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My Nail Room Setup and Storage

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Nail office set up and storage | The Dalai Lama's Nails

As someone with an out-of-control nail art hobby, you can only imagine how much time I spend working on nail related projects – and how much time I spend in my nail room! I’m proud of my nail room set up, and I am continually changing and tweaking things here and there. It may not be the prettiest set up, but I’m really happy with it!

You may have noticed my awesome neon nails sign. This sign is my pride and glory, and my favorite wall decoration – actually it may be my favorite thing in the entire nail room! I picked it up for about $50, and I think it was totally worth it. I don’t actually light it up all that much, but when I do – oooooh, it makes me really happy!Nail office set up and storage | The Dalai Lama's Nails

The desk is from Ikea, it’s the Malm dressing table. I picked it because the glass table top makes everything easier to clean. I usually dab polish straight on the glass top, when I’m doing art. Then I can just take some acetone and wipe it off. It’s the perfect reusable palette!

I have two Helmers, also from Ikea. One is red and one is gray, for some reason… and they are placed on either side of the desk – for easier reaching! Next to the gray Helmer is a plastic organizer I got from Target – this is full of… stuff! The top drawer holdsΒ some things that I need to review and swatch, and in the other drawers there are a lot of other supplies (like towels). On top is a wicker basket full of stuff I got at Cosmoprof. It’s almost embarrassing – there was SO much stuff and it’s taken me SO long to go through it. It’s overwhelming. At this point… I may never finish! Anyways, my nail kit is next to the purple organizer. I loved it, but it got busted when our house as robbed. I guess they thought there was something valuable in there – all they found was a train kit full of plastic fingers! Ha. Β 

Nail office set up and storage | The Dalai Lama's Nails

Nail office set up and storage | The Dalai Lama's Nails

I keep a lot of the nail art supplies and tools that I use most on the desk itself. The mason jar (it’s leftover from my wedding decorations! I wrapped a ton of mason jars in twine and lace for centerpieces. They had handmade burlap and lace flowers in them) is full of clean up brushes, art brushes, and dotting tools. I have a bunch of new brushes that haven’t made their way into the jar yet – they’re so pretty and nice and I’m trying to keep them that way! I also have an acrylic polish organizer with a bunch of base coats, top coats, charms, vinyls, polish thinner, Liquid Palisade, and Elmer’s Glue!
nail photography set up | The Dalai Lama's Nails

Here’s a close up of my photography set up. This one area, in particular, I tweak and change all the time! The most recent change is that my dad got me these amazing lights – I put daylight balanced bulbs in them, and the shower cap-like covers really diffuse the light. I can’t find the exact link, but you can buy these light stands in kits on Amazon. Since I started using the lights like this, I have pretty much ditched my light box! That’s why you can see the white pasteboard propped up behind the lights – that’s my background. In the front, you can see my camera on a tripod. I shoot with a Nikon D3100. It was a Groupon for a a refurbished camera and lenses – for like $300! It was a great find.

The rest of my room is kind of sparse, since it also doubles as a guest room. I have a futon, night table, and bookcase – and an awesome view! Excuse the screen in this photo – but you can see into my backyard, and to the Rocky Mountains beyond. I love it so much.Β Denver view of the mountainsI’ll leave you with a photo of my assistant, Molly! She hangs out on the futon and watches me/sleeps while I work.

dogLet me know if you have any questions about my set up!


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  • I really like your setup…thanks for sharing!

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Cool! I’m always wondering how to photo items better .. may have to try this type of set up.


    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      I like it πŸ™‚

  • Cheyenne

    Nice set up! At the moment I’ a corner of my living room but within the next couple months I’ll be redoing one of the bedrooms into my nail room, I’m very excited and looking forward to the open space!

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      That’s awesome – I have to say, it’s really made a difference for me! I used to do my nails on a coffee table in our living room. It was a mess.

      • Cheyenne

        I think what makes it harder is I make polish as well so my little nail corner is so packed tight and I have no breathing room so to speak. Some days that clutter makes me not want to do anything nail related haha

  • Okay first of all, that neon Nails sign is killer!! I totally would turn that on every time I was at the desk, get the mood set!!! I don’t have a nail room but I make it work!!! Molly looks like such a sweet girl, you’re lucky to have such a great assistant πŸ˜‰

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      The neon sign is awesome – you’re right, I should turn it on way more than I do! And Molly is the best assistant πŸ™‚

  • Color Me So Crazy

    Great set up!! I love your neon nails sign!!

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      hehe! me too πŸ™‚

  • That sign!! I want one! Everything looks so organized! My space is a hot mess lol

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      well… I would be lying if said it always looks like that. lol

  • so those lights change your life, huh? I’ve been messing my head with several DIY lightboxes but I was suspecting that the right photo lamps would dismiss the use of the lightbox itself – you just confirmed that for me! Also the glass top is genius idea! thank you for sharing this backstage story, it’s really helpful – I’m struggling with a nail-area that doubles as homeworks desk for the kids, recreation room and crafts room. πŸ™‚

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      They are really great! I’m going to look for the link. I used to use a lightbox, but it seemed like I could never get my lights bright enough for it to work – and at one point, I had 5 lights! Light boxes are also kind of awkward. I guess it’s preference, and what you can get to work for you.

