All too often, a study space is just a table and a chair. Having a personalized space can make homework a lot more fun and efficient. With these tips, you can turn any area, be it a room or the kitchen counter, into a place to maximize learning time.
Prepare for the Future
Furniture is one of the most important parts of a study space. Using plastic kids’ furniture might seem cute at first, but kids grow fast. Using “grown up” furniture will give your kid something to grow into.
You could re-purpose an old armchair or dining chair but picking out a new, special piece of furniture can add to the feeling that their study space is special. For instance, you could pick out a custom made chair– something sturdy and dependable. It costs a little more than making do with what you have, but a versatile chair can be useful from elementary school through college, and it makes a great heirloom.
Divide and Conquer
Having multiple kids studying in the same space can be a blessing or a curse. It may suggest “play time” rather than “learning time”. Though some children work best in an open, cooperative space that doesn’t always work out.
If you have an open space, consider using tri-fold poster board to create custom zones that can easily be folded away or replaced with each new school year. These allow everyone to concentrate individually, but they can easily be taken down during cooperative projects.
Everything in Its Place
A messy desk and drawers crammed full of who-knows-what does not lead to productive study times. Consider using a drawer-less desk and placing any stationary or art supplies in cans, baskets, trays, buckets, or anything else open and easy to see. Nearby cubbies and shelves can house materials, not in use.
Compared to light produced by a CFL bulb, LED light is easier on your eyes, and it will appear brighter. Better lighting can increase alertness and attention (and save you money in the long run by using less energy.)
Add Comfy Non-Desk Zones
Create several “zones” within the space: a research zone with a laptop, a comfy reading zone on the floor, and a big open table for creative projects or working out math problems. Having different environments for each activity can be just enough change to keep kids from getting bored or tired of sitting in the same position.
Bring the Outdoors In
According to several studies, houseplants can help boost attention. They can also provide a number of examples for impromptu science lessons. Allowing a child to pick out their own plant can help them take ownership of their space and the more invested they are in it the more time they will want to spend there.
Try a Fresh Coat of Paint
The color of your study space can make a difference. Peachy-orange projects a sense of energy and confidence. Turquoise is a good balance between the calming effects of a deep blue and the stimulating effects of a bright color. Green, on the other hand, is a great neutral. It promotes focus.
Choosing to use bright paints or wallpapers doesn’t mean you have to paint an entire room orange. An accent wall, particularly the one your child’s desk is facing, will do the trick. Off-whites, pastels, and beige can work just as well with the right color accent pieces to liven up the space.
Share a Space
Though most study spaces are designed to be away from noise and activity, some kids do best in a kitchen-table setting. Creating a study space in a high-traffic area isn’t always a bad thing and can help keep everyone connected.
Not everyone responds to noise in the same way. For creative individuals, everyday noise in or around the workspace can increase creativity. While studying a little background chatter or even the sound of the TV in the other room can help the brain filter through information and pick out what is most important.
Knowing what your child likes and how he/she studies best can go a long way when designing a space just for them. Your best insights might come from observation. However, you can always ask what they like best, too. The ideal study environment for you might not be the same as theirs.