A simple, Small Space Homework Station

August 11, 2020

So … how’s that back-to-school prep going? If that question makes you cringe — or gives you the urge to run away and hide in a closet — I totally get it. You’re not alone. Which is exactly why I’m teaming up with 15 talented bloggers today to share our very best tips and tricks for organizing and decorating your at-home, back-to-school headquarters, filled with homework stations for every space.

Yep, that’s right!

If you’re in need of decorating and organizing tips to get ready for this (totally strange) school year, you’ve come to the right place!

Today, my friend Jess from The Organized Mama and I are hosting a back-to-school blog tour featuring some incredibly talented and creative bloggers and moms.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link below and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this site possible.

3 things to consider when setting up your homework space

Everyone’s at-home school needs are slightly different. That’s okay and totally expected.

In our case, we don’t have an extra room to convert into a school area for my 8-year old, nor are our existing rooms large enough to support lots of new furniture. (Hellllllllo, 1985 boxy brick colonial.)

However, she definitely needs a quiet, organized spot for participating in her Zoom classes, doing math work and working on French lessons — one that’s away from her 4-year old brother.

Before hitting up my local IKEA and getting started with all the rearranging, I thought long and hard about where and how to carve out a learning space in our home.

Here are the three main points that impacted my decisions about our school setup:

  • Choose a space that’s light and bright. That unused corner in your basement? The wedge of free space in the guest bedroom? I know it’s tempting, but don’t choose one of these spaces as Home School HQ. Why? Because an area that’s light and bright will feel more energizing — both for you and your kiddos.
  • Separate work and play. I contemplated adding a desk to a corner of our playroom, but ultimately decided against it. By carving out a spot for learning in a space that’s dedicated to play, I’d be sending the kids mixed signals about what the room should be used for. 
  • Remember vertical space — and use it wisely. For those of us who are short on square footage, vertical space is your friend. Don’t forget to use the walls! Think about bookshelves, floating shelves, wall-mounted bins and organizers … the options are endless, plus you get more storage without taking up more floor space.

After deliberating about the right location in our home, I finally decided to carve out a small spot in my daughter’s bedroom to serve as her school HQ for the year. 

When I redid her bedroom last fall, I’d always planned on adding a desk area so that as she had more schoolwork to do as she gets older, she’d have a dedicated spot to focus.

I just had no idea she’d be getting this much use out of it!

Our small space homework station — the reveal!

As you enter my daughter’s bedroom, you get a sneak peek of her cute desk (AKA the homework station):

small space homework station

And here’s a better look at it when you’re standing against the opposite wall of her room:

small space homework station 3

Her happy, colorful spot has everything she needs for the school day!

Let’s dive into what I included here and why:

Must have #1: A good (but inexpensive!) desk.

Of course the first thing on our “to buy” list was a great desk — but we needed one that occupied a fairly small footprint, and didn’t want to spend lots of money on it.

The first stop on the “we want to spend nothing but really need our kid to have a desk” tour?

IKEA, naturally!

And so we picked up an IKEA Linnmon tabletop and some Adils legs, and the homework station was suddenly underway.

Oh, and did I mention the version of the Ikea desk shown here — the white tabletop with black legs — was $30?!

small space homework station ikea desk

You can go check out the desk right here. I love that IKEA lets you mix and match tabletop and leg colors!

Stuff that’s wallet-friendly and customizable is right up my alley.

small space homework station ikea desk 2

Must have #2: Storage for paper items. (Preferably in rainbow colors, of course.)

Even if most learning will be happening virtually this fall, I know this kid is going to have a ton of papers around — from spiral notebooks to lined paper to drawing pads.

I knew we needed a way to store all that paper — and a way to keep it separate based on school subject, so that my daughter didn’t spend hours every day digging through an endless abyss of paper that’s all mixed together.

I spotted this rainbow rolling storage cart at Michael’s a while back, and snagged it during a sale.

It ended up being the perfect way for us to keep school papers organized.

small space homework station paper storage

Each drawer is dedicated to a different school subject.

I even gave her a drawer for all her Rainbow Loom supplies, too! (A girl’s gotta craft, right?!)

rainbow storage cart school organization

The only thing that would make these drawers even better is some labels so that we instantly know exactly what subject’s materials are in which drawer.

I’m thinking of ordering some of these labels from Etsy — I love the fonts offered, and you can choose from lots of different-sized labels.

Must have #3: Easily accessible pencils, markers, scissors, and other supplies.

We misplace pencils just like we lose socks around here (having matching socks is overrated, anyway), so school supplies needed to be front and center for this homework station.

While we were at IKEA, I picked up their Fintorp utensil wall-mounted bar and some coordinating caddies, and then spray painted the white bins using this spray paint that I love (it dries in 10 minutes!). 

I’ve seen some other bloggers use the IKEA Fintorp system for craft and school supplies, so I thought it would work really well in this space, too.

ikea fintorp school supply storage

There you go — those are the major highlights of this fun and colorful small space homework station.

What do you think? Any ideas you could snag and use at your own Back-to-School HQ this year?

small space homework station ikea desk

More back-to-school decorating and organizing inspiration

Looking for more back-to-school inspiration?

My friends have you covered!

For more tips and tricks for making this school year beautiful, organized and — dare I say it … fun! — be sure to check out the amazing ideas from the 15 bloggers I’ve linked to below.

And to all you mamas who are feeling overwhelmed or ready for a cocktail — I completely get it.

We’re all in this together and we can do this. 

I hope these back-to-school decorating and organizing ideas help make your life just a little bit easier.


Back to School (The At-Home Edition!) Blog Hop


small space homework station ideas for the win

About Kate

Hey! I’m Kate — I love decorating with color and pattern. I also love finding decorating “easy” buttons: quick DIYs, simple organization hacks and amazing steals at Target.

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  1. LOVE it, kate- what a fun and colorful space to work at!

  2. I love this set up! So fun and full of color. My daughter would go crazy for that accent wall….in pink of course!

    • You can never have too much pink decor! 🙂

  3. I am so in love! Just showed my daughter and we are both so inspired.

    • Aw, thank you, Pia! That means a lot!

  4. I love it! You have made such a perfect space for your daughter!

    • Thank you Julie! She’s pretty excited about her desk setup. Let’s hope that enthusiasm lasts well into the school year. 😉

  5. Can you share the source of the chair?

    • Sure thing! I purchased it on Amazon. Here’s an affiliate link to the exact chair we have: https://amzn.to/3kv65mF

    • Thank you, Tanisha! That rainbow cart is totally our storage MVP in the room…I love it.

  6. This space is so cheerful and moving some of the organizing up on to the wall is so smart!

    • Thank you, Angela! When you’re short on square footage, that wall space becomes super important.

  7. This little rainbow set up is perfect — love the gallery wall and pops of color!

    • Thank you, ladies!

  8. I love how you have her pencils hanging from the wall! So smart!

    • Thank you — it was a nice way to save some floor/cabinet space!


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