It’s hard to believe September is almost here! Before we know it, the days of lounging by the community swimming pool will be a distant memory, and school will be in full swing. (It already is for many of our Missouri communities!)
Whether you work from home or have school-age kids, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated space to study and work from. This is where some of your greatest “aha!” moments might end up coming to life. Encourage those moments by setting up your study space in a way that will stimulate creativity and enhance learning capacity. Here’s a list of things to consider when optimizing a study space in your home.
- Natural light. It’s always recommended to utilize natural light throughout your home, but one of the best places is to have it is in your study space! Place your desk or reading nook near a window if possible. Another option when there are no windows is having lamps in key areas to supplement the lighting throughout the room. As the day goes on, the lights will make sure you can still read your report or your student can still read their textbook. Many newer desk lamps also offer adjustable settings to fit your needs—a cool blue light for studying, or a warmer yellow light for reading. Having dimmers set on the lights can also help ensure your eyes don’t get tired or strained from excessive brightness.
- Music and lyrics. Whatever your work may be, your playlist can provide a nice backdrop to help the time go by and increase focus. Some people can’t work with lyrics, while others prefer silence altogether. Ambient sounds like falling rain or ocean waves are an excellent way to fill the silence without having music or songs playing.
- Use houseplants to improve air quality. Succulents and other plants can be a good way to increase the air quality in the room since for the most part you’ll be sitting at the desk without moving in and out. Your door, if your study space has one, could be closed during your work time, further stifling the airflow. Be mindful of the types of plants you keep if you have pets, unless you’re certain they won’t be going anywhere near this area.
- Decorate to inspire. Set up decorations that have inspiring quotes or uplifting messages throughout the area. These not only can inspire creativity, but can help motivate you or your student to keep working through assignments.
- Organize with efficiency in mind. Optimize every area in this space. Make sure your desk has room to accommodate all your supplies: laptop/tablet, pens and pencils, books, and other tools you might need depending on the task. Organize your shelves to keep things you’ll need at the ready, ready. This is also a good time to consider where furniture and lamps should be placed so that everything is within reach or a reasonable distance away.
- Use the space only for studying. If you go into this room with the mindset that it should only be used for work, you’re more likely to get work done. Using this space only for its intended use will mentally prepare you and increase your productivity. It also decreases the likelihood of disturbances that could distract you.
- Ergonomics is a must. If you or your student plan to work for long periods at a time, it might be worth it to invest in ergonomically comfortable materials. This will increase comfort and productivity, along with decrease strain on the body that can make studying less fun. Consider your chair, its height, the height of your desk, and the different supplies you’re using. If you work with a monitor, make sure it’s situated a comfortable distance and at eye level; you might also want to consider blue light glasses to reduce the effect of looking at your screen for an extended period of time.
- Keep healthy snacks at hand. While it will primarily be used for study and full meals shouldn’t be eaten here, it’s advisable to have snacks on hand to decrease the likelihood of getting distracted by the munchies while studying. It’s best to have healthy snacks that can provide energy over sweets that can leave one feeling lethargic. Having water handy isn’t a bad idea either!
- Color Theory. Another thing to keep in mind is the color of the room or space itself. Get the most out of your work time by accenting your study space with colors shown to increase productivity, creativity, and energy. Cool shades of blue and sage greens can create a calm area for you to get work done in peace. On the reverse, bring in muted shades of red to bring vitality to the room without making it overbearing. Soft yellows can also create a joyful and creative mood without being too bright and overpowering.
- Don’t forget the small details. Keep your space organized (even in organized chaos) by labeling and tying cords before tucking them away in a box or behind your desk. Regulate the temperature of the room so that it’s comfortable for you to be in without feeling like you’ll melt or freeze. Get yourself color coordinated supplies to keep your work organized.
Not every study space will work for every person. Some people need that organized mess to get things accomplished, while others would only get lost in anything less than a perfectly organized space. Find out what works best for you (or your student) to make sure that you’re able to get comfortable and be focused when trying to get tasks done.
Do you have a dedicated study space in your home? Leave your study space tips in the comments section!