Shelley Bassett



Part of the gallery wall in my study studio

Setting up my study studio space in a tiny place

February 25, 2020

How do you set up a home office to maximise the tiny space? I set up my study studio with room to spare.

Last year I made a big step with my parter. I said goodbye to the first home I lived in by myself, and we moved in together. And my favourite part of this house? The dedicated studio space. My new house is much smaller and has far less space for my creativity, but I’ve still found ways to make it work.

Saying goodbye to my first house was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. And now I’m faced with the challenge of fitting all my art and design resources into one small space. I’ll be honest, this really has just meant that things have overflowed into the remainder of the house. But there are still some useful thing’s I’ve learnt about space saving along the way.

Display the things that are inspiring

I’ve had to juggle a lot of my old storage solutions into different spaces in the new house. Shelving from the bathroom is now in the study studio. The cube storage has migrated into the dining room. And the bookshelves are scattered throughout the house.

One thing that I’ve implemented in both studios is displaying art that I find inspiring. I make sure to have a mixture of things that I created, as well as work by artists that I admire. I figure if I’m making things that belong in that display, I’m on the right track.

Part of the gallery wall in my study studio
Part of the gallery wall in my study studio

Flat Spaces are a premium

In just this tiny square room, I’ve managed to squeeze in two large desks and a long dresser/sideboard. It’s given me space to spread out, work on several things at once, and have enough room left over for the computer to do the digital aspect of my work.

So where does everything else go? Believe it or not, it’s mostly tucked underneath the benches! Anything that gets regular use is placed in easy-to-access places (like in jars on the desks), but finished projects, completed sketchbooks and rarely-used items are stashed under the desks. It’s amazing how much you can fit without compromising leg room!

Store like with like

I used to have all my art and design books in a shelf together. They made a great addition to the room, and made it feel like a professional studio. Unfortunately, there’s not enough space in this room to have a whole bookshelf, so I had to come up with a new solution.

My partner also happens to be an avid reader, and has a huge number of books on a variety of subjects. Because we knew that we would have a large display of books in our lounge, It made sense to move my art books in there too.

Our combined bookshelf, sorted by colour!
Our combined bookshelf, sorted by colour!

Now, all the books are in one central location, in a room that’s comfortable to sit and read in. And because I find myself browsing the shelves regularly, I now see (and read!) my design books far more often.

Make space for the cat

If like me, you share your home with a much loved pet, include them! My giant fluff-ball of a ginger cat will regularly try to sit on me or my work while I’m in the home office. And this isn’t always desireable, especially if your 4-legged friend is as clumsy as Chester.

A very handsome ginger cat called Chester
A very handsome ginger cat called Chester

No matter the size of my study studio, I always need to make room for the cat. Wether it’s by including occasional chairs for him to nap on, or giving up and just leaving his basket under the desk, he’s an integral part of my space. He wants to be close to me as much as I want to be with him, and this way we can be together without him destroying my art.

Don’t be afraid of change

Just because I’ve outlined what my space looks like currently, doesn’t mean this is what it will look like next week. And one of the biggest things that moving studio spaces has shown me, is that it’s not the size, or the light, or the storage that makes the artist. It’s drive and passion and perseverance.

I’m working harder than ever before. If you’re following my Facebook page or Instagram you’ll have seen a massive up-tick in the amount of work I’m producing. While I miss the big beautiful windows and bright white walls I used to have,