Tuesday, October 2, 2012

School Room Makeover

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but I've been busy being a teacher and all. :)  When we decided to homeschool (e-school) one of my biggest concerns was where we were going to do it.  I mean, obviously we were going to do it somewhere in our home, but I didn't really want to give up any of my rooms.  We had finally gotten most of our rooms the way we wanted them after living here for over 7 years.  We had a few options...we could give up our playroom which is our extra bedroom upstairs, but then I couldn't figure out where we'd put all of the toys we had in there and I really didn't like the idea of being cooped up in one little room all day.  We could convert our living room, which also doubles as my office and just add a couple more desks for one huge office type room.  Problem was I love our living room best of all the rooms in the house and I really didn't want to share it.  That left the dining room.  One of the things I liked best about the dining room was that it was almost always clean since we rarely used it.  That and I liked all my pretty things I had displayed in there as well.  But practicality won out and we decided to give it up.  It connects to the kitchen and the living room and has pretty good light, so it would work okay with the flow of our lives (I could be making lunch and still overseeing what they are doing, etc).  One of my biggest concerns was making sure that the room still matched the rest of the house.  I didn't want it to look like some afterthought that I just threw together.  And since I knew we'd be spending most of our days in there I wanted it to be beautiful and calming at the same time.  I went back and forth a million times on what I wanted to do.  My budget for this makeover was practically non-existent so I finally just had to go with what I could afford, but I must say that I am very happy with how it turned out.  I might even go as far as to call it one of my favorite rooms.  And I might even have to admit that I like it better as a school room than I did as a dining room!  Here are some before and after shots.  Enjoy!

 The dining room before.

The school room after.  I realize these are taken from completely different angles, but I forgot to take an official 'before' picture and had to go digging through the archives to even find a shot of the room before.  We kept the walls the same colors and changed out the chandelier.  I got that one online here and although I thought it was going to be much larger than it actually is, I still like it.

I was looking for affordable bookcases and I was all set to buy some cheapies at Ikea when I decided to check craigslist one last time.  I was so lucky to score these Crate and Barrel bookcases for just $15 each!  They sell for $200 a piece on the website, so as you can imagine I was just a tiny bit excited about that amazing deal. :)  We have the 4th one in our playroom turned on it's side and it looks awesome.  I can't say enough about how much I love these shelves.  I really wanted white shelves, but I actually love the way the black goes so well with our rug.  That was another thing that was originally in the dining room that I didn't change...and I love that way you can actually appreciate how pretty the rug is now since the table isn't covering up anymore.  This bookcase stores all of my daughter's supplies that were given to us by the school (minus the globe and the decorative items).

The school sent us so many supplies that I was concerned with how to store them.  I got these photo storage boxes at Michael's on sale and they work perfectly.  I like how they are plain and they all match.  It helps make the shelves look clean.

A peek inside one of the science boxes.  The school really does send you everything you could possibly need!

A peek inside another box.  The same math cubes both of my kids had in their public school classrooms, only now they have the whole set all to themselves!

 My son's side of the room.  His shelves hold all of his school supplies as well.  

I originally wanted a window seat under the window, but the register for our heat and A/C is there and the dimensions just proved too hard to fit unless we went with something custom, so I decided to throw our bean bag under the window as a reading spot.  The kids really do use it to read and I also let them sit there when I read aloud to them.  They love it!

A close up of some of his books.  I really love the curriculum sent to us.

I had these frames and I honestly have had them for over and year and could never figure out where to put them, so I decided to turn them into mini chalk boards.  All I did was buy chalkboard spray paint at Home Depot and spray the wooden board that was the back of the frame.  They turned out great and we change out the message every few days.

These are actually the same color, I apologize for the lighting issues.  This is a message my brother left when he came over one day.  If you know him, you know that this quote is completely appropriate from him.  Also, shameless plug here, I sell these frames!  They are from The Organic Bloom and they sell exclusively through professional photographers.  So if you are interested in any, just let me know!  I get compliments on them all the time.

