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How to Create a Kids Workspace that Inspires

With the pandemic keeping us all home, many (most?) of us have to figure out how to peacefully cohabitate with our families… during work hours. 

Trying to get sh*t done while your kids are running around and asking you to help them with yet another craft project every five minutes… not. an. easy. feat. But what if you could create a kids workspace that inspires and motivates — whether it’s a corner in your living room or an entire room? Even if you have limited space in your home, there are creative ways to do this.

Carving out a designated place for your kiddo to work and play won’t just help them unleash their creativity or complete their school work; they can also help YOU, parents, reclaim YOUR space. Because let’s be honest: your kitchen table has probably become a puzzle/art project/lego/[insert anything your children are into here] station. I know mine has!

create a kids workspace: messy kitchen table

Not to mention, having their own work and/or play area gives kids a sense of pride and ownership over their space, belongings and projects and allows them to quickly pick back up with whatever craft, game, activity, etc. they were working on each time they come back. 

Here are 4 tips to help you create a fab kids’ work and activity space that is functional, enticing and easy to organize, followed by some of our favorite kids furniture for some inspiration.

create a kids workspace: toddler desk

Four Tips to Create a Kids Workspace

create a kids workspace: double kids desk
Image via Pinterest

1. Get creative with the layout. Furniture placement has the power to make or break any room. When furnishing your home, you want to map out your traffic routes and allow for flow. Always. Otherwise, life at home (especially right now, when you and the fam are home all. the. time) can quickly get oppressive.

The same goes with kids furniture. So how can you carve out some space for the kids to play or work without compromising the flow in your home? You’ll have to get creative.

create a kids workspace - in living room
Photo from Chalk Academy

If your living room is large, consider rearranging the furniture so that your children have a space of their own that feels both autonomous and connected (you know, so you can keep an eye on them while you WFH). 

Maybe the media console can yield its sunny spot to your little one’s desk and art supplies; perhaps you and your child will want the easel being within arm’s reach so you can come to the rescue when your little artist needs a new blank canvas.

If your child is a bit older, you could opt for a bunk bed and set up a desk underneath. 

2. Make it compact and mobile. Kids furniture doesn’t have to take a lot of real estate in your home, and nothing has to be permanent (after all, kids will eventually go back to school, right? Right?). There are many options out there that are not only compact, but also light and mobile. 

Our managing editor, Charlene, opted for an ultra light activity table from Ikea, and she frequently moved it close to her big living room window. Once set up there, she finds that her kindergartener has been able to focus and stay independent for longer stretches of time. 

We love play and work kid furniture sets that we can easily tuck away at the end of the day; and if you are truly short on space, wall desks are a great alternative. 

3. Make it comfy… and fun! If you want your kids to actually spend time at their work station or in their playroom, you’ll want it to be comfy, cozy and fun! Whether the space is big or small or even part of a living room, there are tons of creative ways to make it inviting. Think bean bag chairs (like this structured one, this character one, or even this big bean bag lounger, which is great for reading, watching movies, studying and more). 

A cozy play tent is always a good idea. Colorful shelves or a cool bulletin board for kids to display their favorite photos or artwork can also go a long way! The ideas are endless. Here’s some inspo from Pinterest to get you going.

4. Light it bright. Good lighting is the key to any enticing and great play, work or hangout space. Whether it be natural light or other, you want to make sure the area is well lit. If you have the option, place your children’s desk or reading/playing area near a window. 

If your house or apartment lacks natural light, here are a few options: sports fans may love this awesome baseball glove table lamp; if you want to add some color pops, this adorable globe chandelier will do the trick; and these task lamps, which come in some sweet colors, are great for doing work or art projects. And for a bit of fun, check out these cute string lights!

How to Keep Things Organized

We asked expert organizer and “de-clutterer,” Rebeccah from Whole House Cleanse, to give us her organizing tips. Because no one, not even our kids, enjoy working in clutter.

Declutter and rotate. According to Rebeccah, even if your kids have a ton of supplies (school stuff, arts and crafts items, etc.) it doesn’t mean everything needs to be out and available to them at all times. She advises parents to keep out only the items that kids need for whatever project(s) they are currently working on. Not only does this help children stay more focused on the project at hand, but it also simplifies clean up time (which, ideally, you want older kids to be able to do on their own).

