Creating ambience in a studio

How have you made your studio feel like a creative environment?

How do you balance utility (desk space/shelves/storage) and ambience (stuff thats not needed, but makes you feel creative) ?

this could read, ‘how Ive got it wrong’… as I think I’ve made my space too utilitarian, sure everything is immediately to hand, but it feels too much like a ‘workspace’ than a creative environment. perhaps, notably, I find programming in this home office/studio, much more productive than music making.
its a not a big space, so there are limitations… but I wonder if when I planned it my approach was wrong.

Have others reorganised their spaces to help them feel more creative?

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A simple hook behind my desk and lots of different paintings with picture wire on the back means I can swap out artwork really quickly, some friends work, some mine, depending on what I’m feeling like or the music I want to make at that moment. I don’t feel the need to go ott on it as one image can be very focused. Some messy work on the wall is a quick and effective antidote if your space is feeling a little sterile.

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My home studio space is almost all DIY and Ikea, for better or worse. I’ve masked the utilitarian aspects of these pieces with small collections of clutter. There is a shelf with several bins for cables, connectors, power adapters and other studio debris. There’s small collections of retro stereo equipment I’ve accumulated over the years interspersed between the bins. I found a bunch of old cameras in my grandfather’s attic - mostly non-functional - and added those to some shelves. I have books and boxes occupying some of the shelves. I guess I just find ways to tame studio clutter and foster it at the same time in specific ways. It certainly keeps the place from feeling too boxy and I’m always finding new things to look at.

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my home space is super utilitarian. just a fat furry creature laying around to brighten it up.

any real studio space the vibe is super important for me and my clients. I’m not a fan of the super sterile hospital like vibe of a lot of studios. one of my favorite spaces to work out of is studio g in brooklyn. reclaimed wood all over, rustic-y without hitting you in the face with a bail of hay, and a few knick knacks about to have your eyes wander during the creative process.

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My balance is 99% creativity, 1% utility.

Things that help me:
Have a tortoise roaming around the studio. Mine is called Shelldon Koopa. He’s very zen.

Physically involved instruments. I play double bass, an instrument you really need to get physically involved with. I have a small drum kit in the studio, I’m rubbish but again it’s a physical instrument. Getting your body moving can get your mind moving.

A sofa.

Candles. So hyggeligt.

Original art. I have 3 original Jon Burgermans up in the studio, think it’s beyond your price-range? Sell gear and buy inspiration.

Get rid of stuff you don’t use. We all enjoy looking at crammed studios in Sound on Sound, but you don’t need a dozen mono synths. Have a few creative tools and build a relationship with them.

I’d like to experience more nakedness in the studio, but for the moment that’s limited to Shelldon.

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The most creative environments I’ve ever been in supported different types of interaction depending on the audience. A table with comfortable, functional chairs. Couches and coffee tables. A whiteboard. Non-florescent light. Good airflow and natural light. A few plants. Not a lot of clutter.

Don’t forget the oriental rugs, layered purposefully but apparently without any particular thought.

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Got some turtle GAS rn.

+1 for art. Have a small collection and nothing is so refreshing as rotating the pieces once in a while.

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I moved my music studio into my bedroom and out of my home office. If I get a sudden urge to push pixels for my employer, I have to leave the room to do so. I hung 3 guitars and a ukulele on the walls. A painting by my uncle and a few other prints somewhat complete the picture (but I could always hang more art). The curtains have a wild flowery print. A window looks out onto the orchard. The lighting is all indirect, bright but diffuse. Sometimes a Philips Hue bulb adds color (even sound reactive color if I so choose.) The room needs plants, need to rectify that immediately. I wish I could do rugs, but the constant in and out of the three dogs makes that impractical. The three cats wandering around add some random that is quite a bit more unpredictable than any eurorack source of chaos. They are apparently fans of noise music and feel my sense of rhythm is entirely too conventional. A couple of music stands remind me that sometimes music is composed and can be written down. I should clean up the tangle of cables that lurk behind everything.

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thanks all… this has got my mind whirling with some ideas.

@jasonw22, im thinking of doing something similar :slight_smile:

  • let my office become a programming/hacking/experimenting den, where the desks,good lighting, storage are a good thing.
  • move my music stuff up into a small ‘loft’ space ( an area used solely by ours cats).
    its has restricted height, but perhaps I could move on to the floor… even more informal/fun… leave my main computer in the office, use my laptop instead.
    Id like to avoid desks (just use low tables perhaps) but Im not sure, if thats practical for the mixer/synth, but perhaps I can try and see… as a new space I can then also concentrate more on lighting, art and similar.

(no idea, how im going to keep the cables under control… perhaps I have to find a way to ‘embrace’ their chaos)

now I have to determine if the cats will accept my plan, (and my partner, but she is easier to please :slight_smile: )

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I would add to my previous statement that the random collections, art, and clutter do serve the practical purpose of breaking up and diffusing sound - maybe even absorbing it a little. But I feel validated by everyone’s choices here - I love having things to look at and find it a great way to slip into creative gear.

Also, concert posters. Great for any studio I think.

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art, yeah I think I’ll take a trip into Granda, see what local art I can find… iId love to get some strong Andalusian flavour up there… and perhaps also a Moroccan rug ( will help deaden the wooden floor a bit)… hmm gives me some ideas for lighting too.

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I live and have my studio in a small apartment. I’ve mostly just hung stuff on the walls such as prints I’ve received from people and items I’ve collected over my travels… but I don’t think any of it really reflects in my music which tends to be more weird / mysterious. But if my studio / living space reflected that to a large degree, I think it would be hard to live there. Compromises…

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the single best thing i’ve found is to hide away any gear i’m not currently using. opening up the workspace relaxes my mind and focuses my attention.

sometimes a red light bulb has a cool focusing effect too. i pretend i’m in a submarine or i’m developing prints.

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Creating ambiance in the room… put my stuff on the table and make my wife go out with friends.

This thread got me thinking: Which plants make good sound absorbers? :nerd:

edit: found a research paper!

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Nice article on huff.

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Amongst all places where i did set up a “studio” (rather an audio working desk) in various ways, i think i can gather a list of properties that made them feel creative or not.
Those things that all good places had in common:

  • an effort to keep the surfaces tidy, with only objects that i actually use. Once in a while i would remove useless things and feel in a “clean slate” state. But let the clutter grow if it needs to.
  • a window with some view, on a far side or behind. For a time, i lived in a flat with only large roof windows, with the sky as only view. Felt great (i had difficulties keeping track of time, though).
  • view blocked on three sides, low ceiling. The more “closed” it feels, the best.
  • some photographs on the wall (abstract, landscapes…)
  • pens and paper
  • books
  • good natural lighting, and a few 2500°K bulbs for low, warm light at night.
  • a part of the room has to have another purpose. Nowadays it’s a shelf for overwintering a few plants, an armchair to read, and a bench to fill sowing cells.

I guess my needs are to be able to focus easily, and have an environment that helps regenerate my focusing ability once it is used up (cycles anywhere from 10 seconds to 120 minutes).

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FYI the PLATFORM comes with rubber feet that attach to the bottom. I’m still mulling about buying one…

I make sure all work is done in the shadow of Emerson’s bulge:

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