How to Turn a Storage Unit into a Music Studio


s advising how to declutter your room by getting a storage unit, and then it hit me. What if instead of moving your belongings into a storage unit to make space for a recording studio, why not rent out the storage unit and turn it into a studio.

I did my research about this idea and found out that some people rent storage units for band rehearsals. What you need to do is find a storage unit you can borrow and find out their policy and the scope of renting the unit. If the storage company policy allows you to build a recording studio in one of their storage units, go ahead and set up your studio.

GETTING STARTED

While some storage companies allow this, some of them do not care for it. On the other hand, storage companies allow band rehearsals, which is much louder than just a simple recording studio. Plus, there are a lot of ways to minimize the noise coming out of an enclosed space.

Once you have found a storage company, determine the size of the unit. Will you be able to fit all of your essential gear? Storage units have different sizes. If you considered a small desk space in a room for recording, even the tiniest storage unit could have more space than that.

If you are recording everything, including drums, you might want to consider renting a larger unit. The size of the unit you wish to borrow depends on your preference and the amount of your gear. Some people only record with a laptop and essential gear that fits inside of their backpack. On the other hand, some people like to have more significant equipment such as large amps, mixers, and a full-sized drum kit.

With a lot of acoustic gear, setting up the studio will be a lot more work because of the acoustic treatment and soundproofing. Of course, you will need to consider the power outlet too. Some storage units only have one wall outlet which can be dangerous to plug in a whole lot of heavy-duty electrical equipment such as recording gear.

You will need to consider the policies of the storage unit you will be renting. Some companies do not allow noise and any potential hazards. As long as you have permission, stick to the parameters of what is permitted. You do not want to break any rules and get into trouble. You want to make music in a creative space of your own.

PURPOSE

One of the main reasons for considering the option of renting a storage unit Is not having enough space at home. Renting a storage unit for work is a cheaper alternative to have your own space. An area of your own without any distractions, primarily if you work as a professional music producer or sound engineer.

You may not want to rent a storage unit if you are starting to record music. I suggest you try it out at home first, especially if you do not have a lot of gear yet. If you have decided that you want a career in music production or sound engineering, then I suggest renting a unit. Practice and get better at recording and land some clients in the future.

ADVANTAGES

  • More Space

Sometimes storage units have a lot more space than your bedroom. With all of your belongings in the way, like clothes and appliances,  sometimes it is challenging to work in a place that does not give out a recording studio vibe.

There is a lot more recording gear you can fit inside of a storage unit than in the corner of your bedroom. You can buy all the essential gear plus a lot more extra equipment that you could not fit in your room or apartment.

If you have a spare room to set up a recording workstation, you can set one up there instead to save money. But you would not get the feeling of isolation when you are still confined in the household.

With more space, you might even have a chance to maximize the space by building an isolation room for recording vocals. Your storage unit can look like a real professional recording studio with a separate room for controls and recording.

Make sure you do not build anything that will compromise the construction of the storage unit. You can use collapsible wood dividers so if you decide to give up the storage unit, and it is easy to tear down. I doubt that any storage unit will allow any permanent construction of their facilities. You can still try to ask them at least.

  • Isolation

Some people are more creative when they are away from any distractions. Being isolated is a way to set your mind right to do the work you want or need to do. Renting storage and setting up your place of creativity is ideal for people who want to be alone when creating.

When you are at home, it is so quick to get distracted by the other activities you can do. Instead of working on a new song, you might divert your attention to something else like watching TV and playing video games. It is tough not to procrastinate when there are so many interferences.

If you live alone, you might be able to pass getting distracted by setting your mind for work. The mind is a playful part of trying to get something done. If a person living alone still interrupted by their thoughts, what more for a person who has a family, kids, and pets.

If you live with your family, I think it is best if you rent a storage unit for your own creative space where you can focus on nothing but your work. It is much cheaper than renting a separate office or apartment.