Another peek into one of our supply boxes.

 This shelf is on the opposite side of the room from the other ones and it holds all of our books that we own that aren't from the school.  The section on the bottom right is where we keep the books we have currently checked out from our local library.  And the bottom shelf holds our printer which you can't see in this photo, but was another thing provided by the school.

My son's side of the room.  I kept that left corner the same and just added the lamp.  It works as my little teacher station where I keep my chalk and my teacher stickers. :) 

A shot of my son's bottom shelf.  When this huge box arrived from the school I had no idea what it was or how to use it, but it was impressive!  I must say that I love the phonics program so much and it is really helping my son learn to read in ways I could never have done on my own.

The chairs.  It was really important to me to have nice chairs knowing they would be sitting in them a lot.  I was so excited to find these at the Frontgate Outlet near our house for a total steal!  They are leather and they wipe off and are just so nicely made.  I just wish they had had three of them because the kids now have nicer chairs than me!  Also notice his desk which I painted black and distressed and updated the handle with a new one.  It is the same as my daughter's desk...

Only I painted hers blue!  I used leftover paint from my front door and updated her drawer pull as well.  My mom got these desks from a hotel that was next door to where she worked.  They were updating all of their furniture and were giving away/throwing away the old stuff, some of which really was in great shape still.  She got them for us thinking we could use them in the kids' rooms someday, but they are perfect for our school room!  I love how they are the same, but they look so different painted different colors.  

We love our new school room and we love homeschooling!  I really do like it so much better than I even thought I would.  I really like knowing exactly what the kids are studying and knowing if they actually understand the material and to what degree.  It also is really nice never having homework and not having to do drop off and pick ups at the school.  :)  Hopefully this gives you some inspiration if you are thinking about homeschooling!


  1. Shawna, I just love your homeschooling room! You did a fantastic job. Awesome bookcase find and I love what you did with the frames! We're fortunate to have a homeschooling room here, and I love it because it's a sun room at the back of so there is always a lot of light. I would love to make it as cute as yours, but I have a hard time investing all that time into a rental house. But now I'm inspired, so I might just have to anyway. :) Great job!

  2. Thanks, Kristen! You need to do a post with more photos of your house! I love the photos you posted of your kitchen, it looks amazing. We miss you so much!! I'm so glad you have a blog so I can keep up with you and your sweet family!

  3. Looks great Shawna. I think that you should change the quote on your board to a favorite of mine. "You tried and you failed. Now, what did you learn? Never try." -Homer Simpson. Let me know if you ever need a guest speaker for the kids. I can always go a few hours on the necessities and survival tactics to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. Kids need these types of skills to be well-rounded adults.

  4. Joe~ you are ridiculous...but you do make me laugh!

  5. Wow that is awesome Shawna! How exciting that it's going so well, and you've set up the room so nicely. I just love the balance of formality and usability. You're giving me crazy ideas!

  6. Love the room! We are homeschooling Connor for Kindergarten right now, and I am making up our curriculum myself. Which is great for Kindergarten. But I am a little nervous about the next grades. You say you e-school and that the school sent you the curriculum and these supplies? I am curious to know more about that.

    Love the blue paint on the desk. We also use our dining room as our school room quite frequently, but we haven't really made a school room anywhere in our house, because we use the kitchen and living rooms just as often.

  7. Julie~ We are doing the Ohio Virtual Academy this year. They use the K-12 Curriculum and we have been really impressed with it. I like the fact that my kids are actually enrolled in a public school and I have support from real teachers when I need it. We joined a co-op even and are able to count the hours we do school there for our hours needed for OHVA as well. Overall I really like it! It's pretty flexible and it helps that I have a couple friends who do it as well. The school also sent us computers and printers for each kid. That's their favorite part. ;)


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