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kevbo's avatar

Is it time to bring back "the study"?

Asked by kevbo (25611points) August 21st, 2010 from iPhone

Once upon a time when I was a young boy, my dad had a room with a desk where he tended to financial matters and kept important papers and books. We called this room “the study.”

Somewhere along the way everyone got obsessed with their careers and the miracles of the future and “the study” ceded to “the office” replete with giant boxes of electronics and the transhuman reveilles of Windows 95 bootups, post industrial rhythms of dial up modems, and fax machines chirping and whirring like mechanical birds.

Today, “the office” is a good deal cleaner, sleeker, and quieter, and many of us are longing to disconnect from screens and enjoy less distracted sessions of leisure and/or contemplation.

Still, the idea of “the study” seems to have lost it’s authority. It became such persona non grata with the advent of the office that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to personify the term as an antiquated boob whose only hope for resurgence is in irony and faux nostalgia, like a porn mustache on a 20 year old.

Is it time to bring back “the study”? Can I use the term without quizzical looks or the fear of ridicule?

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35 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Before the study, it was the den. Same room, several different names. The only thing that really changes is the name, since what exactly it looks like depends entirely on the family.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, please, do use the term the study to your heart’s content. I believe there are a great many people who will appreciate the difference with an office.

GQ. Well done on the description. Thank you.

Austinlad's avatar

Great question, and when I look around what I call my home office I realize it is a study—and updated version of Judge James K. Hardy’s study where he relaxed, worked on business matters, and counseled son Andy in their man-to-man talks. (They were characters in MGM’s long-running Andy Hardy movie series.)

My study/office has a leather easy chair and pole lamp, a radio, pictures of close friends, a clock on the wall, a large book shelf with all my CDs and old LPs on it, a turntable, framed reprints of the movie reviews I’ve published, and of course a desk on which sit my iMac, a desk lamp, etc., and an adjoining table for my printer, telephone and wireless router.

It’s my favorite room in the house. I’m going to start calling it my study instead of home office!

DominicX's avatar

Well, my dad has an “office” with several computers in it and it and a bunch of ridiculous electronic crap (and his mountains computer books) and that’s his main “hangout”, but then he has another room that’s filled with other books and just has a desk, lamp, houseplant, and chairs. It was designed purposely by the previous owners to look “old fashioned”. In a way, I guess he sort of has 2 “offices”, but the one with the desk and books is smaller and doesn’t have a computer; it’s more like a “study”. It reminds me of the 1800s. :P

As a computer-oriented person, I don’t really see much reason to dislike the “office”, but it could be nice to just have a room dedicated to reading and “studying” without the use of computers.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I like the term “study” so much better than “the office”. The office makes me think too much of work. While work does get done in the study as well. I tend to think of leisure reading also getting done in a “study” more than in an “office”.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t know. If only I had a study, I would sit down there and research it a bit.

muppetish's avatar

I’ve always wanted a study with wall-to-wall bookcases, a big, comfy chair, a lamp with a dimmer switch, and a small couch for napping on.

Instead I’ve a desk covered in folders and books with no room for the actual “desk” function. I’ve been relocated to my bed. All my studying must be done at the library in one of those tiny booths where I can fall asleep instead of working.

SeventhSense's avatar

I think I see what you’re saying. I kind of picture the study as a place surrounded with leather tomes and a well worn recliner. A brass floor lamp and a pipe filled with some fragrant cherry tobacco or a fine Cuban cigar. And above all no electronic or video equipment. I’m all for that. When I have the space I’ll have that. Maybe I’ll even call it the man cave.

tinyfaery's avatar

Do it. You can say you started the trend.

kevbo's avatar

funny, I remember now that Dad’s major “electronics” were a Texas Instruments scientific calculator (that originally cost $300) with the old school red LED display (“55378008”), a palm-sized, steel-framed Seiko stopwatch (that still works), and a slide rule.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Though I do not have a Study, I do enjoy my time in the Studio. After that I relax in the Library before retiring to my Private Chambers, none of which are insulted with a computer, which resides only in the Office.

KhiaKarma's avatar

This makes me think of leather, cigars, and the smell of corks….

chyna's avatar

For some unknown reason, this makes me think of the Brady Bunch. But I like the idea of a study.

kevbo's avatar

Ah… @RealEyesRealizeRealLies, yeah, the studio… that would probably be the way forward. It’s so difficult to go backward. Hmmm… If I can’t have a study, maybe I’ll have a studio.

