Creating an effective study space can be difficult, especially if you're used to using a bedroom, the kitchen, dining room, or other common area of your home. It seems a simple solution to just plop down your books, pens, and study materials in an available space and get to work. Unfortunately, this can be highly ineffective due to family or roommate distractions and wasted time paying attention to other things. Create a study space that will allow you to make the most of your study time and complete tasks more quickly and efficiently.
In order to promote the best study habits, the seating in a study area should be comfortable, but not too comfy. Chairs should support good posture and be placed around a table or at a desk. Office chairs and desk chairs are designed for long-term sitting without much discomfort. Think of the seating in a library or classroom, where studying is most common and the area is comfortable and quiet, but not overly so. Chairs that lean back too far, are too cushioned, or encourage lounging should not be used in a study area as they easily promote dozing off or laziness.
Depending on how many people will be using a study area, you should center the space around a desk or a table. A desk will come with several drawers for storage and the organization of pens, pencils, paper, and other studying supplies. Storage space for books, however, will be minimal. No matter the size of your study area, bookshelves, cubbies, or cabinets are a great place to store additional materials.
Install bookshelves or cubbies to display books that are used regularly such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, or textbooks. Shelves and cabinets can be used to organize art materials and school supplies in order to keep them within easy reach. Studying is not very productive if that time is spent searching the house for a calculator, highlighter, or staples.
Limit Electronic Usage
In this electronic era, it may be that the study space user does not use many books anymore, doing most of their work on a computer or other electronic device. In that case, other electronics should not be allowed in the study space, such as cell phones, iPads, or Kindles. These items can be very distracting and need to remain in other rooms of the house where they cannot be readily accessed.
Choose the Lighting
An effective study space will have adequate lighting. Ensure that there is more lighting than one small light above the desk or table, and that the light falls evenly across the study area so that there is no strain on the eyes while reading or writing. Try hanging an overhead light from the ceiling or getting a multi-bulb lamp that has bendable parts, which will allow the user to control how much light falls on a specific area. Dimmers can also be helpful, especially if multiple people are using the space at different times.
Control Sound and Temperature
Keep the study space free from distractions, as much as you can. The temperature of the room should be comfortable when in use--not too hot or too cold. There should be minimal sound in the room, so it should be away from the highway or train tracks. Try to set it up far enough away from common areas of the home such as kitchens and living rooms, so that social sounds do not interrupt study time. Calming music can be a good idea, such as classical or instrumental, but avoid having music playing that can distract the person studying, such as something with a fast beat or distracting lyrics.