Houston-area children have more and more of a need for a home workspace as the school year ramps up. Whether you just moved into your new Shea Home® or you’re looking to refresh your interior décor, these tips can help you and your child work together to create the perfect study spot. We asked MP Studio© Principal Designer & Creative Director of Interiors Shana Jacobs, a leading expert in Shea Homes Houston model staging, for her guidelines.
A staged child’s bedroom with workspace in the Plan 4069 model at Del Bello Lakes. By making use of verticality – such as lofting a bed – you can create extra space in any room.
Location, Location, Location
So the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink; you can build a study space, but your child may not want to study there. The first step to making the ultimate schoolwork spot is identifying the best place in the house for your child to do schoolwork. Observe or ask your child about their study habits.
When given the choice to work anywhere in the house, where do they gravitate?
Do they prefer a quiet environment where they can focus, or a central location where help is more accessible?
What could distract them, and how well can they resist those distractions?
Could this workspace impede on other household members or activities, such as a parent working from home? If the child’s preferred study spot is not ideal, ask what it is about that spot that appeals to them, and identify a similar, more suitable place in the home.
Do these answers change based on the activity or subject? If your child likes to do schoolwork in multiple locations, try splitting the workstations based on their preferred activities (e.g., art supplies in the kitchen, school computer in the loft), or create a portable workstation that can easily be moved from one room to another.
A school workstation is supposed to be a dedicated space. Good studying spaces are well-lit and have a large surface area where the student can spread out when needed. Some Shea Homes have the perfect spot to set up a kids’ study, such as the Texas Association of Builders 2021 Star Award-winning flex room in Plan 5029. Conversely, there are certain areas of the house – such as the bed, play area, or timeout spot – that should be avoided as they are not conducive to a studying mindset.
Supplies should be stored in a way that makes sense to the person using them. However, good organization is not learned overnight – it is a skill that your child may not have mastered yet. Working together to create a fully stocked, efficient workspace is a great opportunity to get to know your child and teach them this important skill.
How organized do you need to be? Take time to assess their organizational needs, especially as the child becomes responsible for more and more materials. The key is to make sure the student feels comfortable enough to do their best.
Share your schedule. A calendar in a prominent place can help both you and your child track deadlines, extracurricular activities, social gatherings, meals, and errands. You can even color-code the calendar based on the person or type of activity.
Some categorizations are better than others. You can sort supplies by type, subject, size, color, or any other category, depending on how your child’s mind works. Organizing supplies in an intuitive way can also make cleanup easier.
Keep it contained. See-through containers keep items grouped together while also eliminating the guesswork of opaque storage solutions. But whether the container is clear or not, it’s a good idea to use labels.
Compartmentalize. It is common to have more than one child in the house in need of a workspace. If the children study in the same area, try to give them separate work surfaces so that one would not encroach on another.
The staged flex room in the Plan 5029 model at Del Bello Lakes. Adjacent to two secondary bedrooms, a bathroom, and a storage closet, this award-winning room would make an ideal workspace for kids.
Make It Their Own
Study spaces tend to prioritize function over form, but that doesn’t mean they must clash with your aesthetic.
Be ergonomically minded. A cute chair is useless if the child is not comfortable sitting in it for long periods of time. A desk that can hold only a laptop is not suited for big projects. To ensure ample lighting, bring in a task lamp or set up the workstation by a wall-mounted sconce.
Integrate school supply storage into the room. Many Shea Homes plans include ample storage built-in, but sometimes a shelf, credenza, ottoman, cart, or side table is needed to accommodate. Remember you can also hang fixtures on the walls to make use of vertical space.
Let the child personalize their workstation, even if it’s in a shared space. You would not feel motivated to work in a bland, oppressive environment – and neither would your child! Install a mat or a desk in your child’s favorite color. Display their artwork, photos of friends and family, encouraging notes, or a picture of something they like. Include decorative pieces that double as tools, such as a globe, a pretty basket, or a ball of rubber bands.
Find inspiration. The official Shea Homes® Pinterest account has a board just for kids’ spaces. Encourage your child to research student workspace ideas for themselves as well.