TexasDude's avatar

I’ve actually designed a rather elaborate “study” for my future home.

Dark wood paneled walls with built in shelves to display books and various antiques, a fireplace with a rifle or two hanging over it, maybe a bit of antique taxidermy or osteology displays, a big leather chair and a wide executive desk, a leather setee with a cigar stand/Gin cabinet next to it, and a nice Persian or Afghan War rug.

For me, it would be a nice, classic, comfortable retreat to do work.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes a stuffed creature like a pheasant or fox is a must. And of course you need one of these for entrance to the bat cave.

TexasDude's avatar

@SeventhSense, that’s pretty damn rad.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard
Cool huh? Somebody is profiting from the Batman fans.

TexasDude's avatar

@SeventhSense, nothing wrong with that. I’d totally buy one, and I’m not even a Batman fan despite the Wayne-ishness of my dream study!

TexasDude's avatar

@KhiaKarma, I know! Local artisans made hundreds or even thousands of them during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They are really popular souvenirs for American troops to buy in the bazaars. I actually know a few Marines who bought a few… I’m thinking about getting one off ebay. :-)

KhiaKarma's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard it’s strange that the gun actually looks like a bird…definitely unique.

SeventhSense's avatar

That rug is way kitschy. I’m sorry but that belongs in the playroom not the study.

TexasDude's avatar

@KhiaKarma, yeah, I noticed that.

@SeventhSense, hmm, I thought it was kind of badass. To each his own.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@SeventhSense in the playroom, really? I guess it would go well with the army men and tanker truck toys….

brotherhume's avatar

I feel that for a room to be called a study, there can’t be a computer or phone in it. Everything must be well curated. With the exception of sites like Fluther and some others, the internet just does not have the elegance and personality of a well stocked shelf of carefully chosen books. Electronics are not banned though – @Austinlad‘s CD/record player certainly adds to an atmosphere that helps the mind focus.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I never went away from it. When we built our house in the late 90s, I incorporated a study much my grandfathers: floor to ceiling bookcases, roll-top desk, carved wood everywhere, a 100 vear old Remington typewriter on its stand, Holland and Holland elephant gun hanging on the wall (against zombie invasion), 80 year old Hallicrafters shortwave set to bring in the news of the world. Here I write my thesis about the first arms race, the steam dreadnaughts, the engine room telegraph from the cruiser Prinz Eugen sitting in the corner.

By tradition, I’m the only one permitted to be alone in this room, as my grandfather was in his. This is my ultimate refuge from a world that has left me behind. Unless I’m using it, the computer stays behind a closed cabinet door, so I don’t have to look at it.

ETpro's avatar

@DominicX, @RealEyesRealizeRealLies & @brotherhume Any study for me must have a computer and Internet access. Our place now is too small, but back when we lived in Virginia Beach I had a study so equipped and I virtually lived there.

brotherhume's avatar

Considering the power and functionality of laptops these days, any room or chair or space can have a computer. With the rise of smart phones, the “office” can be the car or simply the street. When someone uses the word “study” I immediately think of a room that @stranger_in_a_strange_land and @KhiaKarma described. I can try to “study” on a computer, but as soon as I hit Facebook or Youtube, the wood paneled walls, stuffed animals and cognac bottles all come crashing down.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Study Shmuddy… I want a Parlor with attached Billiards Room.

no dead animals or live computers allowed

brotherhume's avatar

Make sure you stop by the room with all your tailored suits then a quick detour to see your personal barber.

perspicacious's avatar

The study is not gone. It just has a computer now. I think the only reason so many call it an office is because they actually work from home. But, if you want to call your office a study, you may without the possibility of ridicule.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@KhiaKarma Playroom is different. That’s where the whips and chains reside. ;^P

downtide's avatar

Our “study” has a desk with 2 PCs (mine and my partner’s), there are at least 2 more either in bits or awaiting work done on them, plus more spare parts in boxes. There’s a tall bookcase filled mainly with fantasy/science fiction and large non-fiction books, and there’s a cupboard filled with roleplaying games books and figures (tabletop games, from back when we roleplayed with paper and dice). Geek’s paradise.

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