How to Style a Study Space: A Hassle-Free Guide

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Whether your definition of a “study space” is an actual dedicated home office, your dining room table, or a small corner of your living room with a corner desk and a laptop, there are a few little tips and tricks everyone should know when it comes to styling it.

Your study space is a place where you should be able to focus, read, write, draw, work, and learn with little to no distraction. Luckily, we’ve got six super simple tips to help you optimise this crucial space so that you can get the most out of your work/study time.

Header image features the Griffith Desk, Oak and Dahl Dining Chair from Zanui.

1.  Keep the desktop clutter-free

We’re starting with this because we’re going to be building from the ground up, and for that we need a clean canvas.

All study spaces start with a desk. Or, failing a desk, at least a table. Remember – your desk is a space for knowledge, creativity, and working. All of these things require plenty of room to move.

The surface of your desk or work table is not a dumping ground for random household knick-knacks. If you fill your desktop up with things that don’t really need to be there, you’re going to find it hard to focus on your work or studies.

2. Keep everything organised

Efficiency is key in any good study space. You don’t want to open up opportunities for distraction and procrastination because you can’t find a pen that works or that super important piece of paper you had in your hand the other day.

Keep pens, pencils, rulers, scissors, and similar implements within easy reach by storing them in a stationery holder on your desktop. You can buy specifically-designed stationery holders but, failing this, a mug or a glass jar will do just fine.

The Brooklyn Desk from Oeuf comes with removable storage containers to keep stationery organised

The Brooklyn Desk from Oeuf comes with removable storage containers to keep stationery organised

It’s a good idea to invest in drawer dividers, too. Desk drawers are a handy place to stash stuff, and are notorious for becoming. Drawer dividers can help keep things from getting too out of control.

Organise your staplers and staples, paper clips, highlighters, and whatever other stationery items you’ve got in there. For paper and notepads and such, consider investing in a filing cabinet-style desk drawer or at least some folders to help you sort whatever loose papers you might have.

The Connecticut L-Shaped Desk with a filing cabinet bottom draw & the Connecticut Filing Cabinet from Huali

The Connecticut L-Shaped Desk with a filing cabinet bottom draw & the Connecticut Filing Cabinet from Huali

Lastly, we recommend keeping your textbooks and other reference materials organised in a bookshelf. Nothing radiates knowledge and learning quite so much as a full bookshelf! But nothing helps promote a good learning environment like an organised bookshelf. Divide by genre or subject matter (keep all those textbooks together) to make finding the book you need easy. You can even take it one step further by alphabetising or even colour coding your book collection to display your book collection with pride.

Keep books stored in a bookshelf

At least one of these things is not like the others…

If bookshelves aren’t for you, floating shelves can be a great alternative. You can also use floating shelves to keep your reference books handy, and also to display other decorative items (see tip 6).

3. Illuminate your workspace

It’s important to make sure your study space is located somewhere that gets plenty of natural light and also fresh air. You might find your study space feeling a bit stale, otherwise, which won’t go very far to keeping you motivated.

But, of course, natural light won’t do you much good if you’re studying at night! Every study space should have a good desk lamp.

Illuminate your study space with a desk lamp

When you’re writing, illustrating, or simply working at a computer, you want more focused lighting to help you see the work you’re doing. A lamp with an adjustable head or a ‘gooseneck’ you can turn this way and that is perfect for this.

Most desk lamps are quite compact, meaning they won’t occupy too much space on your desktop. Alternatively, you can get a floor lamp and place it beside your desk.

Alternatively use a floor lamp beside your desk to illuminate your study space

While study space lighting should be practical, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be stylish – remember that!

4. Freshen things up with plants

Recent studies have shown that just looking at a little bit of greenery can help improve your focus and brain function. So not only will a houseplant look good in your study space, it will actually be good for you to have one there.

A little potted succulent or even a larger, leafier plant right beside your desk can breathe new life into your study space. There are plenty of indoor plants you could try out in order to promote a healthier and happier work space, you just have to find the right one for you.

5. Be clever with colour

Certain colours have been proven to help with learning and studying. Soft blues and greens, for example, can create a sense of calmness and tranquility, while red and yellow can help keep you alert and energised. (Plus it’s a great way to stay on-trend in every space of your home!)

If it’s a child’s study space (or even one for yourself) that you’re decorating, you might find that a few pops of colour here and there in wall art and elsewhere will go miles towards helping to keep your little one focused and happy as they complete homework or study.

6. Accessorise, but don’t overdo it

How you choose to accessorise your study space is entirely up to you. You don’t want to promote distraction and procrastination, but rather use your decorations and accessories to further motivate you.

Artwork is a great way to accessorise your study space. It’s bad to stare at computer screens for long periods of time. So why not place something pretty on your walls you can stare at, to give your eyes a break? Words of encouragement, clever quips, and motivational imagery can all be found in wall art. Even single word phrases like “create” and “inspire” can help keep you on the right track while working long hours at your desk.

Accessorise your study space but don't overdo it

A desk clock or wall clock will also make a good study space accessory. Not only do they look great, they’re also practical. Have you ever been so absorbed in your work or your studies that you’ve totally lost track of time? That won’t be an issue ever again if you invest in a handy desk clock! Plus, you can time yourself when writing essays or practicing exams or speeches, as well as keep track of how much time you’ve spend studying.

Elizabeth is an aspiring content writer and copy editor from Sydney, Australia, with a degree in Media & Communications from the University of New South Wales. When she isn't writing for Zanui, she's usually attempting further study, burying her head in a YA fiction novel (or writing own), pestering her cat, or desperately trying to keep her small potted succulent alive.