My friend Megan Auman is taking over Style for a Happy Home today to tell you about how she created her awesome happy studio and to share her tips on designing the perfect space. Please make her feel welcome. x
This past year, I had the opportunity to do something most makers only dream about – design a new studio for myself. My husband and I are in the process of renovating a farmhouse, and the first room to get the makeover treatment was my studio. (Hey, it is how I make my living, after all.)
Since the studio is where I spend most of my time, I wanted to make sure it was a happy place to work. I scoured Pinterest for inspiration and soon I had an idea of exactly how I wanted the space to look.
But beyond how the space looked, I knew it needed to be functional, comfortable, and inspiring. So I gave myself a series of guidelines to follow with the space. These guidelines helped me create a studio that I LOVE working in every single day.
Even if you don’t have a studio, you can still apply these to other rooms of your home, like an office or workspace, playroom, or even your kitchen.
- Keep it light and bright. My old studio was in the basement so I was more than thrilled to move into a space with not only windows, but skylights. The space already had such great natural light that I didn’t want to lose a drop of that. I’m actually a big fan of dark walls and furniture in rooms where you want to create an intimate feel (like a bedroom or dining room), but for a space I have to work in everyday, light and bright is essential. I chose a lighter color for the floor (since it’s the biggest surface in the room), kept the walls light, and stayed away from any piece of furniture that was too dark.
- Store low, display high. Since the studio is also my office (and I do run a full-time business) I knew I had to make space for storage. One component that proved particularly tricky was my jewelry inventory. It takes up a fair amount of shelf/wall space and needs to be easily accessed. Finally, I landed on a shelving solution that I want to now use everywhere, and that’s store low, display high. I mounted shelves to the walls that were completely serviceable, but the highest shelf was only at about four feet. I use the top shelf to display my paintings, photos, inspiration, and items that I love. That way, when you enter the space, the first thing your eye sees is the art and decorative pieces, not the functional stuff below.
- Don’t feel obligated to use existing pieces if they don’t work. The furniture in my old studio was a mishmash of stuff I’d accumulated over the early years of my business. As I designed the new space, I struggled with how to work some of the those pieces in. Particularly problematic was my jeweler’s table, which was in such a dark color that it would have instantly brought down the lightness of the room. In the end, I let myself start from scratch and only bring in pieces that I truly love. The pieces I couldn’t use will get sold, donated, or moved to a different space in the house. It’s not worth ruining a great remodel by bringing in pieces that don’t make sense anymore!
- Use the space and let it develop naturally. It always seems like a remodel takes longer than you want, and my studio was no exception. I just wanted it to be finished! But I also new that I couldn’t rush the space, or I would end up with pieces I wasn’t happy with and a layout I didn’t love. So instead of trying to finish the space in a weekend, I took a few weeks to slowly move in and start working. This let me get a feel for exactly how I wanted to use the space and what furniture I still needed to maximize my work areas.
- Bring in fresh flowers every week. Once the remodel was finished, I wanted to make sure I was still viewing the space as special. So every week, I bring in fresh flowers. When the garden is in bloom, I often pick them from right outside my door. But if nothing is blooming, I head to the store and pick up something great. I love the idea of always having something fresh and alive in the space. (And since I have a black thumb, houseplants aren’t an option!) Bringing in fresh flowers is not only a way to make the space feel happier, it’s my weekly treat for myself. It’s a great way to remember that not only is it important to cultivate a happy space, but a happy me as well!
Thanks to Dannielle for letting me share my space with all of you!
Megan Auman is an artist, designer, educator, and entrepreneur. Her eponymous jewelry line is sold online and in stores across the US and she recently launched a line of textiles. She helps makers and designers run their businesses at Designing an MBA. Megan lives and works in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband and their 90-lb mutt, Grizzly.