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If you could add one room to your house, what type of room would it be?
Since moving from our 3,000 square foot suburban home into our much smaller 1920s Bungalow, I’ve asked myself this question over and over again. Each time I am trying to work on a project, I’ve found myself taking over the dining room table. When we purchased our home, I knew that having only one space to work, craft, and eat would be tricky but I didn’t realize just how annoying (and time-consuming) this shared table situation would actually end up being.
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Thus far in our bungalow lifestyle, we’ve given our dining room a lot of hats. Realizing we had limited wall space throughout the entire home, we had always planned to have our coveted shoe storage cabinets lined against the back wall in the room. Then, by the end of the Summer, we realized the home was seriously lacking a logical mudroom space, so we created dedicated storage in the corner beside the front door to corral backpacks and jackets.
Our dining room also serves as my office when I’m working on client designs at home, a project table where I create DIY tutorials for this blog, and a homework station for our young daughter. Oh – and that’s right – the only spot in our home where we can all sit together and have a meal.
So that means that each day, I’m tidying up this space at least twice in order to be able to actually use it for its intended purpose (as a dining room).
Perhaps even more annoying? I still hadn’t figured out a place to store all of my crafting project supplies in our new home. Everything was originally dumped into our detached garage and that’s where it stayed.
So if I were working on painting an original art piece for a client, I would have to walk outside and around the entire house to get to the garage to find supplies. Assuming the project could be completed in under 5 hours, I could then return the supplies to the garage and tidy the table by dinnertime. Most frequently, though, I’d end up with piles of tools by the front door just waiting for me to have the time to complete more complicated projects before they could be returned to the garage.
It was an all-around pain.
Dealing with the hassle of having no dedicated space to store my craft supplies in my home was also a conundrum. The only true storage space we have in our home is either in a dirt floor basement or in our creepy attic. Between dust, cobwebs, and general inaccessibility, both options left much to be desired.
Then inspiration struck while we were at Ikea.
Within the Ikea room galleries, we stumbled upon this mudroom set up with simple wooden shelving that blew my mind. I loved the clean lines and thoughtful organizational ideas. When I stepped into the space, I exclaimed “I wish we had a mudroom!” to which Christine immediately replied, “Umm, we do”. And she wasn’t wrong.
Technically, we do have a mudroom. We just haven’t used it at all.
This space is only five feet by seven feet (35 square feet) and it’s technically just an old porch on the back of the house – off the kitchen – that was closed in somewhat poorly by previous owners. The space features no electrical outlets and no venting for HVAC but it is sealed tight and weatherproofed, so it could function as a room in our home.
So if we need more space, why aren’t we using this space? Well, it’s at the back right side of the house and the driveway empties to the front left side. So using this space as our main entry (versus the front door) doesn’t really make any sense because we’d have to walk around the entire house in the weather instead of walking two feet to our covered front porch.
Instead, we’d been using this area as a dumping ground for recycling trash and miscellaneous project materials we’d not yet taken to the garage.
But in that moment, staring at the Ikea space in front of me, I could suddenly see our gross dumping pile of a mudroom as an actually-functional creative space for my projects and hobbies.
I was even more inspired when I found out the Ikea shelving shown in that photo above had an additional component option of a pull-down table. Since I really needed a place to store my paint, papers, fabric, and misc project wares, I figured the shelving would serve that purpose alone. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could also use this same shelf unit as a flexible workspace too!
I went home from Memphis (where our closest Ikea is located) with plans to spend some time drawing up a sketch and make another trip down soon for the exact items I needed to make my workspace look good and function perfectly for me.
Small Space Craft Room Ideas
Once we returned home from Ikea, I was more determined than ever to turn my unused mudroom into a crafting sanctuary where I could make a mess and easily clean it all up and tuck it away without interfering with our daily lives. I just needed to make a plan. I had to determine each item that would need to be stored in this space in order to make sure I was accounting for everything. Otherwise, even if I just had a few things that didn’t have their designated home, the entire project would be for naught.
Since I know I’m not the first person ever to turn a tiny space into a craft room, I looked to the internet for some inspiration and ideas. I came across beautifully decorated rooms with ample storage for gift wrapping, paper crafts, fabric and sewing materials, and – of course – a ton of ideas for storing craft paint!
Even more, I was impressed by how many people had carved out a tiny nook in their home and turned it into an office or workspace. There were even a ton of photos of craft rooms in closets! As in, they had a closet and turned it into a craft room! Smart thinking, people!
For instance, Cathy from Poor Little It Girl (photo above) created a wall of shelves in her living room to store her books and magazines. At the end of the open shelving, she added a deeper shelf to create a small desk from which she writes her blog and works while at home.
