Where the Hearth Is: Creating a Study Zone
Powder Springs experts suggest spaces that invite studious activities.
As the first quarter of the school year approaches, many parents (myself included) are worried about how their kids are performing in class.
They also wonder what they can do to provide a proper learning environment for their children.
“Good study habits start at home,” confirms Laura Hawes, a counselor at Compton and Clarkdale elementary schools in Powder Springs. “Kids need to have a space where they can focus on their work.”
Karen Hartley of Karen Hartley Interiors and Decorating Den in Powder Springs says it needs to be a welcoming space for kids. “At the same time, you need to minimize visual distractions. Tuck favorite toys or games into baskets or cabinets, out of sight.”
“Shelving and organizers are the keys to a successful workspace,” concurs Johanna Hawf of Johanna Hawf Interior Design in Powder Springs. “I particularly prefer organizers for wall space above the desk. It leaves them desktop space, but puts the tools they need in their line of sight.”
Hawes agrees that being organized takes unneeded stress off the student. “Then they’re more open to learning.”
Hartley points out that parents creating a study space need to ask of their students: “Do they need to be supervised? Because if the answer is yes, you’re better off putting together an organized space in the kitchen or a den, where you can check in on them.”
In some homes, that means the space where parents organize and pay bills can double as the child’s study center. Sections of your wall organizer can be dedicated to each student’s needs.
“You really need to have a comfortable chair, though,” Hawf stresses, “and effective task lighting. Kids lose interest if they can’t see.”
“Don’t just go with a bright overhead light,” Hartley warns. “It’s not welcoming. I like swing lights that attach to the walls like a sconce. You can move them where you need the light. A good bedside or tensor desk lamp works well, too.”
Both Hartley and Hawf acknowledge that kids are going to flop on the floor or the bed to study. “As long as it’s well lit and comfortable and they can concentrate, who cares?” Hawf chuckles.
“The important thing is for them to want to be in that space, want to work in that space,” Hartley reiterates. “Is it too noisy for them? Do they need absolute quiet to work? Or are they more comfortable studying with a soundtrack?”
Both of my teens tend to like background noise, usually music, when they’re studying. Both of them also like to spread out and stack their materials around them. Area experts say that’s not unusual.
“Don’t put kids in a closet to study,” Hawf admonishes. “Most kids need natural light and space.”
Girls can be lured into a space with color, she adds. “And it gets more sophisticated as they grow older. The younger kids go for lime green and chocolate and hot pink, with camouflage and jungle themes. As they grow older, their palate becomes more complex, and they start mixing shades.”
Boys, on the other hand, “gravitate toward metals, steels, industrial-looking stuff,” Hawf continues. “But color works for them, too. Adding color in any space makes it richer. And it’s easy to do, and inexpensive to change as their tastes change.”
Music to a parent’s ears, in a careful economy.