While parents and administrators were hoping school would resume in the fall, that simply isn’t case for many children. While some schools have opened back up, others are entirely online or using a hybrid model. Then there are parents who are opting out altogether in favor of traditional homeschooling or private pods for a variety of reasons.
So, having a space, whether it’s a designated room, corner or workstation for homeschooling is essential. And if you’re still figuring it out, know you’re not alone. Here are ten beautifully yet efficiently designed homeschool spaces, all of which prove that making the grade is really about what works best for the family as a whole.
An Ideal Setup For A Teenage Girl
If anyone knows how to balance aesthetics and function in minimal square footage, it’s Maxwell Ryan, CEO of Apartment Therapy. His thirteen-year-old daughter, Ursula Gillingham-Ryan, has been learning remotely since March. Prior to the pandemic, she would do her homework sitting on a lounge chair, but now she requires a different setup. “She moved everything around,” Ryan tells me, “Redid her bedding to tie-dye, put up the huge mural on the wall, and we bought the white desk which was supposed to be for working, but became a makeup station as well.”
Many teenagers will be working in their bedrooms this semester, whether it’s by necessity or choice. So, having two desks is a great idea for anyone who can’t work in one place for hours on end. Ryan purchased the new desk and storage cart from Ikea and the bed from Jayson Home. The wood desk (pictured above) is from Mjölk. Art from Tezza adds a unique touch to the walls.
Ryan is a big proponent of the four-poster bed, then accenting with cheerful string lights. “Ikea even has some,” he says. “Big wall art is the trend right now and then the white desk and cart [add a] nice minimal touch. Keep it bright, white and simple!”
An Easy Solution For Every Family
Over the summer, Rydhima Brar of R/terior Studio in Los Angeles had a large increase in requests to design homeschooling spaces over Zoom. Her simple cost-effective approach is applicable for many homeschooling situations where a complete overhaul isn’t necessary, but perhaps the space just needs a refresh.
Brar recommends starting by clearing out the existing space and peppering in school-friendly items like bookends, wall clocks, and pencil holders.
Because extended delivery times have been par for the course during the pandemic, it’s crucial for parents to make sure their orders will arrive on time before. “Amazon, Target, and Wayfair have a great range of items and can be usually be delivered within two to five days. They offer quick and contactless deliveries,” says Brar. “Some home decor and school supply sites have significant delays due to COVID and will post below the item on the website letting you know it won’t arrive for several months. So make sure you read the fine print when ordering your items.”
But even rearranging what’s already there can make a major difference. “Move the desk to the opposite wall or close to the window and move the bed to the opposite side to make the room feel fresh instantly. Then accent with rugs, window treatments, etc.”
The Container Store Elfa Homeschooling Station Provides Flexibility
Blogger and influencer Jennifer Gizzi recently built a homeschooling station for her four children, ages three to nine in the basement of her home. “I wanted the kids to feel like they had some structure to the day and a place they could be creative while keeping the space feeling like an extension of our home. I was able to use wood accents and keep the space feeling warm and not too officey,” she tells me.
After installing The Container Store’s Elfa system to turn a closet into an office in her guest bedroom, Gizzi went with it again to create a homework station. The Elfa system is incredibly versatile, so once its installed, various elements can be customized and moved to meet changing needs.
Gizzi utilized open shelving and then added drawers to keep small items corralled. Pegboards hold the rest of the supplies within reach for the younger kids. “The SmartStore Totes might be my favorite though. They are mix and match and I was able to organize everything from markers to modeling clay in a way that the kids can easily find it and put it away.”
An Attic Designed For A Homeschooling Pod
Rebekah Higgs, who is best known as DIY Mom is hosting a homeschooling pod in a converted attic for seven-year-old daughter, Lennon and three other students. “Space association is incredibly important for children,” she shares. “If they are used to their home being the space where they can relax, play, and sleep, then transitioning them into a mindset where their home is now the learning space could be challenging.”
The Canadian television host wanted the room to be welcoming and warm, yet comfortable and not overly distracting. So, she added lots of DIY cushions and pillows. Higgs purchased a pastel sectional from Structube, but removed legs to better suit the space. An Annie Selke rug adds texture while the rainbow decals from Kenna Sato Designs are an imaginative touch.
“If I could offer any advice for other parents,” Higgs says, “It would be to listen and to trust your instincts when it comes to your child. Once you know how your child learns, engaging them becomes much more fulfilling.”
Homeschooling In The Kitchen
Andrea Bernholz, who is the owner and designer of Swiminista is homeschooling her daughter in the kitchen. “We chose this space because it is centrally located, and it is easy to lend a hand with school work, as we are always in the kitchen,” she says. “I can make breakfast or prepare meals as she does her assignments.”
Bernholtz carved out a space that’s equally kid and adult-friendly by adding a few key pieces to make to maximize function, including a vintage desk. The mid century modern console was another vintage find purchased on 1st Dibs. Bernholtz went with closed cabinets as opposed to open shelving because it’s easier to maintain order. “The look is easy to achieve and very functional as the cabinet doors help keep things organized and uncluttered.”
