Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creating a School Area


Several of you noticed this new set up in my Slow Day post last week. This end of our living room has come to life lately and yes, we have set up a new area for school!

One day, I was having a friend over for lunch and with Emily's help we brought the table in from the screened in porch. I mentioned to her that every time I drag that table into the living room, I love it there and don't want to put it away!

She suggested a round table as it would flow nicely through the room. Our living room is arranged funny and with a walk way in the middle it has made it difficult for me to figure out what to do with this end of the room. I thought I wanted just a little sette or something to put in front of the fireplace that I could turn either way, but this is serving us so much better!


The very next day after the table conversation, I found this new-to-us-table on a site similar to Craig's List. It is solid oak and very good quality - I am so pleased with it! It had six chairs and has a large leaf that opens this table to a large oval. Will be great for company, school and as my friend Melissa said, playing games in front of a cozy fire!

Initially, I was thinking I would want to pain the table and doctor it up a bit, but now I'm feeling a little less sure about this. I wanted to do a vinyl table covering - which I am still thinking of. I read somewhere that you could attach the table cloth over the table with blue painters tape underneath so it could easily be changed out or removed if needed. I definitely won't staple a cover onto this table. But, the cover would be great for keeping the table in great shape and adding some character. I like this and this. This is the same company I ordered the cover for our polka dot table on the porch and it has been so durable and I've been very pleased with the quality.

So, please weigh in - to paint or not to paint? To cover or not to cover? I love the idea of having both cover cloths and being able to switch them out even. If I painted, I'd want to go with the colors represented in the hoop art I did earlier this year.


Having school in our dining room was working fine. Having created this space though allowed me to reorganize all of our school supplies and pull them from the oh, half a dozen different locations we were running to each day for things. Love how streamlined this is! Oh, and the natural light under the skylights is a huge bonus! And, being able to see the birds at the bird feeder out the front window. It has enlarged our view and light - lovely feeling!

So, another benefit is that I was finally able to get a computer area set up for use in schooling. So far, we only use it for our favorite {free!} typing program - but I know it will be essential in the years to come. A friend of David's gave us a laptop to be used for our school purposes - what a blessing. David has it set up where it will only go to bookmarked webpages and nothing else. So when I come across something I want them to have access to - he can add it and otherwise, they have very limited options of things to browse. Right now, they have only one option and that is typing.

I pulled the tv tray out from under a bed and slid a chair in front of it. I was thinking of painting the table a dark gray and putting this oil cloth on top.


You can't see the computer area very well, but it is just in front of the back door. We rarely use this door since adding the screened porch, but the chair and small table are easily moved if needed. I relocated the cubby next to that and with the globe on top - I love how it looks with the cabinet and hoop art all together! Very homey and a comfortable place to learn.

Hooray for a new spot for school - we love it!

20 comments:

Leanne said...

love it! its inspiring :) we are homeschooling next year, so I've been trying to come up with a way to keep everything together all the time!

~Backroad Treasures~ said...

Oh I love that area you have created, I am a prim lover so I would paint it all black and rough it up, but seeing your home I would say either keep it the way it is and add colorful cushions and maybe some kind of stitched ties on the top of the chairs, tied around the spindles like the stitcheries you've done in the hoops on the wool, maybe something with the kids names and hand prints or just their hand prints stitched on fabric and then add ties and then tie to back of the top of the chairs... you could white wash the whole thing, table, and chairs and do the same... but I wouldn't do any drastic colors.... good luck and keep us posted...
Blessings
~Rhonda~

Mom said...

I know this side of your living room has been a challenge so I'm really glad to see you've settled into this functional and attractive solution! :) Love you, Mom

LynnMarie said...

I like the Map tablecloth for a "school" feel! Great job.

Wendi said...

Great use of space! I love the thought of games in front of the fire. :) I like that when it is time for a meal you won't have to hurry and get everything cleaned up. It is sometimes nice to be able to leave a big project out for the day.

I say not to paint. Just because I like wood and that looks like it is a good quality wood. I do like the idea of a table covering that you can change out. Enjoy your new space!

Lisa said...

Looks great Monica! My Mother has a similar table and uses the vinyl tablecloths to protect it. She stitches very inexpensive elastic to the very edge of the cloth and it never moves! Always looks neat and keeps the table looking good!

Holly said...

