Its in our DNA. 
We lust after a space to call our own. 
A place to read, to dream, to troll pinterest, pursue a hobby,
manage life's necessities
and create.   

My last sewing project took over my entire dining and family rooms. 
Fabric and bits of thread and fluff covered the sofa and the floor under the sewing machine. 
Bailey, my fur child roughly the size of a semi-truck, slept under the table at my feet -
then wore the threads and bits of fluff the remainder of the day.

I am obviously desperately in need of this post!
Currently the spare bedroom in my home serves as a storage facility
for my supplies, fabrics, trim, samples, paint fans, computer and books.
 Lots and lots of books.
They are not attractively arranged in bins and boxes or tucked neatly out of sight
I do not have a beautiful soothing color on my walls
nor a bulletin board full of inspiration.
Not Yet.

 I need a space that encourages creativity,
has a workspace for projects,
isn't cluttered,
has ample storage,
has a tv and computer
can accomodate clients
 and masquerades as a guest bedroom when necessary. 
[Kind of makes my head hurt a little bit.]

When I received this email from a reader,
it made me realize I wasn't alone in wanting a space of my own.   
She's kind of adorable too. 
How could I not help her?
Adrienne's Email:

I'm going to attach a couple pictures. The room before and the empty room now. PARDON all the trash lol. We are in the middle of a huge renovation lol.
The pictures with all the stuff in the room is how it was previously. The filing cabinet is one of those big HON lateral filing cabinets. It's full of my sewing patterns. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

What I truly desire is just a studio that flows and functions well. I want it to be as open as possible, not cluttered look at all. I have NO idea where to start or how to arrange things, what to keep and what to get rid of. I'm ALL for hidden storage for all my fabric. I'm just in need of HELP lol
The only thing I have done is painted it a neutral color. I'm going to have recess lights put in and that's about it lol

Thanks sooooooo much!

Here is her 'cluttered' space....which is much less cluttered than mine...

And the renovations:

Already I'm jealous of her private entry and all the wonderful light from those windows. 
She has a nice neutral beige on the walls and I see that the base and crown moldings are ready to be installed - and can lights (recessed) will be added.  So glad the border is gone.  But fresh white base and crown molding and trim will freshen things up nicely.

So here are a few ideas to help inspire you, Adrienne, and anyone else out there currently thinking of making a space just for themselves, to create.  My advice in planning a work space is usually as follows:

1.  The Bones First:  Here's your opportunity to add those details that are so important to good design.  Flooring, (will you need a hard surface or a rug?); moldings (don't neglect this room) both crown and base and any other details you want (beadboard, etc.).  Wall color (something soothing and inspiring) -  Built-ins?  (Bookshelves, window seat, etc.)  (Adrienne, you already have this in place - this is for other readers...)
2. The Functional Furniture:   Every space needs functional furniture - tables, desks, chairs - its how the work gets done.  I'm a firm believer that furniture should be as attractive as possible.  I  subscribe to having nothing in your home that you don't find useful or beautiful [William Morris].  In a home office, a beautiful desk and chair make those mundane tasks more appealing.
design public
At Ana White's site, you can find woodworking patterns to make your own work table.
Ana White

 Being Brook used her pattern to create her own workspace below.  It looks a lot like the one from Pottery Barn below, don't you think?  Her workspace looks so fresh and clutter free.

Being Brook
Pottery Barn
Not into building from scratch?  This table was created using two Expedit bookcases. 
For space challenged rooms (like mine)
a long desk against a wall maximizes creative space
 Or, you can scour flea markets for a vintage piece to add a little character

3.   Make a space for inspiration.  Bulletin boards hold project notes, small pattern pieces, paint chips, inspirational photos, etc.  When I walk in to my office space I want to see images that encourage me to be creative - get the juices flowing so to speak...  This bulletin board - covered in burlap and framed with molding and nailheads is the perfect place to pin photos, notes, and pictures that inspire

 I love this look -

and this, which happens to be Drew Barrymore's office inspiration wall... 
   and this, easily created with cork squares - some covered with fabric - and blackboard squares
framed out with molding

all adorable, but this one is my favorite
the nailhead pattern is killer
Little Green Notebook
3.  Provide storage to unclutter your space.  Creative minds have a problem with clutter.  It creeps up on us - while our brains are busy creating...  So storage that keeps supplies neat and out of sight whenever possible - is key.  Attractive storage, of course.  Like this adorable cupboard.

or repurposed file cabinets
Ticking and Toile

Ikea cabinets (on the right) are inexpensive and functional
and they don't suck in the looks department either
And don't you love that the fabric is color coordinated?
Apartment Therapy

I've discovered there is a whole Ikea 'Hack' culture out there,
turning Ikea furniture into DIY dream projects

but if clutter has you down in your work space, you don't have to be a DIY wizard -
these Ikea cabinets come as is, with opaque glass fronts so that your supplies are visible enough to find while obscuring the clutter
[perfect for a room that has more than 1 function] 

Craigslist and flea markets can bring you industrial chic for pennies
and this wall of lockers and metal cabinets and files has a charm all its own

Think outside the box - Ikea's kitchen cabinets are used in this craft room/workspace
and again I like the opaque glass - such a nice clean look

the clever people at Home Stories A to Z transformed a throw away dresser
into this charming storage chest painted with blackboard paint
DIY tutorial here

4.  Creative storage for the things that need to be within reach.  Not everything can be hidden.  Some things need to be at hand - but open shelving can still look tidy with the use of color coordinated storage
Conspicuous Style


the trick is repetition
using the same sizes, the same shapes, the same colors
over and over
The Nest
and while it doesn't have to be neutral
it shouldn't have too many busy patterns
[there is such a thing as visual clutter]
too many colors and patterns together can be just as distracting

A Bowl Full of Lemons
 sometimes you need a little help in putting things out of sight
fabric can help  - like these curtains hiding supplies and file cabinets

Inspired Room
 I was particularly inspired by this creative DIY

this clever blogger created her own storage
using cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, and pipe fittings

these fabric covered boxes started out as Propel boxes.

I love clever storage.  These galvanized pails are decorative and functional.

Craftaholics Anonymous
Another clever idea - using shower rings, binder clips and large ziplock bags on a closet rod

Creating the Hive

and clothespins to organize embroidery floss
Heather Js Life
 fabric in a file drawer
Sew Many Ways

or folded around cardboard forms to stand up like colorful books
Smashed Peas and Carrots
I'm so making this.... for all that ribbon I can never find in boxes...
Kim Vallee
and this.... for my glitter - such a pretty idea...

5. A comfy spot to read, write, plan, relax...  You know you need it.  A place to look over that magazine, take a phone call, de-stress. 
Tiny White Daisies
and if it has storage built in - all the better.!
6.  Finally, make sure you add your own personality to the room by surrounding yourself in the color, fabrics, textures and objects you love.

Heather Bailey
So, how do you organize your space? I'm dying to hear.
And Adrienne, I hope this helps you.  It certainly helped me.


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