How to Choose the Right Study Table for Your Child

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Looking for a new study desk for your child? The school holidays are the best time to refresh your child’s workspace! 

If you’ve noticed that your child tends to study on their bed or on the floor, instead of at their desk, it could be due to issues such as a work area that’s too small, a tabletop that’s not at an ideal height, or a chair that’s uncomfortable to sit on for long.

Even if your child doesn’t need to take exams yet, it’s good to prepare the area and get it right. Eventually, when your child does practice papers, it’s better to simulate the exam environment by having them sit at a table. 

Not sure how to begin with your study table search? Read on to find out what to consider, and where to shop for study desks in Singapore.

What Should I Look for in a Kid’s Study Table?

If your child has an existing study table and chair, look at what’s currently not working. For instance, is the table constantly in a mess? Are the storage spaces being underutilised, or filled with junk? Is the table surface full of unsightly markings that are impossible to wipe away? Does your child complain of a neck or back ache after working at the table? Asking these questions will give you a good indicator of what you’ll need to look for in your child’s new table.

In general, study table considerations revolve around a table’s writing space, height, material, and storage options, so let’s look at each of these factors:

What’s the typical writing space for study desks? If we use IKEA study tables as a guide (because that’s where many Singapore parents will head to), widths for tabletops start at 60 cm for a smaller table, and go above 120 cm for larger tables. Apart from books, files, assessment books, and writing material, many children also have laptops and other personal learning devices that they’ll be using regularly. And of course, they’ll need actual space to do their writing. Having all of this in mind will help you decide on the ideal width (and depth) of your table.

As for the ideal height of your child’s study desk, you’ll have to consider this in tandem with your child’s study chair. An ergonomist’s tip is to remember the ‘right angle’ rule: Ideally, someone sitting at a desk should have their thighs at a 90-degree angle to their torso, and their knees should also be bent at 90 degrees, with feet flat on the ground. This position promotes proper posture and alignment, reducing strain on the back and legs. You can use a desk and chair height calculator or refer to online guides for recommended measurements.

What about the best material for a study desk? Many study tables are made of wood, and one issue with laminated wood — especially if you choose a white desk — is that it may not age well visually due to pen marks and other stains. In terms of durability, you’ll also want to assess the quality of the wood. Solid wood or high-quality plywood are more durable and can withstand more wear and tear compared to cheaper alternatives. (Solid wood is made from a single piece of timber, while plywood consists of multiple layers of wood veneer glued together.)

If you’re considering getting an adjustable table, you’ll also need to look at adjustable legs, which are often made of metal. There are two considerations here: do you want a table that your child can adjust to work either standing up or sitting down, or simply a table that can be manually adjusted to accommodate changes in your child’s height? These functions will come at a higher price.

When it comes to storage, many tables do come with built-in storage options like drawers, shelves, or cabinets. One issue with open shelves is that they can easily become cluttered and visually unappealing. In terms of functionality, you’ll also want to assess the quality and accessibility of the storage. Deep drawers or adjustable shelves provide more versatile storage solutions compared to fixed, shallow compartments. 

If you’re concerned about table construction, this is good to know: solid wood drawers often feature dovetail joints, which are interlocking wedge-shaped cuts that provide added strength. In contrast, cheaper wood drawers are usually constructed with simpler joinery techniques, such as staples — similar to larger versions of the staples used for paper — which can be less durable.

Apart from the above, you will also choose a table based on your budget, available room space, as well as design preferences. But do remember that there’s always a trade-off: for instance, a ‘prettier’ or more compact table may not serve its purpose well.

Where to Buy Study Tables in Singapore?

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We believe it’s better for your child to see and try out the actual study table and chair, rather than just looking at pictures. With this in mind, IKEA is still the favourite furniture store for many families, in terms of having a fruitful shopping experience. Although brands like HipVan and FortyTwo are popular, you won’t be able to view a large number of study desks at their showrooms. 

Prefer specialty stores? You can search for ergonomic brands such as Ergoworks and Hinomi. However, if you are design conscious, it’s likely that you won’t find ergonomic furniture attractive. Another alternative is having your desk and chair custom made, and you can do this at design-oriented stores such as Gamar (previously known as Second Charm). The downsides are that the final product may turn out differently from what you envisioned, plus anything considered ‘specialty’ always comes with a higher price tag.

By googling “study desks” or “study tables,” you’ll also see that there are many other furniture stores in Singapore that you can check out. These stores may not have a showroom, and at best, they can send you detailed pictures that may not be on their website. However, some families will prefer the convenience of shopping online. You’ll need to decide what matters most to you and your child, and make the best choice for your needs.

Want more recommendations for study tables and chairs? Chat about ergonomic furniture on the KiasuParents forum, or start a conversation of your own!

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