I have a very very small house. My machine has been in the basement in a box for 5 years. (I know, shame on me) but there is no way I could set it up permanently upstairs. I am thinking about setting it up in the basement. It is cold down there and I have a teenager living down there... along with a motorcycle, pool table and everything else in storage. I *think* I *might* be able to create a *small* space, maybe 4x4.
The lighting down there is terrible. There are very few electrical outlets, and what outlets there are, are in use by the teenager. I would probably have to have an electrician come in and do some work. I need to do this as economically as possible. No frills.
I had a similar situation in our last house - I bought two inexpensive bureaus from Walmart (4 drawers high) and at Home Depot a piece of arbourite (sp*) that was finished on all 4 sides for a top. (I found it in a sale area) I put some of that stuff you put under mats so they don't slip (from the Dollar Store) on top of the bureaus & then the top, that way it didn't slip/move. I placed the bureaus facing out about 5' apart so that I could access the drawers at each end (yours doesn't have to be that long) I put that under a light that I had changed to an inexpensive rectangular light from Home Depot (similar to the fancy ones you see in peoples kitchens). I put my portable sewing machine on one end & when I needed the whole top for cutting I would lift it off & put it under the middle out of the way. I had a wooden kitchen stool that I sit on when sewing.
When we moved to this house I had to cut 2' off of the top because the room is smaller but it still works well.
Hope that gives you some ideas.
Please do yourself a favor and bring the sewing room upstairs into the living room. You'll be happier, you'll sew more, you'll not be bothering your teen and you'll be so happy. I knew a woman who did that and it was a very, super solution. Yours truly, Dutchie
Maybe this article will help http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_g/g-412.html
I would suggest getting a power bar with a surge suppressor. That will help protect your machine.
Re lighting, I have been using the new energy efficient bulbs as you can use a low watt bulb but get much better light. In my sewing room I have installed a light fixture that is similiar to track lighting. It has three sockets for bulbs and the max for each socket is 60 w. I've put in 3 energy efficient 15W bulbs but I have the equivilant of 300W. And the daylight bulbs give a more natural and bright lights. You can do this with lamps as well, especially with the adjustable kind.
I used to live in apartment and had to create a sewing area in a corner of my bedroom. I purchased a light-weight corner computer desk (fom a mail order catalog for $99) with extensions on both walls. The extensions had two shelves each, one just above floor level and the other half-way up. I purchased two plastic 3-drawer chests from Wal-Mart to put on the left hand shelves and two baskets for the right hand shelves. One little chest holds notion (plastic bins in drawers keep them neat) and one holds thread arranged by color (black, white, brown in one drawer, reds and pinks in one, etc.). The baskets hold "work in progress." On top on one side (above the little drawers) I put my serger and on the other extension is a small ironing board I bought at JoAnns. I keep a travel iron there for small press-as-you-sew jobs. Under this ironing board is my cutting mat. I also bought an inexpensive wall mounted lamp with a swing arm. It turned out this was not enough light in my corner, so I also got a high intensity desk lamp (also adjustible) to go behind my machine.
Now I live in a house and have a room for sewing, etc. I call it my "clutter room" since I can shut the door on the clutter. But I still use my corner desk arrangement. Fortunately there is a window close by so it is not so dark. Maybe you can find a corner in your bedroom or some other room for sewing. Good luck!
Maybe this is where I'll "fit in". In this past year I have bought into a Senior Community cottage with no cellar or attic and lots less closet space. In selling our home, I had to give up a Fibre Arts Studio which was fabulous with natural light and adequate space and storage. We decided to use the Master Bedroom and Bath as our "Common Room". DH has his books, computer and "stuff" in a diagonally divided "half of the room. I have the other...a long unbroken wall handles my pressing center; catchall desk; serger stations and ended with my large corner computer station which holds both sewing machines each side of the AV Center. To top it off -- I have both sets of double wide windows with S and SW exposure. I have the large closet for my fabrics and DH has the linen closet for his camera stuff and records etc. Only problem is the weight of the fabric pulled the wire rack storage system right out of the wall! The Facility Manager came and had a new system put in and had it reinforced. However, I have 3 hotel clothing racks of fabric standing in my "area" full of fabrics. The one good things about that is the floor is being "used" so DH cannot use it to spread out his papers "because I'm not using it!."