Creating a bedroom studio can be both convenient and cost-effective, if you know what steps to take. Fortunately, we’ve got 10 simple tips that will help you get organised…
1. Do you really need one?
Before you start emptying a room of junk to fill it with your gear, wait! Consider first: do you really need a dedicated space to make music in? Many producers can happily go about their music-making with nothing more than a laptop or iPad, keeping light on their feet and heavy with their tune-making.
Who needs a special space just to make music when you can do that? Answer: we all do. Having your own space just to lay down tracks in Logic or Live, create in Cubase, track in Tracktion, arrange in Reason or sing into Studio One is pure bliss. Of course you want a space, so ignore this tip and head to number 2, quick sharp.
2. Get the basics right
But before you even consider filling a room in your house with expensive gear (and every weird light that Ikea sells), bear in mind some of the ’studio setup basics’. Can you get some decent speakers set up (in an equilateral triangle) in there?
Are there enough power points in the room, or are you going to have to consider some electrical health and safety nightmares? Is there room to store cables? Lots of cables? Really? And while we’re here, jump to tip 7 and come back again. Good. Now go to tip 3.
3. Consider the furniture
Unless you’re a super-cool kid who lives in a trendy Shoreditch loft apartment, or someone who works for Ableton, a trestle table isn’t always going to be the ideal item to put everything on that you need for your studio. Specialist desks from Gear4Music or Output start at a few hundred pounds.
If you have larger pockets than you have room space then you might want to consider a specialist studio furniture company like AKA Design, Miloco Builds or StudioRacks who can put a bespoke work surface together to fit the space you do have. That way, you have everything in reach even if you look a little like Uhura from Star Trek. But do consider tip 9 (and 10, actually) first…
4. Ghosts in the machines
To sleep or not to sleep. It’s a question you will consider: is that bedroom studio still going to be used as the ’bedroom’ part of its name? If so, then consider that some studio gear doesn’t actually do sleep mode, so you might get an interface that wakes a computer up, which will then wake you up!
So sleeping in a studio – apart from maybe waking up to make music when inspiration strikes – is not always a good thing. Your choice, of course, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
5. Make it yours
Every month we see some incredible studio spaces in our Show Off Your Studio feature, and every one that we pick for publication, we tend to choose because they’ve made that space their own; they’ve included a unique decoration, toy, lighting or gear setup in a room in which they will be creating their art.
And the whole point of you having a studio – rather than renting out somewhere else for a fee – is for it to be comfortable, relaxed and inspiring*, so make it feel like you, and it’ll soon become a place where you want to be making music.
* And somewhere for your toy robot/Star Wars collection.
6. Double it up as an office
Perhaps an obvious one this, but your studio is a luxury domestic space so you really should consider using it as a home office as well as the place where your inspiration triggers incredible creativity.
It’ll put less pressure on you to keep creating and you can then justify it as a dual use area that you – or your partner – can also use to bring in some much-needed funds or run the paperwork that a home requires. And see tip 10 for more partner ’issues’ you might have.
7. Neighbours, everybody needs good…
The human race appears to be hurtling towards a population boom, so much so that one day all 600 billion of us may end up living in tiny cubes next to one another. That being the case, making loud music might not be such a great idea. But then nor is it at 3am in your quiet cul-de-sac semi in Northampton.
Wherever you place your studio, consider the extra noise that it will make in terms of your speaker positions and the inevitable ’I just want to hear this a bit louder’ moment you will have. You might not consider your art as ’excess noise’ but your neighbours won’t consider it as anything other than that. So be careful where you position your studio in the grand scheme of human harmony. Or just get some decent headphones…
8. Get acoustic
Make the most of kits which offer a full room acoustic treatment for surprisingly little outlay like the Auralex kit for £500 or the London 12 Room Kit from Primacoustic (from £275). Maybe even consider specialists like GIK Acoustics who will suggest acoustic improvements (for a fee naturally) based on photos of your setup. But before you go knocking nails in the wall…
9. Even if you don’t
…get acoustic’d up, then don’t worry, because the penultimate tip is to be prepared for change. A bedroom studio can, and probably should, be a temporary measure. After all you want to be able to come away from your intense music-making environment and relax – without having to sleep in it! so maybe you should consider it just so.
It’s also very likely that your home circumstances might change and that extra space might end up being used for something more important than your music-making (if you can conceive of such an idea), perhaps even a tiny ’pitter-patter’ that isn’t a clever percussion touch in one of your ambient masterpieces.
So be prepared for your studio space to evolve into something else and your ’indoor shed’ to be evicted. Though we’re not saying that this should result in the end of your music-making aspirations – far from it. This last tip might stave off that scenario, for a while at least…
10. And finally, consider your…
Last, but most definitely not least, do consider your partner. Suggest that they have a space (or at least budget) all to themselves, otherwise whenever you have an argument (about literally anything) that perfect studio you’ve been slaving over will be first on the list entitled ’Well what about your…’ and, before you know it, your creative den will be back to being a spare room again…