Saturday, September 11, 2010

Need Advice on Schoolroom Furniture

Here's the room we use as a schoolroom. It's empty because we installed hardwood floors. I'm not thrilled with the brick wall (early 70s) and ultimately would like to permanently install custom cabinets (cabinets on the bottom, bookshelves on the top) on both sides of the pellet stove. But I need a LOT of bookshelf/cabinet space right now. (I have a huge assortment of books and classroom supplies that up til now have been stored in a mishmash of cabinets and bookshelves.) The room isn't big (about 13 x 17), but I'm thinking about sacrificing the entire 17' right wall (where all the school items are currently posted) and lining the whole length with storage--cabinets on the bottom, with bookshelves on the top.

Does anyone know where to find such a thing? We've looked at Ikea and I don't see anything that matches the picture in my head. (Which may be totally messed up!)

What would you do with this room if you needed a LOT of storage? I really need BOTH open bookshelves and storage doors that close (for art supplies, kits, games, etc.)

Any advice welcome!

P.S. I am taking the photo from the kitchen, so there is no more room at the bottom of the photo...likewise, the left side of the photo is a wall with one window (hence the window glare on the floor) what you see is the space I have to work with...


  1. What about plain white IKEA ktichen cabinets for across the bottom and then youcould use their white wall shelving for the top area??

    You could also just paint that brick wall to lighten it up and use it as an art gallery wall to display the kids art work etc.

    Nice floors too....I am begging my hubby for those but we would have to do the whole house!!!

  2. I'm not a decorator, by any means, but I would totally paint that brick wall a nice off-white or beige color. Then, I would place a hutch or bookcase or desk with a book shelf on top of it on either side of the fireplace. If you put a book case on either side you can use baskets on the shelves to store all the little stuff like art supplies and manipulatives, etc.

  3. I like your idea of storage shelves. Just looking at it here, I would say keep that brick wall, but just paint a lighter color. The more contrast you have in a room the smaller it feels. If you paint the brick wall the same cream color as on the walls or a lighter/similar color it will make the room come alive. I like the idea of putting stock cabinetry from Lowe's or another Home Improvement type store (b/c those cabinets will give you a nice work surface). Then just install simple wooden shelves above and leave the back with the exposed painted brick. Then put your $ in some decorative storage baskets to hold your stuff. I'm thinking wicker and fabric type baskets to kind of mix it up. Buuuut....I'm not a decorator either...I just like to play one on the internet. ;-)

  4. p.s. here is a pic. of our classroom kind of like what I was saying you could do...imagine your fireplace where my bench seating is. I'm thinking a beautiful framed map of the world hanging over the fireplace.

  5. That looks LIKE A HUGE ROOM! wow! It is nice and love the Floor you did a great job on it! Very nice. What ages are your kids? If you can find some bright colored bean bags that would do great for a quiet area. I do not know what your ages are or what you are teaching work box or Unit study. But looks great and have fun!

  6. Your school space is beauiful. Love your new floors and the light coming in from the window. I am torn on what to do with the brick. It is a bit dark, but I think I am allergic to painted brick. LOL!
    Here are some bookcases that I love. You used to be able to buy them at Lowes. I could use at least two more of the really tall ones. :)
    The nice thing about them is you can put cabinet doors on the bottom of them. So you can mix and match - all shelves, shelves with doors, etc.
    I would definitely put some shelves on either side of the fireplace if the space is wide enough.

    Oops. Here is the link. : )

  8. I agree about painting the brick white or creamy. It will make the space seem bigger, although it really is a nice sized room! I would put bookshelves on the window wall...all the way to the left and right of the window. Then I'd put a cabinet-type storage or even my 'teacher desk' right beneath the window.

    Then if you still needed more storage, think about armoires or cabinets on the other wall. But instead of putting them flat on the wall, it might really help you divide your space to turn them sideways and jut out into the room. You can put cabinets or bookcases back-to-back this way and it can help divide the room up for various purposes--like a reading area or space for desk or spot for art or science.

    If you don't need division, I'd put cabinets along the big open wall with occasional openings underneath, so you could have a place to sit that is counter height or lower that a child (or you) could sit at to work or use a computer. Then I'd do bulletin board/learning posters/whiteboard, etc. on the wall above the counters. Keep your eyes peeled at thrift stores and even Restore (run by Habitat for Humanity)for counters or armoires or other type of storage.

    All the bookshelves in my schoolroom have the look of being built-in because we trimmed them out on top and bottom. But they really just came from an Unpainted Furniture type place. Also, painting your bookshelves white will make the space feel open. If you paint lots white, you might consider painting the walls a soft blue, yellow or green....something fresh and cheery. And a large area rug will soften the space and warm it up.

    Hope this's a link to my school room.

    Can't wait to see what you do!

  9. I LOVE Ginger's school room. It's stylish, eclectic, real, store-bought and home-made, peaceful. Wow!

  10. Hi! I just found your great blog through the Sonlight forums. We're doing Core 3 too!

    You have a wonderful schoolroom. If you live near an IKEA, I can think of a couple of great options for your space. The first would be the Billy system:

    which has bookshelves, height extensions, and doors, so that you can hide things or display them as you wish. Some of the glass doors can even be used as frames for art or graphic displays. If you're not so nuts about your brick wall, you could just cover the entire surface with some combination of bookshelves--with doors on the bottom to hide things.

    The other option that I think of would be the Ivar system:

    which combines shelving with a more typical cabinet. These are unfinished pine, so you can paint or stain them any color you wish. They would probably be more work than the Billy system, what with the finishing, but might be more flexible.

    Anyway, I'm enjoying your blog very much! Thanks for putting up so many great resources.

    Jen Renton


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