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.
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.
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.
"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.
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