Create an ideal studio in 30 days – a Studio Makeover Challenge

Do you love looking at artists’ studios? Is yours in need of help? As a fledgling artist, I’d spend hours drawing floor plans for my ideal studio. It would be on the side of a mountain, with a wall of windows overlooking a lake. It would be modern, clean, uncluttered with high ceilings, loads of display and storage space and lots of work surfaces. I’d entertain collectors in comfy chairs in front of a wall of art books.

Alameda studio. Nice light, no insulation.
My studio on Alameda street. Great light, but no insulation.

None of my spaces ever looked like that. 

I’ve had everything from a drawing table in a living room corner to a three-car garage with French doors and no insulation.

I now use our two-car garage, which is a nice size, and if it’s not quite my dream studio, it works well and I’m extremely grateful for the space.

I’ve just finished work for several shows and my brother brought me a dozen boxes of family photos and memorabilia that now inhabit my studio. What a mess. The clutter has all but stopped my studio production. And I have an open studio coming up in February. Something has to be done.

Our family photos and memorabilia in my studio
Our family photos and memorabilia in my studio

SO. To begin the year, I’m launching the:


If you’re an artist I invite you to participate.

If you’re not an artist, please follow along, watch the transformations that occur, and share your comments for support.

I’ll be posting on Thursday each week starting the day after New Years.

The challenge is to spend the next 30 days (Jan 2 -31st)  making over your space into one that will function well for YOU. Only you know what that is.

Francis Bacon’s studio, courtesy of Simon, Musical Photo Man. Creative commons license.

What’s the best space in which to unleash your creative juices? Is it bright, clean, organized, inviting, comforting, secluded? Do you want to hide clutter or display it?  Or maybe you just need a couple trips to the thrift shop donation center.

So here’s the challenge:

1) Envision what you want your space to be and determine what you need to do. Do you need help, money, and materials? Will you have time to do it all or only part? Even a day or two of de-cluttering can be a big help. Plan on doing whatever works for you. For inspiration, look at other studios, at design magazines, or on Pinterest.

3) Sign up for the challenge by adding a link to your blog using the InLinkz form at the end of this post.

4) Post once a week or more, showing us your problem areas, goals, challenges, progress and achievements (or just post when you can). You can post the “before” pictures on your blog so we’ll see where you’re starting from. We all LOVE before and after shots. Admit it, you do to don’t you?

5) Add your link each Thursday at the end of my post, to share what you’ve done. Share the love by commenting on one or two blogposts from others. Finally, post your blog link to your Facebook page and tweet it to multiply the fun.

That’s it. Easy. You can’t fail.

You determine what and how much you want to do for this challenge. Make it fun. Visualize what you want and stay focused on the end you have in mind to keep motivated. Anything you do will be progress, right?

I’d love to feature other artist’s studios on my blog so if you’ve already done a makeover, de-cluttering project, built a studio, or have a great idea for solving a studio problem (like storage!!), please consider doing a guest posts about it or send me some photos and comments so I can feature you on my blog. Contact me about it at jean

If you’re super busy in January, just think about doing one thing each day to improve your studio that won’t take a lot of time, like rearranging one bookshelf a day, throwing out dried up paint, etc.

Ok, so who’s in?

Click inlinkz below if you want to join us.

30 Replies to “Create an ideal studio in 30 days – a Studio Makeover Challenge”

  1. I’m in. I accepted a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge for January too, but you know, you can’t paint and blog everyday if your studio space is cluttered and right now mine is pretty cluttered. So, yes, I’m in. And I like having a month to get things straight!

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      I was thinking about that 30 in 30 challenge and I know several people who’ll be entering it. That’s why I decided to only post on Thursdays so we’ll all have time to actually do the de-cluttering and still paint!! Glad you’re in Jim. I look forward to seeing your space.

  2. Barbara Martin says:

    Not sure yet if I will participate or not but I do need to do something with the studio and like you I have some commitments coming up that make working in it imperative. It looked ok for the studio tour a few months back. Since then it has become … a very fine environment for a cat. aka cluttered is an understatement. 🙂 All best with the challenge!

