Best study ideas for bedrooms before the college year

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No sooner has summer begun and the dreaded back-to-school commercials on TV are beginning than it’s time to start planning study spaces for freshmen and college students. Leaving and Junior Cert students next year.

Whether fitting out bespoke dorm rooms or reconfiguring a bedroom at home to include study space, there are essentials to include to foster a convenient and healthy environment where a student is likely to spend hours at a time.

Go multifunctional with the Olsen desk and use it as a dressing table when study time is over (€225 at www.oxendales.ie).

But the layout depends on your preferred way of studying, according to Becky Martin, interior design manager at Ikea UK and Ireland. “If you use a lot of books and take notes by hand, choose a deeper desk with room for a notebook and a computer,” she says.

“If all of your projects are in the cloud, you may prefer a larger desk with room for multiple monitors. A comfortable, well-fitting chair is essential to staying focused on the task at hand.

Student accommodation is often already furnished, but there are things you can do to make the most of the space, according to Becky.

Around the desk, a laptop or monitor stand with drawers and switched extension outlets can help you save energy and money by turning devices off when not in use.

“Turn off chargers and devices can also help you sleep by eliminating flashing battery chargers.

“A laptop table is handy to have, allowing you to easily turn any space into a study space, as well as converting into a handy side table that can fold up.”

BALANCE

But if the past two years have taught us anything about balancing work and life while working from home, it’s the need to separate the two.

This is especially crucial when sleeping and studying in the same space.

“Keep everything you need for studying in one place with enough storage to put things away and shut down,” says Becky.

“Modular units with adjustable shelving and a mix of open and closed storage are perfect for keeping clutter at bay.”

    The clean-lined Alex desk has drawers for extra storage and looks good enough to deploy as a console table when no longer needed for studying.  (€115 at Ikea).
The clean-lined Alex desk has drawers for extra storage and looks good enough to deploy as a console table when no longer needed for studying. (€115 at Ikea).

Often overlooked, one of the most important considerations is lighting, especially task lighting. “A desk lamp is essential to supplement good general lighting in a study space, helping to eliminate glare from screens and help you stay focused,” says Becky.

“A clamp lamp can help maximize space on your desk, and the built-in LED light source provides bright, direct light. Of course, no dorm room would be complete without mood lighting to help to relax.

With the cost of living rising, Ikea’s Circular Hub is worth checking out for bargains.

    Cramped, the Ivar table from Ikea doubles as a desk and folds up when not in use (€90).
Cramped, the Ivar table from Ikea doubles as a desk and folds up when not in use (€90).

“You can buy second-hand items or old show items as well as use the buy-back service for furniture, including desks and shelves that you no longer need, making it ideal for the planet as well as your pocket,” says Becky. .

PLANT POWER

But the trending accessory for student spaces is the indoor plant, with added benefits. “Plant care is personal care,” says Michele Bertoni, owner of Verd Houseplants.

“Taking the time to care for a plant can be very relaxing and help with stress.

Now is the best time to get new houseplants as they are in the active growing season and less heat input is needed during the warmer months.

“That means most of them are priced similar or even cheaper than a few months ago, which runs counter to the price increases we’re seeing in many other sectors.”

If space is limited, Michele recommends desk plants small enough to display on a bedside locker or windowsill, or using plant hangers to keep surfaces clear.

    Hanging planters save space, keeping desk surfaces clear for study essentials (Geo Zinnia hanging planter €15 at www.boohoo.ie).
Hanging planters save space, keeping desk surfaces clear for study essentials (Geo Zinnia hanging planter €15 at www.boohoo.ie).

To minimize care during busy periods, plants that require less light also tend to be low maintenance, according to Michele: “Watering can be once a week to once a month. Feeding should be done twice a month during the growing season, and most houseplants do not require pruning.

For darker rooms, she suggests a peace lily, snake plants and philodendrons, and for easy growing, especially for first-time parents, she says. “One of the easiest plants for beginners to grow is also one of the most affordable, and they come in countless varieties like satin pothos, golden pothos and heart-leaved philodendrons.

“These are super fun trailing plants that create a jungle vibe without taking up too much space or care.”

Check instagram.com/ikeaie and instagram.com/verd_houseplants for some inspiration.

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