Over the years I have put a great deal of time and effort into making my recording studios look cool. I strongly believe that a recording studio should look as good as it sounds, after all, we do spend a lot of time in these creative spaces, they may as well be nice to be in.
Have you ever worked in a dull & dingy recording studio? I have... many times, not fun experiences let me tell you. Studios that look cool somehow keep my creativity going for longer periods, that's why I have always put studio aesthetics high up the priority list each time I move into a new studio space.
In this article, I share a handful of design choices that I made to help make my new studio look unique and inviting.
Form Follows Function
The layout of the gear within a room will dictate the form of the studio. An example: The main mix position will always dictate the placement of a variety of things such as acoustic treatment, seating and lighting... we'll talk about those later in the article.
Let's talk about the form of my past and present studios. I've always placed my gear on the opposite side of the room away from the main entrance door. I've always done this so that my clients see the entire space when they walk in, I call it the "Wow factor".
Have you ever entered a studio through a door behind a mixing console? It's not a great first impression.
Getting The Lighting Just Right
Never underestimate the power of a well thought out lighting design. Clever lighting will make your studio feel comfortable to be in, especially in long sessions. I remember working for a day in a small studio that had black walls with 4 dim downlights. It was dark and it felt claustrophobic. Shadows were cast everywhere, it wasn't too dissimilar to sitting in a cave for a day.
For years I have opted for the walls in my studios to be painted white because white is a great colour for bouncing light around a room while also giving the impression of space and cleanliness, but too much of a good thing can be jarring.
To break up the white I've used coloured LED strips, these give the studio a great ambience. The LEDs can be set to a variety of different colours that change the mood and feel of the studio. Every couple of weeks I change the colour just to make the room feel fresh and different.
I placed the LED strips in dark corners under the electrical trunking and around acoustic panels where there were shadows caused by the downlights. This makes for a great visual effect that is both elegant and subtle, whilst also looking cool and unique.
It's important to have a comfortable area for clients. Clients, after all, need to a space to relax and reflect during long studio sessions. When I was moving into my new studio I decided to not have the sofa in the studio. Instead, I chose to convert a separate outbuilding adjacent to the studio into a client space. The sofa, a place to make a cup of coffee, heating, and wifi are all available in this "green room" so that my clients can relax and refresh away from the noise within the studio.
Do you think studios should look as good as they sound? Share a picture of your studio in the comments below.