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      I hope you’re able to join us even if you only clear off the surfaces and hide stuff (which of course isn’t the point) so you can keep working. Your cat might be happiest if you don’t! Either way I hope you follow along for inspiration.

  3. Perfect! I’ve been de-cluttering & organising our home in general all through Dec – what great timing to re-energise a tired little Bunny 🙂 Hooray! I was thinking pretty seriously about the 30/30 too .. seems a little daunting on top of de-cluttering …but if you & Jim are up for it, it makes me think maybe I am capable … its just a matter of ‘how’, right? <3

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Bunny I’m so happy you’ll be joining us! No worries with the 30 in 30. Just plan on doing a bit every day right after you finish your painting. I’m a huge believer in chunking even though I always fantasize that I’ll do it all at once. I’m still considering the 30/30 too. We’ll see. You can only do what you can do.

  4. I’m not an artist but I’ll follow along to see how things are going. I think it’s gonna be fun to see how these spaces are changing, Jean!

    I may borrow some ideas for my office, who knows? 😉

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Good to know you’ll be checking in. Thanks Delia.

  5. I’m not an artist and I don’t have a space to declutter, but I’ll be interested to see how you transform your studio. Good luck with the challenge!

    Commenting from Blog Commenting Weekend on Blog Formatting Page on FB

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      You’re lucky. Seems like I always have something to de-clutter!

  6. I have an open house/open studio coming up in January so I’m in with both feet.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      WooHoo. Glad you’re on board Lynne!

  7. This will be interesting. I have a space for my beadwork, I wouldn’t exactly call it a studio, but it’s my creative space. I have lots of storage for beads, gems and crystals, because its a small area it needs to be organised well to be able to work in it. I’ve done the declutter and organise a couple of times, currently I need a major tidy session. My workbench only needs clear space for a size A4 paper box I work from. I’ll be interested to see how this pans out for everyone. Good luck

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Glad you’ll be following along Lorelle.

  8. Hi I do not have a studio but my home office sure can use some tips…I am sure that you will have something that I am able to tweek. What a useful challenge.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Yes, my office needs a makeover as well although it isn’t as bad as the studio. Great that you’re following our progress Margaret.

  9. I am in. I keep saying I need to rework my small studio to make larger works – this is the challenge I need. Thanks so much. And I am totally new here so thanks for having me.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Amanda! So glad you are joining us. It’ll be fun.

  10. Great idea! I’ve been reorganizing my studio gradually over the past year – one problem area to go and it WILL happen in January. So, yes, thanks for the invite!

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Hey Cris, It must be great to be close to the end. I’ve done some updates over the past couple of years and will also get most of it finished now I hope! Glad for so many folks to be joining in. It helps to keep the energy up.

  11. Jean- thank you for lighting the flame to get me started. Both my studios need work. Jewelry Studio is the dumping zone for things that need to leave the house, you have to walk through it to get to bedrooms, it is supposed to be the formal livingroom. I want to get those boxes gone! If the piles are gone I can work at bench again and feel lighter. Stained Glass Studio- has things that need to go back to shed after craft shows, huge box from Christmas present that needs to be cut down and storage room off studio has needed a go through/organize since I moved it home in July!
    So today I think it is remove shed stuff, box, list stuff on Freecycle and Craigslist. After those are done I can add more but do not want to overwhelm. I also need to put in 4 hours to my day job. Looking forward to empty spaces!

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      The hard part is just getting started. Well, it’s also hard to keep going. And then again it’s tempting to stop right before it’s done. whenever I clean up the studio I don’t want to use it for a day or two since I know it will get messy again, but at the same time it makes me really want to be there and work. Can’t wait to see pictures of your studio areas. Thrift shop is my first step too.

      1. I have uploaded the after photos on my blog. I am done for the most part, just a few cabinets to go through. Loved the challenge. Thank you Jean!

        1. Jean Wilkey says:

          Looks like you did a lot Kim. Congratulations and thanks for participating!

  12. […] child of artist Jean R. Wilkey; you can get the details on who is in the challenge so far and/or sign up to participate at her […]

  13. […] Read the original challenge. […]

  14. […] 4 and one more week to go in the Studio Makeover and De-Clutter Challenge so now it’s time to HIDE […]

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