How To Build A Home Studio For Under 0 - TheRecordingRevolution.com
How to Make a Studio
A studio is a space where you can conduct your artistic activities in an environment designed specifically for your practice. Your studio should be your haven, a space separate from the rest of your life where nothing happens but your art. Whether you need a studio for writing, artwork, or dancing, putting a comfortable space together is relatively easy to do.
Making a Recording Studio
Choose the right room.You may not have a choice as to where your studio goes — it goes wherever there’s room for it. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a choice of rooms, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- The room should be as large as possible. Forget an intimate little creative space — the best sound quality and working conditions are produced in large spaces. High ceilings would also help improve sound quality.
- You’re going to be making a lot of noise in there, so choose a room as far away from other people as possible. Keep your roommates and neighbors in mind.
- You also want to stay away from outside sounds as much as possible. The sound of cars passing on a busy street or rain slapping up against a window will get picked up on recording devices, so choose a room as isolated from outside sound sources as possible.
- Avoid rooms with carpeted floors, as textile materials absorb too much sound and negatively affect the acoustics of the space. Look for rooms with hard floors — concrete, tile, or hardwood.
- Asymmetric rooms are ideal, but they’re rare in home environments. A box-shaped room encourages sounds to reflect back and forth, creating a poor acoustic environment. If the walls aren’t perfectly parallel and perpendicular to one another, that effect is reduced somewhat.
- Walls with irregular surfaces — built-in bookcases, for example — will also reduce that effect.
Clear out the room.Clear out the floor space as much as possible, and take everything off the walls — especially fabrics like drapes or tapestries that will absorb sound waves and negatively affect acoustics. Remove anything in the room that might vibrate, like vases or decorative figurines that might buzz on their surface when someone’s playing the drums.
Skip soundproofing unless you have a professional budget.You might think that soundproofing is the most important element of making a recording studio, but soundproofing is actually for the benefit of the people around you.
- The walls are reinforced with dense building materials that absorb the sound produced within the room so it doesn’t bother your neighbors or other people in your house.
- However, it’s very expensive and labor-intensive, usually costing thousands of dollars per room.
- As such, it’s best to skip this step if you’re just making a home studio for yourself. Instead, work out an arrangement with the other people who live in your home to create a recording studio that will work around their schedules.
Purchase acoustic treatment materials.Whereas soundproofing keeps sound from escaping the room, acoustic treatment aims to optimize the recording environment for ideal sound quality. Though you’ll still have to invest some money in acoustic treatment materials, they are far less expensive than soundproofing materials.
- You can purchase the three elements of acoustic treatment separately or in a package that eliminates a lot of guesswork. Companies that offer products and packages include Primacostic, Auralex, and Vicoustic.
- You’ll need 1) acoustic foam panels, 2) bass traps that absorb low-frequency sounds like bass and percussions, and 3) (optional) diffusers.
- The foam panels and bass traps will absorb sound reflections — not for soundproofing purposes, but to reduce the echo effect that you don’t want in a good quality sound recording.
- The diffusers also aim to reduce the echo effect, but do so by dispersing or scattering the sound reflection off the walls so it’s not as noticeable.
- Many people focus more on absorption than diffusion, so you might choose to skip the diffusers.
Install your acoustic treatment materials.Depending on the brand and series of the actual materials you purchase, you might have been provided with brackets and screws, or you might need to purchase glue to affix the materials to your walls.
- If using glue, look for a spray-glue that diffuses the adhesive evenly over a large area so you don’t end up with a gloopy mess.
- Another option is a paste-based glue applied through a skeleton gun, which is essentially a caulking gun — a gun-shaped frame that holds the tube of paste stable so you can apply it evenly and precisely.
- Install the panels evenly across the lengths of your walls. You don’t have to cover every square inch of wall, but you do need to cover the walls evenly. If you have a cluster of acoustic paneling in one corner of the room, but another corner is left with bare walls, you will have strange, poorly distributed sound quality on your recording.
- You can space the panels out with up to a couple of feet between them, and you’ll still notice a significant improvement in sound quality.
Set up a desk for sound engineering.Once your empty studio space has been acoustically treated, you need to set it up for actual use. The first thing you’ll need is a space where you can work on production.
- Use a desk large enough to hold your equipment. You might be working with a laptop alone, or you may have larger mixing boards. Just make sure your working surface isn’t too cramped to be effective.
Set up a recording space.The recording space doesn’t have to be separate from the engineering space, so don’t worry about setting up partitions like you see in films and television in professional recording studios.
- Lay out your instruments in a way that allows the members of your band to communicate clearly. Don’t place the drum kit on one side of the room and the guitars on another — you need to be able to pick up nonverbal cues from each other (louder, slow down, speed up, etc.).
- Set up microphones next to each instrument.
