One of the most exciting parts of entering college is moving out on your own. No parents mean more freedom — but it also means more responsibility. Did you know that the average college student spends nearly 20 hours per week studying? If you want to make the most of this time, you need to create a dedicated study space. Somewhere quiet, comfortable, and free from distractions.
While that’s not always possible, this article offers tips and tricks for designing an apartment space that’s study-friendly.
Grab your index cards and your eye for design and let’s get started!
Location, Location, Location
Before we get into the meat of designing the interior of your apartment, it’s important to pick a desirable location.
College students want to be where the action is. But if you’re planning to study hard and graduate on time, you need to balance your social life and schoolwork.
Find an apartment that’s nearby your university so that you’re not commuting too far. An apartment within walking or biking distance is ideal!
Many college students living in the city ditch their vehicles for less expensive, more eco-friendly ways of getting around. While studying is important, college life is an entire experience.
Washington, D.C. has everything you need to fully experience college life with the ability to also focus on your studies.
Now, let’s get into designing the study space you need to succeed!
Create a Designated Spot
The first step in creating a study space in your apartment is to choose a designated spot. It can be an office, a corner of a room, or a common area like the kitchen or living room.
There are pros and cons to both of these options.
Using an Office or Corner
Some people focus best in a quiet, small space with no outside distractions. If this describes you than an office or corner of your apartment might work best.
Invest in a small desk, comfortable chair, proper lighting, and some motivational wall decor to brighten things up and keep you on task. An office with a door that closes is ideal for those needing privacy and quiet to concentrate.
If you’re using a corner of the apartment, purchase a room-divider to close-off space. Sound machines and soft music are the perfect way to drown out other noises and potential distractions.
The downside to creating a study space tucked away from the outside world is the risk of feeling isolated and lonely. If you need a certain level of social interaction, consider using a common area instead.
Using a Common Area
The kitchen table. The couch. A breakfast nook.
All of these areas are suitable for a study space — it all depends on how you work best and the arrangement you have with your roommates.
If you need to be around people, try studying in one of these common areas when there’s minimal activity going on around you. You’ll feel part of what’s happening without sacrificing study time.
Avoid busting out your books, index cards, and laptop when your roommates are entertaining or having a dance party in the living room. Unless, of course, you work well this way.
In that case, put in your earbuds, hunker down, and enjoy the balance of activity around you and the Zen you create within your own mind.
Invest in Quality Materials
It’s hard to concentrate on much of anything if you’re uncomfortable. When designing a study space in your apartment, keep comfort in mind.
Ergonomic furniture is all the rage these days! From standing desks to lounge chairs and hanging hammocks, the options are unique and endless.
If space is an issue, consider furniture that doubles as something else. For example, a lounge chair that you can use for work and relaxation. Portable ergonomic laptop tables can be used on any surface in your apartment!
Do you focus best when you’re really comfortable? Bean bag chairs, hammocks hung from the rafters or even an oversized pillow all make great study spaces.
Just be sure to have plenty of coffee on hand so you don’t doze mid-study session.
College living can get chaotic. This is especially true when you’re sharing your space with one or more roommates.
Not everyone shares the same work ethic, personal hygiene, or cleanliness routine. In order to stay on track with your studies, you need to keep your study space organized.
Most college apartments are on the smaller size, so staying organized can be tricky. But with a little innovation, you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish.
If you’re using an office or corner as your study space, invest in a desk with drawers or plenty of shelves. Here, you can safely store your textbooks, notebooks, laptop, and other study materials.
No room for an oversized desk? No problem!
Hang some shelves on the walls nearby and store your items here. Label makers are college students’ best friend.
Don’t leave important papers or study guides laying around. They can get lost, accidentally thrown out, or ruined.
Label everything — with either your name, the course you’re taking, or other words and phrases. This helps you remember what’s what and encourages your roommates to keep their hands off your stuff.
Avoid using your desk or chair as a catch-all for your stuff. Store purses, coats, and other items where they belong. The more cluttered your study space is, the less motivated you’ll be to actually use it!
Light It Up!
