Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Transform Your Studio Space on a Budget, Part 5: Finishing Touches

You may remember a few years ago when I did a 4-part series on how to transform your studio space on a budget, Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4. If you haven't read those posts yet, please take a few minutes to do so because they form the foundation for today's post. Since the original makeover, I have done a few more things to the studio to further enhance the space and give it a more modern and clean look. 

During the summer, when I had some spare time, I decided to add some finishing touches to my studio to really make it mine. 

First, I tackled the built-in bookshelves. I painted them white and added some storage. I used self-leveling paint and followed some wonderful tutorials that I found on Pinterest. It turned out great, and the large white bookshelf makes the room look so much brighter because it bounces an incredible amount of light around the room. 

Check out the original "before" picture compared to the current "after". I can't believe the transformation! It took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint, and it took about 2 weeks from start to finish (in between teaching and other projects), but it was 100% worth it. 

Look closely and you'll see I changed the hardware on the doors. I had to fill the holes with wood filler, sand them down, fill and sand again, then prime and paint. After the paint dried, I drilled the new holes for the new hardware and installed it. The hardware is very similar to our kitchen hardware to create a cohesive look throughout our home. 

I also flipped the magazine holders around backwards to make the space look clean and decluttered, and I purchased several storage baskets from TJMaxx and Ross to further clean up and declutter the space. Most of the cost of this part of the project was in elbow grease, but it was worth it! 

Another thing I did was add splashes of an accent color to the yellow and gray color scheme. The accent colors I chose were teal/turquoise and mint. 

In the three "before" and "after" photos below, you can see how much different the room looks with different color schemes. This is the same angle, but it has been rearranged and updated yet again, to make the space even better. 

The photo below is before the 2013 makeover. 

The next photo below was taken after the 2013 makeover, when I changed the color scheme to gray and yellow. 

And finally, the next photo below shows the 2016 current look of the space. You'll see my new chair in the next photo. I absolutely LOVE my mint green chair - I found it at Ross and it literally was love at first sight. This is where I sit when I teach. I spray painted my music stand yellow, and I found two of the beautiful pillows like you see in my mint chair below, and those became the inspiration for the new pops of color. 

Having the piano open towards the brick fireplace makes the piano sound even more wonderful in the room! The sound waves bounce off the hard bricks and absolutely wrap me in rich warm sound every time I play the piano. It is so enjoyable!

I added wedding photos (a personal touch for the space) to those lovely gray frames I found on SALE at Michaels, and I hung them with Command strips on either side of the windows, along with brand new beautiful gray curtains that I found at Marshall's.  

We also replaced the old and worn out baseboard heaters and wall thermostat that you can see in the "before" photos with nice new white ones. They make the space look much more modern (though you can't see the new ones in the photos, but you can see the wall thermostat above the light switch), and they're more energy efficient in the winter. 

You'll also notice in the picture below that the lighting is much better than before. We replaced all of the soft white bulbs in the room with 5000K bulbs so that the color of the light they produce is much more like natural daylight. It has made a world of difference! 

In the next photos you'll see the opposite end of the room, the end opposite the windows. I'm sure you're starting to notice how much I love moving furniture around! Haha! First, this was an empty space that needed a TON of TLC. 

Then it became the space for the digital piano, table, and lamp. 

Next, it was the space for my brown chair (where I sat when I taught, before I found the beautiful mint chair) and piano. This worked well, but I knew I could still do more with it. 

Finally, you'll see below that it has now become the sitting area for parents while their kids are at the piano for lessons. The oversized couch is so comfy that more than one parent may have snuggled in and taken an accidental nap during lessons! True story! 

The oversized photos on the wall were taken by my husband in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2015, and I used a tutorial I found on Pinterest to learn how to print them so large for less than $10 each. They are wrapped around large sheets of styrofoam from Lowe's, and hung on the wall with Command strips. It is actually one GIGANTIC photo that was divided into three smaller ones, and I love having that beautiful reminder of the Aspen trees on that wall. Plus, it's black and white, so it goes with the gray color scheme perfectly! 

The large storage basket by the chair is from Ross, the beautiful rug and cozy blanket are from Tuesday Morning (I can't believe that soft and plush wool rug was only $99!) and the teal/turquoise accents on the digital piano and coffee table are from Michael's. 

Below is a different angle of the seating area. This picture was taken from beside the built-in bookshelves. I think the essence of the studio is captured here. I added more accents to the mantel, which give it more depth and interest, and the mirrored chest on the hearth stores teaching materials such as copies of any books my students are currently studying from, plus tons of sticky notes (Post-it notes), and my Logitech HD webcam that I use for teaching Skype lessons. I love for storage to be both functional and beautiful! 

Finally, I want to show you how a clean and decluttered space can make your studio feel very welcoming and calm - a great space for teaching and learning, or for just hanging out when lessons are not in session! When we purchased this house, the studio space had so much potential, we just needed to help it realize its full potential.  

As you read in an earlier post, we got to work on it right away so I could start teaching, and it has continually become a space that is more "me" and more comfortable and welcoming for teaching and learning than ever before. Here is a sequence of photos to remind you of how my studio has changed over the past few years, but always affordably and within a budget. The photos below are all taken from the opposite end of the room from the windows. 

The beginning... (2011)

Using furniture and decor we already owned to start building the space... (2011)

After the 2013 budget makeover... (2013)

As it looks today, in 2016...

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the transformation of my studio space from the very beginning to how it currently looks! If it changes again, I'll upload pictures so you can see it.

It truly doesn't have to take lots of money to make your studio space look amazing. If you follow the tips from the previous posts, then do a few more finishing touches as your time and budget allow (in my case, it was 3 years later, so you don't have to be in a hurry), your studio space will feel warm, inviting, calming, and will be a safe and happy space for you and your students, as well as for your family. 

If you know of someone who might enjoy this series of articles on transforming your studio space on a budget, use the sharing buttons on the left, or pin the image below to tell them about it!


  1. Looking great! So much better! As I was reading parts 1, 2, 3, 4 I kept thinking, she needs to paint the bookshelves white (and maybe even the bricks of the fireplace(!) Glad to see in this post you did it! Painting the bookshelves made a huge difference. I also love the yellow music stand!

  2. Thank you! I thought about painting the bricks too, but I really love them as they are! So only the bookshelf became white :) It DID make a huge difference, and we are enjoying the results!

  3. OH my gosh it's like night and day! It's gorgeous! I am so glad I found this post- I am having a 'space' situation with my newest studio, and this was a huge help!

    - Suzan Pleva - Owner | Instructor, Melody Piano Detroit :)

    1. Thank you so much, Suzan! I'm not an interior decorator, but over time, I learned what I liked and what worked best in the space. It took a few years, but I love how it turned out. I'm sure your new studio will be beautiful! Best wishes!