We’ve been in our studio for over a year and I can honestly say it’s like a hybrid of having another business and another apartment. It’s this space that has quite an influence over your income and network while also being a relatively large investment that you don’t even own. It’s honestly incredible to see how our quarterly income increased after moving in. It works really well for us and our clients are constantly saying how they feel at peace when they visit.
Unfortunately, you can’t really take all the time in the world to make the space something special. You have to prioritize your list of wants and “must-haves.” For every day you take off to improve the space, it’s a day you aren’t working. We moved in and took about 4 days (and a bit over $1,000) to get it set up (biggest expenses were the floors + paint). About a month later, we had a working and neutral studio.
Fast forward another year and we finally turned our attention to some updates! Last month we painted the yellow kitchen and bathroom with a fresh coat of white paint and Adam’s parents helped us install baseboards. That weekend we spent another $400. Overall, we’ve kept our costs really low. That was important to us because it can quickly get out of hand. Our rent, which is our biggest expense besides our contractors, adds to our overhead (along with commercial wi-fi and utilities) so we can’t be constantly dropping cash on interior design. We plan!
Here’s what we have planned this month:
- Adding in a couch in our main meeting area. We work alongside clients for up to 8 hours at a time. Sometimes we have photoshoots that last even longer. You don’t know how much a soft, comfortable surface can feel rejuvenating and we need that. You can see in the photo below that there’s a perfect spot begging for a comfy couch! My desk used to be there, but we’ve moved it into the enclosed workspace so I can shut the door while working. I’ve been eyeing this one from Interior Define.
- A few rugs! I love the look of the bare wood floors but the enclosed office area is cozy and the spot in front of the couch could use a bright rug. I saw these rugs from Overstock in person and really loved them!
- Substantial floor + ceiling lighting. Our cool Ikea lamp is starting to sag quite a bit and we have a few other rooms that could use some light (we have ugly drop tile ceiling + fluorescent lights that we never turn on). Ikea, in general, has affordable lighting. We might head there on a random weeknight, but we’re car shopping now so it might prove to be difficult. Please let me know if you know of any great lamps that aren’t a million dollars!
- Mirrors for the bathroom. We have one large full-length mirror sitting in the bathroom, but we still need to find two oval or circular mirrors to hang over the sink. This shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.
- Complete our coffee bar! You can’t see it in the photo that I snapped of the kitchen, but Adam installed a large wooden bar opposite the kitchenette where we’ll set up a pour-over bar for coffee. Right now we have a random pegboard, extension cords + random coffee accessories sitting there.
Our June/July studio plans will happen once we have time to save more money and recover from all our travels. But hint hint: they include glass garage doors, industrial-style shelving and upgrade the warehouse to feel more like a studio and less like a garage. Perhaps a couch? Wood laminate floors? A strobe? Well shit, I better get to work ($$$$)!
Later this month, I’ll share about these new additions! I’d love any fresh ideas, recs or tips in the meantime.