Saturday 1 October 2016

How to create a study zone for teens

Keep the kids on track and create a space that focuses on homework and productivity - even when space is tight.

Anna Shelswell-White

Published 04/09/2016 | 02:30

Add personality with large typography and look to suitable wall sconces for a change from the desk lamp; cuckooland.com
Add personality with large typography and look to suitable wall sconces for a change from the desk lamp; cuckooland.com

If, up until now, the kitchen table has been the main homework hub in the house, a space dedicated to study may well be on your to-do list as school season returns. The aim is to eliminate any distractions and create a stylish space that will inspire your student instead of fill them with dread. While it may seem like a challenge in a busy and bustling household, this is where clever design comes into play.

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The good news is that you don't need a fully-designated room for a successful homework space. You can repurpose a nook or an alcove, add a mezzanine platform or customise a bed with a built-in desk to one side. However, if you are introducing a study space to a living room or kitchen nook, then it's essential to set the space apart and install enough storage so that books and stationery can be left there.

Black Wire Storage, €80.62. If space is tight, use the wall to keep quarters tidy; aprilandthebear.com
Black Wire Storage, €80.62. If space is tight, use the wall to keep quarters tidy; aprilandthebear.com

"You need to give the space importance and define this zone within whichever room you're using," says Louis Weyhe Funder of interior design firm and store, Nordic Makers. "The most important thing is to treat it as a genuine functional space and not just as a second-rate space within your home - especially if a separate room is not an option," he says.

Arlene McIntyre of Dublin-based Ventura Design suggests an ideal spot: "If you don't have an entire room available, consider the space under the stairs as a great alternative. Pick multifunctional pieces - desks can eat up space, so opting for a built-in solution can be a simple way of creating the surface space you need in the most minimal way possible."

A retractable desk, that's smart in size, can sit comfortably in a bedroom, a family room or other shared spaces.

However, this emphasis on function doesn't mean looks are thrown out the window; there are ample ways for school-goers to express their style through fun décor. Personality-packed desk accessories and stationery are really having a moment.

Three Drawer Storage, €8. Keep desks organised and clutter free with affordable storage; primark.ie
Three Drawer Storage, €8. Keep desks organised and clutter free with affordable storage; primark.ie

Online stores like Hippenings.com and stylish stationers, Dusty Boy Designs, as well as nationwide stores Tiger and Penneys are clearly leaving their stamp on the market and allowing students to revamp as tastes' change.

Don't forget about colour; it can play a large part when it comes to motivation, so introducing it through the furniture and accessories that your teens love to work with, is essential.

"Low wavelength colours like soft greens and blues improve efficiency, focus and an overall feeling of happiness," advises Arlene. "Also, I love the freshness of yellow and the bigger bonus is it triggers innovation, energy and optimism."

Anna Shelswell-White is editor of House and Home interiors magazine

Pineapple Glass Jar, €9.99. Keep paperclips and other small study essentials tidied away in a fun container; hm.com
Pineapple Glass Jar, €9.99. Keep paperclips and other small study essentials tidied away in a fun container; hm.com
Desk Chair, €200. No need for a desk chair to be boring, eye-catching options are available;
home-lust.com
Desk Chair, €200. No need for a desk chair to be boring, eye-catching options are available; home-lust.com
Kate Spade New York Notepad, €17.50. Beautiful stationery will help students take pride in their work and feel more organised; hippenings.com
Kate Spade New York Notepad, €17.50. Beautiful stationery will help students take pride in their work and feel more organised; hippenings.com
Metro Ladder Shelf with Desk, €115.70. A desk workstation with built-in shelving will keep your tabletop clutter free – particularly handy if the space is shared; littlewoodsireland.ie
Metro Ladder Shelf with Desk, €115.70. A desk workstation with built-in shelving will keep your tabletop clutter free – particularly handy if the space is shared; littlewoodsireland.ie

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