Last year, when stay-at-home orders went into effect across much of the country, many people discovered crafting for the first time, to keep themselves occupied and to manage stress. Meanwhile, seasoned DIYers dug even deeper into their passion. Now, it’s become a way of life for both—and one that needs a dedicated space.
“Just as people are working more from home, people are crafting more, too,” says California Closets’ national manager of design, Erin Hardy. “Spending more time at home has allowed people and families to get back to traditions and hobbies—especially families with young children.”
As any knitter, sewer, painter, scrapbooker, woodworker, or lover of an artistic discipline knows, an organized craft room is essential. Taking half an hour to find a particular size of brush or another bobbin for the sewing machine makes an otherwise pleasurable pastime frustrating.
We spoke to professional crafters and home organization experts for tips on how to build out a corner, closet, or room of your house into a creative playground. (Great news! You don’t need a spare bedroom.) Plus, once you’ve designated that space, we’ve got tips for keeping it organized.
Create a craft room that inspires you
This is the part that’s personal. What colors speak to you and get your creative juices flowing? Do you thrive amid chaos, or does everything need to be in its place? And when it comes to compartments to hold all your craft goods, do you like a beachy vibe with seagrass baskets and cool colors, or do neutral tones and sleek, modern lines appeal more?
Go ahead and browse social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram for visuals to help build out your dream spot for crafting. You may not be able to duplicate all that you see, but it’s a good starting point.
Your space should continually evolve. One Minneapolis crafter, Heather Donohue of Donohue Crafts, maintains a visual reminder of what inspires her to craft.
“A corkboard serves as a mood board, where I post clippings, packaging, and other beautiful imagery,” she says.
Carve out some space for crafting
In an ideal situation, you would dedicate an entire room to your craft area. But what if it also functions as a home office or guest room? Hardy encourages considering every available nook in your home.
“We’ve incorporated craft rooms into all areas of the home as multifunctional solutions, when someone doesn’t have a guest room,” she says.
One good option is a laundry room, if you have one, Hardy says—the counter can double as a wrapping station. Also, a home office can serve as a craft room by night.
“A crafting space doesn’t need to be large. It just needs to be well designed and organized to make a big impact,” she says.
Don’t stress about furnishings
Don’t waste time and money trying to find the perfect bookshelf or cubbyholes to store skeins of yarn or fabric samples. That ideal piece might be at your nearest yard sale, on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or in a Buy Nothing group.
“Many crafters would rather spend money on the supplies than the storage methods,” says Marissa Likar, Stitch Clinic course creator and writer.
“I bought a large entertainment center when people were just starting to switch over to wall-mounted televisions,” she says, “so I got a good deal on a large storage piece. All the big furniture in my studio has been purchased secondhand, and then I spend my money on smaller storage items to make it more cohesive and fit the supplies’ storage needs.”
The art of storage takes work
Know that there may be some trial and error when shopping for bins, boxes, baskets, pegboards, drawers, and other containers. What you think could work may well not. It’s important to sit back first, and think about what you like to have at hand while crafting. Then, find the containers for those items.
“I recommend removing products from their original packaging and use organizational products, like our divided storage boxes that could sit on a shelf, or integrated acrylic drawer dividers,” says Hardy. “These accessories keep items separated, but like items are grouped together by category in an easy-to-see location for when you need them.”
Don’t forget about the walls. A big pegboard is a good way to organize tools, Donohue says—and it looks legit in those social media posts.
Joe Flanagan, of 90s Fashion World, likes to find great antique pieces at thrift stores and combine them with organizational pieces or open shelves where he can put woven baskets with the things he uses the most.
“This compromise between open and closed spaces lets me keep things tidy and messy at the same time,” he says. “I can place projects that are half done on the open shelves and see it there as I am walking about, and this will prompt me to finish it.”
Invest in proper lighting
One of the most important aspects of your crafting space is lighting. After all, you need to see what you’re doing! You’ll need task lighting that focuses on your work area, and then ambient lighting if you do a lot of crafting at night.
“I’m lucky that my craft room has windows and gets good light,” says Donohue. “However, I added lamps to make sure I have good light when I craft at night.”
Ordering and beautifying the space
Whether your craft room has its own room or is a corner of the kitchen, there will be times when you want to hide it, or at least make it more attractive. The best tip is to tidy up a little every day, so that, when the time comes, it’s not so overwhelming. This also makes your return to the space that much more refreshing, with a clean slate to launch from.
“You can also make your craft room appealing to a potential buyer by keeping the countertop clear,” says Hardy. “You want someone to imagine themselves working in the space, without your things cluttering the space.”
“My craft room could easily be converted to an office or bedroom, because I haven’t made any drastic design decisions, so when we sell our home one day, there will be minimal conversion,” says Donohue. “When that time comes, I may keep the craft room as is because it’s aspirational and beautiful, and an asset to many home buyers. Who doesn’t want their own space to create?”