Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to School Goes Home

I admit that I have a thing for school supply stores.  Having been a teacher for many years has influenced my love for classroom staples, and having just the right pen and notebook still matters.  I also love lockers, globes, and maps, and I’m especially crazy about library card catalogs.  While that may make me sound like a quintessential nerd, I’m not alone.  Nostalgia for school days and childhood has made classroom items sought after decorations for the home.  You can have lots of fun upcycling school castoffs and making them your own.  

Lockers are great in mud rooms, in kids’ bedrooms, in bathrooms, in offices, and in craft rooms.  They are easy to spray paint if you don’t like the original patina.  They come in many styles, from small locker room squares to tall, slim doors that open to one shelf and some hooks. 

You can personalize lockers in many ways, including removing some doors on tall lockers to create open shelves and adding legs and/or a top to square lockers to create furniture.

  If you don’t have room for large lockers, try smaller metal pool lockers.  They can be added to furniture, shelves, and under benches for an industrial storage look.

School desks may be used for study areas, but they are also great with the top removed for planters or for display pieces throughout the home.  Desk benches or chairs are also nice display pieces, either on the floor or layered on top of a table.

Maps add color to any room and can be upcycled in a variety of ways.  Try attaching maps on rollers to the inside of window frames to create shades. 

 Hang maps as art in any room, framed or unframed.  Lastly, you can make a big statement in a room by pasting or pinning maps all over one wall instead of using wallpaper.

Globes make great accents and add color and fun to a room.  Try grouping several globes together, mixing large and small sizes for visual interest. 

You can also customize globes using paint, markers, or Modge Podge.  Use the globe for a base and add pictures, words, or drawings, either on the original surface or on a painted globe that you have prepared for a brand new look.

Library card catalogs can be made into other furniture like a sofa table or buffet, customized for craft room storage, or used as display pieces. 

They come in metal and wood styles and customarily have numerous drawers.  If the wood is quite worn, consider painting the piece for a shabby chic look.

Lastly, blackboard paint has become a popular way to make homework all grown up. 

 You can paint menus in the kitchen, cover an entire wall for the family to draw on, or customize furniture with blackboard accents. 

Black goes with everything, and this paint is easy to use and available at hardware stores.  You can even start with a layer of magnetic paint followed by blackboard paint so you can add magnets to your creation.
School days are here again, and it’s easy to capture the look with thrift store finds and a little imagination. Who says you can never go back?