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schoolhouse pendant lights

Guest Blogger | Schoolhouse Style All Year ‘Round

There’s nothing like September and autumn’s promise of a new school year to get us nostalgic for the past. From freshly sharpened pencils and crisp notebooks to the smell of chalk dust and the ringing of the final bell, the end of summer will always be synonymous with back-to-school. But even if your school days are long gone, you can still harness that first-day excitement – all year long – with a few touches of schoolhouse style at home. Here are the essentials:


Chalkboards: Who doesn’t remember getting covered in chalk dust while clapping out their teacher’s erasers? Though many schools today have replaced traditional chalkboards with more modern technologies, schoolhouse decorating is all about nostalgia. Hang a board in the kitchen or entryway to display recipes, upcoming appointments, and family notes, or try using chalkboard paint on a wall or piece of furniture.


Lighting: Schoolhouse lights come in a variety of designs, from milky and opaque, to clear glass fitted with classic Edison bulbs, to modern and colorful, but they all invoke the same sense of old school style (pun intended!). For a truly modern twist, opt for one of the new LED versions.


Desks: A vintage school desk is the quickest way to give your home a schoolhouse aura (bonus points if the chair is attached or the top lifts open). Made for children, vintages desks are usually fairly small, making them the perfect addition to a kid’s room or a quiet corner.


Lockers and cubbies: No schoolhouse would be complete without a place to stash your books, bags, and other personal items. Whether you like the look of worn vintage lockers or prefer clean, contemporary cubbies, these pieces not only contribute to the educational atmosphere of your home, but they also provide additional storage (and who doesn’t need that?). I love them in places where clutter can get out of hand, like a child’s bedroom, a playroom, or a mudroom.


Globes and maps: There’s nothing more scholarly than globes and maps, and these geographical tools are available in abundance. Arrange a collection of globes in varying heights and styles atop a bookcase or use a giant wall map to create a focal point in library or nook. Or, take it a step further and try one of the many map wallpapers that are readily available.


Clocks: Though we may look back at our school days lovingly now that they’re long gone, let’s be honest: most of our time actually in school was spent looking at the clock in anticipation of the final bell. Needless to say, that clock is forever associated with schoolhouse style. And while the clocks of our childhoods were nearly always black or red, today’s versions come in endless color options.


Vintage educational charts: Plant cross-sections, the human skeletal system, an illustrated alphabet – if you learned about it in school, chances are there was an educational chart to accompany it. Typically made of canvas or very sturdy paper and hung on wooden dowels, these hand-drawn teaching tools are hugely popular in the interior design world. While originals can be a bit pricey, beautiful replications can be found for a steal and create the quintessential vintage aesthetic that schoolhouse style craves.


Stacks of books: Round out your schoolhouse style with books upon books. Neatly lined up in bookshelves, heaped haphazardly on a desk, or piled carefully on a coffee table, however you stack ‘em, books for décor (and reading!) will never go out of style. Tip: If you love the library look but don’t have the wall space, use one of the many book wallpapers now on the market to achieve a similar effect.

Guest blogger Melissa Andersen is a writer, editor, blogger, and social media manager/consultant for clients such as And North, Kaufmann Mercantile, and The Cousins from HGTV

School desk photo via Flickr, vintage lockers via Sundance, vintage educational chart via Etsy

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