This post is sponsored by IKEA. We’re sharing how we turned a small under utilized room into an organized craft room for any craft lover!
For far too long, our former ‘work room’ has been under utilized. Coming in at 6′ x 6′ with a barely 2′ door opening, it’s an incredibly small and slightly awkward space. Years ago, we added a large IKEA kitchen island* to use as a work surface (which we had to build in the room so it could fit through the door!), installed a couple of decorative shelves above and stashed shipping supplies below. It was wonderful; I shipped pet portraits from my little work top, and I was able to keep our home office free of tissue paper and paint supplies as a result. *Our island is no longer available, but this one is similar!
Fast forward to the end of my portrait business, and that room quickly became the catch-all for stuff. So much stuff! Unsorted mail. Gifts in need of wrapping. Christmas gifts in hiding. I needed to free myself of the clutter – both mentally and physically – and so Scott and I emptied out the room to give ourselves a blank slate:
Since the day Lucy was born, I’d been squirreling away scraps of wallpaper, bakers twine, stacks of stickers, washable paints, and pencils. As a child, I could spend hours coloring and crafting, and we’ve already started to see this love in Lucy. (My heart!) And so the plan for my lifelong (um, childhood) dream to create a craft lover’s organized oasis was hatched! This would be a room for the bits-n-bobs that nurture Lucy’s creativity, the tools that allow her to dream BIG. Also? Plants. This room receives the most beautiful filtered sunlight all day, and we were going to take advantage of that!
As a refresher, this room is tucked up above our stairs, just off of the second floor landing:
Below, I’m sharing what we did to carve out Lucy’s craft room, and how you can do the same. Oh, and a quick note to let you know that everything will be linked at the bottom of this post!
1| We gave ourselves a large, deep surface for crafting
The former butcher block atop the island was 24″ deep, but we wanted something that would at least fit a roll of wrapping paper. As soon as I spotted the KARLBY countertop, I loved it. The oak was perfect, and we saw that it was available in a 42″ depth! Because our room is so small, however, we cut it down to 34″ deep. The island itself now floats away from the back wall, but you can’t tell at all. It feels so luxurious to have so much counter space!
2| We contained small items together in concealed storage
Stickers. A paint shirt and water cup. Oil pastels. Crayons. I literally unboxed everything and tossed them in varying sizes of KUGGIS boxes with lids. (No more torn paper boxes or wondering where the missing crayons are!) Now, if Lucy would like to color, I can quickly grab the box of crayons – which is filled to the brim with every color imaginable! Fun fact: KUGGIS boxes are made almost entirely from recycled PET plastic.
All of our bins are stacked and stored neatly on three perfect rows of extra wide LACK floating shelves. The shelving runs almost wall to wall, and we’re keeping heavier use items down low and lesser used items up high.
3| Frequently used items are stored in glass jars for easy access
For quick grab items – such as this pretty twine for wrapping or foam brushes for paint touch-ups – I’ve stashed them in large glass vessels. I love the look of bakers twine in large glass jars, plus it’s easy to take a quick glance, see what’s available (and what’s running low!, then grab-and-go as needed.
4| We made room for empty bins and boxes
Any stacked box or bin without a label is completely empty by design. I think it’s so important to allow for empty space – whether that’s in a cupboard, drawer or on a shelf – to allow for change. Lucy is only getting bigger (by the minute, it seems!), and as she grows, so will her needs for this room.
5| Magnet boards serve as inspiration (and keep the counter clutter-free)
The former room had endless photos, hand written letters and paint swatches tacked to the wall with push pins. Needless to say, I was so happy to find these SVENSÅS memo boards! We hung two side-by-side, which allows us to have these things on display without damaging the walls while also keeping inspiring cut-outs and swatches off the countertop.
6| Every last thing is labeled
You know I love my embossing label maker, and I had too much fun labeling everything. Like, everything. (Sidebar: How sweet are these pale pink SOCKERBIT boxes? They’re almost an exact match to our pink island!) I wanted this room to be an organized dreamboat, and I think we nailed that. Labeling bins is my little life hack; it’s one less thing to be frustrated about. One less thing to add stress to our busy days.
7| We incorporated pull-out storage
Make your shelves work harder for you! We added two pull-out KOMPLEMENT trays and installed these drawer glides underneath. It’s always a little tough to reach in the back of a shelf, never mind the very bottom shelf! Our pull-out trays hold tissue paper, shipping boxes and my cutting mat, all in the name of keeping that countertop – you guessed it – clutter-free.
8| We used an everyday item in an unconventional way
My many rolls of wrapping paper have always been a thorn in my side, but I solved the storage dilemma using… a spice rack! We already had the DIY conduit rod you see above, so we installed the spice racks at the bottom, and the conduit holds it in place up above. We mounted the spice racks low enough so that the paper only barely peeked above the countertop:
On the other side, we mounted another one beneath the sightline of the counter to hold our packing tape! It’s a perfect fit.
