If you’ve read this blog for a while, then you might already know that seven years and a million hand sanitizer bottles ago, I started my first “real” job as a ninth grade teacher. And if you’re visiting from 11 Magnolia Lane for this year’s Back-To-School Style Guide, welcome!
For five years following that very first day in my teacher shoes, I had a love/hate relationship with the first day of school. It was terrifying and exasperating and thrilling and just about every other emotion all rolled up together.
I’ve since left my classroom copies of Shakespeare to be a stay-at-home mom… but now the kiddo is turning 4 next month, and I’m realizing homework is very much in the near future.
I guess the thrift store fairies heard me because earlier this summer, I found this antique desk just begging for a new life.
So when my sweet friend Amber from Restless Arrow asked if I’d join her for the Back-To-School Style Guide, this cute, sorta neglected little desk practically winked at me and said, “Take me home and pretty me up.”
And the desk and I tried to avoid the topic of the profanities scribbled all over it.
If you ever come across a scribbled up old table or desk too, here’s what I did to restore it.
Supplies Used: (Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information, see my full disclosure here.)
- Mouse sander with coarse grit sandpaper pads
- Minwax stain (I used the color Weathered Oak)
- Minwax Polyurethane in Satin (Or whatever brand you prefer)
- 2 sponge brushes
- Clean, dry rags
It was really quick and easy to restore the desk since all it needed was a deep sanding to remove the layer of pen and marker doodles.
After I brushed off the sanding dust, I gave the wood two coats of the weathered oak stain, following the directions on the can and wiping it away after two minutes. Then sealed it with a coat of the polyurethane after the stain had dried for 24 hours.
I almost painted the metal parts of the desk, but after polling a bunch of you on Instagram, the winning decision was definitely to leave it in the original black finish and keep its antique value intact.
So voila! A fully restored antique schoolhouse desk. (I have no idea how I got so lucky with this from the THRIFT STORE! How in the world?!)
We’re not quite at the homework stage yet, but for now, I made it a space where Olivia can create artwork here or I can homeschool her a little bit with writing and basic math.
The playroom we’re getting ready to make over ended up being the perfect spot. Since we’ll be making lots of changes in this room in the next few months, I kept it simple so I could easily move it around.
I made this garland out of just twine, paper clips, and a few math flashcards we already had.
And I hung up a few colorful pieces of artwork that Olivia made on a basic clipboard and directly on the wall.
If you want to recreate your own simple homework station, you can find similar sources here:
Olivia is lovin’ this sweet little spot in her playroom now.
And if she ends up scribbling all over it, at least I know it can be easily rescued again. Because really… what good is a desk if you can’t get messy and get creative?
For the next stop on the Back-To School Style Guide, you can check out what my sweet friend Rachel at Maison de Pax created.
And if you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:
Are you already gearing up for the back-to-school festivities at your house? Or do your kids scream at the slightest mention of a back-to-school commercial? If you’re a teacher, I know you’re screaming on the inside too. 😉