Summer is winding down, and many households are actively preparing for the academic year ahead. In all the excitement, one item often gets left off the back-to-school shopping list: The home. Here’s how to create a smarter living space for the next school year.
Designate a home study room
Is your kitchen table big enough for the kids to do their homework? Do they have a space to practice their instrument? Organizing your home for back to school means designating spaces for your kids to readily get things done.
Look around the house and figure out where your children can do their best work with the least distraction. Depending on the needs of your young students, that can be any of the following areas:
- The kitchen table allows your students to sprawl out on existing furniture, making clean up easy
- Bedrooms are a go-to spot for solitude and creative exploration – why not add a desk?
- A guest room is a less-frequented space in your home, limiting noise and distractions
- A space converted into a home study room turns an unused area into a zone for learning
Design and redesign for your household’s needs
Want a space that’s designed to serve you better? Here’s how to make it happen in your home.
Practicing in privacy
Your student can improve their skills more easily by rehearsing in a dedicated space. Think about high-traffic areas in your home, and rooms that only see limited use.
The best place for your band or choir student to practice their overtures may be in the basement by the window, so they can play away and read their sheet music in the afternoon light. If you live in a warmer climate, the garage can be a great location for your dance student’s steps to flourish.
Make your furniture fit your needs
Sometimes, we already have the tools we need to set ourselves up for success. With a little creativity and some heavy lifting, spaces can be transformed to fit our needs.
- Look through your idle furniture and see if you can put it to better use elsewhere in the house
- Remove décor to see how much room you have to rearrange furniture, and store it as needed
- Add risers to lift furniture to the perfect height
Add just what you need for the setup you want
If you’ve optimized your home's setup and you still find your home needs something more, it may be time to pick up the missing piece. While it’s tempting to overhaul a space for the functionality you want, a little ingenuity and creativity can go a long way, as shown in the examples below.
- If you don’t have room for a full desk, add a folding shelf or workstation
- Get a power strip and extension cord to bring electricity into the sunroom
- Save on furniture by getting a two-in-one bunk bed/desk combo
These opportunities can create great bonding experiences over deciding what materials will be used to prepare the space, with room for your child’s personality—and perhaps a little DIY.
Look for ways to upcycle
School won’t last forever, so plan ahead by choosing items that can be repurposed later, like these examples::
- Repurpose a minimalistic desk as a buffet in an entryway
- Use plastic totes that once held school supplies for fishing gear or household items
- Get two uses in one with a modular shelving system for their favorite books, games, and toys
As we discussed in our article on comfort decorating, focusing on how you’ll use each area can help you personalize each room, taking it from a frenzied place to a functional space with the features you need.
Parents and other adults who also watch children, don’t forget—you may need a spot in your home that gives you the freedom to focus, too. We all deserve a designated space to relax or quietly get work done!
Stay celebration ready throughout the school year
Many schools and households celebrate things like good grades, 100 days (left) of school, or the end of an athletic season. Stay ready for any festivities by keeping your home stocked with frozen treats, and make sure your home is always ready for an impromptu movie night.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll not only see how you’ve made your home work smarter for you this year, but how much farther your children can go as a result.
Congratulations on wrapping up another summer, and best of luck on the school year ahead!