These rooms are too cool for school.

As tri-state area schools kick off the academic year with a mix of remote and in-person teaching, some parents are ditching dull desk setups and outfitting their kiddos’ virtual learning spaces with extra pomp (despite the circumstances). Others are even hiring professional (and pricey) decorators to dream up elaborate remote-work environments for the pint-sized set.

Take one Connecticut couple, a journalist and a finance professional, who tapped Manhattan interior designer Kathleen Walsh for a quick transformation. Her task: Turn a skylit wing of their Greenwich house into a multi-use room for a trio of middle- and high-schoolers.

Kathleen Walsh's setup
Kathleen Walsh’s setupRikki Snyder

“The project was in the works before COVID,” said Walsh, but the desire to make the high-ceilinged, 30-by-18-foot room a pseudo-classroom quickly accelerated when remote learning became the norm. “The pandemic just solidified the plan and the go-ahead.”

Construction started one week before the stay-at-home order was handed down in the spring; FaceTime and phone calls pushed progress forward until site visits could resume.

Walsh and her team created two halves: a study area with desks and flat surfaces for working, and a lounge for after-hours hangouts with comfortable seating, a projection TV and even a beverage station.

Since the room would be subject to daily use, Walsh and the clients selected high-grade furniture and accessories — all available online — including desks from Room & Board, a sofa from Rove Concepts, chairs and ottoman from Design Within Reach and pillows from Judy Ross Textiles. Overall costs of a room makeover of this nature, including design fees, construction and furnishings, can reach anywhere from $55,000 to $70,000, depending on the level of goods, according to Walsh.

Pinterest reports that searches for “kid’s desk ideas” and “homework station” are up 23 times from last year.

And online interior design service Havenly.com has seen customer inquiries rise 62% during COVID-19 as people reassess their homes — since they’re stuck inside so much more — and how they function given the rise in virtual offices and classrooms. “We have certainly had an interest in this type of project as schools and offices shift to a remote structure, as well as growth across all room categories,” said Heather Goerzen, Havenly’s design lead. Prices start at $79 for small jobs like room spruce-ups. The full package, at $129, provides a complete room makeover and realistic visualization of a newly designed space.

Casa Kids
Casa KidsCasa Kids

Casa Kids, an online brand that specializes in customized and functional children’s furniture for compact spaces, has also seen an increase in inquiries since March. Coronavirus quarantine has inspired a new collection, which includes a loft bed with a desk underneath, intended to save space and contain clutter.

For 12-year-old twins Delia and Isabel Oliver of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, all-in-one loft beds with homework spaces below from Casa Kids brought form and function to their shared room, while providing plenty of storage for books, gadgets and school supplies.

“One of the things we’re all dealing with is the wise use of space, and finding a quiet area to learn and engage,” said mom Christina Oliver, who spent about $6,000 on the furniture. “This configuration gives them a semblance of their own space and privacy.”

Celebrities, too, are ensuring their kids’ amenities are top of the class. Chrissy Teigen recently shared on Twitter the preschool-like enclave designed for daughter Luna, 4, in the sprawling Beverly Hills home she and her husband, singer John Legend, have just put on the market for $23.95 million.

Chrissy Teigen's setup
Chrissy Teigen’s setup@chrissyteigen/Twitter

“I really have always wanted to be a teacher,” wrote the 34-year-old model and cookbook author, adding that while she and Legend are “absolutely bringing in a professional” for the instruction element, she adores the room. It includes two kiddie tables with wee chairs to match, a reading nook, a dress-up clothes rack, shelves filled with blocks, an art station with drying area for mini masterpieces and even a row of cubbies with Luna’s name atop one. (Maybe Luna will let brother Miles, 2, share.)

New York designer Kathy Kuo and her team recently used their web-based design platform to transform a bare room into a multi-use play and learning space for two young children, ages 5 and 8. It was part of a larger project for her clients, a family in Westport, Connecticut.

For the learning space, which cost approximately $13,000 to create, many school elements such as chalkboards, a reading nook, and a costume and pretend area were incorporated into the scheme. “We designed a playroom that features several ‘stations’ as they experience in school,” Kuo said.

The room, which includes storage and a desk for art and writing projects, was also designed with future use in mind. “As the kids grow up, the space can transition with them,” Kuo added. “In the teenage years, it can be a game room or place to practice their instruments and after-school activities. Later, it can make for a more casual family room, or even additional guest suite.”

Other parents are taking design matters into their own hands.

New Jersey blogger Nicole Reid created a home space for around $500 that could be shared by her boys, 6-year-old Jaden and 2-year-old Jaxon. According to Reid, transforming a kid-friendly workspace can be an easy quick weekend project if you know where to start.

Nicole Reid's space
Nicole Reid’s spaceCourtesy of Nicole Reid

“The first step in transforming a workspace space is to purge any and everything that is broken and your kids have outgrown,” said Reid, 35, who runs her blog Home on Poplar Creek from her Cherry Hill abode. “Next, think about your storage needs, and use containers and baskets to organize workbooks, crayons and toys.”

Reid’s favorite part of the room is the chalkboard mountain mural she created on the walls. “What kid doesn’t love to draw on the walls? It will serve as a way to write out lessons and schedules for the kids and also a place for them to draw and be creative.” Reid used Krylon Chalkboard paint, purchased for $12.

“The mountain mural takes about 5 hours, between applying the painter’s tape, paint, dry time and a second coat of paint,” added Reid.

Model and influencer Christina Mendez wanted to pull out all the stops for her 9-year-old fourth-grader, Cailey Christine.

Cailey Christine
Cailey ChristineChristina Mendez

Together, for under $400, they created a coordinated red-and-black nook off their Upper West Side living room that includes a study and reading area with essential accessories such as a whiteboard for the day’s schedule, a scent diffuser, stress balls and noise-canceling headphones.

Their favorite part of the space? “The decal message on the wall that reads ‘You are amazing. Remember that,’ ” said Mendez, 39. “I think it’s a great reminder to let her know that regardless of the changes happening right now, she is still amazing and will do great this year!”

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