Dining Room Makeover – Homework/School Work Station
Whether your children are going back to school, being home schooled, or participating in online learning, they’ll need a spot to feel inspired to do schoolwork and homework. Are you trying to keep their school work off the kitchen table? Why not turn your dining room into a homework station with these important supplies.
Dining Room Makeover – Homework/School Work Station
We’ve decided to sign our boys up for the online learning option in our school district. (I have great empathy for anyone who has to make the tough decision on where to school kids this year. This was a decision made based on lots of discussions with other parents, our children, and friends that are teachers.)
If we didn’t carve out a dedicated spot to work, our boys would either sit in bed all day, or spread out all over the kitchen table. In the past, all the books and notebooks ended up on the kitchen table until I asked my sons to put away their homework in time to serve dinner. I’ll admit, some nights I didn’t ask, but barked orders. Can you relate?
Besides cluttering the table we eat at, the kitchen table was not a space without distractions. Like most kitchens, ours is the hub of activity after 5pm. Brother may be watching TV in the adjacent living room, hubby might be on a phone, and I am usually cooking. Obviously, it wasn’t the best location for focused studying and work. Two years ago, after moving pencils and books off the kitchen table (for the umpteenth time), I came up with this plan:
Operation Dining Room Converted to Homework Station
The idea was to create a space so organized and inviting that my boys would create better work habits and be able to plow through their school work efficiently. Here’s how I achieved the perfect school or homework station and freed up our kitchen table for other things…like eating!
Creating the Perfect Homework Station
If you create a space that is clean, organized, and comfortable; you can set your child up for good work habits from the start. Having a space that is neat prevents distractions and keeps your child more focused. Personally, I have a hard time working in a messy space. Normally I have to clear my desk completely before I can start writing or taking on a focused task.
To clear the clutter, put writing utensils and other necessary supplies in the center of the table in jars or trays. This puts things at your student’s fingertips and prevents the need to get up and get off track. (Obviously, sharpen those pencils ahead of time, and add eraser tops to any worn pencils.)
Supplies for a School/Homework Station
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
- Mason Jars
- Colored Pencils
- Black & Blue Pens
- Pencil eraser tops
- 3 Hole Punch
- Tape Dispenser
- Pencil sharpener
- Paper clips
- Binder clips
- Post-it Notes
- Correction Tape
- Highlighters (Have you tried these? They are hands down my favorite!!!)
- Loose-leaf paper
- 3×5 Notecards
- Paper tray
- Snack foods
- Water dispenser filled with water
- USB charger
You can use any tray or even an old tool box as a utensil organizer:
In the center of the table is a paper tray filled with lots of looseleaf paper and 3×5 cards. I also salvaged paper from half-used spiral binders. My sons helped me tear the pages out and trim the ragged edges with a paper cutter. Now we have an endless supply of scratch paper and I don’t feel guilty having to throw away half-used notebooks.
The non-essential supplies are nearby on our dining room hutch.
A dish corrals the little things in one space keeping them neat and organized. Earbuds are also stored here for my teenagers who love to listen to music while they work (or maybe to help tune out brother or Dad on his Zoom calls.)
Making a space cozy and comfortable can be as easy as pulling up some upholstered dining chairs (if the seats are hard, just add cushions or pillows.) But, for a full day of learning, it is best to use comfortable and supportive office chairs. We just assembled two new office chairs for the boys (after they tested chairs at Office Depot and Staples. These are the two chairs we bought them for this year of virtual learning: (Dexley Mesh Task Chair and Brenton Radley Mesh Task Chair)
I completely understand if purchasing new chairs is out of your budget. If so, you can try scouring Craig’s List or Facebook Marketplace for a sturdy used chair. Don’t let the condition deter you, because you can always recover it following this tutorial:
For kids that have a hard time sitting still, you may want to let them try either a wobble stool or an exercise ball (with weighted bottom).
Decorating the School Work Space
Working in a space that has some decorations or art makes a space more appealing. Decorate the homework station with art, flowers, or anything that makes the space feel beautiful and relaxing.
While decorating the room, I added a wood block calendar and a quote from Mark Twain. Have you heard this quote before?
The gist of the message is to stop procrastinating. Do your least favorite task first thing in the morning and put the worst behind you. This leaves the rest of your day with tasks you don’t mind as much or with the tasks you actually enjoy doing. So, go ahead and eat your frog every morning.
If you like this quote, you can download the printable I made here:Speaking of eating, you can add snacks and water to the space if you feel it will help your kids avoid leaving to raid the pantry. Plus, if kids grab snacks in the kitchen, they are more likely to set up their workspace there. Snacks already accessible lure them into the homework station and keep them there. Don’t forget to keep fresh water close by. All those salty snacks can make you thirsty.
This space has been perfect for my sons to use for focused homework time. I don’t know why I didn’t change the dining room (which rarely gets used) into a more usable space sooner. But, now that we have signed them both up for the online virtual academy, I’ll be creating a second space for my other son. Having a high schooler and a middle schooler means they each need to be able to focus on their work.
I’ll be sharing an update on how we are turning the guest room into another school/study zone.
Now, speaking of my sons, here comes my oldest now.
He loves having a spot to spread out and get his homework done. He has asked me to cut a piece of plexiglass or masonite to top this rustic farmhouse table, because it’s a little too rustic to be a smooth writing surface.
What about dinner guests, you ask? If at some point we have family or close friends over, I can move the supplies onto the hutch and set the table for dinner. Or we could serve Chinese and let our guests use pencils instead of chopsticks. LOL.
Do you have a homework/school work space set up in your home? Where is it? Did I forget to include anything in this functional space?
If you liked the dining room makeover, you might like to see it decorated for the holidays:
Thanks for the great ideas! Where did your hutch or buffet table come from?
I bought it off Craig’s List several years ago and repainted it and added wood over the formica countertop area.
Looks perfect. I love your table also. Very pretty light fixture. I converted a long hallway to the garage that was never used into an office. Used Chalk Paint on the doors and pained over all the dark paneling. Changed the floors and added Ikea storage. Maybe I will send in a picture, but it gives the boys a place to go and be out of the kitchen and TV.
What a lovely idea. We turned our living room in to a lirbary/study/panio, because it was never used. We love it and uses it a lot now. I love your thanksgiving and Christmas tablesetting
I love your dining table, did you build it?
Yes! Here’s the tutorial: https://prettyhandygirl.com/how-to-build-a-table/