Her advice for other parents is to avoid spending extra cash on items that a child will soon grow out of. “Amazon has many learning wall charts, Ikea has small table and chair [sets] as well as cabinets,” she says.
A Room Built For Seven (Yes, Seven)
Author, coach, and influencer Emily Lynn Paulson has her hands full with five children ranging from ages eight to fifteen, all of whom are going to school online. Fortunately, she converted their dining room into a family office prior to the pandemic. “My office was in a tiny little converted closet, so we switched the dining room to a family office, never realizing that we’d need one,” she reveals.
The savvy mom made several changes to adapt the space including installing a door and adding a variety of shelving. Everything was purchased from Amazon, including the Ikea shelves, hanging shelves, stools, and metal bins.
With supplies, printers, and computers, this room has become a central hub for the entire family. However, the kids have desks in their rooms for working privately and Zoom calls. So, while the office can accommodate everyone, most of the time, it’s not at maximum capacity.
As for other large families in similar situations, Paulson recommends giving everyone a healthy dose of grace. “You cannot do everything at once. There will be some missed calls, some missed appointments, some interrupted meetings, and phone calls. At the end of the day, the kids will catch up on anything they fall behind on. They will eventually see their friends and teachers again. So let them look back on this time and remember it as enjoyable. I have lowered my expectations immensely, on them, and myself, and we are all much happier for it.”
Homeschooling A Preschooler
While Kyle Hjelmeseth, who is the founder of G&B Digital Management and his wife Stephanie, planned to send their son Jacob to preschool this year, things didn’t quite work out as planned. “We were gearing up to do the preschool research and interviewing, but now there isn’t a clear process for figuring out what preschools are available or finding the best one for our child.”
So they converted Stephanie’s office nook into a multi-functional space. Instead of trying to design it themselves, they used Crate and Barrel’s virtual interior design services. After a digital home tour, sharing a wish list, and a Pinterest board with their designer, they were presented with two custom designs complete with a mood board, floorplan, and 3D room model along with a product list. They found the process to be easy and efficient.
“We’re terrible at design,” Hjelmeseth confesses. “By working with Crate and Barrel’s team and using their free service, we got ideas on how to maximize the space in ways we never would have thought of. Don’t try to do it yourself.”
A Dining And Learning Space That’s Simple, Chic And Easy
In addition to running Printfresh, the company she founded, Amy Voloshin has been homeschooling her children, Mila (six) and Nico (eight) in her dining room since the beginning of COVID. It’s less distracting and more ergonomic than other areas of the home. “The table height and chairs with backs will also help them be better positioned to be on a laptop for a chunk of the day, writing, and for art projects,” she explains.
And while it’s currently being used for the kids, the dining room still has a clean, adult look. Voloshin found the chic vintage table at Mid Century Furniture Warehouse. Then she peppered in plants and decorative accents from Vestige, Anthropologie, and Palmer Planter Company. She is currently the process of creating additional storage so the kids can put their laptops away when they’re finished working.
As for anyone trying to emulate Voloshin’s style, she suggests looking for vintage finds on Facebook Marketplace and Etsy right now. “Etsy has loads of amazing vintage artwork and prints, and plenty of rattan light fixtures, which can give a space a warm and interesting handmade vibe.”
A Corner Kids Will Be Happy To Go To
Clarissa Egaña, who is the founder and creative director of Port de Bras is homeschooling her six-year-old daughter Alana, and her four-year-old son, Vicente in an open area of their home. “This corner of our house has natural light from the windows, crossed ventilation, and high ceilings allowing us to enjoy our time with each other in a harmonious space,” she says.
While there is children’s artwork on the walls, the space still has a sophisticated vibe with P’kolino table and chairs, Assouline coffee table books, and a dog sculpture created by a friend, which gives it a fun, yet personal feel.
For anyone trying to achieve a similar look, Egaña recommends adding pops of color where possible. “Mixing your most fun table decor with their toys over neutral furniture will make kids feel more joyful while spending their time in there. Paying special attention to lighting is also a good idea.”
A True Classroom At Home
When author, and host of the podcast Recovering From Reality, Alexis Haines decided to homeschool her two children, she realized they needed a room intentionally dedicated to this purpose. But, it took a bit of shuffling around. She removed everything from her downstairs guest bedroom, moved it all upstairs, and put Harper and Dakota in the same bedroom.
Haines pushed two craft tables together to make one large desk for the kids and purchased an additional teacher’s desk from Ikea. Like many other parents, she put up posters and whiteboards from Amazon. While the room features warm accents including a rug, cushion, and canopy, she wanted the space to feel clean, uncluttered, and match the rest of her home’s aesthetic.
While many parents may hesitate to keep a large flatscreen in the classroom, Haines didn’t want to remove it. She is planning to supplement their curriculum with educational films, such as a Russian ballet performance for example, when they’re learning about that country.