Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
With a new school year about to begin, it’s time to ask an important question, moms and dads: Does your elementary schooler, middle-schooler, or high schooler have the necessary real estate, furnishings and accessories to tackle homework and studying properly? Put another way, what do they need to make their bedroom a “grade A” space?
Don’t just assume that your son or daughter’s digs are already adequately equipped for the school year ahead. Take stock of his or her needs and plan appropriately now – before they head back to the classroom, the experts concur.
“It’s important to plan out the furnishings and layout of your child’s bedroom and other study spaces to make it conducive for doing their schoolwork most comfortably and efficiently,” says Amanda Wiss, founder of New York City-based home organizing company Urban Clarity. “Comfort is key when it comes to your child’s setup for doing schoolwork at home. If your child is not comfortable, they are not going to be able to sit for as long as necessary to finish their work. This can lead to rushing through work and study, which can result in mistakes.”
Theresa Russell a professional organizer, echoes those thoughts.
“Your room is an outer representation of your mind and vice versa. So, if there are a lot of distractions and clutter around or the space feels cramped, it’s easy for your child to get overwhelmed. Having a layout that feels spacious, flows well and is organized creates a space for kids to thrive in,” she says.
Lori Jernigan, an interior designer, is a strong proponent of setting up a dedicated study area within your child’s bedroom.
“This helps establish routines and habits associated with learning, making it easier for the child to transition into a study mindset,” she notes.
Jernigan’s recipe for a bedroom conducive to learning and academic performance includes the following items:
- Appropriate desk and chair. “Provide a spacious and ergonomic desk and chair that is comfortable and properly sized for your child’s age and height. This ensures a proper study posture and reduces discomfort during long study sessions,” she explains.
- The right lighting. “Ensure adequate lighting in the study area. Natural light is ideal, so position the desk near a window if possible. Add a desk lamp or adjustable lighting to provide focused illumination for reading and studying.”
- Storage solutions. Implement sufficient storage options like drawers, shelves or bins to keep school supplies, textbooks and materials organized and easily accessible.
- Personalization items. Permit your offspring to decorate and personalize their study area with items that inspire and motivate them, like a bulletin board for displaying artwork and achievements.
- Comfortable bed. “A good night’s sleep is essential for academic performance. Consider investing in a new mattress, pillows and bedding to ensure proper rest and rejuvenation,” says Jernigan.
Likewise, it’s smart to designate other areas of the home outside of the bedroom as a homework niche or study corner. A living room or den appointed with a small desk, chair and nearby storage can make a nice spot for this pursuit.
“Try to identify quiet areas within your home where your child can focus on their studies without interruptions. This could be a corner in the library, a spare room, or a quiet nook under the stairs,” continues Jernigan.
If you lack space, “you could get a special fold-up desk or situate a desk underneath a loft bed,” suggests Russell.
Another alternative is to provide your kid with a lap desk, especially if they prefer sitting on their bed to read or write papers.
Remember: You don’t have to break the bank to properly furnish your child’s bedroom or other study area.
“OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace have a ton of low-budget used and new options. There are also stores like Dollar Tree where you can get organizing bins or school supplies at an inexpensive price,” advises Russell.
Even if there is no budget for fresh furnishings or decor, you can always create a new look and feel to your child’s study areas with proper decluttering and furniture adjustment.
“Sorting and removing items that your child does not need can create a more streamlined, calmer vibe in their bedroom,” Wiss recommends. “Start by removing everything that currently lives on your child’s desk, dresser and bedside table and place at all on the floor to review. Then, go through it all with a discerning eye and think about what your child uses every day and those items that can live in more easily accessible places, like a higher shelf or inside a storage bin.”