If my clients are any indication of how arts and crafts businesses are managed, many arts and crafts businesses are home based. Even if you need to rent studio space to make your craft, you are probably managing the business aspect of your arts and crafts company out of your home.
If you are thinking about starting an arts or crafts business, operating it out of your home will save on overhead and reduce the amount of startup cash you'll need. Here are some tips to running your craft business out of your home.
Converting a Spare Room
This is kind of the holy grail of home businesses - that much bally-hoo'd spare room! Many folks new to crafts start a craft business later in life preparing to segue into it full time when they retire. In that case, there just may be a child's bedroom that is no longer in use that can be converted into a workroom.
I also once owned a house that had a weirdly-shaped two car garage that was very deep - giving an extra fifteen feet by the width of the garage at its front. The prior owners had installed ductwork to have it under heat/air making it a perfect workroom.
After I moved, I purchased a portable rolling floor air conditioner to convert the new garage space into a workroom. The unit was somewhat pricey but it's paid for itself many times over for both the business and for home use when we've had repair issues. The one I purchased does triple duty as a dehumidifier and regular fan too. The only problem is that your garage must have a window to connect the exhaust tubing when using as an air conditioner .
Converting a Closet
Once again, most people just don't have extra closet space. But if you do, taking the doors off a regular closet will allow you to fit a desk and other equipment inside (I know from experience!). A walk-in closet with a window is ideal.
I find working on my business paperwork without natural light somewhat depressing. I have a large Verilux light that I use at night.
Investigating Unused Space for the Home Office
Look around your home to see where you can setup operations in an unused corner. Here are some suggestions:
- Basement - it's been so long since I lived in a house with a basement I almost forgot about it. Still there is the lack of natural light problem. You could try using a Verilux or similar lighting solution.
- Unused space on stair landing - install a drop-down shelf that leaps into action when you need it and folds flush to the wall when you don't.
- Laundry room - you could think about buying a full-sized stacking washer and dryer to free up enough space to install a workstation. Just about any washer/dryer that has a flat top can convert to stacking using the correct kit. Plus most kits have a pull-out shelf for folding the fresh laundry.
- Stow and go desk - I was in the market for a stow and go work area last year. After hours of searching, I found this great one at Furniturexo.com. We had to put off moving for another year so I'm waiting to buy it until after the move. It seem ideal in many ways. Sturdy, lots of room for storage, somewhat attractive in appearance and folds to a minimal footprint.
- Expand a windowsill - install a folding shelf to the sill itself or to the wall immediately beneath. This has the extra advantage of all that natural light. You can install sheers to block excess sunlight when the sun is directly at window height.
- Weirdly walled space - if you have an area of your house that is between rooms anchored by two walls creating wasted space, considering putting your workspace in there and hanging a matchstick shade from the ceiling long enough to extend to the floor to hide the area when you are finished working.
For more ideas, check out your local bookstore magazine stand. Since living in small houses for the last ten years, I have noticed there is just a plethora of magazines devoted to organizing and living in small spaces.
The next article in this series discusses storage containers and innovative desk options.