Back to School House Style

from Design Sponge

Remember that unmistakable smell of new crayons? And the tiny thrill of sharpening a brand new pencil and watching that yellow curl of wood slowly unravel? Even if you can’t go back to first grade, you can capture the nostalgia of your early school days through a few “learned” pieces of furniture, lighting and decorative found objects.

Many such items can be picked up at thrift stores, on e-bay or at used office supply stores like TOPS in Austin. Places like TOPS warehouse furniture and equipment from former businesses, offices and schools. On one of my recent scouting expeditions, I found a wood flat file set of drawers, 1950′s pull down school maps and a framed chalkboard for just $5.

School House Finds on Etsy

Are you wondering how you work institutional items into your space? Look how a collection of vintage school globes was displayed in a wire French laundry basket . . . now, that’s smart! For more smart tips on using globes in decorating, see  Decorate Like a Globe Trotter on AT (yep, it’s written by me).

Globe Gathering from Apartment Therapy

Organize like a fourth grader. Metal school lockers can be found used (leave them chipped or repaint them), as well as new from industrial supply websites like Global Industrial. Tall lockers would be a great additional to an entry hall or busy mudroom to help manage the chaos of backpacks and sports equipment. The shelves with locker baskets would provide more than enough storage for toys in a kids room or materials in a craft room.

Metal School Lockers from Global Industries

A school room just wouldn’t be the same without a chalkboard, but you can update the blackboard by making it a  “pinkboard” instead. Hudson Chalkboard Paint comes in a rainbow of colors that would make the art teacher smile. Create an accent chalkboard wall anywhere you’d like to write notes or sketch up a masterpiece in chalk. Recently on an episode of Home by Novogratz, they painted a bedroom ceiling with chalkboard paint and had an artist create a drawing. It was stunning . . . and achievable.

Another way to reference school house style is to use light fixtures, like school house globe shades from School House Electric Lighting (pretty obvious, right?) These light fixtures are handmade by craftsman to resemble period pendants, chandeliers, and sconces.

Finally, look for old educational posters, signs or maps (like in the first image) to add graphic charm to any room, as well as a conversation starter. Class, who can explain photosynthesis? Anyone?

Blend details like these into your modern or traditional interior and you’ll head to the top of the class. A+

Signs from Three Potato Four

“Revival’s” Vintage Take on Modern Sensibility

“Revival’s” Vintage Take on Modern Sensibility

Some people like to methodically scrounge their way around estate sales, garage sales and junk heaps. Those people are called pickers. For the rest of you, reap the rewards of pickers and shop at boutique stores like Revival. Specializing in not-so-shabby chic, Revival hosts a selection of treasures discovered by professional pickers all over the [...]

The “Unexpected” from Jeffrey Alan Marks

The “Unexpected” from Jeffrey Alan Marks

If Kathryn Ireland has color, Jeffrey Alan Marks has flair. Another designer featured on Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, Marks says that he tries to add an element of surprise to every room. After seeing his master bedroom with the vintage Abercrombie & Fitch rowboat suspended from the ceiling, I was hooked. Expecting more “unexpected” details, [...]

Ain’t What You Want? Then, Paint!!

Ain’t What You Want?  Then, Paint!!

Ready to add a pop of color to your abode but don’t want to paint an entire room? You can always paint a piece of furniture like a bookshelf, table, stool or even the legs of an upholstered chair! The book shelf above is bright and unexpected. The entire unit is painted white, but then [...]

Matching Smatching: Mix It Up in the Dining Room

Matching Smatching: Mix It Up in the Dining Room

  Matching is for Garanimals. When it comes to dining room tables and chairs, not matching is so much more interesting. Although it might take some thought to create just the right mix, using random chairs has its benefits. You can collect them over time and you can often find one off chairs at great prices, new [...]

Wallpaper For One

Wallpaper For One

There is something wonderful about wallpaper like this. It doesn’t rely on pattern or gorgeous repeat.  It tells a little story in a big way.  It makes me feel like I’ve stepped into one of the luscious images by one of my favorite illustrators.  I’m a character in my own room where a lifesize tale [...]

Seen Around: Invisible Easel

Seen Around: Invisible Easel

Now you see it, now you don’t. Artwork can hover mid-air on this clear acrylic easel from CB2. We love acrylic furniture for it’s modern, space-age look that somehow blends easily with more traditional or antique furniture. It’s visually weightless and seems to take up no space, yet it functions just like ordinary wood pieces. [...]

Design Series #3: Heading to the Promised Land(scape).

Design Series #3: Heading to the Promised Land(scape).

Close your eyes… picture your favorite outfit in your closet right now. What do you love about it? Color? Texture? The way it fits? It’s one way to understand your overall sense of style and head off into the promised landscape. Minimal. No muss, no fuss? Try a minimalistic approach – you may find layers [...]