  • Fewer Noise Complaints

Being in isolation with no one to complain about any loud noise is another advantage. When you use a storage unit for creative space and recording, you have no neighbors to complain about your sound. You would not be making a lot of noise in the first place.

Some bands started out rehearsing in storage units instead of their garages. It is probably because of the complaints they get from their neighbors or roommates. I don’t think you will be able to make noise in an apartment without getting at least one complaint.

You don’t want to get your neighbors to call the police on you.  Although, if you are not recording any acoustic drums, you will not make so much noise.

  • Minimal Work for Room Treatment

Since storage units are usually made out of concrete, there is minimal work to be done in terms of acoustic treatment and soundproofing. Room control will be at a minimum. The usual flooring of a storage unit is concrete, and sound vibrations will produce echo and flutter. A solution to this is to get a rug to insulate the sound and decrease random repetitions.

For recording amplifiers, make sure you elevate them up on a platform to decrease reverb. It is a simple but effective technique that professional producers use when recording guitar and bass. Another useful trick is to tilt the amp in an angle if you don’t have a platform for elevation.

If you are recording guitars through an audio interface, you do not have to elevate the amp as the sound is directly translated into a recording track. Remember that you are paying for the storage unit, so make sure you do not let the money go to waste by neglecting to treat and control the room sound.

  • Free Power

You will save money on power usage. Some recording gear uses a lot of power, especially when you do a lot of recording. Your computer will be on for hours, along with the rest of your equipment, including amplifiers.

If you rent a storage unit, the money you used to spend on electricity for recording can go the storage rent. It is a win-win situation. Your monthly bills will not increase, but now you got yourself an isolated space for recording and music-making. This solution will only apply to people who spend hours recording most days of the week.

DISADVANTAGES

  • It Costs Money

Renting storage units for this purpose will cost you money. You will have to pay monthly rent for storage. You should consider spending more money on renting a disadvantage if you already have a perfectly suitable spot at home for recording. It is an extra price to pay on top of your home rent or mortgage.

You also have to consider how long the trip is from your home to the unit. You will have to spend money on transportation. I would not suggest renting a storage unit if it is too far of a trip from your house. Not only will it cost more money, but it can also be time-consuming depending on how far of a commute it is from your home.

An ideal storage unit for recording should be at least less than 3 miles away or within walking distance from your house. This way, you would not spend a lot of money on gas, and it won’t consume a lot of your precious time. The time that you can spend on something else like working or creating.

  • Power Outlets

Some storage units do not have any power outlets other than the lights. If a storage unit does not have any outlets, it is best to stay away from them. They probably won’t allow you to do anything inside the unit you have rented other than accessing the contents.

There aren’t any particular rules upon using a storage unit as a recording studio. To be clear, discuss the policies with the owner or manager so that you would not be committing any breach of contract.

Other than costing more money and transportation, I cannot think of any other disadvantages of renting a storage unit as a recording studio. The pros weigh out the cons of this option. All I see are opportunities for improvement and enjoyment in having a solitary space for working on new tracks.

BAND REHEARSAL

Band rehearsals in a storage unit may not be allowed by some storage companies probably because of the disturbance it may cause from the noise. Some storage units allow band rehearsals under some conditions. An Outdoor storage unit may be a better option if you are thinking about using it for band rehearsals.

Some outdoor units, unfortunately, do not have access to electricity. Without electricity, there is no point in renting one for band rehearsal purposes. Might as well store your extra things from home and have enough space for a studio.

Make sure you find the ideal music-friendly storage unit. Several family-owned storage units around the United States allow band rehearsal.

RECORDING STUDIO

If some storage units allow band rehearsals, I do not see anything wrong with allowing people to rent one for recording purposes. It produces less noise, so you can easily soundproof the space. One thing you have to consider is the acoustics in a storage unit.

There are different types of storage units. Some are made out of thin sheets of metal and might not be suitable for acoustics. You must also consider getting a climate-controlled storage unit to protect your gear from the effects of humidity or extreme temperatures.

