Cool desks for back-to-school—and ideas for where to put them

Posted by Lauran

Whether you’re looking at third grade, 12th grade or the last year of college, let’s face it: homework is just around the corner. Before you know it there will be books, folders and laptops all around your home. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cool spot designated just for studying? Even if you don’t have a separate home office or library per se (and many of us don’t), you can still set up desk space in a corner of a dining room, family room or bedroom. Here’s some inspiration for you.


A desk tucked into a bedroom corner, via DIY Playbook

closet office

Make a small homework station inside of a closet! via beneathmyheart

desk in LR

A homework station fits perfectly on the side of a fireplace in this living room; via Apartment Therapy, via Rebecca Hayes on Houzz

desk teen room

In this teen’s room, the desk sits right in front of a window; via Meme Hill

office in LR2

The corner of the living room is also a homework space! via Apartment Therapy

Once you find the perfect spot, you’ll need a cool desk on the smaller side to fit just right. We’ve rounded up some of the best small desks out there, in a broad range of prices. And hurry–because most of them are on sale right now!


target storage shelf desk

Room Essentials Storage Shelf desk, $62.99 on sale

TARGET porter desk

Porter Mid-Century Modern Writing Desk, $161.49 on sale

target desk

Writing Desk by Techni Mobili, $142.49 on sale

Land of Nod


New School Table with Bench, $249.97 on sale


Modern Schoolhouse Desk, $249.97 on sale


Metalwork Desk, $299.97 on sale

Pottery Barn Teen

PBT locker-desk-

Locker Desk, $719 on sale

PBT dover-desk-o

Kelly Slater Dover desk, $639 on sale



Lillasen desk, $149


Lisabo desk, $149


Kullaberg desk, $139

OK, what are you waiting for? Ready, set, go sharpen those pencils!

A modern soon-to-be-teen room

Posted by Lauran

One lucky 12-year-old named Aidan recently got to work with our senior designer Lauren to revamp his entire bedroom. The result? A sophisticated, modern space that is more befitting a soon-to-be-teen.

Aiden after 1

Aidan’s previous decor—light blue walls, a bunk bed, and a white Ikea storage unit—worked well for him during elementary school.

Aiden before 2

Aiden before 4

But Aidan was ready for something new. “He had just outgrown his current space,” says Lauren.

Lauren’s first goal for the design was to make sure it fit Aidan’s specific needs and interests. “This kid is a mini-genius and an architect of some sort in the making,” Lauren explained. He loves to build models and complicated Lego creations, and he also has a massive Hot Wheels collection. Aidan’s parents’ goals were pretty simple:  “to just make sure his room looked tidy, modern, and was functional for all of Aidan’s interests, using long-lasting furniture that will grow with him.” Lauren’s solution was to make one designated area for model making and a separate designated area for homework.

Aiden after 2

Here we see Aidan’s model-making table and bookshelves from Room and Board. His Hot Wheels collection is displayed on the walls, while his other models and creations have plenty of room to live comfortably on the shelves.

Aiden after 3

His homework space is over in a “quieter” corner of the room, featuring a desk and file cabinet from CB2 and a cool chair from All Modern.

The color palette may be a bit unusual, but it works for the room, especially because it receives lots of natural light. “Black is modern and masculine,” explains Lauren. “And I knew his maple furniture and colorful collections would really pop against the black.” The medium gray on the coved ceiling accentuates this architectural detail.

Aiden after 4

Aidan’s new upholstered storage bed from Room and Board gives him more room to stash his stuff, as does the tall dresser. A few of his model airplanes are fun decor for the room.

Lauren especially enjoyed styling the room after all the furniture had been delivered. ” One day while Aidan was at school, I came in and sorted through all of his collections (Hot Wheels, Lego models—airplanes, cars, buildings, ships & people, and Papertoy Monsters),” says Lauren.  “I organized the Hot Wheels by labels, then by TV series and Movies on the floor, measured the distances around his desk, and hung them on the black wall.”

Aiden collections before

The Hot Wheels organization in progress!

