So you’re working from home and it’s already been a stressful couple of months. Due to Covid-19, the kids are starting the school year online and back to school shopping is a completely different situation than ever before. Time is running out and you need to confront the fact that each member of the household needs their own workspace for the foreseeable future.
The kids aren’t motivated because they miss their friends and classmates. As a parent, you’re concerned about making up for the learning gaps caused by the pandemic at the end of the last school year. You know your child needs to be productive and proactive going into their new grade level.
If you're stressed about all this, then you’ve come to the right place. I have already put a lot of energy into tackling this dilemma for my own household. I decided it was time to create a dynamic workspace that accommodates everyone's needs. I feel ready for the online school year because I created an area that is functional, fun, and engaging for either school (SFH) or work from home (WFH).
I hope this guide and shopping list will save you some time and ease some stress. Aim to create an eye-catching, magnetizing place you actually want to be in—a space that can serve the daily needs of the user.
Let’s begin the planning process with the following considerations:
- The space itself
- Functional décor + organization
- Shopping list
- Helpful items to have on hand
The space itself
The very first step is to understand the capabilities and limitations of the space which with you are working. Consider the following:
- Are multiple people sharing an entire room or a portion of a larger living area?
- Does a single person need dual monitors that require a larger desktop?
- Will you need to convert a larger table (in say, an unused dining area) into a dual workspace for multiple users?
- Will you need file storage?
- How can you utilize the wall for organization?
Furniture size dimensions are vital of course, but how will you interact with the space once you are sitting down? Use some yarn to plot possible areas then jot down the dimensions to keep handy later when you’re shopping for furniture.
Borrow a dining room chair and sit in the plotted area, especially if you are working with a corner. Practice getting up out of your seat to see how much room the chair will take up. Once you know where the chair will primarily be, adjust the plotted area as needed.
Now, you have the dimensions to understand the capabilities and limitations of your workspace. Let's move on to the furniture.
Once you understand the space’s capabilities and limitations, you can start shopping for furniture. Begin with the desk and computer or laptop as the central fixture to expand from. If the kids are working on a small screen like a Chromebook, you may want to consider adding a second monitor to extend the display. A portable projector is a more flexible and versatile option than a bulkier computer monitor that requires a lot of tabletop space.
Be sure your new furniture complements or is consistent with what else is already in the room. This is especially important if you are sharing a larger space.
If you are incorporating the workspace into the living room, try to match the colors and/or finishes with your existing furniture for continuity. You don’t want to buy a dark cherrywood desk then get home and realize it clashes with the light maple living room set.
Electronics + Gadgets
It goes without saying that the computer or laptop is the central fixture of online distance learning. However, accessories can really optimize function to boost productivity and organization.
Make it a breeze to keep the devices charged with power strips and adapters, so there’s never an excuse to run out of battery or miss a lecture. They come in many colors nowadays with tons of options on Amazon.
Tablet stands are also helpful for following along in a textbook during a live lecture. For a larger audience, connect to a second display via HDMI to share learning concepts or homework with a parent, sibling, or tutor. Even for someone working solo, having a second screen is so helpful when taking notes or doing homework.
Ace the setup with a portable smart projector
One thing that will help you and yours ace the set up for SFH is the WeMax Dice Portable Smart Projector because having multiple displays can be crucial for productivity and making kids feel successful.
I love to use this projector as a second display, and it connects to my laptop instantly with HDMI or Chromecast. Class meetings on Zoom or Google Classroom can be on a huge screen up to 120" diagonally. The kids can take notes on one device and watch the lecture on the other. HDMI connection is quick, easy, and reliable.
The shared experience keeps me involved as a parent and we really benefit from the flexibility of the screen size options. When we want to save space, I can cast as little as a 15” display from 17 inches away from the wall.
I don't need my husband's computer monitor anymore because the Dice is way more versatile. It's a second display and smart TV all in one that takes up far less space on the desk without many limitations. While I WFH, I use it to watch business news on YouTubeTV every weekday morning.
The display quality is outstanding and feels updated, especially compared to projectors of the past. It can accomplish so much because it's powered by AndroidTV, which has a familiar and user-friendly interface. It's great for kids with age-appropriate games and streaming apps.
Apps for school include YouTube, TED, and PBS Kids to name a few. After school hours, everyone can enjoy the projector. We watch TV, stream digital content, and even play music on Spotify. It has Sling, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, and much more on the Google Play Store.
Décor that organizes
Now that you’ve got the gadgets, how will you organize them? Spruce up the space with functional décor that keeps devices charged and multiple subjects organized.
Tie the aesthetic together with the office furniture, and even add some color to brighten up the look. Invest in a power strip and zip ties to organize all the cords. One of my favorite home furniture deals is the Ikea Raskog rolling cart for a spacious, portable storage solution where you can store random items.
Don’t forget, the wall is your friend—especially in small spaces. Floating shelves can hold books, papers, and supplies. Consider mounting equipment like lamps, webcams, microphones, and headphone hooks. I personally love hanging file folders for instant access to important items like papers or workbooks.
Add a personal touch and make the space your own with some easy extras that even work in tight spaces. Brighten with color or keep it natural with houseplants as the aesthetic. A small airplant terrarium looks great on the desk, freshens up the room, and teaches little ones responsible habits.
Neat-looking essential oil diffusers engage the senses and can help boost productivity. Twinkle lights are an inexpensive and super fun way to add more light. A room divider can turn single-office room into a makeshift cubicle.
Target has a huge selection of decorative organization items for school from home that work for any budget. I also love to surf Pinterest or scroll through Instagram for inspiration and ideas.
You got this
A little bit of planning, patience, and passion can help you ace the set up for at-home distance learning. While many unknowns remain about the future of the 2020-21 school year, you can get a grasp on things by an engaging and eye-catching home workspace for kids, parents, or all of the above.
Consider adding a new gadget like the WeMax Dice Portable Smart Projector because it's a fun and versatile way to boost productivity for the whole family. Check out the shopping list below to ace your school from home setup.
- Hutch (great for creating dual workspace on large table)
- Cabinets/file storage
- Floating bookshelf
- Hanging file holder
- Headphones hook
Electronics, gadgets, and accessories
- Second display—check out the WeMax Dice Portable Smart Projector, available on Amazon.
- Power strip
- Adapter cables for charging and HDMI
- Phone/tablet stand
- Noise cancelling headphones with mic built-in
- Small terrarium
- Diffuser for essential oils
- Desk lamp
- Twinkle lights (a space saver)
- Room divider
- Pencil holder
- Desktop organizer
- Wall mounts
- File holder for homework and workbooks
- Ikea Raskog cart
- Tape measure