Studio design, decoration and equipment on a budget
Once you have decided in which space of your home will your Home Yoga Studio be located, you can design, decorate and equip the area without spending a lot of money. Creativity, imagination and resourcefulness are powerful tools that I used myself for my own studio with great results. It looks great, it’s really comfortable and my students love it!
Remember to plan your budget for decoration and stick with it. Before buying anything, you can do some research for your best options, check local trading magazines or websites, eBay, opportunity shops and home DIY warehouses.
First of all, you’ll need to do a little planning to decide three important things to base on the whole design, decoration & equipment of your studio:
- Inside the studio room, place your own mat where you would like to be, and place mats the way that you would like to have your students during the classes, know how many students you can really have in your space. Remember, each Yoga student can practice comfortably in a minimum area of 2 square meters/ 21.5 square feet.
- Decide the location of the space to welcome your students where they can register, leave their shoes, etc.
- Decide the bathroom your students will be using and also the access, hall or walkway that your students will get to it.
Once you have worked out these three important details, you’ll be ready to design, decorate & equip your Home Yoga Studio. One big thing to remember is to try to match the design and decoration of these three areas as much as possible to generate an integral studio image.
It should be ideally located at the entrance of your studio, and needs to be welcoming, confortable and most of all practical. Here’s a list of things it needs:
- Registration area – You can buy or recycle whatever small flat area such as a table, podium or bench where your students can register that needs always have registration forms (template photocopies), a pen and good lighting for your students to see what they’re writing. You can place a nice yogic-decorated cloth on top of the table and then a hard A4-size board beneath the registration forms.
Shoe rack – It will look really tidy if your students use a rack to leave their shoes rather than leaving them spread out all over the reception area. Make sure the rack holds at least ten pairs of shoes. You can buy a really cheap shoe rack in opportunity shops or Ikea. Also recycling a small ladder, a short bench or an old wine crate can work. Here’s an idea: http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/wine-crate-shoe-storage/ or you can build it yourself – there are hundreds of ideas and DIY instructions online such as these: http://blog.homedepot.com/diy-shoe-rack-for-the-entryway-or-mudroom/ and http://hngideas.com/decorating-ideas/storage-organization/25-diy-shoe-rack/
- Storage unit/Coat hanger – Your students may need somewhere to leave their things (coats, jackets, bags, etc.), so a storage unit and/or a coat hanger is a good idea. The storage unit doesn’t need to be a big structure that takes up a large space, it can be just a bench or whatever makes the reception area look as nice and tidy as possible. Again you can recycle old or unused furniture, or buy them at very low prices, or even build them yourself using ideas and instructions online.
Yoga mat storage – as I mentioned here ‘Strategically Planning the Area for your Home Yoga Studio’ it’s great client care service to provide mats for your students, and that your students know this from the start, so a big sign saying they can take a free mat for their class (pointing to the Yoga mats) is a big plus for them! For storage, you can use a big crate, box, basket or pot. A wall rack can also work. Make sure all mats are perfectly rolled up and even better if you place a mat strap on each of them. Also remember to wash the mats at least once a year. I wash mine in the dishwasher and then hang them to dry – making sure they’re perfectly dry before rolling them or they’ll grow mold on them. It’s very convenient if you provide your students a cloth and spray bottles with eucalyptus essential oil mixed with water so they can clean their mats at the end of their class.
Notice board – A board at the reception area with posters announcing upcoming events, special news, cross-promotion business cards, current timetable, etc. is very important to have on display right where your students can see it easily. Materials like cork, wood, styrofoam and even a chalk board are cheap or easy to build yourself. If you stick posters to the board with thumbtack pins, make sure to have a box nearby, and be careful of fallen pins on the floor that your students can step on when they’re barefoot.
- Students/Studio photos – Hanging photos on the walls of the reception area of your students at the end or during a class is a great idea to start creating a sense of a Yoga community. If you still haven’t had any actual Yoga classes at your studio, perhaps you can start with photos of yourself decorating the Yoga studio, or some before/after photos of the places you have designed and decorated. Photos with wooden frames are cheap and look great, especially if they match the rest of the decoration design. Be sure to ask your students for permission to take pictures of them and let them know you are having their photos displayed. None of my students have ever refused, but it’s understandable that some people might feel unconfident doing Yoga poses, so starting with a group photo after a class works best.
- Sofa, couch & chairs – Your students may have to wait for the class or take off their shoes, so any type of furniture to sit down comes in handy, depending of course on the available space in your welcome area. If you choose to use a sofa that’s fluffy or too low, think of some older students that may struggle to get back on their feet, so a chair will work best for them. You can buy them very cheap in opportunity shops or fix/update them yourself if needed.
Dividers and false walls
In case you need to separate your Yoga room from other areas of the house, or to keep some areas of the house hidden from your students, you can use folding screens or room dividers.
I even went the whole way and built a big wall with Ikea closets (shown in the ‘Equipment’ photo below) to seal my Yoga room from the rest of the house and thus preventing noises from my girls’ rooms and smells from the kitchen. I even put a door so my students access the bathroom.
