so if possible, position your easel or painting table near a window. The light not only reveals the true vibrancy of your colors but also nurtures your connection with the outside world as you create.
  • Mixing station: Adjacent to your painting area, set up a mixing station. This could be a small table or a trolley, where you mix your colors. Keep it equipped with your palettes, mixing tools, and mediums.
  • Drying area: Acrylics dry quickly, but they still need a safe spot to rest. A shelving unit or a flat surface away from dust and direct sunlight is ideal.
  • Storage for supplies: Shelves, drawers, or cabinets are crucial. Organize your paints, brushes, and other materials here. Group them by type or color – whatever makes your process more intuitive.

Embrace vertical space

Storage racks for paintings.

When floor space is at a premium, think vertically. Walls are not just for hanging finished works; they're potential storage spaces. Install shelves or hang pegboards to store tools and materials. Magnetic strips can hold metal tools, keeping them visible and easily accessible.

Opt for mobility

Incorporate furniture on wheels. A rolling cart for supplies or a movable easel allows you to reconfigure your space effortlessly, adapting to the needs of each new project. This flexibility is key in a dynamic creative process.

Prioritize ergonomics

Comfort in your studio is not a luxury; it's essential. Choose a chair that supports your posture. If you stand while painting, consider an anti-fatigue mat. Your body’s well-being is as important as your art’s.

Contain the clutter

Tubes of acrylic artist paints in pots.

As an acrylic artist, you likely have an array of brushes, tools, and tubes. Use containers to keep small items in check. Transparent containers can be especially useful; they let you see your materials at a glance, reducing search time and keeping your focus on creation.

Personalize your space

Acrylic paint color chips pinned to art studio wall.

Your studio should echo your artistic voice. Maybe it’s a splash of inspirational color on the wall, a mood board, or plants that bring a bit of nature indoors. This personal touch makes the space uniquely conducive to your creativity.

Maintenance rituals

Paintbrushes in art studio.

End each day with a short clean-up. This small ritual helps in maintaining the order of your space and also offers a moment of closure, allowing you to step back and appreciate today’s progress.

Organizing an artist studio, particularly for an acrylic artist, is about creating a space that resonates with your artistic flow. It's a blend of practicality and personalization, ensuring that every tool is handy and every stroke of the brush is unhindered by the chaos of clutter. Remember, your studio is a reflection of your artistic journey – let it evolve as you do. Let these guidelines be the starting point, and watch how your space transforms along with your art.

Back to blog

1 comment

Thank you!

Maura McQueeney

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.