Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources
7 Ways to Put the Fun into a Functional Workspace - Riley Damitz

7 Ways to Put the Fun into a Functional Workspace


Does your drab desk need a transformation? Riley Damitz relates the seven easy and creative steps she took to put the “fun” into her functional work space.

As a homeschooler, you have the privilege of studying in your own cozy home.

You might have a desk in your bedroom by a window, or your own corner of the family classroom.

Wherever your desk may be, it is probably neat, well-ordered, and lovely to work at. Or is it?

As a fellow homeschooler, I know that it’s very likely that your workspace is covered in stuff: your kit of drawing supplies that you forgot to put away, your history books stacked in a precarious pile, the container of paper clips your helpful little brother dumped out…

Let’s face it: your desk is not an agreeable place to be. It’s crowded, disorganized, and rather drab too.

But don’t worry – there is hope! After many years of trying to make my desk pleasant and functional, I’ve finally managed to make it happen by following these seven steps.

My desk is now my favorite place in the house – and I want your desk to be your favorite place too.

These years of schooling may be difficult, but there’s no reason to make them more so by having a sloppy desk.

If you want to learn how to transform your space as I did, keep reading!

1. Is it necessary?

Eliminate junk.

If your house is like mine, any flat open space immediately becomes a magnet for, well, junk.

That’s why you must ask yourself: do I need to have all my clay creations on my desk? Shouldn’t my deck of cards be in the game closet? Why am I still storing a bunch of rubber pencil grips – don’t I know how to hold a pencil by now!?!

All of this can be a bit overwhelming, especially if your workspace has a lot of drawers or cubbies.

But don’t panic.  Just survey the area calmly, asking yourself:

What do I need at my desk?

What seasonal things can I tuck away someplace else?

What can I stealthily hide in my sister’s desk drawer?

Take the time to sift through all those papers, books, and supplies. While this may be time-consuming, cleanliness is next to godliness – and sanity!

2. Minimize distractions.

Out of sight, out of mind.

I bet your little school desk is starting to feel very nice. No more random papers or Lego pieces! But wait – why does it still look so painfully messy? I’ll tell you why: Rome wasn’t built in a day! This is only the second step!

Even with just the bare necessities, you still need to take the time to organize. Clutter aside, try to tuck unused supplies and books out of sight to facilitate learning.

Utilize desk drawers, cabinets, or even curtains to eliminate distractions. Is there room for everything? Continue reading to see how to use your storage space resourcefully!

3. A place for everything…

Get creative with storage.

Once everything extraneous is cleared away, get creative in storing the necessities. Your goal for your workspace is functionality, but don’t be afraid to get unorthodox.

My own desk is designed to hold a desktop computer, with a keyboard tray and “brain” cubby. However, I keep my laptop computer in the slide-out keyboard tray when I am not using it. When I need it, there it is at my fingertips!

The large cubby holds my school books. Maybe you, too, have some odd pieces of furniture picked up from yard sales or handed down.

Take a look at what you need to store, and try to coax that old china cabinet into holding your panorama projects or jars of all your writing utensils.

4. Add some color!

The wonders of a coat of paint.

Now that you have restored the order of your workspace, it’s time to have some fun making your space brighter!

The best way that I’ve found to liven things up is a simple coat of paint. I am fortunate to have been able to paint my entire room a cheery light green.

It’s what I call my happy color; it’s peaceful and invigorating all at the same time.

I know that it can be difficult to convince your parents to paint a whole room in a new color, assuming that your favorite color is not off-white or tan—parent-pleasers everywhere!

But it is much easier to get a quart of paint to spruce up—you guessed it—your desk itself! Ask your parents if you can cover up that classic fake wood color with a peaceful sky blue or a warm barn red.

Pick something cheerful, but not over the top: your parents might not let you paint over it again!

5. Don’t forget the wall…

Hang up a bulletin board!

While I like having a distraction free environment, I still like having something to look at when I stare off in the midst of Latin!

That’s why I hang a handy magnetic dry erase board on the wall in front of my desk.

There, I can write up my favorite quotes and dates to remember, and show off pictures drawn by adoring little siblings.

It also gives me a place to display and enjoy those favorite prayer cards and poems that would otherwise slip away into a dark drawer or folder.

6. Make it your own!

Use your favorite pictures or posters.

This is your chance to make your space unique! Show off your interests with posters of your favorite activities.

Or maybe you could make a collage of photos of family and friends. Or Google search “cool saint quotes” and make a corner dedicated to awesome holy thoughts.

The possibilities really are endless, so take the time to find items that reflect your personality and aspirations.

7. Use it!

Work at your space to stay focused—and happy!

Finally, as the final step to creating an awesome workspace, enjoy what you have made.

Just as God rested on the seventh day to admire the brand-new world, take the time to appreciate the wonderful new space just for you and your intellectual growth.

Due to my own desk’s pleasing and organized atmosphere, I’ve yet to be tired of it! I hope that these seven tips will help you to create a place that will give you as much functionality and fun as mine has.

While this article was written with individual student desks in mind, these tips also work well in designing a desk for Mom or Dad, or even an entire classroom!

Remember to keep things simple, bright, and, of course, organized.

This week, when Monday morning rolls around, may you no longer dread going back to your space in the classroom.

Header photo CC: Adobe Stock:  Africa Studio

About Riley Damitz

Riley Damitz, a high school senior, has been homeschooling since second grade. She shares a noisy but happy home with her parents and seven siblings in Pennsylvania. Riley enjoys spending time studying history, singing in her parish choir, and participating in Bible study with friends. After graduation, Riley is planning to attend Christendom College, where she hopes to major in Theology.

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