This false wall is of course permanent, but it cost me less than a third of the investment of building an actual wall with plaster boards.
Folding screens and room dividers are also cheap and easy to buy online or in opportunity shops.
To create a peaceful and soothing ambience, your home Yoga Studio ideally should have natural light, however if the inside of the room can be seen from the outside, your students may not like it, so warm and soft ambience lighting is the best alternative – avoid any fluorescent lights.
These are the best lighting choices:
- Standing lamps – with soft energy-saving light bulbs.
- Direct/indirect ceiling lamps – with soft energy-saving light bulbs.
- Artificial candles – they are inexpensive, completely safe, small and rechargeable. You can recharge them overnight and have them lit for full 8 hours. They look great on windowsills or on the floor by the walls.
- Real candles – remember they can be a fire hazard so they need to be supervised closely all the time they are lighted. Never place them anywhere near yourself, your students or flammable materials.
Yoga room decoration
Here you can put in all your imagination and creativity, just make sure that everything that your students can see flows with your whole decoration. You can get infinite ideas online (on Pinterest, etc.) or other yoga studios websites.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Colors – should be soothing and it’s best that they are consistent with the whole decoration design, and even better if the colors match all your Home Yoga Studio image, brand and logo.
- Less is more – try not to over-decorate with too many cushions, statues, mobiles, plants, or anything that your students might feel uncomfortable, obstructing or overwhelming. Also, too many Yoga phrases or psychedelic-looking pictures on the walls can also be too distracting.
- Garden – if your students can see into your back garden, make sure that it is clean, tidy and beautiful and that there’s no garden equipment, children playing, shouting or jumping on the trampoline during your class.
- Yoga decorations – these are easy to make yourself or inexpensive to buy, such as ohm symbols, Shiva and Buddha artifacts, Tibetan praying flags, mandalas (I have a mandala drawn by one of my daughters that I framed and it looks fantastic). The sky is the limit – be creative!
Creating the ambience
Aromatherapy – you can light up the aromatherapy before a class, so that the room smells beautiful and pleasant when your students arrive. Remember that it’s best to create a subtle and pleasant smell, not too strong to be overwhelming, and not too faint so it can cover body odors.
Essential oils – All you need is an oil burner, but you can also consider a diffuser. You can mix different scents, my favorite mix is:
- Lavender essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Woody smelling oil like sandalwood or rosemary
- Fresh citrus one like mandarin, orange or lemon. The citrus evaporates pretty fast and the smell that lingers the most is the woody one, so you can choose that one well.
- Always add water to your oils.
Incense – my favorite is Nag Champa, but avoid strong incenses as some students can be sensitive to them, and they might not like the smoke of incense, so plan ahead and light it one hour before the class, that way the smell lingers without the smoke.
The bathroom that your students will use – and ideally the footpath to reach the bathroom – should also be decorated to match your yoga room.
Again, be as imaginative and creative in the decoration of the bathroom, but also keep it simple. Decorations that you made yourself can give it a personal touch.
It’s very important to check it before each class to keep it very clean and tidy. Make sure that there’s a lock on the door that easy to open and close, and also a ‘unisex bathroom’ sign – scroll down to ‘Signage’ to find out more.
This day-to-day checklist is very handy so you don’t forget anything your bathroom should include:
- Perfectly functional toilet with seat
- Toilet paper
- Toilet brush (not too hidden but not too obvious)
- Perfectly functional sink with both hot and cold water handles
- Soap or hand wash liquid (preferably environmentally friendly)
- Clean hand towel on a hanger
- Paper tissue (close to the toilet and one extra roll nearby)
- Trashcan or basket
- Smell candle, incense or essential oil – and as much ventilation as possible
- Working light and ideally an extractor
All the equipment is optional and will depend on your yoga styles. It’s easy to find and not too expensive, just jump online to find a local yoga wholesale shop, they are everywhere and usually they will give you good prices for buying in bulk, make sure you have enough for everybody.
The basic equipment for a yoga studio is:
- Yoga mats (which students can borrow for free)
- Basket where students can leave their own yoga mats
- Eucalyptus spray bottles (I mix eucalyptus essential oil with water)
- Wipes, for students to clean their mats at the end of the class
- Eye pillows (you can stuff them with 1/3 dried lavender and 2/3 sushi rice – my students love these during shavasana)
- Tinkshas (Tibetan bells)
As I explain in this chapter ‘Signage’ keep any signs or written information for your students well written and in full display. You can make the signs yourself or buy them cheaply in home DIY warehouses, office depots and even restaurant catering shops for the ‘unisex bathroom’ signs.
Nowadays it’s easy to get hold of a cheap but good CD/mp3 music equipment unit to play your yoga music during your classes.
You can even have all your songs stored in your cell phone and just buy a USB player.
Again, online shops, eBay, there’s hundred of choices out there. Just be careful not to buy cheap but of bad quality equipment that will not last long in good condition.
Sometimes paying a bit more will be convenient in the long haul.