9| We added task lighting
The NYMÅNE wall lamp is petite and unobtrusive, but it casts a surprising amount of light! I loved it for the built-in dimmer switch, and the white cloth cord is pretty enough to have on display. Someone asked me if this lamp would be cute hanging above a piece of art, and I’m enthusiastically answering, yes! It would be pretty perfect for that application, too.
10| A paper roll sparks creativity
You know we love a paper roll around here, so we made another one to fill this wall! This time, we added the MOSSLANDA picture ledge at the bottom to hold drawing supplies – a tip I actually learned from one of you that DIY-ed our original kraft roll! We attached the picture ledge pretty low in the hopes that Lucy can reach it soon, and we used a remnant from the countertop for the top – a perfect perch for plants. We love the possibilities that a big, fresh sheet of paper can provide, don’t you?
11| We added things that make us smile
Last and certainly not least, we added things that make us smile. A photo from my grandparents’ wedding day sits next to a photo of us the morning after our wedding day. I can’t wait until Lucy wants to paint the papier-mâché dinosaur. My mom’s old camera next to Scott’s grandpa’s camera. Plants. So many plants! I love a good terracotta pot, and these are it. And these enamel pots are too cute!
This organized craft room makes us so happy every time we pass by. It may seem, well, cheesy, but we made every part of this room with Lucy in mind. I imagine her in here, helping me wrap gifts. Or giggling with a friend as they dump over bins and make a mess of glitter and glue. Or drawing on the roll (and subsequently, on the wall?). I can’t wait, I can’t wait.
IKEA Items Used In This Makeover:
KARLBY countertop | LACK wall shelves | SKOGSTA bar stool | MOSSLANDA picture ledge | KUGGIS boxes with lids | VARIERA boxes with handles | SOCKERBIT boxes with lids (pink) | MALLIGRODA ash veneer round box | IKEA 365+ jars | GIVANDE twine | GIVANDE gift wrap | KOMPLEMENT pull-out tray | SVENSÅS memo boards | INGEFÄRA pots (terracotta) | CITRONSYRA pots (white) | BEKVÄM spice racks | NYMÅNE wall lamp
Love love love it!! One question- where are the magnets you used on the memo board from? They’re perfect!
We used these little guys, double stacked. They are STRONG!
This is such an amazing use of that space! I love it so much. I want to craft in there so much, it’s such an inspiring spot now – I’ll just pop by for a visit, shall I? ;)
I wonder what that little room was used for originally, do you know?
When we toured this home (almost 7 years ago!), it was used as a bedroom, believe it or not. A twin bed took up most of the space. These old Chicago houses are full of small rooms – that’s pretty typical – but they’re usually skinny and long (like Lucy’s nursery). This one is just… TINY.
How is the stickiness of the embossing labels? how long do they stay on? many years ago, had one and found they would fall off due to humid or heat … have you used them in your garage? i would be using in a basement which would be cold and humid and a garage and with no insulation. like that they are cheaper than the other label makers but if the labels dont last as long… be curious to hear of your experience with those conditions
Good question! We find that these labels are tough as nails. Like, wow. But we haven’t used them in a garage. Does anyone else have experience with temperature fluctuations that can chime in?
So cute! Has the island always been that color or did you give it a fresh coat of a perfect grey pink hue? I love it.
Side note: have you tried the packing tape that’s silent? It’s life changing.
We painted it pink almost 6 years ago! It was just a magical coincidence that the SOCKERBIT boxes matched up so well!
What is silent packaging tape?! Oooo!
I love the newly reorganized look and I have to say that although it all looks great, I’m kind of weirdly geeked over the packing tape thing.
So cute! I want to come craft with Lucy! :) We used the same source racks as bookshelves in Henry’s room!
Come over anytime! Actually, just move back to Chicago, please. :)
Where did you shift the tools, tubs of storage, broom etc? A comment says the island was painted six years ago? Where was ir used previously?
Are you thinking of our workshop? The workshop is right off of our kitchen, you can see that here: https://yellowbrickhome.com/workshop-organization-with-gearwall/
And here’s the post to the first rendition of our craft room: https://yellowbrickhome.com/the-workroom-ready-to-work/
Hopefully that helps make it less confusing! :)
An update of this floor plan with current room names would be awesome!
The ‘after’ plans are identical to what we did, with the exception of the craft room! It’s labeled ‘studio storage’ on that old post.
Looks awesome! How does the craft paper get pulled down behind the shelf? Do the shelf screws interfere with pulling the paper down behind the shelf?
We didn’t use the screw in the middle, just the outside screws with anchors. It’s super sturdy!
Great ideas. I am a little curious about the tabletop. It is placed on the cart with the overhang oriented toward the back wall? Why not turn it so that the overhang is in the front so that legs can go under it? Also, I’ll blame YHL for people grabbing things all the time. Fetch, retrieve, get down. Please, anything but grab.
