How to Design The Ideal PBSA Study Room

| Riccardo Del Bello | Serviced Accommodations

This week we take a look at another important space that if properly designed can be extremely beneficial for students. The study room.

While in a student accommodation the study room might seem like an obvious amenity to include, data from Bonard’s 2021 report show that it is not necessarily the case. On average, in fact, from a popularity standpoint, it comes after TV & cinema room, communal kitchen, bike storage, multifunctional room, laundry room, and terrace/outdoor area.


However, right now PBSA’s amenities are becoming ever more varied, and facilities like a study room are expected by the students. Also, the same research points out how this space can be absent more often in lower-tier accommodations, while it is present most of the time in premium ones.

In general, there seems to be more demand for higher variety, and students clearly do not want to spend all their time in their rooms, especially if they are quite small (and it should not be encouraged anyway, to protect their mental and physical wellbeing). Promoting collaborative spirit, interaction, and community building have to be the main objectives of any property manager and play a relevant role in their ESG Strategy, and to quote Daniel Smith from our interview published last week:

ESG factors are becoming increasingly important to investors, employees, customers, and the general public. Every company now needs an ESG strategy no matter how big or small and it's particularly important for the real estate and finance sectors.

Also when it comes to studying and working spaces, the more variety is offered the better. First of all, because after the pandemic, health and safety have become more important than ever, and even in communal areas is important to provide options such as private meeting rooms or similar spots that can offer a bit more privacy when needed. Second, as it happens in the co-working space that we investigated a while back, the keyword nowadays is hybrid. Offerings that provide a variety of solutions are always the preferred ones.

So, now let’s proceed and see which factors we should always keep in mind to design the ideal study room in a PBSA.

Layout & Functions

The main objective here is to provide a suitable space for long and comfortable study sessions. So, a few “must” to get started are: task chairs on casters and with adjustable height, proper desks with integrated plugs to power any device, task lighting, acoustic panels to avoid noise reverberation, and whenever possible, lots of natural light to start implementing elements of biophilic design.

natural light

The second factor that designers and developers need to remember is flexibility. Even study rooms, despite being dedicated mostly to the same activity, should suit different needs. So, one properly designed room cannot just be a space with a few large tables and chairs to fit as many people as possible. In our experience, even the smallest study room can be organised with efficient and interesting solutions to offer the right variety to the residents, whether they are studying in groups, alone, doing some light reading, or focusing on an important assignment.

Furniture and Design

These needs introduced in the previous section, correspond to a range of priorities when it comes to furniture pieces. So, let’s go with order.

  1. Traditional study desks with sockets included and task chairs are the basic elements. Variation can depend on the budget. For instance, if integrated sockets are not available due to financial constraints or other functional limitations, a good solution is to use floor boxes and install grommets on the desks.
    desk table
  2. Group study tables are another important option so that students can gather and work on projects without having to mix or bother other students. Round-shaped tables usually work best in smaller rooms. Also, an option to vary a bit from the regular task chairs used for the desks is upholstered armchairs.
  3. When possible, meeting rooms are a great addition to creating that more private space for groups to collaborate. These can also be functional for a number of other activities within the PBSA. Adding a TV inside makes the space more flexible and usable for presentations, video calls, and other similar activities. If such a room is added, especially in a relatively small space, using a glazed partition wall is always advisable to make the space feel less cramped.
    meeting room
  4. Moving on, when considering larger spaces that can afford even more options, high tables are a great one for casual and shorter sessions, some light reading, and so on.
  5. Another great addition to a study room is a space dedicated to relaxing and people who might want to take a break while still staying in a quiet area (or even keep studying but being a bit more comfortable). This variation can include some cosier lounge seating and some piece of décor including books and accessories that could almost recall a library.
    This kind of variation has a double function as it adds some visual interest to a study room as well as a welcoming feel so that students are encouraged to spend more time in it.
    variation decor
  6. Finally, for smaller places, something that can be useful and still fit in a flexible space is a “brainstorming corner”. By adding some bean bags and some write-on wall paint, designers can still create a significantly diverse environment to fit different activities and preferences.

To recap, a study room does not necessarily have to include every single one of these options. But depending on the size and functions, each one can be a welcome addition that makes for a more welcoming and flexible space. The most important aspect, however, is that the study room is completely separated from the lounge areas. The risk otherwise is to involuntarily turn it into an informal study area that seamlessly integrates with the lounge itself, thus losing its primary function.

We hope this is a useful overview with some good and actionable tips that can serve as a guideline when developing a study room for a PBSA interior.

There will be more coming soon!

Riccardo Del Bello

Written by: Riccardo Del Bello

Riccardo is the marketing manager and partner of A Designer at Heart. He is in charge of the development and brand definition of the company for its marketing activities.


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