Make the most of your homework space
By Diana McKeon Charkalis, Lifestyle Editor
Who says study spaces can’t be fun and stylish?
Retailers now offer an array of furniture and accessories to help students save space, stay organized and focus on their homework. And with more parents concerned about what kids are “studying” online, many pieces are attractive and versatile enough to place in more public areas of the home. Here’s a look at some of what’s available:
Lounge and learn: The Split Futon can be used for studying in comfort or as a place to crash after pulling an all-nighter. $219.66 at Wal-Mart and WalMart.com
Pillows 101: Get comfortable while you study with these toss pillows and bed rests, $14.99-$19.99 at Mervyn’s.
Smart accessories: Lava lamps add a retro-cool look to any desktop. $13.99-$24.99 at Mervyns.
Lounge and learn: The super-sized Omni pillow is great for studying with friends. Made from rip-proof nylon. $129 from Sumo Urban Lounge Gear, http://www.sumolounge.com/.
Cover: Burnt Orange Computer Desk $79.99, at www.target.com.
Cover: Table Lamp with Black Acrylic Shade, $29.99 at Target.
Cover: Six-Outlet Power Strip in Green, Blue or Mauve, $4.99 at Target.
Junior office space: The Kool Kolors Kid’s Office furniture includes a task chair, computer desk, rolling file cabinet and three-shelf bookcase. Comes in black and green, prices range from $69.99 -$99.99 for individual items only at www.target.com.
Lights, camera, assignment: Director’s Chair, in black and red, enhances study spaces. $29.99 at target and www.target.com.
Study break: Keep drinks close at hand with the Ice3 18-Can Beverage Dispenser. $99.99 at Target.
Taking notes: Keep track of assignments with the Melamine Dry Erase Board. $15.99 at The Container store and containerstore.com.
Lighting: Three-Arc Floor Lamp in Silver available at Target, $79.99.
Bright idea: Ultra spectrum gooseneck desk lamp uses a special bulb to make reading easier with less strain. Available at Lamps Plus and lampsplus.com.
Background music: The desktop speaker is an in-box and speaker in one compact unit and works with iPods and MP3 players. $55 at Pottery Barn Teen and pbteen.com.
Permanent record: Labeled iron bins help keep papers and files organized, $14.99-$75 at Pottery Barn Teen stores and pbteen.com.
Study buddies: The Keaton Double Desk is built for two and looks great in a bedroom, playroom or even in the corner of the living room. $499 and up at Pottery Barn Kids and potterybarnkids.com.
Desk mates: The Ergo Chair is both comfortable and stylish. $349 at Pottery Barn Kids and potterybarnkids.com.
The Polo Chair combines modern flair with great seating. $179 at The Container Store and containerstore.com.
Shed a little light on it
Choosing the right lighting is key to creating a fun and functional study space. Here are some tips from Lamps Plus lighting designer Michael Berman:
Consider lights with “full spectrum” capabilities. They provide illumination that’s close to natural lighting and help to reduce eyestrain when reading.
Fluorescent bulbs generally do a better job of illuminating reading material than incandescent bulbs. Today’s fluorescent bulbs and tubes are available in a wide range of colors, plus they use up to 80 percent less energy and last 20 times longer.
An adjustable desk lamp provides additional light to the desk and keyboard. Position the lamp so it will not reflect on the computer screen.
A distance of about 15 inches from the desktop to a desk lamp’s shade bottom works well for lamp placement and maximum light throw.
The lamp should be placed so that hand shadows don’t streak across your work. If you’re right-handed, this means placing the light source on the left side of your desk.
If you don’t want to fill valuable desk space with a lamp, consider placing a multifunctional torchiere nearby. Many are outfitted with improved fluorescent lighting technology and use less energy while generating the equivalent of 400 watts of light from the uplight.