No-one’s thrilled at the prospect of spending an evening doing homework, but if you’re doing yours in front of the TV (distracting) or lying on your bed (uncomfortable) you might be making it harder for yourself. A good workspace helps you focus and be more productive, so you can get through your to-do list and get on with the things you’d rather be doing. So get inspired with our top tips for creating the perfect (and of course, the most Instagram-worthy!) work areas.

Location, location, location

A lot of peeps have their workspaces in their bedrooms, but there’s no law that says you have to. Maybe your room is too small or you share it with a sibling, so doing your homework there isn’t practical. Or maybe you just fancy a change of scenery? Have a scout around the house and suss out any areas that could be put to good use. Maybe there’s a spare room you could use, or a cosy nook under the stairs? Anywhere is fine as long as you’ll be comfortable there (and you’ve got permission, obvs).

Hit the lights

Lots of natural light is ideal, but chances are you’ll be using your workspace after the sun’s gone down, so make sure you’ve got a good desk lamp that focuses light where you need it. An atmospheric decorative lamp might look pretty, but you won’t be able to see clearly – and no-one wants a headache on top of homework.

Keep it quiet

If possible, choose a spot where you’re not likely to be disturbed, in the quietest part of the room. This means thinking about what’s going on around the rest of the house. If someone likes long evening showers, you probably don’t want your desk against the adjoining bathroom wall, for example. If you work better with music, you could invest in a small speaker to go on your desk – you’ll be able to hear your tunes without disturbing the rest of house or having to wear earphones. If you like things quiet and get distracted by noise, consider a small desk fan to help blot out external sounds, or download a white noise app to play in the background while you work.

Get comfy

Getting comfy to do homework is tricky – you obviously want to be comfortable, but you don’t want to be so comfy that you end up nodding off (easily done, right?) Posture is important, too – hunching over a book all evening can cause sore muscles and headaches, so make sure your chair has a supportive back and is the right height for you to work comfortably at your desk. You can use cushions or pillows to help adjust your position if you need to.

Colour for calm

Now comes the fun part – decorating! You don’t have to splash out on a tin of paint to give your workspace a pop of colour (if you’d even be allowed to paint it in the first place). Instead, choose colourful accessories such as pen holders, box files, picture frames, mouse mats and posters to inject some life into the area and set it apart from the rest of the room. Spoilt for choice? Try soft blues, which are said to calm the mind and improve concentration.

Stylish stationery

Homework is loads more enjoyable when you’ve got stationery you actually want to use. So take some inspo from the bullet journaling trend and get a variety of nice pens and other bits and pieces that not only work well but look gorgeous on your desk.

Storage solutions

A clear desk is a lot more appealing than one covered in textbooks and worksheets, so get some clutter-killing storage on the go. Magazine files are great for keeping books and papers organised and within easy reach without taking up much space, while colourful storage boxes are useful for keeping notes and completed exercise books safe and tidy until you need them later – plus they can be tucked under your desk out of the way, or even used as a footrest.

Work the walls

If space is at a premium, maximise your workspace by making the most of the walls. A yearly planner is cheap and can be put up with sticky tack (and is a great way to keep an eye on upcoming holidays). Ask someone to help you put up some shelves, or install a hook for a pin board. A chalk board is also a great way to see at a glance what’s next on your to-do list – and it’s super satisfying wiping it away afterwards!

A plant is a plus

There are lots of benefits to keeping a plant on your desk – not just because they look good. Loads of studies have shown that keeping a plant nearby increases happiness and productivity, and they’re good for your health too, as they help to keep the air clean. Just remember to water it now and again. Or get a fake one – we won’t tell!

@Rachel_England

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Winter is here! Ok, fine, it’s technically still autumn. But the Christmas lights are up and all the supermarkets are selling mince pies now, so whichever way you slice it, dressing gown season is upon us.

To all the sceptics out there, we promise, this is something to get excited about. Dressing gowns are the answer to the age old question of how to get from the shower into your clothes without risking pneumonia. They’re the answer to the question: ‘what gown would you most like to wear to a ball?’ And also, ‘if there was one item of clothing you had to save from a fire, what would it be?’ *

Of course, all good things have their price, and some dressing gowns can be a little spendy so you might want to pop them on your Christmas list.

Take a look at our favourite gowns to lounge around in.

The casual heroine 

This looks like the type of dressing gown that Cameron Diaz would wear in a romantic comedy where she falls in love with Hugh Grant while they’re on a safari in Tanzania (if any film producers are reading this, tweet me – I have a lot of ideas for this film).

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Checked Dressing Gown, Chelsea Peers, £35

Safari season

Speaking of safaris, this dressing down will make you feel like you’re on one! Well, a sort of weird fantasy winter safari that involves moose and penguins – but you get what we mean.

safari

Hooded Animal Robe, Next, £26

Dress it up, dress it down

This dressing gown is ideal. It’s comfy enough to wear while sitting on the sofa watching The Fault in Our Stars, while suave and stylish enough to be able to wear out to the shops to pick up more popcorn (and tissues).

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Waterfall wrap, Asda, £14

Curtain appeal

Yes, this might look like the pattern your Nan is considering for her new curtains, but honestly – what says ‘cosy’ more than nans and florals? Nothing.

flowery

Printed Robe, Next, £26

Starry-eyed

At first glance, this just looks like a grey dressing gown. There’s nothing wrong with grey, it’s the colour of elephants, Megan Fox’s eyes, the British sky… but have a closer look and you’ll see a whole Milky Way in this dressing gown.

stary-stary-nights

Grey Borg, New Look, £24.99

Robin Hood

If you fancy being one of Santa’s extended family, this is the robe for you. Plus it’s got a hood, for maximum cuddle factor.

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Robin, M&S, £35

One last spot

Ok, this robe is on the pricey side – but that doesn’t stop us being dotty about it (see what we did there?). It’ll see you through many a winter.

dotty

Duck Egg, Monsoon, £39

Let the cosiness begin!

*For reals though, be careful with dressing gowns near fire, especially  the stove. They’re super flammable and Lily managed to singe hers while making pasta within the first week of owning it.