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How to set up a study space for the kids without it overtaking the living room/dining room/kitchen

The Forever Home Project: Creating a Shared Study Space

I’m so happy to share with you guys that we’ve added another fabulous contributor to our team.  Like me, Julee has recently moved into what she considers to be her “forever home” and, like me, she’ll be sharing her journey here on MPMK. This project, afterall, is all about the different ways people go about making a house a home and I’m really excited to start adding Julee’s perspective. Today she’s got an awesomely informative post all about how to create a shared study space for the kids.

We recently moved into a new home, and, much like Steph and her family, we consider this our ‘forever home’ – a place to settle in and raise a family for years to come. We’re just starting to make the house our own, and since our move coincided with the start of school, I decided to tackle a study space as our first project.

Choosing a Location

choosing a location for a family study space
Before moving in, I had considered adding desks to each of our children’s rooms. Our children are five and almost-seven, and their homework consists of practicing writing and reading aloud – activities best done alongside a parent.  So in choosing a location, I opted for a single shared space in a common area over independent spaces in their rooms.

Like many families, we tend to congregate in the kitchen. Our kitchen is large and has a great view of the backyard. We love spending time here, so creating a study space near where we already hang out together seemed a logical conclusion. But rather than incorporate a desk into the kitchen, I decided on the family room area that extends into the kitchen.

Selecting Furniture

Once the location was chosen, I started thinking about what furniture we had on hand. Our new home is larger, and we’ll be purchasing new furniture to fill the extra space. For the study area, however, I was hoping to work with existing pieces.  Additionally, I wanted to keep the study area small and not overwhelm the room with office-y clutter.

I decided on a narrow console table for the desk and paired it with an adjustable chair so that the kids could write comfortably at the table. I also included a second chair so that we can work together.

The mid-century Eames-inspired chair is a great choice because the kids like to curl up in it and read a book.  We haven’t furnished the rest of the room yet, but we’re planning to incorporate a leather sofa, lots of comfy pillows and maybe a floor pouf to encourage hanging out and reading.


key elements for a shared study space

Once the main pieces were in place, it was time to accessorize. I kept it really minimal so that we could easily play down the ‘study space’ look for parties and other occasions when we have guests.  Here are the key pieces:

  1. A large picture, bulletin board or chalkboard to define the space: I opted for a world map because our kids are fascinated by maps and globes right now.
  2. Paper storage box: I use a box to hide all of our school supplies.
  3. Task lighting: Contrary to the photos above, this room is fairly dark so a lamp is extra helpful in this space.
  4. A fun timer: I usually use my iPhone for timing activities with the kids, not so much to encourage speed but to keep them focused on the task at hand and add a bit of a game element. I came across an hourglass timer at Target recently and decided it would serve this purpose just as well – and it’s prettier than my iPhone. Here’s a similar version.
  5. Large basket or bin: This is a great way to keep books within easy reach while also minimizing clutter.

Now we’re ready to rock the school season!

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Julee is a designer and mother of two young children. On her blog, Warm Hot Chocolate, she writes about her family, photography, home decor and life in Texas.

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