The Anatomy of an A+ Kids' Work Space

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

Kevin Sharkey
Executive Editorial Director Decorating, Home, and Style
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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?

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About the Author
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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