Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to create a study space that appeals to all ages.
Now that kids are home from school for the foreseeable future, creating a work/study space is more important than ever. And having a space that gets creativity flowing and also feels calming, may just lead to better school performance.
Here, ideas from the design pros for designing a study room that your child will actually want to stay in.
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“The theme of the room will very much depend on the child’s age, gender and personality. There are, however, some general design rules to follow. The overall decor should stimulate creativity and comfort and maintain a functional and youthful look that can last. Bringing elements of nature through decor and prints inside the room can create an uplifting feel.
“The sky is the limit when choosing the colors for a child’s study, taking into account their age, gender and the mood you are trying to create. We always like to involve the child by having them choose color preferences and including any hobbies or interests to inform the décor.
“More than anything, the design of the desk and chair should promote proper posture. Additional furniture pieces in the room might include storage, shelving or drawers. To help them focus, it’s ideal to have a dedicated and quiet workspace with minimal distractions like televisions.
“If you’re creating a study space within an existing room, opt for a desk hidden within joinery that can be closed away behind doors or one that can be pulled out on wheels. There are great free-standing cupboards that have pull-out desks inside. Floating desks set up in some part of a bigger room, such as the dining room, living room or kitchen, are also an efficient way to address the lack of space inside a kid’s bedroom. “
— Susie McLaren, creative head of residential interiors at SHH, an architecture and interior design practice in London
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“This space plays such a critical role in your family’s home—not only to serve a functional purpose but to help your kids feel they have their own designated area. Though it serves a separate function from a designated playtime area, it still needs to be fun and of course inspiring in terms of its décor.
“We focus on color, and lots of it, but it’s still important to make sure the design is cohesive with the rest of the home. Color selections should create feelings of tranquility and happiness. So, avoid tones of beige and gray. Color plays a very large role here by exuding emotions and encouraging your kids to feel comfortable and engaged while in the space.
“Focus on dedicated compartmentalized storage areas for crafts, projects and general reading areas. The functionality should be efficient and include a work area to accommodate both your child and a potential tutor, whether that’s the parent or teacher to assist with the lesson.
“The success of the space depends on focusing its designation to homework and should not be conducive to gaming or playtime activities.”
— Toronto-based interior designer Lori Morris of Lori Morris Designs
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“A child’s study room should [be] functional and organized, but also speaks to the child’s personality. Whether you’re an adult or a child, it’s important for the workspace to reflect your interests and style.
“Select colors that inspire focus and creativity but keep stress and meltdowns at bay. Blues and greens are always good for creating that mix of calm and clarity. With children, I do tend toward the brighter end of the spectrum and choose colors that are more playful. For a recent project, we used a teal geometric wallcovering as the perfect balance of blue and green for a room full of imagination and creativity.
“A simple table and chair pairing can lend itself to becoming a study or workstation for your child. Keep a small bookshelf or cart nearby to hold books, pencils, scissors and any other school materials or supplies.
“Creating a designated workspace with few distractions is key to promote better focus. If space allows, consider making separate workstations like functional built-in bookcase desks where your children can have their own workstations or where you can work alongside them to help them stay focused.
“You could also opt for a vintage secretary, which provides plenty of storage, with small cubbies for items to keep close at hand and a shelf on top that showcases personal touches like artwork and photos of friends.
“Sometimes a separate space isn’t an available option and that’s ok. There are many opportunities to incorporate or add to an existing space to create a child’s study area. For example, we used a simple desk and functional chair placed behind a sofa in a rec room to create a natural workstation that nearly disappears when not in use. ”
— Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors in Washington, D.C.
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Craft a Comfortable Space
“A desk is of course a must, as is a comfortable chair. Nothing sends kids running from studying faster than not having a comfortable place to sit. Storage is important as well, whether it be a chest of drawers, a cabinet or an armoire. We love building in storage so there’s a place for all of their tools and supplies so they’re not sitting out on the desk. Just like adults, a tidy space can help kids focus better.
“If you don’t have an entire room to spare, a secretary with a hidden pull-down desk can do the trick and be placed almost anywhere. Kid’s always love unusual and new secret spaces, so a hidden desk is extra fun.”
— Melissa Warner Rothblum, co-owner and principal designer, Massucco Warner in Los Angeles and Seattle
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