When kids are done with a project or activity, put those supplies away and bring out some items that you had tucked away (art supplies, books, toys, workbooks, etc.). When old and sometimes forgotten-about items re-appear, it feels fresh, fun and exciting! Clear plastic bins, such as these from Target, work great to store supplies that are not currently being used. We love clear bins because you can easily see the contents inside.

Strewing. Here’s a new distance learning term for you: “strewing.” Strewing is the process of thoughtfully scattering your child’s work or play area with some of those newly rotated-in items — or anything you think will interest your children (puzzles, books about birds, card games, math worksheets, random art supplies, etc). The idea here is that when these new materials are scattered about the area, kids will be inspired to play and engage with them, thus having new experiences and learning different things than they otherwise would have. For some creative strewing inspiration, check out Nourishing my Scholar. Ready, set, STREW!

With these tips in mind, it’s important to get the right pieces in place to create the best workspace for your kid(s). Depending on your budget, style and kids’ needs, we’ve curated some awesome picks for your kids work area. Read on for a selection of kids furniture! 

Kids Furniture to Create a Kids Workspace

Ikea

Photo from Chalk Academy
Desk ~ $79; Bench ~ $29; Easel ~ $19; Storage boxes ~ $4; Swivel Chair ~ $69; Rug ~ $14

(For bigger kids):

via @maisonellieinteriors: SVALNAS desk system (you can customize it to fit your space and what you want) ~ $167; SKADIS pegboard (comes in various sizes) ~ $18.99; Article SVELTI chair ~ $54; My Bean Bag ~ $139 (similar here for $79)

Target

Melissa & Doug

Pottery Barn Kids

Crate & Kids

White & Natural Play Table & Chairs ~ $399; White Stackable Bookcases ~ $229; Rainbow Dot Rug ~ $299 – $829 depending on size

Wayfair

Seabrook Kids Play Table ~ $194; Storage Cubby ~ $133; Teepee ~ $77; Lamp ~ $38; Kids Wall Art ~ $60

Walmart

Rainbow Bookcase ~ $259; Rainbow Lamp (not pictured) ~ $79; Ledge Shelf (not pictured) ~ $28; Rainbow Area Rug (not pictured) ~ $204; Wall Art ~ $36

Container Store

White Elfa Playroom & Kids Coloring Table ~ $799; Coloring Table ONLY ~ $400; Elfa Banner Paper Roll ~ $5
Elfa Kids Workstation ~ $897 (installed); ~$698 (DIY) 

West Elm

*For older kids: 

Mid-Century Loft Bed ~ $1,999; Mid-Century 6-Drawer Dresser ~  $1,099; Groovy Swivel Chair ~ $399; Mid-Century Swivel Office Chair ~ $399; Rug ~ $200 – $1,000 depending on size; Mongolian Lamb Pillow Covers ~ $79 – $339 depending on size
Nash Loft Bed with Desk, Twin ~ $1,499 or Full ~ $1,699; Chalkboard ~ $100; Sherpa Bean Bag Chair ~ $119; Rainbow Zigzag Rug ~ $400 – $750 depending on on size

2Modern

Pottery Barn Teen

*Good pick for limited space! USB Wall Desk ~ $249; Rotating Desk Organizer ~ $27; Geo Wire Photo Grid ~ $59; Woven Storage Bin ~ $35 for 1; $65 for 2

How did you make room for a work/play space for your little one(s)? Share your favorite kids furniture brands in the comments below.

Good luck, parents!

Comments

  1. Avatar

    Where can I find desk that’s good for small children using a laptop for distance learning 3-4 hrs a day? I’m thinking adjustable height…most are sold out, many products seem cheap…

    1. Marissa

      Hi Jenn!
      I hear you — these types of items are going fast as everyone’s schools are announcing their back-to-school plans. There are some really cute options on Wayfair that are reasonable yet also seem durable. I.e. this one here. This desk from Target is super cute but also has drawers for keeping folders, papers, pens & pencils, etc. Crate & Kids has some great desks that are definitely well-made as well. Check them out. You can always start with something inexpensive — even a card table or something — as you continue you search for a desk that fits your little one best. Good luck!

  2. Avatar

    What a great article! A great space is so important for effective learning. This is on the minds of so many parents as we get ready for school to begin.

    I would love to share how our family is adjusting and what we are doing in our community (Rochester Hills, Michigan), to help parents prepare. You can learn more at our website sweetmittendreams.com. Thank you and good luck parents! We have a big job ahead of us but if we can design a fun space for our children and keep our spirits high, anything is possible!

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