We didn’t want the overhang on the front, because there are drawers that we wouldn’t be able to access.
With all due respect, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. ;)
I agree that the drawers and shelves are more useful than the overhang. Kids can stand or their tiny knees don’t take up much space anyway. I notice they like to kneel on chairs or stools a lot too (probably because they’re short :) )
And re: your fetch response – one of the things that still sticks with me over 20 years later from a news-writing course, the professor said to use the simplest, most direct verb when writing (ie said, not communicated or uttered). I think grab fits that criteria.
That’s also true! Lucy is really into sitting on her knees lately. It’s adorable. ☺️
Love that tip as well, thank you, Ryan! Funny the things that can be irksome to some, but not others. In any case, my ‘fetch’ comment was also in reference to the movie Mean Girls (which I can pretty much quote by heart!).
Woohoo! Finally some justification for my hatred of the word “utilize.” And actually related to the post: this little room looks great. There are people in my family that will be mighty jealous of not getting a craft room of their own.
Cute crafting room! I’m wondering why you pulled the island forward rather than leaving an overhang to make sitting on the stool for crafting at the table a bit more comfortable?
We wouldn’t be able to have access to those front drawers with an overhang. :)
I just need to tell you how much I appreciate the fact that the boxes on the shelves are labeled on the front as they’re mostly at eye level, but the boxes below the countertop are labeled ON THEIR TOPS since you’ll be looking down at them. I never would have considered this but it seems so obvious once you see it done this way. Thanks for the idea!
Is there anything better than a room full of really good organization?
Mmmm… not much. Haha!
It looks like Ikea may have changed the Lack shelf back to its original glory? Everyone was raving about these, so I got them for my kitchen about 3 years ago, and they’re…well, terrible. The ones you link to have rods coming out of the support bracket. But my version does not. Just a flat metal wall mount that you then kinda slide the shelf onto. They’re so flimsy and slope downwards, and barely hold any weight. (And my installation was stellar. Like, I sunk that metal wall bracket into some concrete and could hang four adults from it). I’m glad to see they went back to their original version. I feel kinda swindled.
Yeah, ours have brackets that the shelf slips into!
I love it! So inspiring, especially because we’re in the very beginning stages of designing our own crafty room. Thanks for all the great ideas!
I love the room, and I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but you might want to consider removing those cute magnets until Lucy is older. Small magnets can be a real hazard if swallowed by little ones.
For sure!! And for what it’s worth, Lucy could never reach those on her own, and she’s only in this room with us (at this age). We appreciate your advice!
Beautiful space! I have a little artist in my house who has supplies stashed all over the house ???? Do you have a plan for Lucy to be able to reach the work surface? Or will she get a small table of her own to work at? She’ll be thrilled to have such a cool place to work!
She has a small kiddie table next to our desk (right outside this room!), and then she can use the big counter surface once she’s old enough to use the stool. ☺️
Do you have a tutorial on how you created the craft roll situation…really great use of space!
This is so good! I’m planning out a craft/ homework area for two that is 8 feet long and was having trouble justifying the cost of a 3 foot deep desk, but now I think I will just go for it! Also love the magnet wall and sconces, such functional details.
It looks amazing. Such a smart use of space. And as a fellow crafter (and a daughter of an extreme crafter), I’m so excited for you and Lucy!!
This is CUTE! Lots of great inspo here. Scooped up several of the IKEA items you linked to.
Crafts + organization? Be still my heart. This is adorable and functional. I am quickly outgrowing my wrapping station (FYI, plan drawers from architects or engineering firms fit rolls of wrapping paper or gift bags *perfectly.*); I can’t wait to add on side storage!I am v. sorry if I missed this, but can you possibly tell me more about the ceiling light fixture? It’s such a great mix of materials and shapes!
Thank you! The light is vintage and we added these huge LED bulbs with a matte finish. We love it so much!
Love it! Big supporter of craft space for kiddos here :) I gotta say tho, the armadillo print had me ???????????? I adore the fun quirk you put into nearly every project you do!
Thank you so much! :D
Such a creative space! Love the Ceiling light fixture and bulbs! Would you have a source for the bulbs?
Nailed it, as usual! I’m sorry if I missed the info somewhere, but where could I find that tape dispenser???
We got it at The Container Store years ago!
Gorgeous room, the organization of it all makes me swoon! Super random question, but what kind of plant is that next to your grandparents’ photo? It’s gorgeous, and I think I need one in my life!
I think the nickname for it is a lipstick plant – it will sprout little red tubes of flowers in the spring!
I love that little blue rug – it’s the perfect size for the space! Where is it from?
Hi Lia! It’s this rug here. Available in tons of sizes, too!
Hi! I’m in love with your ceiling light fixture but didn’t see it linked? Do you have a source for it? Thanks!
Hi! It was a lucky vintage find almost a decade ago.