Back to school time is here, only this year, you’re determined that the interior of your home will not be a reflection of your life’s craziness. Creating an efficient workspace for your children is one way to accomplish that. We asked Michael Smith of Michael Smith Architects how to design a modern, functional area that can grow with your clan.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
When kids are in elementary or middle school, where they work can be just as important as the space itself. “Having proximity to the main living area in a house gives kids a connection to their parents, which can be a positive influence on their efficiency and desire to seek help,” says Smith. Plus, it lets parents keep an eye on progress. A room directly off the kitchen is ideal for a homework nook, but one near the family room works well, too.
Even though children are more likely to work near the center of action (and snacks), they still need some isolation from the sounds of the TV or dishwasher. For this reason, doors for the workspace are a must. “Keep the space separate but connected,” says Smith. A glass door is best, since it reduces distractions without severing the connection to the adjoining space.
Color is a very personal choice. Even in a children’s space, it’s important to stay true to the style of the rest of your home. However, the dominant trend, says Smith, is an all-white space with pops of color coming from seat cushions or window treatments. Keep the backdrop simple and add interest with bright accents for a clean but fun look.
When planning the area, says Smith, remember that the way kids use their workspace will change as they get older. Built-in desks or lights may look good in photos, but they can become a subject of regret later on.
KEEP IT FLEXIBLE
If you keep the space flexible, the area you designate as a homework room can be transformed to serve new purposes in the future. A small area can easily transition into an office for adults or storage.