An elementary school girl sits at a desk writing. There are books piled next to her and shelves in the background.

Back-to-school season, whether virtual or in-class, means new routines and plenty of assignments. Creating a homework space that’s organized and free of distractions is one of the keys to a successful school year—and for maintaining your sanity!

To help keep your little ones’ productivity on point, we’ve compiled 11 simple and creative study room ideas that you can try at home, all with a stamp of approval from real moms and design experts.

1. Set up a family co-working space.

If you or your partner will be working from home this year, chances are you’ve already created a home office or living-room workspace of some kind. Why not make room for your child, too? You may even find that having an adult homework buddy keeps your kiddo motivated to stay on task.

If you have more than one child, ensure that each kid has enough space to work comfortably. Some kids work better in groups while others may find it too tempting to chat. It all depends on your child and what works best for them—and you.

2. Keep school supplies organized and within easy reach.

A messy study space doesn’t spark creativity. So wherever your children are working, aim to keep their school supplies coordinated with neatly labelled storage containers. Clear bins work well for spotting items without digging, but you can also use a Sharpie marker or paint pen to label wood, metal or cloth bins or boxes. This strategy will keep your kids focused and avoid unnecessary disruptions to search for supplies. At the very least, you’ll be less likely to hear them whine, “Mom, I can’t find my ____.”

3. Create a DIY portable homework station.

Short on space in your family home? No worries! The kitchen table can easily double as a homework station. To keep things tidy in this multi-use space, stock school supplies in a caddy that you can stash in the pantry or a nearby closet. When it’s time for dinner, simply tuck everything out of sight.

Bonus: You’ll be able to keep a close eye on the kids while you prep dinner (say, one of these affordable meals). No slacking off on your watch!

4. Make use of vertical space by adding shelves or baskets to a wall.

A minimalist approach may be best when brainstorming study room ideas since research has found that heavily decorated classrooms could disrupt attention and learning in young children.[1] By storing supplies on floating shelves, you’ll limit the clutter on your children’s desks while maximizing space.

5. Accent with yellow to enhance attention and focus.

Colour theory—or colour psychology—is the science that studies how colours and colour combinations influence mood and behaviour, stimulate the brain and body and even affect health. According to colour guidelines, sunshine-y yellow is the optimal colour for a study room thanks to its brain-boosting effect. Soft, subtle shades of the hue promote concentration, while brighter yellows can stimulate memory.[2]

If possible, steer clear of red when creating a homework space. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, seeing the colour red before an important test could negatively affect your kids’ grades.[3]

6. Put art and school projects on display.

Celebrate achievements by displaying assignments and artwork in your children’s workspace. There are many quick and creative ways to get the job done, including hanging items from a DIY clothesline, tacking papers up on a corkboard or even framing the extra-special items that fill your little scholars with pride.

7. Turn a closet into a mini-office.

A closet is the perfect out-of-the-way nook for a child to get down to business. To make your very own, keep at least one shelf in the closet at desk height and remove any others directly above or below. Add a desk lamp for better lighting and that’s it—you’re done! This DIY homework station is also an easy way to create separation between your child’s schoolwork and their bedroom or play area. Once they’re finished work, simply shut the closet door.

8. Decorate with plant life.

A little greenery goes a long way in creating a calming atmosphere, and you can even turn caring for a plant into a science lesson or environmental project. Encourage your children to track a plant’s height over the school year or start from scratch and watch them nurture a seedling’s growth.

9. Make the most of awkward spaces.

A cozy study area with a built-in desk under the stairs? Now, that’s a small-space idea any kid will love. Hey, it worked well for a certain boy wizard named Harry Potter! Just keep it bright and open (read: no locked door or excessive stooping necessary) to avoid comparisons to Harry’s evil aunt and uncle.

10. Mind the time with a well-placed clock.

Telling time (not to mention time management) is an essential skill for kids to learn. Empower your kids to manage their minutes by keeping a clock in view.

11. Let your child pick décor.

As cute as these study room ideas are, the focus is still on schoolwork. And let’s face it: Homework is rarely a barrel of laughs. So why not involve your children in the creation of their study space? Allow them to pick out the décor or surprise them with some extra-cool school supplies (check out our school-supply checklist with all the must-haves). You could also personalize the homework area with your children’s names or initials. After all, they’ll be more likely to use the space (even for solving dreaded math equations) and want to keep it neat if they had a hand in its creation.

Study Space Must-Haves

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