Setting up a space to paint at home

Why you don’t need the perfect space to paint

In my house now, I have nabbed the best room in the house as my studio in which I run my art classes, and I’m really lucky to have all of that space.  However, I know what puts a lot of people off painting at home is the fact that they can’t have a dedicated art studio, or big space to paint in.  But – this shouldn’t be something that puts you off painting.  You don’t need a perfect space to paint – you just need a space to paint!

When I first started to get into painting again, we lived in a 1.5 bedroom flat at the time, and the tiny 0.5 room was what I had to play with – and I had to share this with our general stuff and the clothes drying rack etc.  I seem to remember making quite a lot of artwork sitting on the floor in there, as there wasn’t a table and before I bought myself an easel, which wasn’t ideal but I was determined to be able to paint.

Giving yourself permission to create a space to paint

I think often we don’t make a permanent space at home for painting because we feel that perhaps we might not stick with it, or feel that we can’t justify taking up space for our creative hobby. There can be something about setting up a space to paint that feels like you are saying to yourself, right – I’m a painter now, and that can feel a little intimidating.  But, it is also really good to do even if you have just started painting, as it helps to make it easier and more accessible to paint on a regular basis – and keep your painting momentum going.

Painting on a table top

If you have space to have table set up permanently for your painting, you don’t need a massive one.  A small desk would be absolutely fine, and it is often possible to squeeze them into places you hadn’t thought about before.  Maybe in the corner of a room, in the spare room, or even on the landing or under the stairs? 

If you don’t have space for a table to be up the whole time, why not think about a desk or table that folds away?  Ikea do some good ones where the sides fold down and you can tuck them in the corner. 

Or get yourself a thick plastic table cloth (any will do and you can get these from any department store or online), which you can lay on top of a desk or dining room table.  This is a great option as you can be messy without ruining your table top (like in my studio) – and you might want to get one whichever table top set up you have at home.

If you don’t have enough table space to set up your painting materials on a permanent basis, why not think about keeping all your materials on a tray or a cardboard box that you can simply tuck under a table, under the bed, or a book shelf?  They key is keeping them accessible even if they are not out the whole time. 

You can also get some quite big trays – big enough to fit an A4 pad of paper, a palette and your water on if you didn’t have a table top to work on too.  Again, when people come to my studio they often wish they could make work as big as we do in my space (sometimes up to A2 or A1 even), but I’d suggest not letting not being able to make work as big as you might like get in the way of you painting (again, that is going down the whole it has to be perfect or there is no point doing it route). 


Easels are a good option for painting if you don’t have room for painting on a table (or if you just prefer painting on an easel). They can be tucked in a corner of a room and moved into position when you want to use them. You can get smaller table top ones, or full size artist ones (I have one that I can rest a board which takes A1 paper on). The good thing about the bigger ones is that they are more study, and give you the option of being able to paint on a range of different size paper / a bigger scale.

The only downside with an easel is that you need something next to it to rest your water, paints etc, so it is worth bearing this in mind.

And remember……

If you don’t have the space yet and it might take a while if you have ordered a table or need to sort out some stuff to make space, don’t let this put you off starting to paint.  Get yourself some materials and use whatever space you have.  Just get painting!

Any questions about setting up space at home?

We often let things like physical space get in the way off enjoying our painting hobby, and sometimes all it takes is a slightly different perspective, or a little light encouragement to actually enable us to make ourselves the space. If you are finding that you are stuck with how to set up your space to paint at home, do email me and I’d be happy to help you think about how you can make a space!