Back to school season is here and many of us are tasked with ways to morph our rooms into learning areas. While we love a great reading nook—or just a quiet corner in general—we’re finding that we need a bit more space and structure to make learning at home more efficient.
We chatted with architect and founder of Casa Kids, Roberto Gil, and Adele Beiny, creator of Life’s Looking Good, to offer insight on decorating best practices. While you’re creating this space, keep in mind learning is ongoing and even if you don’t have the biggest room loaded with the latest Montessori gadgets, your little one will still thrive. You’ve got this.
Here’s how to create an awesome homeschool setup that compliments your style:
For starters, it’s important to remember that a clean, de-cluttered area fosters a clean mind. “Just like adults, children find it hard to think in chaos,” says Beiny. “Their surface or desktop spaces should be as clear as possible, just like at school. I love to use makeup caddies and makeup brush holders as school supply organizing systems, as they can house everything.”
Editor pick: Yamazaki expandable drawer organizer
A desk is designed specially for them, in their size, can be very appealing to children. The idea is to get them away from the kitchen table and into their own work space. “We learned from parents that once their child got their own desk (especially if they participated in the selection of the furniture) they were able to concentrate more on their homework,” says Gil. “If you’re in a small space, try a loft bed with a desk as a space saving solution. Even with ceilings at 8 feet, it is possible to get a good size desk under the bed.”
Need help finding the best desk height? “A toddler should have a desk 17 to 20 inches from the ground, a preschooler should be 21 to 24 inches, an adult sitting desk is 30 inches and an adult standing desk can go up to 41 to 44 inches,” says Gil. “A desk that adjusts in height will last many years for you and your child.”
Rolling carts are a great option to keep surface areas clean but allow you to have supplies, books and crafts handy and nearby. They are also easy to hide when you want to relax and look at anything related to schooling. “The benefit is they can move from room to room (or workstation to workstation) and learn in different environments, it’s essentially a mobile office,” says Beiny. Bonus: Spray paint them in your child’s favorite color as a fun activity.
Editor pick: Pottery Barn rectangular wire cart
“Smaller, semi enclosed spaces provide the child comfort and a sense of belonging,” says Gil. “In a home with several children sharing rooms, creating a low partition with wood and plexiglass is a smart way of giving them some independence and privacy. Based on our own experience and on parent’s feedback, if siblings are more than a year or two apart, it is better to give them their own working areas.”
Editor pick: Puzzlider room divider screen
“I love the idea of a folding card table or wooden snack table to keep as an extension of a table,” says Beiny. “It can be placed as the desk itself, or used to make an L shape, with an existing desk already being used. Space for work provides flexibility and convenience. The more you can keep nearby, the less the kids need to run back and forth to retrieve things.”
Editor pick: Yamazaki end table with storage
Baskets have always been a great design item, but now they can be fashionable and functional. “Create a trio or cluster for schoolbooks, reading materials and supplies,” says Beiny. “They can all match or have a variety of different colors and patterns for younger kids.” Having various types and styles of baskets can create a warmer environment for learning.
Editor pick: Lorena Canals rose basket
Once your space is set up, try relaxing with these items:
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