9 Tips for Painting in Small Rooms

9 Tips for Painting in Small Rooms

My tips for painting in small rooms

Do you ever scroll through Instagram and see all the “propper professional” artists in their amazing massive studio spaces, or artists not based in the UK (presumably) with access to huge amounts of space for their paintings? Having lived in London (Bow) and now in Brighton, I don’t think I’ve had real access to a sizeable room of any description for years! My Mom, now lives in a semi-detached house in Birmingham, but before she moved I’d paint in the garage quite often just to not wreck her house. Part of me thinks if we were to move more Midlands way or North we’d have bigger rooms etc and I could have an actual studio, but a move isn’t on the horizon. I thought I’d share some tips I’ve used for painting in small rooms, if you have any extra tips, I’d love to hear in the comments below.

– Depending on your practice, painting in small rooms might mean you have to change things up a tiny bit. I would love to make massive paintings, with really thick, heavy oils, but my small front room means I stick to smaller canvasses and prints. I also make a lot of work once I get going, so again this saves on space.

– Find all the outdoor space you can, is there a nearby park or country area you could use to paint? Especially if you use mediums that have heavy fumes and need ventilation. Be a total sexy hipster dreamboat and do some sketches/bit of watercolour in a coffee shop! I bloody well would!

– By loads and loads of cleaning supplies from the pound shop (did I mention I LOVE pound shops?). Their DIY sections always have turps, sugar soap and brush cleaning fluids. I try not to be a total bell end in my flat now and clean up properly after myself. If I had a real studio of my own the place would be a shit hole!

– Grab yourself a few car boot bags or gardening “grow bags / car boot liners” from the pound shop (or here)  – they make a great place to keep your pallets and paints so you don’t wreck nay surfaces or have to clean up. Just empty the bag out or give it a quick rinse… or just chuck it out! I have a few in my art stash, they are so much less bulky to use than tarpaulin sheets.


painting in small rooms


– Tupperware lunch boxes are ace for, literally, keeping a lid on your paint. I use them as pallets so I can store them away and come back to using the same colours so they don’t dry out in between art sessions.

– When I lived at my Mom’s, I had the “box room” and obviously would ruin the carpet in every other room with paint. I’d go in the garage to paint and nail thick canvas fabric to the wooden beams in the ceiling and paint against the wall. I started using all the white emulsion and wall paint that was hanging around to paint with making cool textures as they seemed to reject any acrylic paint on top of them and dried in cool patterns. My college tutors weren’t over the moon with my huge tacky and still wet paintings I brought in for the final shows though…

– If you only have a tiny window or maybe no natural light at all, get a few sheets of white foam board or card (try here). They’ll be able to reflect some white light around the room or onto your paintings, helping with your photography and seeing the true shades of the paint you’re using.

– Get yourself a decent apron too, when I have to paint on the floor or crouched up, my clothes and hair drip straight into my paint pots and smear across everything else. Sort of makes your clothes look a bit cool… but also makes you need to chop a bit of your hair off!

– At one point whilst painting in my room in London, I bought a piece of MDF board from a DIY shop and used gaffa tape to stick some paper to it and painted off that against the wall, with me sat on the floor. It made for a decent sized easel for some painting.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips for painting in small rooms, I would love to know!


painting in small rooms



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