Thursday, October 10, 2013

Transform Your Studio Space on a Budget, Part 4: The Reveal

It's finally time to "unveil" the budget music studio makeover! Before you read the rest of this post, you might want to take a minute to read the first three parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

All done? Buckle in... Here we go!

The first thing I want to share is the mantel/fireplace makeover. 

Before: The fireplace insert has lots of brass on it (not my favorite look), the old insert is dull and stained, the mantel is small and unbalanced with the size of the fireplace, there is slightly mismatched decor in the space. 

After: I painted the fireplace insert black (with high-heat paint, of course!) - no more brass! Thicker mantel, coordinating mantel decor, simple and clean, colors are coordinated with the rest of the room, which you'll see in a minute (Did you notice my spray-painted vases? Also, the artwork is a piece of fabric wrapped around foam board.). I kept the silver vase because I love the shine and the shape, and I added a storage basket for easy access to flash cards and games. Now the fireplace area is much more modern, bright, and clutter-free. 

Next, here's the sofa area. Remember, I get practically no natural light in this room, so please forgive the lamplit and slightly yellow-looking photos :)

Before: Curtains are too long and too heavy (they are lined), lots of wasted space, the ottoman is making the space feel crowded, pillows and other decor are not coordinated with one another, even though they're really cute (I'm a fan!). 

After: Curtains are shorter, and are light and airy (yay for fabric shower curtains!), digital piano is in a more appropriate location than before (students love to practice on it during their siblings' lessons), DIY pillow covers which are larger than the original pillows add brightness and softness, fabric artwork (in a spray-painted frame - the frame was on the mantel in the Before picture), and spray-painted vases tie the area together with the mantel area. The small vase of yellow flowers on the digital piano was "borrowed" from our home office. This area is now light, bright, cheerful, and inviting. 

Here's a closer look at my pillow covers. I'm pretty excited about them and may need to do a few more :)

Next up: My teaching area, which includes my piano, chair, and music stand area. 

Before: Not a bad arrangement, but I didn't like having to place the lamp in the middle of the room, and the piano needed to be closer to the corner. I was using a blanket for a bench cushion (fantastic gift from a student many years ago), my chair was in the middle of the room and made the room feel crowded, ottoman as I mentioned before was not in a good spot, and the furniture, rug, and music stand were just too dark. The mirror frame was black and it was not hanging in an ideal location either. 

After: Arrangement is much better, the room has much better flow, lamp is no longer in the middle of the room (it's now behind the music stand beside my chair), new bench cushion adds more brightness and comfort to the space, the piano is in a better location, my chair is moved against the wall (where the digital piano had been), ottoman has been recovered in a light fabric and moved against the wall (students like to spread their books and book bag out on the ottoman), new rug is much lighter ($18 indoor/outdoor gray rug from Lowe's that I taped and painted - I love the results of it!), rug under the piano pedals coordinates with the color scheme of the room, and I spray-painted the music stand yellow. My yellow music stand is one of my favorite things in the room now :) I also spray-painted the mirror frame a glossy white and my sweet hubby helped me hang it on the center of the wall. MUCH better. 

Before: The view parents saw from the sofa was not great. It was crowded, felt cluttered even though there were not a lot of extra materials in the space, and I just didn't feel at home in the space even though it was functional for the most part. You can see the digital piano in this picture, and it felt out of place in that corner. The table lamp was too dark (black with a red shade). 

After: The view from the other side of the room is much better. Much more open, brighter, lighter, and welcoming. No more clutter, crowding, or closed-in feeling. The digital piano is in a much better place beneath the window, I added a gray chevron storage box to the shelf under the table, my chair now has a bright yellow and white pillow in it (think I need to add another one or two - I am loving the pillows!), which brightens up that area, you can see another spray-painted yellow vase on the table (which doubles as a small trash can for broken pencils, stickers that aren't sticky anymore, etc.), and I also spray-painted the lamp white and made a new shade out of leftover pillow fabric. As you probably already noticed, fabric and spray paint played a huge role in this makeover!

In a nutshell, the space feels so much bigger, brighter, warm, and inviting! I truly enjoy spending time in that room now, whereas before, it just felt too dark, which made it difficult to enjoy the space. I know it doesn't look like a piano studio in the sense that I didn't use any music-themed decorations (except for my piano painting which my parents gave me for Christmas years ago - it's hanging above the sofa), but I wanted the space to tie in seamlessly with the rest of our home and give us a place to spend time in outside of teaching hours without making me feel like I was going to work again. 

Additional ideas: I mixed masculine (straight lines, hard objects, and objects with strong angles) with feminine (objects with curves and soft textures) to create balance in the room, I mixed yellows, grays, and whites without making it matchy-matchy, and I added color, pattern, texture, and shine to the room (just like I learned from the television show "What Not to Wear"!). 

Decorating a room, as in any other aspect in our lives, is all about balance. Now that the makeover is complete, I can teach my students in a warm and cheerful room during the upcoming snowy days of winter, and I can enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that both teaching and decorating bring to me. 

Have you done a studio makeover lately? I would love to hear about it! Add your comments below. If you have pictures you'd like to share, I'd love to post them. 

If you know someone who is getting ready to do a studio makeover, use the sharing buttons on the left or pin the image below to let them know about this series of articles! 


  1. I love it Melody!! You did a fabulous job changing, rearranging and redesigning your studio! Now...I just need to see it in person and not on the computer! :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing! I like how you put thought into having soft and harder lines. It gives a balance that we see, even subconsciously, it feels more balanced and at rest.

  3. Thank you, Grace! I'm not an interior designer, but it's amazing how simple changes like that can make a big difference :)

  4. Thanks, DoodleOven! It was a fun project, and I'm really glad it is finished so my students and I can enjoy it :)