Sewing Room–Help Needed!!

A post from Kelli–

When we moved to our farm, Jason made sure that I would have a sewing space downstairs.  When we got to looking at the upstairs of the house, there was a small little room with a super slanted ceiling that we decided I could use for my upstairs sewing room to mostly store projects that I wasn’t working on and my fabric stash.  I knew that it would take careful consideration to make sure that I use the space properly, but I am still at a loss.  I’ve been trolling pinterest to try and find some ideas, but haven’t gotten anywhere.  Here’s the room–

Sewing Room 2 (400x225)

This is the view when you walk into the room.  When we bought the house, it was all white except for a few crayon drawings from the kids that lived here before us.  I love red, so I thought I wanted to paint the room red, but didn’t want to make it all red, so I tried the above color scheme and I think I can safely say that it failed.

Sewing Room 3 (225x400)
This shows a bit more of the red, which I am turning out to hate.  I have bought a shorter cabinet type thing to wedge against the short back wall that will stick out 24 inches.  It has 6 drawers and 2 big doors that I can use to store stuff.  I don’t know what color I’ll be painting it, but it definitely will need some sprucing up with chalk paint.

Sewing Room 1 (224x400)
Here’s the window in the room.  The red paint looks really dark in this picture, but it’s more toward the lighter color in the others.  This window is wedged in the corner pretty far, so I don’t feel like I can put shelving right up to the window because it’ll block most of it, and I would really like a little bit of light coming in.

Sewing Room Decor (400x203)
This is a picture of what I think I’m going to aim for as far as a color scheme.  The fabric on the top is actually a tablecloth that I bought at a garage sale for a dollar.  It has little lines of dots in red, a limey green (almost yellow), and a light blue the same color as the chevrons.  I think it’d make cool curtains, but I’m up for suggestions.  I got the chevron canvas out of Mom’s box to go to the thrift store.  I know that the colors that I currently have on the wall/slanty ceiling, will need to change because I absolutely hate them.

So, this is what I am looking for opinions on–

1.  What color to paint the short cupboard that will be at the slanty end of the room?

2.  What color to paint the walls and how to handle the slanty ceiling?

3.  How to add additional storage without obstructing the window?

4.  Any other suggestions to make this the most functional that I can.

I don’t have a super large budget for this, so I want to make sure that it’s something that will work well and that I will like.  Also, I don’t plan on having a sewing or cutting table up there right now, but down the road when I have kids, I’m assuming that  sewing table I have now will need to move upstairs.

Any suggestions are welcome and very much appreciated!




33 thoughts on “Sewing Room–Help Needed!!”

  1. The room is small so lighter colors will work best. Dark colors make the room seem smaller and absorb natural light where lighter colors will reflect the light and make the room seem less confining. I’d go with a light version of the Limey Yellow Green but make sure you stay on the yellow side of that color. Use the red for you cabinet if you flare and to use up what’s leftover. Put cabinets, shelving, hanging rod etc along sides. Looks like the back is too low for any furniture so graduated sizes of furniture along the sides will let you use the space available. Cubes are great for this because you can stack them in different heights and are fairly easy to make if you are budget conscientious. I had a great time in Olewein and really enjoyed meeting you both. Take care and I hope to see you next year!

  2. i agree, in a small room you need lighter colors.
    I would re-paint the red walls and change them to the light blue in your paint sampler.
    for the cabinet, i would go with a medium yellow to match the color in your table cloth,
    and then use accent colors of the lime green, chalk white, and a very small pop of the red, (maybe for sewing accessories, a vase, etc.)
    using the cubes for storage sounds like a great idea as well. Sounds like a great sewing room in the making!

  3. I also agree with the light colors of paint and also for the curtains, Use a glossier type of paint to reflect more light and not absorb it. How about making your own shelving for the short wall just ( board and bricks) with some wider shelves on the bottom for storage. You could use a shower curtain in front of the shelves to hide to stash as a small closet and to protect fabric from sun fading, and add a bit of color this way. Make use of the window light by putting your machine near it. I would use a light or shear type curtain or just a valance on the window to also keep as much of the natural light coming in and give it a more open feeling. Is the short cupboard tall enough that you could put on a side wall to use for a cutting table or make a top with batting and insulbright to use as a ironing board even.