- Use clips or wire fasteners (like the kind that comes with bags of bread) to bundle cords together, and keep the cords tucked away as much as possible. With this many instruments and pieces of equipment in a room, someone can trip and hurt themselves if you’re not careful!
- Make sure that your equipment is spaced out enough to give everyone room to move freely. Make full use of your studio space. If you’ve spaced out your acoustic treatment materials evenly, the sound quality should still be strong even if the instruments and/or speakers aren’t all producing sound from the same spot.
Making a Writing Studio
Purchase a spacious desk.Your desk is where all of your work will get done, so you want to make sure that it will provide you with enough room to spread out and be comfortable.
- Ideally, you should be able to fit your computer, a notebook, and a reference book across the width of your desk, so you can work from multiple sources at once.
- Choose a desk that reaches a comfortable height when you sit in your office chair with your feet firmly supported on the ground.
- The desk should come to about elbow-level on you when you’re sitting. This will help reduce the prospect of shoulder pain.
- Make sure there is comfortable leg space under the writing surface.
- Look for a desk that has enough storage for any files and paperwork you need to keep on hand.
- If the desk that seems most suited to your work lacks drawers for storage, you can purchase a file cabinet as supplemental storage.
Pair your desk with a good desk chair.As a writer, you will likely spend hours a day sitting in this chair, so it’s important you choose a chair that won’t cause back pain. Instead of buying an office chair online, go to the store and try out the chairs you’re considering.
- The backrest should mold into the S-shaped curve of your spine and provide lumbar support throughout.
- It shouldn’t be overly rigid — there should be a slight amount of give to it if you want to lean back. However, you should not be able to lean back considerably.
- The chair should have adjustable height settings to allow you to find your perfect height. Your feet should be firmly on the ground when you sit in the chair.
- Armrests should be at a comfortable height. You should be able to rest your elbows comfortably on them without slouching (too low) or hunching up your shoulders (too high).
- When you place your elbows on the armrests, they should be comfortably close to your body; if they are splayed out to your sides, the armrests are too wide.
Consider buying a standing desk converter.Research has suggested that sitting at a desk for several hours a day contributes not only to back and shoulder pain, but also to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.To combat the unwelcome effects of a sitting, sedentary lifestyle, you might buy a standing desk converter that allows you to transform your desk into a standing work station.
- A converter gives you the option of using either desk setup — sitting or standing — without having to commit to either full-time.
- Standing desk converters can be purchased at many office supply stores.
- Measure the height of your work desk in the studio and try to match the standing desk converter to that height to see how it will actually work with your desk.
- Look for an adjustable converter that you allow you to find the precise, perfect height for your standing desk.
- The appropriate height will depend on your personal preference to some degree, so experiment a little. The lowest the desk height should go is elbow level; any lower and you may experience neck pain from looking down at your desk all the time.
Decide where to place your desk in the studio.This may seem like a simple decision — “just put it wherever it fits!” — but anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time chained to desk knows that placement is important. Do a self-evaluation to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are in terms of ability to focus on tasks.
- If you are easily distracted, don’t face your desk toward a window that will allow you to daydream or people-watch when you should be working.
- If you have trouble finding inspiration, maybe you should face your desk toward a window. A little people-watching might knock an idea loose and get you back to work.
Furnish the studio with bookcases.Depending on what type of writing you’re doing, you may need a variety of books in your studio with you. If you’re a grant writer, you may need thick reference books at your disposal to make sure documents are formatted properly. If you’re a poet, you may simply want to read a few poems from your favorite volume to get your creative juices flowing again. Either way, you want your books to be right there in your studio with you, not off-site and unavailable.
Add a comfortable chair or sofa (optional).Many people find it useful to have a place where they can relax for a few minutes when they need to recharge. A comfortable chair or sofa can provide a nice spot to curl up and read that favorite volume of poetry while waiting for inspiration to strike.
- Know yourself before placing a comfortable chair in your studio. If you think you’ll spend all your time lounging in it instead of getting your work done, don’t put one in your studio.
Ban all other potential distractions.Again, you have to be honest with yourself about the things that will prevent you from focusing on the task at hand. If you can’t work without background music, by all means, put a speaker in your studio. But if background music will distract you, don’t bring a speaker into your workspace. The same goes for television, snacks — anything that will keep you from meeting your goals.
Provide the comforts you need to get through the workday.On the flip side of the previous step, you should provide yourself with everything you need to keep you going. Depriving yourself will only frustrate you, so keep your favorite brand of tea on hand, or a coffee maker. Decorate the studio to your liking so you feel comfortable and at home in the space.
Making an Art Studio
Purchase storage bins.Artists tend to accumulate a large amount of materials as time passes, so it’s very important that you have a system in place to keep track of all of your supplies. Clear plastic storage bins will allow you to tell what’s inside without having to open anything up and root around. However, if you have some other type of storage on hand, simply make sure that each bin is clearly labeled with its contents.
