how to create a study space

How to create a study space: 9 tips for visual learners

Katie Azevedo focus, good habits, organization, study skills, study tips

how to create a study space

This is Part 1 in a 3-part series about how to create a study space based on your learning style: visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Check out Part 2 about study spaces for auditory learners, and Part 3 (kinesthetic)!

An important school and work habit is to set up some sort of study space or home office that allows you to think clearly and avoid distractions. Below are 9 tips for how to create a study space that matches your personality and learning style: this is the key.

Our study, work and office spaces say a lot about us. Some of us claim to work better when surrounded by stacks of paper and 27 different colored gel pens, while others prefer nothing on their desks other than a computer monitor or single notebook.

We all function best in different environments because we all learn differently and are uniquely affected by our surroundings. Whereas the whole point of creating an office or study space is to have an environment that helps you focus on and complete your tasks, it’s important to know how to create a study space that best fits you and your specific learning style.

There are three primary learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Some people fit perfectly into one category, while others might be a combination of learner-types. You should know what type of learner you are.

You might be a visual learner if you:

  • Better process information when it’s presented in a visual format
  • Struggle with listening to lectures
  • Struggle with following directions given orally
  • Prefer to read and write information, rather than listen to it
  • Often prefer paper and pen (instead of computers)
  • Benefit from use of color
  • Often have neat handwriting
  • Pay attention to detail

If you’re a visual learner, you should set up your work or study space to complement your visual strengths. Follow the tips below to create the ideal environment for yourself, and then check out 6 study tips for visual learners when your space is ready!

How to create a study space or office space for visual learners

1.  Use a desk or table with a large surface area. Having a large surface area in your work or study space allows visual learners to spread out materials, which is important for the visual learning process. Furthermore, a large work area will accommodate different visual study techniques, such as moving around piles of flashcards or images.

2.  Hang a whiteboard near by. Visual learners better process and retain information when it’s presented visually. So if you’re trying to learn something new or brainstorm some ideas, it’s helpful to have a whiteboard up and ready for when the moment strikes.

3.  Have a good supply of paper. Again, visual learners learn best by picturing the information, so keep a supply of various types of paper: blank, lined, and graph. Also important? Index cards!

4.  Use color while writing. Taking notes and writing drafts in color can be advantageous to visual learners, as colors enable a visual learner to better recall the information later. So stay stocked with a variety of your favorite pens in several colors.

5.  Be strategic about environmental colors. Sure, colored pens are one thing, but wall and decor colors are another. If you can, bring colors into your space that you personally find inspiring. Sure, science and color psychology  says that certain colors evoke certain emotions in us — but I think it makes more sense to surround yourself with colors that you like, as opposed to the color red just because this article essentially says it makes us smart.

6.  Keep out only the most important and relevant papers, and store everything else away. Visual learners are stimulated by what they see. So if you sit down at your desk to write an essay, but are surrounded by your biology notes, you’ll get distracted by the information you don’t need. So only keep in front of you the papers and materials you need for your current task. Put everything else out of sight while you work, even if you just dump it all in a basket next to your desk.

7.  Arrange your desk with a view out the window. I know this set-up isn’t possible for everyone, but try to position your desk so you can see outside without having to turn your head too much. Whereas visual learners are inspired by what they see, they benefit from being able to glance out the window during moments of thought and brainstorming.

8.  Listen to non-lyrical music if you want to. Whereas visual learners focus more on what they see as opposed to what they hear, instrumental music can be helpful to some people as they work. Try it out. Cool if it works, but no big deal if it doesn’t. Bottom line with musics is this: no words!

9.  At the end of the day, clear your whole work space of all materials and papers. It’s fine to keep out things like a plant or a clock, but remove everything else. Clearing the surface like this is effective for visual learners because the next time you enter your office or study space, your energy or attention won’t be consumed by everything you see.

Final note about creating a study space

The main take-away from this post is that once you determine what type of learner you are, you can hugely increase your productivity and knowledge by creating an office or study space that aligns with your particular profile. Our environment matters, and if we surround ourselves with the right layout, colors and materials, we have a better chance of success. If you’re a visual learner, these 9 tips should help show you how to create a study space that maximizes your visual strengths.

Oh — and if you’re looking for some more study space inspiration, here are 4 odd but great places to study in.