Back to School Style Guide – Schoolhouse Desk Homework Station

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.

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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.

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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.)

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.

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHNvB6hjIlA/?taken-by=blesserhouse&hl=en

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?!)

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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.

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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.

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

If you want to recreate your own simple homework station, you can find similar sources here:

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

Olivia is lovin’ this sweet little spot in her playroom now.

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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?

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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:

Back-To-School Style Guide, Antique Schoolhouse Desk Makeover & Simple DIY Homework Station | blesserhouse.com

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. 😉

signoff

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26 Comments

  1. Love the desk…and the cutie in the pics…adorable! Olivia is sooooo photogenic – as are you. But – totally off topic – I have to ask where you got the runners or rugs under the desk? They look like they have painted grey strips. Love them!

  2. The desk turned out great! I’m sure Olivia is going to have a lot of fun at that desk. Playing school was a fun pastime for my brother, sister, and I. We had a small, 2′ x 3′ real slate chalkboard complete with chalk tray hanging on a wall! My brother and I went on to become teachers, and I just retired after 35 years of teaching. That chalkboard? It’s hanging in my kitchen today!

    1. That is so cute! You know what’s funny? My best friend growing up and I used to do the exact same thing. I used to go over to her house where she had two school desks and an easel with a chalkboard and we used to play school with our two little brothers to be our students, who were not as thrilled about it as we were. Haha! I went on to become a teacher too. Thank you for 35 years of dedication to the teaching profession! Wow!

  3. You do know how to get an dead ugly duckling and turn it into a lively, useful swan. Beautiful results, and it appears that someone is loving her new desk. Great job!

    1. Thank you, Ivory! She is having a total blast coloring at this thing… let’s hope she’s as excited about it one day when she has to do homework. 😉

  4. Thanks for including Olivia in the picture – she is so cute!! That desk is wonderful. Thanks for the in inspiration.

    1. I couldn’t get away with shooting this desk without letting her test it out. 😉 She always says, “I’m a big girl” when she’s coloring at it. Thanks, Bonnie!

  5. What a beautiful transformation! I picked up a couple of antique desks last year for our homeschool room. They are needing a little love and I have debated about leaving them as is, or restoring the wood and metal finishes. This post you shared just made up my mind! I think they deserve some love and restoration to really showcase their beauty! (And since my (now) three year old took a green marker to the wood front on one of them, I definitely know what to do now after seeing your beautiful transformation!) Thanks for the inspiration!!

  6. This project really caught my eye because yesterday, on the curb, I found this awesome oak, students chair/desk…you know, the one with the right hand writing surface…
    I quickly loaded it into my car, brought it home, and started sanding it clean.
    Its still in the works, but after I stain it and tong oil it, I think it’s going to be a real gem.
    I love trash to treasure projects. .

  7. My, my it was just yesterday that I was looking at Olivia’s baby pictures. How quickly she is growing. And this is the perfect desk for her. It also fits in very well with the aesthetic of your home. Lauren, will you adopt me as an honorary grandma, since I don’t have any of my own yet? 😉

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