Organize your materials.Place similar materials together in your bins, making sure to put everything in an appropriate spot.
- For example, you might separate your paints into separate bins by type: acrylic, oil, and watercolor.
- A bin that contains brushes should not contain cloth samples or clay, because they are too dissimilar.
- If you don’t have enough of a material to merit having its own bin, make sure the contents are as closely related as possible: for example, your painting knife with your paintbrush cleaners.
Organize those bins.After you’ve separated your supplies into discrete, labeled bins, you want to organize the bins into a system that groups similar materials together. For example, your bin full of paints and your bin full of paintbrushes should not be stored in opposite corners of your studio.
- Attach sturdy shelving to the walls if possible to make your bin storage cleaner, more compact, and more aesthetically appealing.
- If that’s not an option, looking for sturdy shelving units that can support the weight of your materials.
Clear out a workspace.Depending on the type of art you create, you may need only a desk, or you may need a wide expanse of open floor space. You’ll know what you need to prepare.
- If you work with messy materials that seem to end up on the floor and walls, make sure you give yourself wide berth.
- Establish your workspace in the center of an open area, where paint won’t splatter the walls or other objects.
Make sure you have a surface large enough to hold the materials you need for a given project.Depending on your materials and working style, you may simply need a single large desk or table centered in the workspace to hold your materials. However, if you work from an easel, make sure that there is a surface that can hold all of the paints you’re using, your brushes, your painting knives, etc.
Protect the floors if necessary.Many artists prefer to work in garage-like studios with concrete floors, and don’t mind if the floors get stained with the various pigments and supplies they use day to day. However, if your floors are wooden or carpeted, you want to lay down a layer of protection to prevent them from being permanently damaged by your work.
- Look for a large, inexpensive area rug that you don’t mind getting stains on.
- You can also create a grid of plastic floor protectors intended for office desks to protect your floors.
- Just don’t use a protection method that will require constant upkeep, like spreading newspapers across the floor. Doing that would waste useful time every day when you could just breeze into your studio and get right to work.
Set aside a space for letting pieces rest.If you’re a painter, you might store wet paintings near an open window to help them dry, or you might point a fan toward the wet canvas. If you’re a sculptor, you may need a flat surface to allow clay to dry near a window or fan.
Decorate your studio.This is where you will create your work, so it needs to be a space that inspires your imagination. Decorate the studio to your liking, choosing artwork for the walls, placing flowers here and there, and purchasing furniture that appeals to your design aesthetic. The happier you feel when you’re in this space, the more time you’ll want to spend here creating art.
Making a Dance Studio
Install appropriate flooring for dancing.There are many options for dance studio flooring, so check prices and surface characteristics to decide which one will be most reasonable for your budget and needs.
- Hardwood floors of any type will work well for any type of dancing that is performed barefoot. However, if you are wearing hard shoes (tap shoes, for example), practicing on hardwood floors can result in permanent damage to the floor surface.
- “Marley” style floors are the optimal surface for a dance studio. Made from a variety of materials from vinyl to fiberglass, they can cost anywhere from per square foot to per square foot, plus the cost of installation. These are suitable from all types of dance, from tap to modern to ballet.
- If you can’t afford to install permanent flooring, you can purchase portable dance mats to cover your dancing space. If you don’t need to move around a great deal in your studio, you can purchase a single mat for around 0 dollars and have a 3’x6’ area on which to practice.
- If you need a larger space, you can purchase multiple mats and secure them with vinyl tape to ensure they stay flush against one another.
Line a wall with mirrors.Mirrors can be incredibly expensive, but they’re necessary for a dance studio. Ideally, your studio will have floor-to-ceiling mirrors that span the entire length of one of your walls, but that’s simply not an option for many people.
- Instead, look for inexpensive wall mirrors that are intended for bedroom use.
- These mirrors, though narrow, are still tall enough to show you the length of your body.
- Find a mirror model that allows for installation directly into the wall with screws. Purchase as many of them as you’ll need to give yourself a good view of yourself while you’re practicing.
- Install them all across the length of your wall, making sure that they’re level with one another.
Install a barre.The barre is the rail used by dancers to stabilize themselves while they’re practicing in the studio.It should come to about hip-level. There are two types of barres: ones that are installed directly into a wall, and ones that stand alone on supporting legs. If your studio is short on space, you might prefer the wall-mounted barre, as it leaves a little bit more floor space open for use.
- The barre should be placed along the wall that holds your mirror, so you can observe your form while you practice at it.
Make sure the temperature remains comfortable.While dancing, it’s important that your body stay at a comfortable temperature to prevent both muscle injury from cold and dehydration and exhaustion from heat. A studio with windows can let in a natural breeze if you don’t have central heating and air conditioning. Otherwise, equip the space with fans, window units, or space heaters depending on your temperature needs.
Video: How To Build a Recording Studio at Home! (SUPER CHEAP & EASY)
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