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Designing the ideal study can be like finding your perfect pair of blue jeans: elusive and sometimes a downright fantasy. Whether you’re a student looking for a focused homework zone or a work from home warrior who just needs some peace and quiet, the quintessential study space needs to wear a lot of hats. It needs to be chill but invigorating; calm but inspiring; functional but beautiful—that’s a lot for a little room to live up to, right? Luckily, the design world is full of inspiration, and we’re rounding up the best of the best, focusing on happy homework zones, study rooms, and home offices that will have you begging for just one more meeting or one last test. Well, maybe.
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Equal parts relaxing and dramatic, this daring study space by GRT Architects boasts everything you’d need to get down to brass tacks, from bookshelves and versatile side tables to a cozy spot to perch. For a similarly moody hue in your own space, try River Blue by Benjamin Moore.
If you’re someone who thrives on vibrant energy, you’re probably not going to be able to easily find your groove in a stark neutral space. Play into your work or study personality with decor that keys into exactly what it is that makes you tick. Here, designer Krsnaa Mehta relied on righteous jewel tones and custom art to enliven his personal study.
Designer Eric Olsen carved out a dedicated area for his kids to focus on schoolwork. The study zone features custom pendants for ample lighting over a desk that seats multiple children to gather around for group projects or tutoring sessions. Built-in storage with cabinet enclosures ensures that books, school supplies, and other essentials are organized behind closed doors.
Carve Out at Comfort Nook
If you’re one of those people who can’t focus unless you’re in your most comfortable sweats with a cup of coffee in hand, we may present: your dream space. Designer Jeffrey Alan Marks leaned into all things cozy when dreaming up this hideaway reading nook in his California beach home. With an emphasis on just the right amount of light, free space, and shelving—plus one insanely-comfortable daybed—it’s the perfect spot to carve out time to brush up on your history lessons or just complete the day’s Wordle.
When space is at a premium—and a quiet spot to conduct business is the end goal—it’s time to put every unused corner to use. Designer Corey Damen Jenkins proved just how versatile a few extra square feet could be in this Michigan home, where he transformed a lofted space above the foyer into a focus zone worthy of a CEO or 4.0 brainiac. All it took? A versatile shelving unit, comfy chair and bistro table from West Elm.
Even the most diligent among us are not immune to the need for a little study break every now and then. Give your mind somewhere beautiful to wander by posting up your study zone in front of a scenic window. In this home office designed by Heather Chadduck, an eclectic gallery wall frames a brightly-lit window, encased in trim painted Green Blue by Farrow & Ball.
At the end of the day, having a dedicated space to study or work is far more important than how fancy—or big—said space happens to be. Need convincing that big things can happen in small spaces? Take this cute corner as proof positive. Designer Tariq Dixon transformed a tiny unused corner of his apartment into an inspiring place to write answer e-mails, and gather inspiration.
In the Sacramento home of designer Shavonda Gardner, a welcoming vintage Eames chair is all it takes to beckon passersby to stop and study (or read, or scroll) for a while. To make the rest of the space stand up to the stately vintage lounger, Gardner relied on an inky paint hue (Caviar by Sherwin-Williams) and personalized accessories.
Get Bookish in the Bedroom
For tweens and teens, there’s no better spot for a study zone than in their bedroom—let’s be honest, they only want to be in there anyway. Designer Katie Hodges hooked her grade-school client up with a study space that will carry her all the way through high school (and beyond!), thanks to a custom built-in station with room for books, reminders, and more.
In this Montana family cabin designed by Kylee Sshintaffer roomy benches and plenty of task lighting make this bonus room the perfect place to buckle down and study. The tight color scheme ensures that it fits right in with the rest of the man.
When designer Byron Risdon was tasked with carving out a WFH space in a small Washington, DC apartment, he turned to an unlikely spot: the dining room table. By installing floating shelves and opting for an expansive dining table, Risdon gave his teacher client a place where he could hold class—and share a glass with friends afterward.
Clear the Way for Collaboration
You know what they say—two heads (or three, or four) are better than one. If you prefer collaboration over quiet (or just need a place to work on that pesky group project), consider doctoring up a study space that will allow you to work as a team. In this office space from House Beautiful’s 2019 Whole Home, designer Dani Arps opted for an oversized work that could fit several thinkers at once.
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