School Room

Our school room is mostly complete!  I am so so excited and so are the girls!

First, let me tell you a bit about the room we’re using for schooling.  This room is actually the first room you see upon entering our home.  It’s supposed to be a living room, but well, we typically all hang out in the family room so this room was just simply not getting used!

We got a very old hand-me-down couch and basically that was it for a long time.  Then we inherited a digital piano and we put it in this spare room (it’s kinda buried in the pic below!).  And then we needed some more space for my oldest to do school work at, so we added a folding table.  Then came her computer so she can do school work on.  Then we added some posters on the wall.  Then the twins got old enough and we added another folding table so they could color in there.  Then we started adding their art work and crafts and then and then and before you know it our school room was born!  Out of necessity, of course :)

Because this room is the first thing one sees upon entering, well, it started to look awful cluttered and a tad too busy.  Hubby wasn’t too keen on that.  He loved the idea of it being used as a school room, but I had to agree that it started looking a bit too much.  Want to see what it looked like?

and another angle:

and a view of the large wall that we hung most of the posters on:

(pardon the paint chips on the wall!  was trying to figure out what color to paint the room in!)  I love all the space we had to squeeze so much in, but it was time to give the room some order and tidy it up just a wee bit.

I also remembered that when we moved in (remember, I was quite pregnant with twins when we moved here) I had shoved a large cabinet in hubby’s office closet and it contained a bunch of PreK and K material.  So, we decided it was time to do some serious cleaning, re-organizing, and re-doing the school room.

sorting and re-organizing ALL our homeschool books

And good thing I did!!  I was this close to ordering some books for the little ones that I actually already had on hand and had forgotten about!

We sat with a budget and a clear idea of what we wanted to do.  We searched Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, and even Ikea for furniture and storage ideas for books and school supplies.

What I wanted was a wide open space for the kids to play and yet still have a reading area with easy access to their books.  I also wanted one large desk that would seat at least four (myself and my three girls).

Desk for just one person, cost anywhere from 100-200 and up!  I was getting rather discouraged.   I realized it was time to start thinking outside of the box!

Upon browsing one store, I stopped in front of some laminate counter-tops and just stared at it.  Hubby was off on the other side of the store looking at large and wide shelves to build a huge desk for the girls with.  I quickly texted him to come to where I was and pointed out the laminate counter-tops that were on clearance for less than 100!

They were just the right size and they would surely withstand!  Our old kitchen counter-top was faring well and was pretty old so a few girls coloring and writing on them would surely be ok, right?  Right!

Ok, so desk CHECK!   Now off to decide what to do with storage.

I was trying to go on the cheap and thought we’d just go with shelving units.  Hubby wanted to hide the clutter, so we were out looking at cabinets.  Hmmm kinda pricey at the big home improvement stores.  I decided to Google other stores in our area and sure enough I found a warehouse that sold builder supplies and they had better options for unfinished cabinets at less than the cost of the big home improvement chains!  What a find!!

So for four days I spent painting four large cabinets for this project!

I guess I should also note that we painted the room a much lighter color, too, and hubby got me an awesome Mother’s Day gift -a lovely rug I had been eyeing, which tied all the colors together quite nicely!

I did have to part with my beloved old couch.  I have fond memories of sleeping on it while oh so very pregnant!  But alas, it was a huge room hog and it was time to find something else that would work better.  I wanted to be able to just roll up the rug, and get rid of seating if I needed an open space for kids activities and whatnot.

Want to see what the room looks like now?  :)

Isn’t it beautiful?  I love love love how it turned out!

It really is all in the details.  Hubby added some track lighting.  We found some pendant lights on clearance for here:

Right next to the bean bags (which I got on clearance online, too!!), the little ones can access their books that are in the bookshelf.  Bottom two dedicated for the little ones and the top ones have old curriculum organized (stuff my oldest completed and so the little ones hopefully will get to use it when they get older):

and here are some more pics:

Initially I was going to just spray paint (so it’d match!) the black folding chairs you see in the pic above.  However, the desk went in a bit too high and the little ones just could not write properly without sitting up on their knees.  Thanks to grandma and grandpa, we were able to get  them all new task chairs that go up high enough and I am using the old black task chair for myself.

Here’s how we organized things in the cabinets:

This has all of the stuff my oldest needs to access.  She can easily reach the bottom level so I kept stuff she doesn’t need access to at the top.  What we did end up adding to the cabinet is an L bracket to the center of the shelf for extra support.  Books can be quite heavy and I didn’t want it to break!

markers, paints, scissors, colored pencils, large scrapbooking materials on top shelf, etc. stored here

lined and graph paper, construction paper, coloring books, craft supplies, extra pencils, pens, highlighter, etc. stored here

I did forget to take a pic of one cabinet.  In it are the manipulatives for the younger ones, science books, stuff that they’ll eventually be using when they reach first grade.

I also wanted some way to display their drawings and crafting.  I found at the container store online this cool magnetic strip.  Maan those are expensive, especially if I want it to cover as much wall space as I needed it to cover.  Soo insert out of the box thinking!  We found some cheap valance rods at WalMart!  They were wide and flat enough, they were metalic, and they were white (so I wouldn’t have to paint it!), and they were fairly long, too!

I took a picture of my rug, printed it, and then used my circle puncher to make little pieces.  I then glued them to the crystals you see above, added a neodymium magnet to the back and voila!  magnets that will hold artwork.

I wanted to add some green and orange accessories to the desk but the desk organizers can be really pricey.  Insert a quart paint can and some spray paint and voila!

They work great and match well!  I used the same spray paint on some old picture frames I had lying around and added some artwork to the room.

The only thing we have yet to do to the room is add the posters back onto the wall.  Hubby has a really neat idea and I am hoping it works, so more on that once we get it up.  Here’s the wall space where it will go:

Pardon the ugly pink tub on top of the bookshelf!  It’s holding nails and pieces and parts we didn’t want to lose!  You can, however, see the picture frames I spray painted in that pic.

And just so you don’t think the desk is always so perfectly tidy and neat, I’ll leave you with one more pic:

Thanks for viewing our school room redo!  It was a looong process but I am so incredibly happy with the end result :)

EDITED:  Oh my!  Let me answer some of the questions I’ve received.

Paint colors:  We only used Glidden.  First time I ever used them and I absolutely love the results!  In fact, the walls only needed one coat, which was soooo nice!!  Using the right kinda roller brush (Purdy for textured walls) really helped, too.  So the main color in the school room is Barely Lilac.  The wall where the posters will hang is Pearl Grey.  That color goes down the hallway.

The cabinets were painted with Glidden’s Arctic Stone.  Very soft grey.  I used a Purdy brush -yup, you heard right!  No spraying.  We added Floetrol to the paint which helped a lot in eliminating brush marks.  Hence why it took me four days to paint the cabinets!

The laminate table’s length measures 8 feet on the longer side and 6 feet on the shorter.  Same goes for the length of the cabinets.  The counter-tops were purchased mitered, which really helped!  That’s one of the reasons I was shocked to see the price.  They had just the length we were after and it was mitered.

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to reply