  • I love your sign! My setup is so pitiful as my storage takes up most of the space lol. I’m hoping to rearrange in the next few weeks so I can find a permanent space for my photo setup. Right now I have to pull it out for each picture which is too time consuming. And your assistant is adorable <3

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      That’s what I used to do, too. I think the quality of my photos has improved SO MUCH since I found a more permanent set up.

  • TKny

    Hanna, thanks so very much for sharing your workplace details with us. I didn’t have any idea where a nail artist keeps the camera setup so it isn’t a big deal to take fingernail photos each time.

    Did you ever see the little storage units that are 12.5×12.5×12.5 inches in a very firm “wood” knockoff sold by Michael’s Crafts store? They retail for $40 but are on 50% off sale so often, you can just think of them as costing $20. There are variations of use of that cubic space including three drawers (which holds around 100 polish bottles/drawer, supposedly), a sectioned unit that includes deeper drawers that would accommodate taller bottles of polish remover, etc. and a place for papers/looseleaf books (which could hold stamping templates in photo album plastic page pockets). It’s called the Recollection (scrapbooking) Storage line.
    (They are very heavy but shipping is a flat $6.50 and ordering online is very pleasant.)

    Where did you find the neon sign? (I have wanted a large pink and green colored rose for my wall for decades but never found one!)

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      Those storage units from Michael’s sound awesome – I haven’t tried them before!

      The neon sign was kind of a random thing. I was working for a salon that was moving and changing its look, and so the owner just unloaded everything for really cheap!

  • I love seeing people’s set up, it really helps me with my pictures but also gets me a bit envious of people who have nail rooms lol we just don’t have the space in our house. Can I ask a question please… Those white shower cap things.. Where would I purchase them from? I think they would help my pictures so I’d like to.give them a try

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      I got them in a set – it came with the light stands and a bunch of tripods and umbrellas (that I have just not figured out how to use!). The brand is called Smith Victor – and I think those shower cap things are called soft reflectors.

  • Vic

    I can’t get over how little space you use. I’m always sprawled all over the dining table (and that’s not counting when I have my lightbox out).

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      Well, I did clean before I took photos! lol

  • Jennifer Channell

    I LOVE that neon nails sign!!!!! I have to find me one.
    Is that an adjustable/flexible Ott Lamp behind the other lamps? If so how do you like it?I have a normal one but was considering purchasing that one.

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      It’s an off brand – I think it’s called VeriLux. The other lights I have are just daylight balanced bulbs.

  • Those lights/covers are SUPER COOL! I’m going to look into them!

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      very helpful! I think they’re called soft light reflectors. The brand I have is called Smith-Victor

  • I love posts like this, and I’m hella jealous of that awesome “nails” light! Looks like you have a really great set up. πŸ™‚

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      aw, thanks!

  • Nice setup! I’m laughing a bit at the mental image of the thieves finding a case full of plastic fingers, ha.

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      omg, I know!

  • Your setup and storage looks great! I love seeing these and getting some inspirations/ideas from it.

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      Thanks, Lisa! What’s your set up like?

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    You have a nail art room,I’m so jealous! Your set-up looks great!

    • The Dalai Lama’s Nails

      thanks so much!

  • I always loooooove pictures of nail rooms! I might need to make some of my own :). I was wondering.. where do you keep all the actual polish? In the Helmers?

  • Lothwen Akira

    Molly <3 And I love your setup, It's so pretty! Some day I'm going to have something like that too!

  • Cosmetic Sanctuary

    I adore your set up! Thanks for sharing!

  • Your room likes so awesome!! I would love to have a room like that when I own a house or apartment some day. My current nail area is my desk where I do my design work and it’s always cluttered with nail polish or homework, there’s no in-between haha! Also, I shoot with a Nikon D3100 too! Such a nice camera!

  • I really like your setup! That view is amazing and your assistant is adorable.

  • TKny

    Hanna, I’m really sorry to have to bother you again but I finally realized my 4S cell phone camera is good enough and if I get a tripod to steady it, I can use the macro lens you had said you bought for the occasional close-up. NOW, where did I put the place you had written which macro lens it was?
    Can you please give me the info again? Many thanks for your help.
    BTW, am I the only one ready with cherry tree metal alloy charms for Pres. Lincoln’s b’day?

  • TKny

    Hannah, SORRY to have to take up time and space here, again, but the bad part of having all flagged emails in three file places which uses up all your allotted bytes is that when you clean up two sets of files to free up space, you still have the email somewhere if you look hard enough!
    I found the place where you told me which macro lens you use for your iPhone.
    Again, many thanks for sharing what you learned works. Tamara