Photo: Rachel Smith

Go Bright

Bright contrasting colors are young, fresh and exuberant, but can leave your studio feeling a bit like a kindergarten. Dull down the effect with dashes of muddied pastels and plenty of white space. Add layers of visual texture with simple graphic patterns—spots, stripes, chevrons—applied in small splashes.

When it comes to color, you don't always have to rely on wall paint. Almost every element in your studio can have its own hue, whether it's a bright rug or pot of pencils.
cutting out sugary drinks

Photo: Sara Landstedt

Go Mono

Without the distraction of color, texture and pattern have a chance to shine. Get the most from a monochrome studio by adding bags of different visual and physical texture–coarse surfaces, touchy-feely fabrics, shiny or reflective accents. Create interest with pattern—bold graphic statements or smaller, more intricate design work equally well. Add the odd natural element to soften the look.

A little black goes a long way. For a light, bright workspace, keep the walls and floors white and add drama with dark statement pieces.
plant-filled home office

Photo: Candence Hays

Go Natural

Nature is the greatest designer. Find inspiration in the patterns and textures of organic forms—from huge floral prints to rustic antlers, botanical fabrics to living greenery. Steer clear of synthetics such as neons and shocking brights—they can jar against nature's muted, earthy palette. Off-whites, greens, blue greys and earthy darks all work well alongside sun-bleached woods, rustic fabrics and natural-fiber rugs.

Focus on elements that echo the natural aesthetic: wood, cane, bamboo and other naturally sourced materials.
industrial creative space

Photo: Catherine Gratwicke, living4media

Go Industrial

Exposed brickwork, planked floors, bare concrete and galvanized metals—the fundamentals of the industrial look. Furniture needs to be solid, unfussy and utilitarian. Color comes from your raw materials—steel greys, worn wood and aged bricks—but if it's all getting too factory floor, inject a bit of creativity in the form of large-scale artworks and bright accents.
collected craft area

Photo: living4media, Cecilia Möller

Go Collected

Patterned papers, bright wall colors or plastering your studio with images will create the busy background you need. Mix open storage and shelves with glass-fronted cupboards, plain chests and printers' trays. Have a theme or organizing principle behind your displays to stop the studio looking like a landfill. Grouping things by color, type, age, purpose or material can unite a disparate crowd of objects.

Flea market furniture, old ephemera and themed finds pull together to create the collector's look.

Excerpted from Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard. Text copyright © 2017 Sally Coulthard. Design and layout copyright © 2017 Jacqui Small LLP. Reprinted by permission of Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group, Inc.

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