Aidan and his parents are thrilled with the end result. As Aidan puts it, “My old bedroom was such a clutter of random ‘nik-naks’ and furniture that didn’t match. I love my two new chairs, my new hobby workbench, and overall I just love my beautiful new bedroom so, so, so very much!”

Now that’s the kind of customer feedback we love so, so, so very much!

New ideas in outdoor furniture

It’s time to dust off the outdoor furniture, scrub the cushions, and replant your pots, all in anticipation of warm weather outdoor living. If you’re in the market for a new piece or two, check out these options from some of our favorite retailers.

For casual dining

beer garden copyInspired by the beer gardens of southern Germany, this set from World Market features an unexpected color and is collapsible for easy storage.

For luxurious lounging

montego sun bed

The Montego Sun Bed from Room and Board invites you to enjoy a lazy summer nap. The cushions are available in several colors to brighten up your deck.

For the kids

childs picnic table

You can afford to give the kids their own dining table thanks to the Reso Table from Ikea. This retro picnic table is a true bargain at only $39.99.

For chill-axing

huron chairKick back with a novel and your favorite cool beverage on the Huron Large Lounge chair from West Elm. Made of lightweight aluminum and all-weather cord, it’s designed to withstand the elements.

For cozy gatherings

Hearth-Lounge-Orange-w-Blanket-65495-e1355516423386Sure, this amazing Hearth Heated Lounge is a splurge, but what a cool (make that warm) addition to your outdoor space. The cast-stone sofa utilizes radiant floor heat technology to keep you toasty even on a foggy evening. Nice!




Book review: Creative Family Home

We’ve just added a new design book to our collection: Creative Family Home, by Ashlyn Gibson. This book, featuring stunning photography by Rachel Whiting, is a treat for the eyes from cover to cover. It showcases 13 real families with colorful lives (literally and figuratively) that know how to put the FUN in functional.

creative home 4 copy

Anyone who lives with kids knows that they come with a lot of stuff—toys, books, dolls, etc. This book is full of inventive storage solutions to help contain the chaos.

creative home org

Here you can see some of these clever ideas (top, l to r): an old greeting card wire rack holds books and art prints; handcrafted baskets beautifully collect the stuff that needs to be taken upstairs; a vintage candy storage fixture holds pens, packets, and of course candy; old crates are artfully arranged and hung on a wall for the kids’ clutter; and stackable cubes are used creatively—some open and some filled with pull-out bins.

What I particularly love about this book is the glimpse we get into the homes of 13 European families. I was stuck by how most of them incorporate child-like whimsy in their dining spaces.

creative home 4-2 copy

This fun eat-in kitchen is in the home of a London family with four boys under the age of 10. Yikes. Note the casual collection of mismatched chairs. This combination of materials and colors tells us that this family has great taste, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.

creative home 5

Here’s another light-hearted eating space, this time belonging to an Amsterdam family with two girls. Again, mismatched chairs and bright colors are welcoming to kids and adults alike.

creative home 4-3 copy

And another Amsterdam family with two small boys doesn’t let the graphic tiled floor stop them from introducing more color and fun in their dining room. As the book says, “A carefully chosen selection of seating has something for everyone: the ubiquitous Tripp Trapp chair for the 1-year-old, the versatile bench for the 6-year-old, and retro-style chairs for the grown-ups.”

We highly recommend this book, even if you don’t have kids of your own. It is filled with prints, patterns, color, and fun that will inspire anyone who loves to decorate.




Displaying kid’s art

Those of us with children like to show off their latest masterpieces—but many of us don’t want them taped randomly all over our walls. We just created a gallery wall for a client, and it features nothing but her kids’ art.

kid's art

The homeowners have a beautiful modern home, so we chose frames that complemented the white walls and other decor.

Here are a couple of other methods of displaying kid’s art that we like.

kids art one

via a little of this, a little of that

kids art 2

via babble, via clean and scentsible

These are ideal if you want your display to be organized, but also easy to change out the artwork quickly.

Tell us — what cool ways have you found to display your kids’ art?