Is it any wonder that kids’ schoolwork seems to get done more often on a comfy sofa or at a bustling kitchen island than in a dedicated hidden-away study space? Being closer to the action of the household means it’s easier to ask questions and get help — a decidedly good thing. But without a clearly defined place to land, books, notes and school supplies can easily become a chaotic mess. If your house has a homework problem, read on to get ideas for beautifully folding study areas into the busiest spaces of your home.
Dining Area Additions
The dining table can be a great place for spreading out big projects — but such a big surface also can mean a bigger mess. In this space by Clare Gaskin Interiors, a slim bookcase and low cabinets with deep drawers make cleanup easy — when it’s time for dinner, schoolbooks can simply be shelved and papers stashed in a drawer.
Removable Drawer Organizers
If the kitchen table is where schoolwork gets done, consider clearing out a kitchen drawer and fitting it with removable drawer organizers. Fill the organizers with homework supplies, and your student can tote the organizers to the table as needed.
If you need more room, consider clearing out one entire upper or lower cabinet and outfitting it with a combination of magazine files, document storage boxes and desktop organizers. This is a good option for older kids who need to keep work for multiple subjects organized.
If you’re planning a kitchen remodel and would like to incorporate space for doing homework, consider adding a sleek hidden shelf to the island, as shown in this space by Irons McDuff Architecture. Kids can work at the island and simply slide books and papers out of sight when the space is needed for cooking. A hidden outlet beneath the counter for charging laptops and other devices would be a helpful finishing touch.
Rolling Homework Cart
If you never know where your kids are going to do their homework, a rolling cart stocked with school supplies can offer flexibility. Roll it right where it’s needed, and wheel it into another room or closet when you want to hide everything.
Another smart kitchen remodeling move is to add banquette seating with hidden storage for stashing books and supplies. Storage compartments accessible from the side or front (as shown here) are more practical than a seat that lifts — no need for someone to clear the bench to get supplies.
A bookcase in the living room, dining room or hallway can hold textbooks, as well as bulkier project materials in baskets or bins. You can also use the top of a bookcase or kitchen cabinet to stash large in-progress projects that need to be temporarily cleared off the table.
Back-of-Door Homework Holder
Wherever your kids do their homework, it’s important to have a dedicated spot for collecting any papers and materials that need to make their way back to school. One sneaky option is to attach a few sturdy hooks and baskets to the back of a hall closet door — backpacks can be hung up top, homework and library books below.
A desk has the advantage of not needing to be cleared midproject when dinner is ready. If you would prefer a desk but without the isolation (and space commitment) of a dedicated office, consider adding a workstation to the kitchen. In this space by TVL Creative, a double desk adjacent to the kitchen provides plenty of space for spreading work out, as well as ample storage for hiding the mess when someone wants to clean up quickly.