Making your perfect creative space is essential for anyone who works from home or spends lots of time doing creative projects. You don’t have to be an artist to have a creative space – it could simply be a place for you to stretch your mind and think differently about your work. As a freelancer, it’s essential that I have a place to work well and be creative because it’s what I’m paid to do, and while I try to be creative anywhere I go, it’s the office where I do most of my work.
In this post I’m going to talk a little bit about my own creative space and then talk about what I think makes a perfect creative space.
But before you think I’m some goddess of creativity, I want to show you what my study looked like when I moved in.
It took a whole year to get from this malevolent pile of moving boxes to this:
In making my perfect creative space I needed a place where I could work on my writing and photography without being interrupted, but also have a lovely place to sit and read a book. It also doubles as a guest room when visitors come over. It’s proof that you don’t need a huge room to be creative and organised. You just need to pick the right furniture and use the space that you have wisely.
It was important to me that the study be clean and minimalist, but not devoid of colour. Colour is really important in my art, as you can see from my travel photography, I try to carry across the vibrancy of life in my images. And this carries on with the design of the desk. I’ve used some cheap cork boards mounted on the back of the desk to pin up pictures of important things in my life – my husband, places I’ve been, friends, inspirational quotes.
On top I’ve organised my practical things, like printers, important documents and art supplies. I don’t use these every day, but I want them to be handy. I also have files for things I’m working on, like notes for my novel and travel magazines. On the smaller shelves are boxes with cables, wires, headphones, cds and the in-tray I really should clean out more often. I also keep a few personal knick-knacks for decoration (but not too many!). On the desk I try to keep as little as possible, only the things I need in arm’s reach such as pens, pencils and notebooks.
On the wall beside me I keep my yearly planner; underneath that are cabinets for storage. Storage is key, especially if you do an equipment heavy job. I try not to keep too much stuff on the sideboard as it’s a useful space for changing and cleaning lenses.
Some of the most important things to consider in making your own perfect creative space are:
Organised and clean
You want to be able to work whenever you need to, not spend an hour cleaning up your desk each time you need to use it. Make a special effort to have a time in the day or week to organise the space, tidy your in-tray and wipe it down. Reduce clutter and evaluate what you really need vs what is lurking around. Digitise as much paperwork as possible, such as bills and bank statements.
It’s no use having a pretty desk that doesn’t actually meet your needs. I needed a desk with decent storage for my files, stationery and equipment. I also get a great deal of use from the small cupboard and bookshelves. While you shouldn’t clutter unnecessarily, good storage is your friend to keep things out of sight until they’re needed. You may need to include space for a printer, scanner and computer.
If you’re going to spend a long time in the space, make it a place you love to go to. That’s going to be different for everyone; while I like light, clean spaces, other people might enjoy greenery, a nautical or sports theme. Include things that inspire you like quotes or photos of family. Remember it’s your space, not anyone else’s!
Where to start?
If you want to make a creative space of your own, start by marking out a place in your home that you can have for yourself. It could just be a corner or a small desk, but it’s yours. Let your family and flatmates know (and probably ask them before absconding with some of your house), that this is your space and you’d appreciate it if they help to keep it clean by not encroaching on it (by way of paperwork, gym gear etc).
Once you’ve identified your space, choose a desk that fits the area you have. My desk and chair was purchased at Officeworks after much consideration (and measuring tape!). I also recommend Kikki-K for your organisational stationery such as the fantastic folders on top of my desk, and the daily and yearly planners. Be warned, once you enter Kikki-K, you may not exit empty handed… Op shops are also a great source of original decorative items and furniture, such as the cute cat mugs I use for pencil holders.
Do you have a creative space? What is your essential item in your study? Have you been inspired to make your own creative space? Share your stories in the comments below.