Why I Prefer a Small Art Room

As I was organizing my classroom and putting away supplies I had ordered, I stepped back and noticed every single cupboard in my art room was OPEN! It was kind of a funny sight to see!

Closed (back when I had my old tables)

With Doors Wide Open!

Did you know these cupboards are the only storage I have in my art room, besides my drawers I house artwork in? I do not have a storage room like the other art teachers in my district. I like this.  WHAT? you might ask? Don’t you want an art room that is mecca, with big beautiful lights, windows, tons of storage space and sinks? Sure. Some days I wish my room was bigger, I didn’t have to track down the hall to use the kiln and I wish I could just shove my messes in a little side room where no one can see. But I am not afforded this luxury and I prefer it.

Having a small art room is great because….

  • You are always in close proximity to students working and can help them in a jiffy
  • You are FORCED to keep organized because every single mess you make is highly visible to everyone around
  • You keep your cupboards cleaner because you can’t save everything from year to year. It makes you proritize
  • It creates a cozy homey feeling in the art room to have a small space to create community
  • The music you play does not have to be very loud because everyone can hear
  • You are more likely to keep your countertops clean because the one counter is the ONLY place to set anything down on
When I first came to my room many years ago, I spent a lot of time decluttering.  Now, I find I never needed all of that stuff anyway and having a small room makes for sort of a simple, and easy teaching life.  So the next time you think to complain about your space, instead, think about how your space is a benefit to you and how you can use it to it’s full potential.  This is one step to becoming a Clutter Free Teacher!
Do you have a large or small art room? What are the pros and cons? Do you have a storage room? 

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Tanja

    I agree 110%! I loved my small classroom, because there was not a bad seat in the place. I will admit that there were days I wanted just a little bit more room, but that was only when I had classes bigger than could comfortably fit at my tables. It did make me get creative in my seating arrangements. However when it came to storage, I had to be very deliberate in my projects, because there was no space for excess supplies that would not be used. My storage was more efficient and containerized for easy grab and go. My supplies also did not get dated as far as their quality and useability.

  • Dale

    Love your cabinets. I have a small room, but not much storage. I do like that the students are within easy reach for the most part. My room was designed for a kindergarten or first grade back in the 70’s so the sink is VERY low. If I could change anything it would be to have at least another that is more adaptable to the older students and me too!

    • Tanja

      Actually I found a portable sink that is normal height from Home Depot for $108 which is a laundry sink. We attached a barrel and pump so that it could be pumped out of the room without having to carry the water load by hand. It was a great solution for my situation, but I also had a lot of leeway with my principal and we built a cabinet so it looked presentable.

  • Your classroom does look nice and cosy. Do you have any room inside your classroom to put up some of the pupils’ work?

    • I do have one bulletin board that I sometimes put their work up, but mostly I use it for displaying posters, etc. I put up a ton of artwork in the hallways. I also have thought of doing the clothesline thing across the ceiling but worried it would feel “cluttered” in an already small room.

  • I am jealous! I teach art in the classrooms, art from a “cart”, or in my case from the lounge where all my supplies and desk are. So be thankful that you have a wonderful classroom!

  • Laura Allan

    I have taught on a cart, in a big room, and now in a smaller room. I would agree with you. Each way has it’s own pros & cons – but I am starting to enjoy this smaller space. I enjoyed reading your positive list. Thanks!

    • Keep positive April- Thank you for pointing out the positives, we all have to find them no matter what our situation.

  • I have a small space, and love your list! I have an art therapy class, so a small room guarantees smaller class size – much better for therapy.

  • Nice that you can be so positive about a small space. Where do you keep kids’ portfolios. I have a small rooms and can’t seem to figure out where I am going to put nearly 600 of them.

    • Hey Angie- I keep them in my drawers or in large rubbermaid tubs that I store on top of my shelving. Sometimes they do get in the way, but laying flat in the drawers (or on a shelf) works ok if they are not too full.