With less than a month before school began this fall and a week from when we were scheduled to leave on vacation, I decided it was time to tackle our homeschool room! I guess you could say, I like working under the gun? Hehe. The truth was I was not looking forward to this project. Actually, I was dreading it! So I had put it off for months. But by God’s grace, lots of paint, a few Facebook Marketplace finds, and some Hobby Lobby decor, I was able to accomplish this homeschool room makeover on a budget.
I knew there were a lot of problems in the space to solve, not enough time to accomplish what my original vision was, and definitely not the budget for that right now either. But, we needed a more organized and functional space for all of our homeschool supplies, and we needed it soon. I had to overcome my dread and just roll up my sleeves and move forward with what I COULD do now.
How I was able to transform this room into a space that is both functional and beautiful in less than a week and for under $300 is what I want to share with you today. It is not my original vision, but it is so perfect for us right now. That is why I am excited to share it with you today. In hopes it will inspire you to make the most of the space you’ve been given even if it is not ideal or your dream, either.
Our homeschool room journey
When we moved into our home last summer, I had visions of what this tiled room in our basement could become. l saw the possibilities and potential just waiting to be transformed into a wonderful school area for us. This being a large tiled area, it would also make the perfect spot for all the crafting and creating our children enjoy!
Since moving in last year it remained a mishmash of random furniture and had a system that was not very functional or pretty, to say the least. I had grandiose dreams of built ins, creative stenciling on the wall and maybe a boys jungle gym in a corner! But as the coming school year approached I realized I needed to let go of those bigger plans and just create a functional space for us. I still had hopes of it being somewhat pretty, as well.
In years past we have done school around our dining room table, on beds, on chairs and couches, and we still do! I love the flexibility of homeschooling and the slow quiet mornings snuggled under blankets on the couch while we read the Bible together. What we were needing this year, however, was a home for all of our things. We definitely lost precious time last year trying to find misplaced books and papers!
With 6, almost 7, full time students this fall, there is a lot to keep track of! I knew our system from the previous year barely got us by and it was time to upgrade to a more functional system. One that would make our things easy to use and find.
Charlotte Mason’s 6th principle, that Education is an atmosphere, certainly rings true for me. In our home we learn in all areas, but what we were needing was a space for everything and a system to organize it. Doing so would hopefully create a smoother rhythm to our day.
When we say that “education is an atmosphere,” we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child-environment’ especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child’s level.Here
Even though I still have visions for built-ins and new flooring, a functional and aesthetically pleasing space was needed for now. I just was not sure how I was going to accomplish that on a budget.
Essential elements for the the design of our homeschool room makeover
I started by making a list of the needs we had for the room and pain points that needed to be solved.
Here was what I came up with.
- Bin organizer for individual kids’ things
- Lots of open storage room for books
- Closed door storage for craft supplies and teacher’s keys
- Easy access to map, globe and coloring things
- Chalkboard or white board
- Large table for older kids
- Smaller table for younger kids
- Paper filing and display areas
Finding the key component
The next step was to determine what I already had to work with. I had a large divided cubbie organizer that our TV was sitting on in our family room downstairs. I had used it in our previous home for homeschool book storage but the original canvas bins were not a sturdy enough option anymore. However, I did have some heavy duty plastic bins I had used on a different shelf last year that were very practical. Well, low and behold! They fit in the cubbies! It was a perfect match for the need.
It wasn’t being used for anything except storing DVD’s. I switched out all of our DVD’s into a small compact disc case which was awesome! Why I hadn’t done that years ago, I don’t know. Totally recommend that! Then we found a smaller TV stand off of FB marketplace for $100. Boom! Now that large unit was free for the using and the perfect piece to for organizing the kid’s individual books.
In any design process, finding the focal point or key component is the most important first step. Sometimes it’s a statement piece of furniture or a rug. Knowing the main thing you want everything else to flow and match with can springboard the rest of the design into place.
Now that I knew what I would be working around, I was able to begin piecing the rest of the ideas for the room together.
The design process
I already had a large oak sideboard hutch down there that was functioning very well for storing the craft supplies. But it was very outdated. There were two large white unused bookcases not being used in our upstairs office, as well. After I took the measurements I found they would fit perfectly on either side of the shelf unit.
Because the black shelf unit was the focal and pivotal point for the room I knew I needed to work from there with the design plan. It was in good shape but with all the angles I did not want to paint it a different color. Hence, I decided to paint the other pieces of furniture to match the cubbie instead. I opted for Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, a black color we’ve used in our previous home. I also found new hardware at Hobby Lobby to put on the other furniture. This gave the room a more cohesive feel.
Sourcing some new pieces
Now, I just needed to source a new better fitting table and seating. The middle larger table I found brand new in the box off FB marketplace for $100. I also found 2 metal chairs for $25 that I spray painted black. I really had hoped to build or source some matching benches for the table, but didn’t have the time or budget to do so. Instead I repurposed unused leftover chairs from our dining room set.
I struggled to find a small table option for the younger kids. Then I happened upon this inexpensive folding table at Walmart and realized that it fit perfectly in the spot I needed. Plus, we could also use it in other ways if we needed a folding table. The chairs that go in front of that were $10 each on FB marketplace.
Hobby Lobby had their wall decor and hardware on sale the same week I was putting all of this together! I was able to gather hardware, and some fun decor items on clearance in one trip!
Cost Breakdown of our homeschool room makeover on a budget
Items Purchased for our homeschool room makeover
Table- FB Marketplace: $100
Black metal chairs-FB Marketplace: $25 for the pair
Wood chairs- Craigslist: $20 for the pair
Black folding table- Walmart: $37
Wall map tapestry- Hobby Lobby: $35
Wall Clock- Hobby Lobby: $15
New hardware knobs and bin pulls: Hobby Lobby: $20
Misc. Decor (plants, sign)- Hobby Lobby: $25
Quart of paint- Sherwin Williams Iron Ore $20
Total purchases: $297!
I still can’t believe I was able to finish this room for less than $300 including furniture purchases! We are all so grateful to have this space completed in a way that can serve our family’s needs, but still allow for changes in the future. Keeping this makeover afforadable allows me to stay flexible with longer term goals, and still be able to enjoy this space in the meantime.
Homeschool Room Makeover Sources
I am so thankful for this space and how everything came together. Just a few weeks into school now, and our flow is noticeably smoother. We are not wasting time trying to find books and notebooks. Now we are able to better spend our time creatively learning together and enjoying the smooth rhythm of our day. 🙂