If you are planning on renting an indoor storage unit, you should consider getting one on the ground floor. Indoor storage is usually large warehouses or tall buildings. Indoor storage units are often climate-controlled.

WHAT GEAR TO BRING

Depending on the size of the storage unit, you can fit all the essential equipment for recording. If you have full-band equipment such as drums, amplifiers, and a sound system, rent a larger area.

  • Monitors
  • Midi Controller
  • Headphones
  • Microphones
  • Amplifiers
  • Audio interface
  • Mixers
  • Guitars
  • Drum kits

Keep in mind that musical instruments and recording gear is a hot commodity. Use heavy-duty locks to avoid your equipment from getting stolen.

COMPANY POLICIES

When you rent a storage unit, the company will give you a contract you must follow. The contract usually entails all the details and scope of use. It will include your rental fee and extra fees for extra services or equipment. You might be able to get access to electricity depending on the unit you are planning to rent and the agreement.

Some storage units, mostly indoor units, do not allow 24/7 access. It is better to rent a unit that will enable 24/7 access as you may spend a lot of time in the room when you use it for recording.

The contract will also include the terms of eviction and insurance. It is better to ensure the equipment you will store in the unit. Recording equipment costs a lot of money, and you’ll never know when accidents can occur that may damage your precious gear.

The frequent incidents that are covered under the insurance policy are in cases of fire, floods, rodent infestation, and theft. Storage unit contracts do not mention anything about how long you will stay at a storage unit, especially if it is accessible 24/7. It is always better to be clear with the management that you will be doing not to raise any suspicion.

Some storage units do not allow band rehearsal because of the excess garbage, drinking alcohol, and sometimes even drug use. You should be responsible, follow the rules and only what is allowed, mainly when the storage company permits you to use the unit for recording.

Due to the growing demand, US companies added music rehearsal to their policies already. The companies saw it as an opportunity for business, so these companies have each band member to sign a contract and pay extra monthly.

I read that somewhere in Miami, some parents started renting units for their kids because they wanted to keep the noise down at their homes. The kids are happy, the parents can relax, and everybody wins. This example is happening all over the United States right now, and happily agreeing to rent out storage units for music purposes.

I would agree to pay extra, as long as the company knows what you are doing in the units and not be suspicious. Keeping it as a secret could ruin your creative mood. It is better than both parties agree, so you are not breaking any rules.

HELPFUL TIP: Contact all the storage companies near your area and inquire about your business beforehand to save time.

THE IDEAL STORAGE UNIT

  • SIZE

The size of the ideal storage unit should not only fit the gear you need, but it should allow you to move comfortably. Lack of space in your home is one of the reasons for renting a storage unit. You do not want to pay money and still feel comfortable. You will not be able to get anything done if you feel less cozy.

  • LOCATION

An outdoor unit is ideal for recording purposes because it is easier to access. You can park your car right in front of your storage unit studio and access your unit with ease. Outdoor storage units are usually the music-friendly types of storage units.

You should also make sure you rent out a storage unit that is within industrial areas distant from any neighborhood.

DRUM KIT

If you are recording a drum kit in a storage unit, you will need the proper soundproofing and isolation. You may not have any neighbors to complain, because people do not usually hang out in storage units. Nevertheless, you don’t want to capture the outdoor sound. Soundproofing is not just trapping the audio inside the enclosed space, but keeping the outside noise from getting inside as well.

Soundproofing is not only for recording drums; it is aimed at any recording with a microphone. Outside noise will ruin your recording track. Without proper soundproofing, you will capture the sound from the outside with your microphone. Some examples of the outside noise you can catch on your recording are vehicle noise from stopped cars nearby and people chatting from nearby storage units.

SOUNDPROOFING

For soundproofing, do not use any permanent materials to soundproof the unit. You may breach the contract and damage the room you are renting. You may not get your security deposit back. Just like any apartment you rent, you cannot make any permanent changes to the structure.

