As schools are back in session, you may find the chaos of the classroom has exploded all over your kids’ rooms or your house. Wrangling it all together, and dedicating space that encourages learning requires careful planning. Laura and her friend Trista, discuss tips and considerations that parents can use when reconfiguring any area. Laura’s number one tip? Start with space planning (her specialty). Draw out your room and all the furniture that goes into it before you purchase that new desk or start rearranging the space.
SPACE PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
- Determine if there is a need for an actual desktop space (for books, writing pads, etc.) or will everything be done online (no books, etc.) and require less surface space?
- Where do you have space for a desk? Would adding a desk block the room’s natural light source? If so, what’s your workaround?
- Keep in mind how “door swings” will affect the dedicated learning space.
- Consider the location of electrical outlets. Will you be able to put a desk close to an outlet or will you need to run extension cords?
- Will you have multiple kids sharing one space? If you have the option, consider having kids share a room for sleeping (using bunk beds?) and have a secondary room as a study room.
- Don’t assume kids will share a desk. They should have their own space for learning. Pay attention to how each child learns (in a quiet space, in a social environment, etc.)
- Consider creating multiple “quiet spaces” where kids can participate undistracted in Zoom calls.
- Lap desks are good options but may not be ergonomically effective options.
- If you have the space, establish a hub location for parent/child check-ins, homework review, etc. Consider rearranging a seldom-used area of your home, such as a dining room.
STAGING THE AREA
- Be respectful visually. Remember that your child will be sharing the online space with other classmates, so you’ll want to minimize background distractions as much as possible. You might want to consider purchasing a background screen or download a Zoom background.
- Set up the learning space close to natural light. If natural light is not available, consider purchasing a ring light.
- Stage out the items you anticipate having on a desktop (computer/laptop, books, notebooks, etc.) so you can determine how much space will be needed.
- Keep in mind whether your kids are lefties or righties so you can properly set up their learning spaces.
- Take an inventory of the school supplies and other items your child will need and any storage you will need for those items BEFORE you purchase furniture. You may need to also purchase baskets, shelves, a storage hutch, etc.
- If you will be purchasing/using a desk chair, consider whether or not a rolling chair is a good option for your child(ren), or if they need a wiggle chair or other interactive seating. Make sure you determine the proper chair height, type, and ergonomically-correct options for your child before you make a purchase.
- Will you need a chair mat to protect your carpet? A mat to protect hardwoods, etc.?
- Loft bedding with a desk underneath may be a great way to double your space in the same footprint. However, keep in mind logistically how difficult it will be to make the bed. Also, will there be enough space for parents to sit alongside their child and teach under the loft area?
EQUIPMENT YOU MAY NEED
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Table lighting
- Ring light
- Lap desk, portable desk, standing desk, adjustable desk
- Adjustable desk chairs, exercise ball chair, wiggle stool or wobble chair
- Fidget widget bands
- Chair mat for carpet / chair mat for hardwood
- Loft beds/desks
- Background screen
- Zoom screen free download
Grace + Space + Customize
- Give yourself grace! This is a learning experience for everyone.
- Create a learning space for each child
- Customize each child’s space to make it the best learning environment for THEM. Remember that there is not a single solution for all.
Laura Davis is a registered architect and interior designer in the state of Texas and Colorado, and a founding member of hpd architecture + interiors. Laura's extensive experience includes residential as well as commercial and retail projects. She also has a particular interest in restoration, holding a certificate in Historic Preservation. She is energized by the character of older homes and the stories of those who have lived there. Responding to the needs of the current owner, while also honoring the personality of the original home is a delicate process to be enjoyed.