Home School Room Makeover


This week is one of the most inspiring weeks EVER when it comes to homeschooling. It is the Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop at iHomeschoolNetwork.com. This particular week of the month-long hop is Home School Room week. They have hundreds of homeschool bloggers linking up to show their home school rooms. The organization and creativity of this group of women ASTOUNDS me. Most of these mamas have been homeschooling for years, and they have figured out what it takes to make a school room run like clock work. They have tips and tricks for organization and space planning that I never would dream up on my own.

Last year as I looked through the posts during school room week, I came across one that would become my inspiration for renovating our own home school room. Now listen, you an home school anywhere. For five years now we have done school in the den, in our bedrooms, in the car, at church, at the library, and just about anywhere else we wanted to go. We just do our best to make it work no matter where we are. However, it really works best to have a dedicated space at home to store books, papers, supplies, etc. We use a section of our finished basement as our school room. Though we are grateful for a dedicated space, it was pretty pitifully decorated. I used an old oversized desk that had almost no drawer space and a sharp corner on which I banged my knee every time I turned my chair. Mary Anneliese sat at a six foot folding table in a metal folding chair. We had one closet we used for storage, but the problem is that it is storage for many other things besides home school items. We were constantly crawling over rolls of wrapping paper and boxes of tax records in order to get to the workbooks. We did this for five years. It’s a wonder my children learned anything at all.

So last year as I perused the beautiful, well organized home school room ideas, I got the itch to renovate our space. I could come up with a thousand ways to rationalize spending the money on it, but the truth of the matter is you can’t get blood from a turnip and there was no blood in our turnip for school room furniture. But I’ve tried to teach my girls that when you want something badly enough you’ll find a way to make it happen. We sold a few old pieces of furniture we had around the house and built up the money in our furniture painting envelope (we’re very sophisticated accountants around here). After several months of really hard work by MA and me, we had enough money to buy a few pieces for the new room. And having those few pieces gave us the incentive to keep plugging away. On our last trip to Atlanta, we made the final purchases, and our home school room make-over is now complete!

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We are in love with this space and are so grateful to have it. We started school last week, so we’ve spent a lot of time here recently. We couldn’t be happier with how much room we have for school work and how much storage space to keep all our STUFF. There are 33 cubbies in those book shelves, and we need every one of them to stay organized. I (heart) the baskets to hide the smaller, messier items like loose paper and crayons. Otherwise, those things take over and make your room look trashed all the time.

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Almost all of the furniture came from Ikea, including the tables and chairs. We wanted a nice, large work surface so that we could each have our own space to spread out. We are so happy to all fit well around our big table.

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These baskets from Target work perfectly with large Mason jars to keep scissors, pencils, rulers, markers, etc. within arm’s reach, but still tucked neatly away.

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Though we are still looking for one more piece of artwork to complete the top of the book shelves, we added a few vintage items for fun. Jonathan’s dad gave the girls his old microscope and lab set. We haven’t opened it yet to see if it’s still functional, but I love the metal casing enough to keep it just for looks.

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We also added a globe which I received from Santa when I was in elementary school. Don’t ask. Santa must have been having a hard time coming up with ideas that year. However, my pack-rat tendencies paid off because we use this thing at least weekly as we study history.

The Pottery Barn rug was a purchase on Mountain Brook Trading. I don’t know if you have local facebook trading pages, but I have bought and sold a TON of stuff on ours for some really great deals. I believe it was $75 because it needed to be cleaned. Our sweet neighbor let us borrow her steam cleaner, and it was soon as good as new. I am waiting on the upholsterers to finish the cushions for the rocker in the corner. I found it at a thrift store and painted it white. I paid $10 for the rocker, $12 for the paint, and $150 for the reupholstering. Something doesn’t seem right about that. However, it will be nice to have a rocker in the room because my little Pitter Patter usually sits in my lap for reading time. Not gonna lie, it’s one of the best parts of my day.

We absolutely adore our new space. It has already been so handy. However, no matter what your home school room looks like, the best part is looking across the table and seeing the ones who make it all worth it…

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  1. That room is awesome! Great job, and well done with completing the makeover and staying within your means. I agree, this hop has inspired many parts of our homeschool room over the years as well. Hope you have a fun year. πŸ™‚

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Thanks so much, Julie! Isn’t this hop the best place for ideas? So many smart homeschool mamas sharing their best tips.

  2. What a beautiful schoolroom!! I do agree I love the Ikeaa shelves they were well worth the investment!! I love the idea of using Mason Jars for storing things in.

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Thanks for stopping by, Nicole. The Mason jars have been FAB for keeping all those little items in order!

  3. Love your schoolroom!! It looks like so much fun!! I love the idea of storing supplies in the mason jars. Thank you for sharing!

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Thanks, Michelle! We DO have a lot of fun in our school room. The Mason jars have worked well for us, and they are cheap and easy to replace. Glad you stopped by.

  4. Such a lovely space! And I’m sure it feels even more wonderful since you waited and worked for the funds to make it happens — what a great lesson for your kids.

    I have the same Ikea tables in each of my older kids’ bedrooms and we love them too. They’re nice and wide so they can really spread out their books. We also have that same Pottery Barn rug in our girls’ room! I’ll warn you that if it gets a lot of use it can start to come apart (a friend with the same rug had the same problem), but it can be fixed pretty easily with a whip stitch.

    Enjoy your new room and have a wonderful year!

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Thank you, Kellie! I appreciate the heads-up about the rug. It will get lots of use, so I’ll have to remember that.

  5. Such a beautiful room!!

    Popping in from the blog hop.

  6. It looks great, Ash! It’s tough to underestimate how much what you stare at all day affects your mood. I realize that is probably a first-world statement of the highest order, but it’s true nonetheless. We had three little wooden Sunday school desks that we bought for $5 when the church went to plastic, and then for group work we sat at a card table…but it worked!!!

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Yep! Glad to have it, but have been without it for five years and that worked, too. It’s nice to have a “real” school room.

  7. I love it! πŸ™‚ The vintage box for the microscope set is too cool! πŸ™‚ Cass@ TheUnpluggedFamily.com

  8. OMGosh, thank you for this post! As simple as purchasing pieces from IKEA for a learning room “should” be, it was the monkey-on-my-back trying to figure out what to buy to comfortably seat my pre-teens. Your wonderful room design helped me picture how I could convert our extra guest bedroom into a laid back and stylish classroom. So grateful, thanks again!

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Happy to help, Sandra. Ikea has a lot of choices, and I was a bit overwhelmed at first, too. The good news is you really can’t go wrong.

  9. I am a new homeschooling mom this year and am still trying to create the right space for my children…I LOVE what you have as I don’t have a ton of space of much extra money to spend on this. Can you please tell me what Ikea tables these are and what shelves, thanks!

    • Ashley Mills Hill says

      Thanks, Melissa! All furniture is from Ikea. Tha book cases are both Expedit. The tables are Linnmon table tops with Vika legs. The chairs are Jules with swivel bases. Good luck with your school year.

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