Setting up an altar for practicing your craft is not necessary but it does aid in your magickal works, it acts as a gateway to the Goddess and God or any other supreme being that you call for to focus in on and manifest. Setting up an Altar is personally a great way to connect with your Altar tools and the Spirits you come to love. Now there is no specific certain way to set up your Altar, however, there are certain tools that a Witch or Wizard should possess in order to help them with their craft. A lot of modern day Wiccans like to have tools such as an "Athame", a ceremonial dagger, however, I myself prefer the use of a Wand or Staff. I, however, do not need to go online and buy a wand or staff as that is spending pointless money and when it comes to magick I'll do anything to keep things on a budget. Also building your own Magickal tools to work with is a great way to connect not only to your tools but it is good for connecting with the God and Goddess experiencing all of their glory of being in nature. You can find a good stick to make into a wand but I must add that if you want to go and seek out the wood yourself it is best to ask the tree that you take it from for permission, trees, plants, and animals all have a resonance that you can feel if you just reach out with all of your heart. Sometimes a tree may tell you no by sending off negative resonance or they may say yes with positive resonance it is up to the person to read the subtle energies given off. If the tree does tell you yes then after getting the stick or limb be sure to always thank the God and Goddess and also thank the true for its material. It is also respectful to leave behind some sort of offering to the tree such as power stones, herbs, or whatever non-toxic offering you can find. Now on my personal altar, I always make sure to have some sea salt for protection and cleansing as well as some distilled water for cleansing and blessing the altar. Also, it is a good idea to have a centering element such as a pentacle on your altar and to have your alter set up facing whichever direction best energetically fits you. I personally have my Altar facing the West.
NORTH- The energy of new beginnings
EAST- The energy of awakening and enlightenment
SOUTH- The energy of emotions
WEST- The energy of releasing, represents the energy of the veil of darkness and the illusion of duality that seemingly exists.
So this is the altar remember everything that goes on your altar should be consecrated and personally hold a connection to yourself in one way or another, the creation of an altar is a spiritual act of creation in and of itself use care and spirit in the making of your altar.
-Blessed be, Gandalf Sol Luna Terra