My takeaway: I could feasibly store my design books, magazines, catalogs, and client design paperwork in my craft room. I would just need to give them dedicated paper storage solutions on the open shelving to keep things from looking cluttered. Keeping all my storage boxes the same color would also put extra emphasis on the items in the room I really wanted to show off: my books and artwork.
I was also incredibly inspired by this blue door that Jen from Rambling Renovators added a “Crafts Dept” decal to. It looks a lot like the exterior door that leads into my mudroom*. I started thinking that I could have a vinyl sticker made for my own door with my company logo. Since there’s exterior access to the space from the front yard, I could even potentially use this space as a client’s first stop in my home when we’re sitting down for the initial consultation.
*ahem, at this point, I should just be calling it a “craft room”, right? I mean, aren’t we all pretty invested in turning this space into a craft room and ditching its ineffective mudroom roots?
Speaking of personality, my friend Ariel from PMQ for Two never backs down from displaying her fun, colorful aesthetic. When I was looking for craft room decor ideas on Pinterest, I ran into an image from her office space and got an amazing idea to add character to the original historic shiplap and bead board walls.
She also reminded me that I really needed to consider adding a spot for storing gift wrap and random wrapping supplies (ribbon, tape, bows, tissue paper, etc). Especially with the holiday season upon us, having a dedicated spot to keep all the rolls of wrapping paper would make my life so much easier. Especially since it was all currently being stored in the garage, I added “gift wrapping supplies station” to my list of craft room organization furniture must-haves.
Adding my home’s personality to the space
While I was browsing the internet for small space design ideas, I kept running into a similar look over and over again: white walls, white furniture, and colorful accents. Lots and lots of pink.
While my daughter would love a space like this (in fact, it’s a lot like her bedroom right now), it’s not exactly the vibe we’re going for in the entire house. For our bungalow, we’re leaning towards a more industrial, schoolhouse style.
READ MORE: Decorating With Modern Schoolhouse Style
Plus, we already had an all-white room and it looked a total mess! Since the walls were all patched up from 100 years of family life, they looked chaotic and lacked cohesion even with the white paint everywhere. We knew it was time for a change.
My solution? Black. Paint everything black. Even the windows and the door and all the trim.
I’ve been enjoying watching people all over the internet go with dark colors on their walls and I was ready to do it myself. Actually, I was ready to do it again: I had black walls in an apartment about ten years ago but Christine has always been a little hesitant to any bold colors in our shared homes. And what’s bolder than black?
Since this space was my space and not a shared family room (Christine has a dedicated home office space in the upstairs landing outside our daughter’s room), I knew it would be easier to convince her to let me get a little crazy in here. AND IT WAS! She agreed that black was absolutely the only paint color choice after seeing the paint swatch against the bare pine wood from the Ikea shelves we were planning to use.
As soon as she approved the paint color (Black Magic by Sherwin Williams), I cleared out the room and started painting. I didn’t want to leave any time for her to change her mind.
Going from white to black wasn’t easy. It took two coats in most places (three in a few spots) but I think that’s because I used a higher-quality paint and finish. I opted to go with an exterior latex paint in a flat finish so it would be easier to clean than a standard interior. I knew I wanted to use a flat finish to mask as many of the character flaws in the room as possible. Pro tip: The shinier the paint finish, the more it will cast shadows on any cracks, chips, holes, and general imperfections on the walls and trim.
I left the ceiling and hardwood floors in their original color: light blue. This made the room feel airier than it would have if I’d continued the black paint onto those surfaces.
On that note, let’s take a second to talk about dark colors in very small rooms: It’s generally accepted design rule that if you’d like a room to appear bigger, you should paint it a lighter color. However, I was able to break this rule because this room has a lot of windows which open the space. Also, by continuing the color throughout the entire room, I’ve created fewer “stops” for the eye. This is also a useful trick for making rooms feel larger.
FINDING A BARGAIN ON craft room storage furniture with dealnews
The next step to creating my dream craft space was to figure out what furniture the room could accommodate. I knew I wanted the Ikea IVAR shelving system. So when dealnews reached out about working together on a project, I figured this would be a great time to check out their services!
Dealnews is a comparison shopping website that alerts its readers to the best deals on the products they need. Behind the scenes at the website, there is a team of retail experts that works tirelessly to scan all of the internet every single day and hand pick the best deals from retailers.
Before I agree to work with any company or brand, I always want to vet their products and services first. So to test how well their system works, I signed up to receive email alerts from them whenever a few of my favorite retailers were offering big discounts.
You can do this too! Here’s how:
Go to Dealnews.com and search the name of your favorite retailer:
My Ikea alert worked exactly as planned. In September, I received an email from Dealnews that let me know the home storage shelving I’d been keeping my eye on had dropped to a new lower price!