There are other options for soundproofing, like using mild adhesives that do not cause any permanent damage to the paint of the storage room you are renting.

ACOUSTIC TREATMENT

The amount of acoustic treatment will differ depending on the storage unit you rent. It will depend on the overall structure, such as the flooring, walls, and ceiling. An excellent way to treat your walls is by having a mixture of reflective and insulating surfaces. You can achieve this by not sufficiently padding the walls and ceilings with foam and leave some open concrete surfaces.

Acoustic Treatment Products:

  • BXI SOUND DIFFUSER

(Price: $120)

This large panel is a suitable diffuser panel you can install in your music studio. This high-quality wooden panel is made from anti-aging and corrosion-resistant materials. The designs and patterns of this diffuser are not only functional but also decorative as well. You can use this panel to remove acoustic defects such as flutters and echo. (Product Dimensions: 26″x 25.5″x 4.4)

  • ACOUSTIC FOAM PANELS 12 PACK

(Price $20)

This pack is excellent for setting up a better acoustic environment for your studio. You can install them in the vocal booth, and the control room where you will be monitoring your sound. Remember that the improving acoustics will not only improve your recording, but it will improve monitoring as well. (Product Dimensions: 12″x 12″ x 1″)

  • JBER ACOUSTIC WEDGE CORNER STUDIO FOAM

(Price $30)

You can use this for the corners where the wall meets the ceiling or floors. It can reduce unwanted noise and fluttering echo that will improve your music studio’s acoustics significantly. It has sound dampening that reduces waves and reverb. ( Product Dimensions: 16.9″x 12.4″x 2″)

  • NEW LEVEL BASS TRAPS

(Price: $27)

Bass traps are specially designed to absorb low bass frequencies. However, they can absorb medium to high rates as well. I would suggest that you purchase and install bass traps in your music studio first because of its all-around acoustic treatment qualities.

FLOORING

It is easy to install laminate or vinyl flooring. This type of flooring will help in the acoustic treatment of the storage room. Laminate flooring helps insulate the sound vibrations to decrease random echo flutter. Vinyl and laminate flooring are also straightforward to install.

Installing laminate flooring is quite more comfortable than most of the options. Most people can do it themselves without any professional help. If you are removing the carpet to install laminate flooring, consider combining the two types for getting the best of both worlds for your home music studio.

Material needed:

  • Tape measure
  • Table saw
  • Chop saw
  • Compass
  • Pull bar
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tapping bar
  • Jigsaw
  • Spacers
  • Laminate flooring of your choice
  • 100% silicone sealant

Process:

  • Measure the surface you wish to install laminate floors
  • Remove tongue and straighten each plank you will use for corners along the wall using a table saw
  • With a compass, trace and contour each plank for uneven walls
  • Assemble the first row with the tongues facing away from the first wall so you can adjoin the next row
  • Do the same process for the next rows
  • To install the following rows, connect the tongue with the groves until the joints lock
  • Use a rubber mallet to secure that the two pieces of wood are connected
  • After installing all the rows, apply sealant on the gaps

VENTILATION

Most climate-controlled storage rooms have proper ventilation because of the centralized air conditioning. Do not choose a storage unit that is close to the main fan of the centralized air conditioning unit.

POWER

Storage units do not offer a whole lot of power outlets for your gear because they were not designed for people to work. It is better that you bring a power strip. Getting a power surge strip will protect your gear from getting a short circuit and break. The power of storage units might not be very reliable, so it is better not to take any chances. Consider buying a power conditioner.

  • FURMAN P-2400 AR POWER CONDITIONER

(Price: $2,200)

Power Conditioner lessens the noise of your recording. The Furman P-2400 can regulate voltages of 20 amps combined. This power conditioner is an optional item for your rig, but it will help you get better in music production.