  4. I actually like white for a sewing room. That way the walls don’t compete with the fabric. With the fabric you’ve got, though, I’d go with a light beige on the walls and paint the cabinet to match the chevrons. (What can I say, I’m kinda boring, decor-wise. But then, I like the red walls, just not for a sewing room.) The top of my ironing table (home-made) is rectangular and removable. When one end gets gross, I can flip it around, and it’s easy to recover with a stole gun. We put 2x2s around the bottom to hold it in place. Something like that might work on top of the cabinet if it isn’t too tall. Finally, I’d put a storage box under the window, kind of like a window seat, to “protect” the window against encroachment. Be a perfect place for a hope chest or a toy box.

  5. I think what you’ve done is make it look like a tunnel. Perhaps if you would have reversed the colors, and put the dark red at the end, you would have liked it better. Maybe if you paint the room in the pastel color, you could paint your dresser the red color Those slanted ceilings are the pits to work around. Good luck.

  6. I agree with the previous comments. Our tiny master bath and kitchen ceilings are painted the same color as the walls so the eye doesn’t notice those lines in such small spaces. It also cuts down on cutting in and taping

  7. When looking at your color chart, I find myself really liking the colors on the lower right. It has the aquas and grays. I was thinking lighter gray for the walls and use the furniture curtains for your pop of color. We moved this fall and I’m sewing in what would be the play room. It’s large, but has no closet. I took one wall and had shelves put in. (I can’t put a picture here, but I’ll add it to the facebook post.) I like them because I’ve got places for books and baskets for projects and fabric. I realize this is bigger than the space you have, but it gives you the idea. I’ve found it to be a very versatile way to go. Don’t feel bad about the red…I painted the outside of our house a color that I ended up hating!

  8. All the ideas from the comments before are good. Blinds are good for controlling the amount of sunlight that comes in a room . I’ve heard of baby changing tables used in sewing rooms.

  9. I’m liking a grey and blue color scheme. I would paint your chest the same color as that wall to visually expand that area. Could you use pegboard around your window? They have wire baskets to go on it, I believe. I have used cubes with a cutting board on top in my sewing room. Some of the cubes have canvas baskets, some are open. It is a very versatile piece.
    Good luck on your fun project!

  10. I would paint the whole room white to reflect the natural light from the one window. Paint the cabinet red since you love red. The room would be beautiful. Debbie in WV

  11. I’d save up my pennies and put in a double dormer window in that slanted wall. In addition to giving you good light for sewing it would be great for resale.

  12. Hello Jo, fellow Iowan and quilter!
    I also had some similar issues with my sewing room. My advice would be to paint the entire room a light gray. Gray will lighten and not give you color confusion, Then make a trip to Ikea in Chicago. I bought several white Billy bookcases and two awesome tables. In the front on that little short wall you could put a bookcase horizontally. I spent a total of $700.00 and have more storage than you can imagine! You would not believe how much you could store and organize your fabric stash in a small space with the help from Ikea. With bookcases everything is visible for storing in large tubs. I live in Dyersville so pick me up along the way and I’ll ride along and help with the design and purchase!

  13. I LOVE red too, but I just painted the room that is going to be my sewing room a light gray which looks almost blue sometimes. The trim and ceiling are white. My room looks big and bright now. Having a lot of light is important to me. It looked boring until I got all my sewing stuff in the room.

    I had a difficult time painting my son’s room, which also had slanted walls, because the drywall wasn’t perfectly straight. No matter how carefully I painted, it looked messy. I finally gave up and painted the slanted walls the same color as the wall below. The only part I treated as ‘ceiling’ was a small strip in the center of the room. Hope that makes sense!

    Maybe a deep window seat under the window with storage inside the seat? It won’t be much storage, but I don’t think you want to block your natural light. Good luck with whatever you decide. I spent my whole sewing room budget on new a new floor for the room, so I’m working with zero dollars now too!

