Q. How do you make a student’s bedroom double for work and relaxation?
-Elizabeth (East Lansing, MI)
A. Great question! My experience of nine years of college while living in teeny tiny city apartments makes me super qualified to answer. Here we go. First, it is really important that you separate the spaces into the work zone and the relaxation zone. You really need to be able to make the work zone disappear when you need it to! There is nothing worse than finishing a long evening of homework by laying in bed and staring at the homework that you’ll have to get up early to finish tomorrow. This comes from either having a divider (furniture, curtain, screen etc.) or from having fantastic storage that can transform your work space into a clutter free surface in no time flat. I prefer a combination of the two. When your work space is organized, stylish, and well lit you will find it’s much easier to find the motivation to study!
I just had to take a minute to laugh because the space I am currently working is absolutely awful! The previous homeowner had the brilliant idea for a Hawaiian theme craft room… I have yet to correct the mis-step. Here’s the elegant border around the top of the room:
Ok, away from bad design and back to good design now. Let’s start with the layout of the room. I’m not sure of your room size, so I went with a typical 11′x14′ room. I divided the space into a zone for work and a zone for relaxation. I separated the two spaces with a curtain hanging from a tension wire (available at Ikea). You can keep it open while you work and then when it’s relaxation time, just pull it shut to separate yourself from the work zone.
I added storage for both spaces (bookcases across from the bed and shelving above the desk) because it is important that you have space to store all of your school supplies as well as display items that are not related to school or work. I also added a rolling console table at the foot of the bed that can roll right over the bed (breakfast in bed, anyone?) because lets face it, sometimes you just want to lay in bed while you work. I used an L-shaped desk in the corner because it maximizes your work surface. I added shelving on the walls above the desk for school books, supplies, etc.
Below are some organizational inspirations for your work zone. Notice how the color schemes are really limited. Each one has just a few colors and uses storage boxes and bins to hide the objects you use that don’t fit the color scheme. The limited color scheme instantly transforms a space from chaotic to relaxing and inviting. Also notice that the shelves are not completely full. You want to leave some of the shelf space open to avoid the feeling cluttered. Also mix in a few beautiful objects that you can look up at while you come up with your most brilliant ideas! Don’t forget to add task lighting!
Some ideas for the relaxation zone: