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Q: I need help with my son’s remote learning nook

I need help with creating a clutter-free remote learning nook for my 3rd grade son to have school from home during the pandemic.

I have a small house that already has clutter issues, I want to create a space specifically for school where his mind can focus on school and not become distracted with my working from home in the next room or his dad puttering about the house.

The space I have in mind is at the end of our living room near the front door. Like I said, we already have a clutter issue and what I have in mind would create storage for the entryway as well as dividing the room so that he’s in a separate space.

Remote learning nook plan

Here’s what I propose. I would like to get two 4×4 KALLAX units but somehow bolt them together in an off-centered “L” shape, so they’d be at right angles to one another.

I cannot bolt the KALLAX into the wall because there’s a return register in the base of the wall where the room divider needs to be. I’m hoping that by bolting the 2 KALLAX units at a right angle that this will create the necessary stability.

In the recess of the staggered “not-quite-L-shape-but not-quite-a-T” shaped KALLAXes would be an old STUVA/FRITIDS storage bench for us to put on/take off shoes next to the door.

Directly on the other side of the bench/KALLAX unit, inside the school area, will be a comfy chair (not purchased yet. I’ll find one to fit later.) for a reading nook.

Could this work?

If so, where would you bolt the 2 KALLAX units together and with what type of hardware? Also, I would be open to wrapping the KALLAX with wood to give a more finished look. If this would add stability or would aid in bolting together the 2 units then please advise.

One other thing. It would be nice to add some coat hooks above the STUVA bench. Do you have any suggestions for whether that’s possible and how you would do that?

I’ve considered hanging a window curtain and/or room partition from the ceiling but I don’t think my husband would go for that as it would look tacky in our living room as well as block the light from the windows to the living room.

With the KALLAX it doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling and I can always leave the top row open if we need the light (I don’t anticipate needing to do that, though, since the KALLAX is only just shy of 58” tall.

Minimise distraction

This plan does not completely close off the school area from the living room. I may add another KALLAX unit next to his desk and/or add something to block my sons view from the rest of the living room.

plan

I’ve attached a very rough drawing of my idea for the space. It’s not to scale, but I did write in the dimensions I’m working with.

clutter

I am in the process of decluttering and have piled the stuff to get rid of in the space I plan to turn to the remote learning nook. I included this embarrassing pic so you can get an idea of scale.

Advice is needed and appreciated!

Thank you,
Karin

***

Hi Karin

I’m happy to hear that you’re decluttering and making a dedicated remote learning nook for your son. When you put your mind to it, I’m sure the space will turn out well, not just for your boy but the whole family.

First off, the plan looks workable. I think it’s a good start and I took the liberty of plotting it out on the IKEA Home Planner for Office.

remote learning nook IKEA plan
remote learning nook IKEA plan

I placed a corner LINNMON desk in the design, because it may minimise distractions by facing into the corner. If not the KALLAX desk is also a good choice. The tall unit will form a barrier and also provide additional storage.


Related: KALLAX desk with tall unit in horizontal position?


remote learning nook IKEA plan

The KALLAX unit is pretty sturdy and is often used as a freestanding room divider. Bolting two together together at an angle will definitely help with stability.

How to bolt two KALLAX units together?

You can bolt them together along the top and bottom panels with straight metal braces and at the 90 degree angle joints with L brackets. The solid areas are usually about an inch of the edges. Spots where IKEA has placed a bolt or screw will have some reinforcing. Knock and listen for hollow vs. solid.

Wrapping them with wood will help secure them further. This extra step will also make two separate units look really good together.

KALLAX with wood

As for your other question regarding coat hooks above the STUVA Bench, I would suggest something with a rack base such as the KUBBIS rack. Reason being, you can then adjust where your screws should go along the rack to hit the solid parts of the KALLAX frame.

Coat rack

KUBBIS rack| IKEA.com

If you’re wrapping the KALLAX unit in wood, I would suggest closing up the entire face of the KALLAX behind the STUVA bench with plywood or MDF. Or leave one or two KALLAX cubbies accessible from the entryway side as a nook for your keys, mail, etc. Paint or cover the plywood with wallpaper and you will have a pretty entryway. Then, any coat hooks will do.

Other options?

Recently, we posted this fabulous BILLY room which functions as a room divider and home office. Click the play button below for an overview of it. You can tailor the number of “windows” on the BILLY to allow more light into the remote learning nook.

Hope this helps you plan the learning area for your son. Have fun!

Happy hacking,

Jules


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