  14. I would go light colors on Walsh, maybe a white or very pale gray. Gray is now the knew neutral. I think make cabinet would be white and maybe a small storage bench ubdervthe window. That way you could sit in bench look out the window and think about your next project . The dolce seems small so I people use a lot of big cabinets in there maybe a small book case for storage

  15. Hi! Kelli! As a fellow red lover – sorry the red turned into something you hate! I recently moved into a new home and have one red wall and the ceiling is also red….I LOVE it! I would agree with Debbie – go white, or cream! Maybe consider doing an accent stripe or stripes around the room where it would show….I’d use the colors from the shower curtain separated by the white/cream. I think your storage cabinet under the slant would be a great place to use the red. You seem to be a floor sitter! I’d make myself a big cushioned floor pillow(s) with the chevron, and use that as a seat cover on my sewing chair, as well. As we all know – now’s the time to get it the way you want it, BEFORE you fill it to the brim!! Enjoy the process and make it fun and something YOU love!!

  16. Victoria Wells Taylert

    All of the previous suggestions are good; staying with a light color which will reflect rather than absorb the light is great! I live in FL so storage is at a minimum. I “file” my fabric: I have two horizontal two-drawer file cabinets which are below window height (no obstruction). I cut the hanging folders in half and drape my fabric over each one. I took the trouble to measure each piece before I filed it, so I now have one drawer for 1-yd. fabrics and another for larger pieces. I can store about 65/70 one-yard pieces in a drawer, and more than that if the pieces are larger. You could even top the cabinets with a slab of plywood and make it an ironing surface, or even a work surface. Hope this helps.

  17. I am re-purposing something that might also work for your room, a baby changing table. I bought it yesterday at a resale shop for only $25. See the photo on my flickr page (link attached) if interested. When it’s done with it will hold my Sterolite 6 qt. size scrap bins, my templates and rulers, my iron, spray starch and it will have a pressing board on the top that will be roughly 20″ wide x 58″ long, big enough to iron a full width of fabric. Storage and an ironing station all in one. I would also suggest maybe using the laminate shelving what mounts on the walls with the narrow adjustable metal tracks, the kind the big box home stores carry. They are inexpensive and easy to put up..

  18. Hi Jo! I have a different suggestion. I agree light coloured walls in you small space and since this is mostly for storage, I would suggest kitchen base cabinets. I have and live and heart my deep, wide, drawer units. They come in a max of 36 inches wide and over 12 inches deep. I was thinking you could use sets of those across the slants space and them top with smaller vanity drawer units, they come in pairs, or singles, but the pairs will match the your wide drawers below. If you have any space above you could add shallow upper cabinets with doors and shelves behind, or pullout shelves. Alternatively, you could use a closet organization system, but it will be difficult for them to give you deep storage space without making just shelving. Units where you assemble yourself will give you a less expensive option as well. If you have any wall space where you cannot put shelving, etc, I suggest pegboard. You can custom fit it and then add hooks, little storage boxes, etc to hang cutting supplies, etc. I would suggest some garage organization Pinterest boards for the pegboard use if you want… Take care, Leslie

  19. Well, I’m going to buck the trend here and say I love red walls–even in a sewing room. My daughter wanted her bedroom painted red when she lived at home. Her dad didn’t like the idea, but I convinced him. I think part of the reason you don’t like your red is (a) it is a bit flat; go glossy! Also (b) when painting with red, you need at least 3 coats of paint. The bedroom that used to be my daughter’s is now my sewing room. I love it red, but it did take 1 coat of tinted primer and 3 coats of paint. When the light hits it just right, I can still see white through in certain spots. Mainly though, where color is concerned, just follow your heart. :-) I love all the organizational ideas you and your readers have. Gives me lots of things to think about.
    Oh! and I loved the idea of putting a cedar chest or some other type of storage bench under the window. Lovely place to sit and do a little hand sewing or read.

  20. My sewing room is in the basement with one small window. My husband used breadboard for the walls, the cueing lights are fluorescent that are special like sunlight. It is bright and cheery. I have mini quilts and quilt related saying, pics on the walls that do not have storage. I think the most important and first thing is to plan where you are going to sew in relation to the window and then the cutting area. That window will need to be open if you don’t have a/c, you’ll need the air circulation and the light. I would put the machine and cutting table in before deciding on the shelving to give you a better idea of how much room you have to use and let you maneuver. I have a red brick floor and everything goes with it. Well, maybe not pink. Enjoy the process. You have a sewing room!!!!!

