I’m not sure if there is really a “perfect” studio, but I can tell you what I wish I had, for sure!
Mine probably wouldn’t be “Pinterest Worthy”, but it would be efficient! I think, ideally, I would have a separate canvas painting studio, and furniture painting studio. (And a craft room, too, of course!) But I know I am being a little extra here. (I found this one while doing an online search.)
I am going to think about furniture painting first, since it takes up so much more room. The ideal studio would have enough room for a storage area for pieces in waiting, and a staging area for photos, and another area to wait for it’s new home.
I see people, all of the time, saying that their husband thinks a 10 X 10 She Shed will be enough room for her painting business. This is absolutely, 100% not enough room. I have a 10 X 10 room that about 1/2 of my pieces in waiting (furniture and smalls) are stored in. There is no room to walk, and it is about at capacity. Yet, I still feel the need to search Facebook Marketplace daily for new pieces. Ideally, this area would need to be at least 10 X 20, or better yet, 14 X 20, if I am being honest.
The staging area/wall needs to be at least 14 X 10. You have to have enough room for lights, tripods, a few staging pieces, and to be able to stand back and get good photos from several angles. 10 X 10 is not enough, I have tried, and could not get good photos without backing out of the door and trying to shoot through the doorway. Plus it is a pain to get he pieces in and out of the doorways. So, MINIMUM 14 X 10.
Then you need a paint storage room or area. I have mine in a 10 X 10 and it fits, but it is tight. I keep my tools, paints, supplies, stamps, stencils, papers, and staging items like flowers and vases in this room, along with a few odds and ends, like odd cabinet doors and FIFO bottles, rags, rolling stools, etc. in there. It is a dreary storage area, and I would LOVE to have it just for supplies and tools, and have a separate staging supply room. (That way I could fix it up cute and take Pinterest Worthy photos!) 10 X 10 would be great here, for just paints, but with staging supplies, too, 10 X 14 would be a minimum again. 10 X 20 would be even better.
Then there is the actual painting area. My current area is 10 X 14, and it is very tight. I work with tripods and ring lights, as most of the time I am either doing a Facebook live, or recording a video for my membership group or YouTube. I have 3 six foot tables set up in there, which takes up most of the room. If it is a small piece, I put it on one of the tables. I need an entire table to hold the supplies for any given project. I am always working on at least 2 projects, so the room does fill up very quickly and I barely have elbow room to work. (I use up some of the hallway, so it is actually 13 X 14. I would estimate that the “ideal” working/painting area would be at least 14 X 20. Room for the tables and second piece at one end of the room, and room for the current project at the other. Man, that would be nice!
The staging area, waiting for pickup, that I currently have is 10 X 25 and it is tight, tight. When I have a large piece, like the 8’ Farmhouse table that is in there now, there is no extra room for staging the pieces to look pretty. Ideally, 20 X 25 would be a nice little showroom.
So, what does that add up to? 14 X 20, (280 sq ft) plus, 14 X 10, (140 sq ft) plus 10 X 20, (200 sq ft) plus 14 X 20, (280 sq ft) plus 20 X 25, (500 sq ft) that’s 1370 sq ft. We also need a laundry room with utility sink, office area, and restroom. Each of those would work in a 10 X 10, so 300 sq ft, for a total “warehouse/studio” space of 1670 sq ft. Now, THAT would be ideal!
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There are a few “necessities” that you don’t think of at first. Some I have, some are on my wish list. The main ones are a washer and dryer (tons of rags with “stuff” on them that you don’t want messing up your good washer and dryer.) A good utility sink. (Don’t wash paint down the drain if you have a septic system, but you do still have to wash your brushes!) Peg board. Believe me, you have lots’ of crazy little things that get lost and forgotten (and repurchased-out of sight, out of mind) if they are not hanging in plain sight.
Folding tables. At least 3. Rolling tables and carts, at least 3. Shelving units (industrial-paint and tools are heavy) At least 4. A solid bar height counter/table would be fantastic for working on hardware, sanding, blending, mixing, etc. Rolling stools (I use the massage therapist type.)
Tools: sander, sprayer (I did not even put us in a spraying room, add a 10 X 14 for that, or save room for a spray tent outside) screw gun (drill), Drill, Battery light, sawsall, circular saw, miter box, compound miter saw, (table saw, if you can get one, but add another 100 sq ft for it!) Buffer/polisher, Shop Vac, Nail gun, Hot glue guns (battery powered). 4’ ladder.
On my wish list: Hydraulic table. I want/NEED one of these right now! Furniture is heavy, trying to place it to get good video and photos while you work take a lot of movement. Having your piece at eye level saves the shoulders, and the back! With the hydraulic lift table, you can get the piece in and out of your car/truck without straining, lower it to paint the top, raise it to paint the legs, and stand right beside it for videos. They go on sale at Harbor Freight for under $200, and I have asked for one for my Valentine’s Day/Anniversary/Birthday present. If it does not happen, I will invest in it myself!
If my canvas studio was to be in the same building, I would need natural light and a good view (important inspiration!), and my current studio space is 1000 sq ft, including my craft room, and it is perfect, so I would add at least 800-1000 sq ft for that. Apparently I DO need a warehouse, or at least a house, just for my painting studio.
What do you think is important to have in your studio? What could you not do without? Where do you think I could cut back?