Straining to see your study notes won’t just give you a headache — it’ll make it pretty difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. Your study space needs adequate lighting. But not just any light will do.
Try to incorporate a mix of natural and artificial lighting for the perfect, inspirational area. What’s the difference?
Natural light (like the sunshine pouring through your open window) is said to keep you alert and lift your spirits! If possible, study near a window, door, or even outside.
Artificial light including lamps and overhead lighting helps you clearly see your notes and study materials. It’s also easier to view your laptop using artificial light vs. natural sunlight.
Studying when it’s dark out? Artificial light can help here too, guaranteeing you stay alert and focused during your study session.
Be sure to keep the lights bright. Dim light might encourage you to relax a little too much and cause drowsiness.
Reduce the Noise
Work Together with Your Roommates
First, ask your roommates to respect your study time. Try studying at the same time every day. This way, your roommates know when to be quiet.
Better yet, see if your roommates want to collectively study together! Not only does this give everyone the peace they need to focus, but you can motivate each other to get your coursework done.
If your roommates aren’t agreeable to this, try studying when they’re not home or on off-hours. Does your roommate hit the gym every day at the same time? Utilize this alone time for studying.
Off-hours might be really early in the morning or late at night. Whenever possible, adjust your study schedule to eliminate distractions.
Let’s face it. College life is busy — and if you’re sharing an apartment with more than one person, finding quiet time might be a challenge.
If your studies can’t wait, it’s time to hunt for creative ways to block out the noise around you. The easiest and most common way to do this is by using noise-reduction headphones.
These gems make it easy to turn on your favorite music, audiobook, or soothing sounds of nature and block out the world. Do you struggle to study with even music on?
No problem! Try recording your study guide or notes and then play them back to yourself using your headphones. Now, you’re reducing outside noise and reviewing your study material at the same time!
It’s easier to block out noise when you’re using a separate room or study space. While closing the door might not be enough, it will act as a barrier to some distractions.
Add a pedestal fan or sound machine for white noise that overpowers conversations happening in your apartment and other distractions.
The good news is, you only need to use these tips during your study sessions. On the regular, your college apartment should be a reflection of your college life — lively and fun!
Sometimes, Appearance is Everything
Finding the motivation to study is sometimes all in the presentation.
Look around your apartment and the study space you’ve created (or are thinking of creating). Does it inspire you? Is it fun, motivating, and welcoming? If not, you have some major decorating to do!
The good news is, this is the fun part of creating a study-friendly nook in your new apartment.
Once you decide on your exact study space, you can start the decorating process. You don’t need to spend a fortune to design a creative, productive area.
If you’re designing a room or small corner, find a desk that’s both comfortable and functional. Remember, you’ll need space for storing books and other materials. Choose a chair that’s comfortable and fits snuggly under the desk to save space.
Your study nook should represent you. Add a flare of personality! You can do this with colorful wall decor, a vision board, picture collages, and even trendy and fun office materials.
When you sit down to study, you should feel happy, at peace, and inspired.
Decorating a smaller area? Consider a bean bag chair or portable study desk. If your study space is in a common area (like the kitchen or living room), it may be difficult to hang decorations.
Instead, bring some of your favorite things into the space (temporarily). Stick Post-Its with encouraging words or phrases onto the edges of your laptop or books.
Does a certain candle smell or essential oil get your creative juices flowing? Place it on the table during your next study session.
Just keep in mind that you (probably) share this apartment with other people, so be sure to respect their space and preferences as well.
Create the Study Space of Your Dreams
Are you preparing to venture out on your own? Are you a college student looking for a gorgeous and affordable apartment for you and your friends?
In addition to choosing a beautiful apartment in a desirable location, you need a study space to support your educational goals. Creating a peaceful oasis in your apartment isn’t hard.
With a little creativity and cooperation from your roommates, you can easily designate a specific study time and area that fits your needs.
When in doubt, you can take your study session on the road to any of Washington D.C.’s amazing local spots!
Need help finding the DC apartment of your dreams? The professionals at DARO Apartments are ready to answer any questions you might have.
With locations in some of the most desirable neighborhoods in D.C., you’re sure to find an apartment to fit your needs and budget.