  21. Paula is right, red paint is hard to paint right and will be hard to paint over, especially with a light color. Can you cover the walls with posters or wall hangings? Have you thought about storage carts on rollers that could be pulled out when you need to use the space?

  22. Kelli, my sewing room has knee walls. I ignored the ceiling. All walls including the ceiling were painted the same light color. I painted the mismatched furniture an accent color with the drawers painted the wall color. I made wooden drawer pulls to coordinate on all the chests and painted them the accent color.
    As far as your window treatment, whatevever you make, mount it as close to the ceiling as possible. Also, mount it outside of the window. You want to maximize the amount of light coming in and to make the window appear larger than it is.

  23. Why don’t you try Aqua on the walls and paint the cabinet thing red or white. If you used white on the cabinet red could be you accent color. Aqua/ red is my favorite combo these days.

  24. The room looks very small so I would definitely paint it all a shiny white or cream to make it look bigger. I would not us any big pieces of furniture as they would overpower the room. Since you already have the piece you want against the low wall, paint it a soft light shade that you love, such as aqua or yellow. Keep the window as open as possible with just a valance and perhaps a mini-blind in white that you can close to keep the sun from fading your fabric when you are not in the room. As for wall storage, I’d keep it light also. Heavy furniture overpowers a small room.

  25. I would go with a very light neutral color on all of the walls and then the pieces you put in there could have the color on them. Say red on the case thing under the window. Using light colors will make the room lighter and under the window/in that wedge won’t matter that much.

  26. Hi Kelli! I would paint your room the color that is top right on the brochure in your photo or the one that is third from right to left on the very bottom row, I would treat the ceiling just like a wall and paint it all the same color so that the angles disappear somewhat. I would paint the cabinet a nice bright cheerful blue, green or yellow. As for storage I would put some below the window if there is room and low storage along the wall beside the window. Put your tall storage on the opposite wall so that the light isn’t blocked then I have lighting put in anywhere it can go.

  27. I’d go with white or off white for the walls…whichever matches the background on your focus fabric. Then I’d run with the colors on pieces of furniture, chairs, chair cushions, fabric on your ironing surface, picture s and/or quilts on the walls, etc. That would let you add as much or as little as you desire regarding pops of color…and could more easily be changed any time you want, rather than having to repaint yet again, or feel like you have to live with a wall color you’re no longer loving. I have to say I’m not a fan of glossy paint. Satin finish is my preference all the way for walls. Keep us posted. It’s always fun to see interior decorating!

  28. Kelli, You’ve got a lot of good advice here! Light walls always make a space look bigger so that is definitely the way to go. Accents can always be brighter colors! Now, you’ll just need to post a pic when you’re done cuz you’ve made us all curious! Hope you have fun with it!

  29. The living room in our old house has light grey (vapor) walls. Have always loved it. There is a lot of fabric and texture in the room and it provides the perfect backdrop for everything else. Had a successful artist say museums should use the color on their walls for art displays.

  30. Sharon Hughson

    I have not read all the comments, but I use old chests of drawers to store my tops or projects that I tire of and put aside for a while. My stash is mostly in wire cubes I found at Target and very inexpensive. I have industrial shelves on wheels for pre-cuts and FQs which are sorted by color also like my stash. Check out those cubes. I like mine. I also clothespin muslin to sides if exposed to sunlight.
    I bet that room ends up a toy room in a while. LOL

  31. the red definitely needs to go. my hubby had a wild hair once about painting the bathroom a dark red. i let him go ahead, knowing we would hate it. he got one wall done and stopped, thankfully. then we immediately repainted the room a cream color! much better! for your room, i would certainly go with a very light color. maybe some kind of antique white, or something with the barest hint of a blue or green. i mean very very tiny hint of the color. my upstairs sewing room has slanted walls on both sides. the area wher the roof meets the walls is good for the three drawer carts that hold material, as well as tables to hold the bulk of a quilt behind or to the side of my machine.

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