The Anatomy of an A+ Kids' Work Space

A sharp mind deserves an extra-sharp place to think.

Executive Editorial Director Decorating, Home, and Style
Photography by: Lucas Allen

I’ve always taken a personal approach to "getting in the zone." As a child, I had an old-fashioned wooden flip-top desk, and sitting there helped motivate me to do homework and creative projects alike. As simple as it was, it was my desk, and I found it hard to work anywhere else.

I still believe less is more when it comes to kids’ work spaces, but a few key elements should definitely make the grade. I hope you're inspired by my dream conditions for homeworking and beyond.

The surface. Notice I don’t say “desk,” because I think it's important to expand the definition of a work space for kids. Between craft projects (for younger kids) and ever-multiplying tech tools (for everyone else), I think modern youngsters need more room to spread out than I had at my little one-by-two-top. Get a desk or a table, but make sure it’s got plenty of surface area, and do your best to keep whatever’s on it in order. A clean surface is a happy surface.

The seat. I prefer stools to chairs -- for the young and able-bodied, at least -- because they force one to sit at attention. Good posture supports focus. Who knows if a chiropractor would agree, but that’s my philosophy.

The lighting. I love natural light in almost every scenario, but this is one time when a window may do more harm than good. Embrace the corner -- and a powerful desk lamp.

A pinup board. Again, you don’t want anything too distracting, so keep this function-first. Reminders of future deadlines and past accomplishments can go a long way in keeping kids on track.

A bookshelf. Foster a love of books from day one. Keep them within reach, and display them beautifully. My color-coordinated shelves make me smile in my most stressful moments -- and reach for my favorites again and again.


What do you think makes a great work space?

About the Author

Kevin Sharkey

Kevin Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Executive Editorial Director, Decorating, and Executive Creative Director, Merchandising for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO). A designer and all-around creative expert, he plays a vital role in shaping MSLO’s editorial content and product designs. Mr. Sharkey came to MSLO in 1995 from Parish-Hadley, a venerable New York City...


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