With all my items ordered, I could now start putting the room back together.
MY CREATIVE CRAFT ROOM REVEAL
After I finished painting the room black, I realized it was getting a little lost. The black was doing a great job of making it just kind of fade into the background. So I removed the door leading from the kitchen into the space and painted the trim around it black as well.
This gives us a cohesive pop of black in a kitchen that’s currently very brown.
Step inside my new craft room and you’ll notice some open shelves that hold file boxes as well as some large bins tucked within the shelving units.
The bins are originally meant to store trash and recycling but I needed space for oversized items.
Lift the lids and you’ll find I’m using these bins for fabric storage and to hold excess styling items that I use around my home or for staging projects. The tall bin holds packaging materials for shipping and gift boxes.
While I love all the horizontal gift wrap storage ideas I found online, I really couldn’t justify dedicating an entire wall in this space to rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon.
Instead, I customized this off-the-shelf wrapping station to match my Ikea shelves.
In the drawers, I was able to tuck away excess tissue paper, bows, and additional crafting supplies, which saved me a ton of space on the open shelving. The dowel rod ribbon storage is perhaps my favorite part of this mobile wrapping storage piece.
Here you can see how I carried the black wall color onto the windows and the exterior door. This room is absolutely filled with light during the day!
To combat the mid-afternoon glare from the 2 walls of windows, I installed roman blinds that can be pulled all the way down to provide some blackout relief from the sun. This will help me turn the workstation into an easy spot to photograph DIY tutorials for you guys to read!
CUSTOMIZING IKEA IVAR SHELVING FOR A CRAFT ROOM WORKSTATION
Now for the piece de resistance! The Ivar shelving unit was extremely easy to assemble. Because the wall on which the unit is secured also houses our electrical panel, we needed to shorten the height of the second shelf. That was no problem! I simply cut the side panel down with my compound miter saw and it fit like a glove!
Above the shorter shelf, I installed a piece of my favorite artwork by my own daughter and an Andy Warhol print we bought at MoMA in NYC a few years ago.
Since the shelf was low, I was also able to use a paper sorting system to corral my wallpaper samples, paint decks, and other miscellaneous finish samples for client design projects. And I finally found a home for our rock collection!
The side of the shelf that appears to have a door actually contains a surprise!
It’s a fold-down desk!
There wasn’t really sufficient floor space in the craft room to have a permanent desk substantial enough to really get work done on it. But this fold-down desktop is perfect for small projects. Plus, once the task is over, every supply has a place to go right in this room! Then the desktop can be folded right back up so the exit isn’t blocked.
Inside the workstation, you’ll find all the supplies I most frequently use for small DIY and crafting projects tucked in neatly. With a small amount of customization, I was even able to make space for the crafting tools that are most challenging to store in traditional containers.
In the top portion, I added a wire shelf so I could maximize the height and store all my acrylic paints in one spot! Then I placed my painting mediums and tools in a small bin. Lastly, I used adhesive hooks on the back wall to store the hardest painting supply ever: thin vinyl stencils!
On the bottom shelf, I used cup hooks to hang my cutting supplies from the bottom side of the upper shelf. Behind those, I attached two eye-rings to either side of the unit’s walls and inserted a 24” bungee cord. The cord keeps my oversized cutting board, paper, and cutter from moving forward and holds them upright to allow for additional room to work in front of them. When I need to use them, I can slide them out or remove the cord to allow easier access.
Above the workstation shelving, I have space to corral my art prints in small horizontal storage boxes. I’m also storing my craft paper in an accordion file for quick access when I want to make a card.
The best part of my new craft room? When the day is done, I tuck it all back away. It’s absolutely amazing to have a place for everything and everything in its place!
I even found additional wall storage space once we got the shelves in place. For instance, I was able to hang our additional seating (ie, wood folding chairs for when we entertain larger dinner parties) above the shelf by attaching an L bracket and simply hanging them by their seat backs! I made them blend into the wall by spray painting them in flat black. The best part? That’s the same color as our everyday dining room chairs, so they’ll now match!
We can fit four chairs over the shelving unit!! Our other two folding chairs are currently on loan to a neighbor but there’s a spot waiting for them when they get home!
Also, because of the windows, my plants have never been happier! In fact, this might be the first time I can ever actually truly say they’re happy at all.
I’m really happy too! In fact, our whole home is running a little more smoothly now that we have a space to store all of these supplies and tools!
Now I really just want to give a huge shout-out to Dealnews who sponsored this post!
Remember that when you support the brands who support me, you’re actually supporting me twice over. Your support is key because we don’t see a lot of queer women in this space and brands can be a little anxious about working with us.
You can show them I am – and other bloggers like me are – a safe bet by:
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