When Medina Grillo, a Birmingham, England-based designer, was planning a study area for her 9-year-old son, she knew what she didn't want: anything in his bedroom, and any place out of her sight, since she had to monitor his internet use during homework time. Then Medina noticed the space beneath the stairs in her living room, and-eureka!-she tapped her DIY know-how to transform the nook on a budget in a single day. She often works from the space too, and loves being around her family when they're hanging out on the sofa.
Rather than painting the walls, Medina took a cue from the raw wood pieces in the adjacent entryway and nailed up wood slats, which warm up the alcove. Dark touches, like the chair and light fixture, echo the charcoal-colored stairs.
To get a work surface that fit the sloped space, Medina cut the edge of an inexpensive tabletop at a 45-degree angle. Since it's bracketed to the wall, she didn't need to buy table legs, but a rolling cart adds storage and support below.
Get the Look:
Filing cabinets aren't exactly known for being stylish-but this compact option is sleek. With six drawers, there's lots of space to hide papers, bills, mail, and notebooks out of sight.
A Clip-On Task Lamp
The area under the stairs wasn't wired for overhead lighting, so Medina incorporated a clamp-on task lamp for illumination. Try this affordable design trick anywhere you need a little extra light in your home.
Upgrade Your Office Chair
Since this area was designed for homework sessions rather than eight-hour workdays, a chic faux-leather dining chair stands in for the ergonomic office chair.
Just because it's a work space doesn't mean you can't have fun with the accessories. A woven basket in a sweet tulip shape collects rolled-up art projects, kraft paper, and more.
Art in Focus
Look for artwork and frames in neutral colors and soothing themes to prevent workplace distractions.