How to Create the Perfect Study Space
Make your home office a stylish, hard-working hub with these 10 top tips
If like me, you relish the idea of spreading out your papers, laptop, stationery and books across a large surface, you’ll need to invest in a sizeable desk or table.
A robust, square-shaped kitchen table with an easy-clean melamine top can double up brilliantly as a place to do homework. And you might even be able to fit in two chairs so two people can use the desk at the same time.
Good lighting is key for homework, making office notes and time spent staring at a computer screen – especially once the clocks go back. If you are working in the smallest room in the house, you probably won’t have the biggest window, but you can always beef up the natural light with an adjustable, Anglepoise-style desk lamp and a peppering of spotlights too, built into the ceiling if you’re starting from scratch.
An effective mix of focused task lights and all-round general lighting will make sure you get on with the job in hand (just make sure you take regular screen breaks to minimise eye strain and headaches!).
If you have stacks of books, paperwork, notes and office paraphernalia to store, you can’t go wrong with long rows of built-in shelving.
Max out a skinny, narrow room by covering an entire wall with shelves, running corner to corner and up to the ceiling. Or opt for a modular system with closed drawers and countertops to create masses of practical storage.
Units and shelving in the same colour as the walls will blend unobtrusively into the architecture, and make the space seem bigger.
Don’t leave your study space languishing in an insipid sea of black, grey and white. Add in some bright, juicy colour and let a happy atmosphere seep in.
No need to repaint: try box files, drawers and shelves in a bold tangerine, citrus yellow or lime green, and even go for colour-coded storage if you want to be a complete teacher’s pet…
Find more inspiring ways to keep your paperwork under control
If at all possible, site your work station in a spot filled with uplifting, natural light. This modest hallway office area is sleek, minimal and supremely efficient, with the glass windows and balustrade allowing sunshine and light to pour in.
Stick to clean lines, wall-hung storage and a neutral palette to maintain the minimal aesthetic and sense of space.
There’s nothing worse than a drab, uninspiring office space. To get you in the mood for work, pick out furniture and fixtures you love: this Eames rocker paired with bright, floral wallpaper makes a welcoming space for catching up on homework.
Instead of wallpaper, you could also decorate walls with a few paper pom-poms (cheap and readily available), or simply add pinned-up pictures and postcards that will make revision and tax returns a joy (well, that’s the plan anyway).
For a functional look that’s characterful rather than corporate, go for a vintage, industrial look, packed with warm timbers and rugged metals. Perfect for a teenager-friendly homework hub.
Scour car boot sales and flea markets and keep your eye open for warehouses or offices having a refurb and getting rid of original fixtures and fittings. Old-school filing cabinets, locker units and desks are full of potential, while more modern, less stylish office cast-offs can be improved, too: drab metal furniture is easy to spray paint, while a staple gun and some fresh fabric can work wonders for tired chairs.
No need to build in storage or buy a set of new matching box-files either for this look: cardboard boxes and retro suitcases do the job and really look the part.
Handmade or shop-bought, big or small, a pinboard is perfect for clipping up notes, postcards, photos, images and inspirational words. All of which can boost tired, uninspiring study sessions.
Choose plain corkboard and pins for a functional, Scandi feel, or sheets of metal and magnets for industrial chic. Or go for a multi-functional pegboard, as seen here, on which you can also hang desk paraphernalia.
Help crafty children or teens to create their own DIY versions. To make your own pinboard, pad out a sheet of plyboard with a thin wadding of foam and cover the whole lot with your favourite fabric swatch. Finish off with a criss-cross of thick, grosgrain ribbon to slot cards, photos and other bits and pieces into.
A comfortable, ergonomically-friendly chair – pitched at just the right height and angle – is a must-have for a well-used study space or home office.
You can’t go wrong with a dedicated office chair, but if that’s too functional for your tastes, go for a design classic in a funked-up colour. Just make sure you try before you buy to ensure maximum comfort – though adding a colourful cushion could seal the deal.
If you haven’t got room for a pinboard then why not cover one wall with blackboard paint?
Transforming an entire wall into a blackboard will create a practical and re-usable area for scribbling anything from Shakespeare quotes to mathematical formulas and to-do lists. And to please design-loving parents, the black backdrop here also adds striking punctuation to the white shelves.
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What are your top tips for creating the perfect study space? Share your tips or photos in the Comments below.