I love how it's a seperate area but still in the middle of everything! I would paint the base a fun but neutral color and chalk board paint the top since its a school table. It would cut down on paper use! Then if you wanted a cover for when it's not in use for school, just put one on. I love your inspiration and how you always have a project going, much like me!

Jen said...

Paint!! And then "vintage" it up a bit with some sand paper to make it look antiqued. I LOVE the oilcloth idea too! Reminds me of the Waltons! :-)

Laura Lane said...

It's terrific. We tend to "school" all over the house. It's quite small and a dedicated area isn't possible.

Kristen said...

Very neat area. One idea instead of painters tape is that you could put elastic around the edges of your cover or table cloth which could slip over the table to be easily removed. Or just having a table cloth drapping over the table would be lovely. But, not sure if having that extra padding would be hard for your children to write on. Paint would be nice too and you coud always change it up. I was hoping you would write about your chalk board area in your kitchen(the one with the abc's and what looks like mail boxes around it). Do you wish you had a black board/white board in your new school space or do you find you don't really need it? What do you use the kitchen chalk board for? What do you use the little mail boxes for? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

what a great find! don't paint it though. I like the idea of oil cloth that you could remove, though I am an oak-girl myself and love it as is. Either way, your school area looks great. Love in Him, Lynnebee

Michele said...

Our decorating styles aren't the same, but when I saw the top photo of the table my first thought was paint the chairs and pedestal and leave the top stained as it is. I wouldn't cover up the top with anything because the oak is beautiful as it is.

Rachel said...

Your school area looks great! And how nice to be able to leave your schooling stuff out and still eat a meal at your other table. Your post has me thinking of finding a spot to make at computer station for the kids to use for schoolwork.

asnipofgoodness said...

I love your new learning space Monica, and I think your new table and chairs are great! I vote paint, but I love painted furniture, so I would almost always vote paint :)!
Have you thought about using elastic on your cover instead of taping it? That would make it easier to change it out, or pop it off if you wanted a different look, just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I love this new school area of your living room. It's great to be able to keep everything together in one area. I definitely would not paint this beautiful oak table.
I like both of your oilcloth (vinyl) choices and as you say you could change them out. I also like the idea of using elastic to keep them on and for easy change-about. That' just my opinion.:)
Looking forward to talking to you tomorrow evening.
Love, Grandma

Katie said...

How exciting, Monica! A beautiful, functional educational space all your own ~ love it!!

Your oil cloth choices are fun. We are big fans of oak furniture ~ it would be hard for me to paint over oak. However, I know whatever you choose will be amazing!!!

Three cheers for a creative homeschool mama!

Blessings~
Katie

Denise said...

Such a wonderful area. Streamline. That must be great! Would love to know how to set a computer to only go to certain pages! Hmmm, could your husband do a post sometime soon? Homeschooling four of our grandchildren & I could sure use that information!!

angie said...

How about viewing the table as a neutral backdrop and having the freedom to change its accent with the tablecloths? You could also make oilcloth sit-upons to cushion the chairs. With as much activity as this table will see, I would think that the paint will chip, scratch, and flake off. Normally that would make a nice patina, but not when it rubs off on your kids' hands, etc. Another idea would be to stitch covers that fit over the back of the chairs and have pockets for keeping each child's school supplies or personal reading book. They could be personalized with fabrics of their choice.
Lucky you for finding a table so quickly. My dining room table has a leaf to expand, but only 4 chairs. I wish I had 6 matching chairs for one of my tables.
Enjoy the birds, sun, and centrally located supplies.

Mrs M said...

Love the new set up. We also have a round table for school at the end of the living room. Initially I covered it with a really cute (and quite busy) Cath Kidston type oilcloth -- and while it was so easy to keep clean, it was actually too busy a backdrop for the table. When I removed it and just left the white paint exposed it actually calmed down the area so much - and I really believe it's less of a distraction to the children as they now look at their work instead of the pictures on the cloth :)
Can't wait to see what you decide.

Angela (buttercup) said...

I'm catching up on your blog; so this is really late, but I wanted to chime in that I would do whatever to the table that truly makes your heart sing! Paint can be changed and so can covers; so I would do what looks beautiful to you and makes your living area still look the way you want it to feel. I really like the cover on your porch table; so I'd personally go with a cover for the ease of use and cleaning. I love your school area and all the beautiful ideas on your blog! If you are able to explain, will you tell me what your husband did/used to set up the computer to only go to certain web sites? I want to do that. So far I have only figured out how to block certain sites, but I would like to do what you've done.