Using a power conditioner can protect and extend the life of your gear. It regulates the power usage of all the equipment that you plug in. The electronics won’t get a short circuit if plugged in through a power conditioner.

MUSIC FRIENDLY STORAGE UNITS

Some family-owned storage companies, as well as commercial companies, often offer and permit the storage unit to be used as a creative space for artists as well as musicians. Here are some companies that allow it depending on the store location:

  • LIFE STORAGE

Some life storage locations allow band rehearsals for their units. If a company enables band rehearsals, I’m pretty sure music recording will also be permitted.

The reason some of their locations do not allow band rehearsals is because of noise laws in the area of their site.

RELATED TOPICS

DAILY STUDIO RENTALS

If you are looking for a perfect sounding studio, you could try one of these studios. These studios offer rooms for band rehearsals and recording. It is like a hotel for musicians. 

  • LOCKOUT MUSIC STUDIOS

This studio is an example of a company that allows musicians and creatives to rent out studio space daily for their needs. It is accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Amenities:

  • Individual air conditioning unit
  • Key coded entry
  • Some rooms have windows
  • Elevator access for all floors
  • 24-hour video surveillance
  • Close to major freeways
  • Convenient parking and loading area for gear
  • Affordable rates
  • Bands can share studio space
  • Room sizes range from 60 sq. feet to 400 sq. feet
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Manager to attend to your needs
  • Acoustically treated rooms
  • Sufficient wall outlets
  • Hourly rental available upon request
  • Studios for bands, DJs
  • Drum practice
  • Art and painting studios

Locations:

LOCKOUT STUDIOS has a lot of sites through Southern California and Las Vegas. Los Angeles and Ventura locations are soon to open.

  • LOCKOUT I

320 French St. Santa Ana, CA

  • LOCKOUT II

1300 S. Beacon St. San Pedro, CA

  • LOCKOUT III

312 W. 5th St. Santa Ana, CA

  • LOCKOUT IV

 501 N. Main St. Santa Ana, CA

  • LOCKOUT V

117 W. 4th St. Santa Ana, CA

  • LOCKOUT VI

403 W 4th St. Santa Ana, CA

  • LOCKOUT RIVERSIDE

3540 12th St. Riverside, CA

  • LOCKOUT ONTARIO

602 N. Euclid Ave Ontario, CA

  • LOCKOUT SAN DIEGO

2232 Verus St. A- San Diego, CA

  • LOCKOUT OXNARD

411 N. A St. Oxnard, CA

  • LOCKOUT LAS VEGAS

1120 Almond Tree Lane, Las Vegas, NV

STUDIO UNIT RENTALS

There are much larger units that are rented out for band rehearsals all around the US, consider this option if you have the extra money for it. The rooms in studio rental spaces are designed for band rehearsals as well as for recording.

If you are changing anything in the room, make sure it is allowed in the rental contract. The walls in these spaces should we thick concrete. Very minimal soundproofing and acoustic treatment are needed for this type of rental.

SHARED SPACE

Here in Los Angeles, we rented out one of these studios located in Downtown. We decided to get everyone we know who are in bands to share on the rent. There are about 30 of us individually and about eight bands in total. We saved money in renting the studio, and everyone was happy.

For scheduling, the collective of bands had to schedule their rehearsal and studio use beforehand, so there are no conflicts in schedules. It was a whole system we developed to share the space in harmony.

The location is a 12-story building with hundreds of studios inside. It is band heaven for people who love to rock. It is a cool place for hanging out as you get to meet people who love to play music.

CONCLUSION

Before renting out a storage unit for your music studio, the first thing you always need to find out is the policy. Make sure the storage company is music-friendly and allows you to use the unit for music production. I never want to advise people to break the rules, so I researched if it is legal to use storage units as a music studio first before writing this article. Depending on the company policy, it is perfectly acceptable! 

If you have a backyard shed you can use turn that into a music studio too. Click here to find out how.

Recent Content