A typical study lounge could look like this: a team of bio students huddle together at the table in the corner to work on a lab, while an English student punches in the last period of his thesis after an all-nighter, next to the girl lying on the couch lip syncing to whatever’s blasting from her headphones.
Whether they’re used for work or relaxation, study rooms, or hubs, are students’ home away from home while living at college.
What makes a hub a frequently visited place is determined by what’s in them.
Students require an array of furniture for comfort, privacy, collaboration, electronic support and durability.
Some students may need a hub that has tables on wheels so they can push the tables together before rolling out a project. Others may require cubicle style furniture to shut out distractions and get in their zone for an essay. Some students may need comfortable lounge chairs that are easy on the sit-bones but supportive for the back. Others, and maybe most in this digital age, may require spaces with easy access power sources and Wifi for portable devices.
With all these needs in mind, colleges have to do their homework on selecting the best furniture for its hub areas.
Derrell Jackson, the strategic education consultant and head of Herman Miller’s Learning Studio Research Program, suggests looking into furniture that supports students’ needs for a particular space.
“You want to be accommodating if students want to work in groups, soft seating so that they are comfortable, and a variety of furniture heights…so they have clear lines of sight in their environment,” Jackson says. “You want something more inviting and comfortable than a standard classroom.”
Most importantly, Jackson says that colleges shouldn’t be afraid to invest in quality furniture.
“If you invest in good furniture so that students can use it for what they need to do, they’ll respect you,” he says. “They feel empowered having solutions that meet their needs.”