Every morning, we gather in the living room/dining room. These conjoined rooms are the hub of our home, the place where we spend the bulk of our time. We eat here, read here, talk here and homeschool here.
Our house is small, so this is also the place where we entertain guests. It’s a space with multiple functions, and the decor reflects that.
Today, I’m going to walk you through this space. These aren’t professional photos and our house will never grace the pages of a magazine, but it’s home. If you’re wondering how to homeschool in a small space, perhaps some of these ideas will inspire you.
This is our dining room. I love this room. My favourite piece of furniture in the house is in this room—an antique sideboard, passed down to us from my in-laws. I painted it a slate colour and replaced the knobs. I also distressed it (since I knew that if I didn’t, my children would). Above it is a plate rack from IKEA, which I painted to match the sideboard.
The sideboard holds tea towels, table cloths, place mats, charger plates and some of the decorative items that we use for tea time. The plate rack holds our best china, which we use for special occasions and poetry tea times.
I love to change up the decor, depending on the season or occasion.
Our spacious dining room table was a wedding gift from my husband’s grandfather. We can easily adjust the size by adding in a leaf, making it the perfect table for homeschooling, entertaining, or just smaller family dinners by ourselves.
On top of the plate rack is a small, painted set of drawers that contains pushpins and small craft supplies such as brads and googly eyes.
I picked up this wooden herb box at Winners several years ago specifically for pencils, pencil crayons, scissors, paint brushes, etc. Please excuse the fact that it’s a bit messy in the picture. Staging photos is not my area of expertise. 🙂
I found this large world map at Michaels on clearance. It was the last one and I had been looking for something like this for a while, so I snagged it immediately.
My in-laws found the vintage globe in their garage and passed it on to us, as it was my husband’s when he was young. I love globes.
In the corner, a cart from Michaels holds books and our pet supplies. The lid provides a place to store loose papers and other unsightly things.
A framed chalkboard is a handy place to write down lists, memory work, etc. A large shelf keeps the books we need for the year easily accessible. Bins provide storage for smaller items. The vintage-style picnic basket on top holds all the little things that I want to keep out of the kids’ reach. (Side note: That was the basket my husband used when he took me on a birthday picnic and proposed many years ago. I always get a little gushy when I look at it.)
I absolutely adore the dark blue globe, inlaid with semi-precious stones. It was a wedding shower gift from my oldest sister, and one that I will treasure forever. (Have I mentioned that I love globes?)
Our easel has a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic whiteboard on the other. We use the chalkboard for grammar practice, chore lists, poetry memorization, math practice and more. The whiteboard holds all of our All About Spelling tiles, and we use it exclusively for that subject.
My daughter’s budgies are our new classroom pets. Aren’t they sweet? We keep them in front of the window.
I hung the bulletin board on the wall that’s least likely to be seen from the living room, since bulletin boards always look a little cluttered to me. It’s a great place, however, to tack our latest correspondence from Letters From Afar, as well as our All About Spelling progress chart, a continent map, vintage war correspondence, and some other interesting things.
Moving on to the living room…
This was taken around Christmas time, but not much has changed except the pillows. The most important thing to me in a living room is that it’s a comfortable place to curl up with a book. We’ve had these discount couches for twelve years now. (The set includes a loveseat and overstuffed armchair.) The cushions need to be resewn in places and we’ve had to reinforce the seats with boards, but they are still functional, easy to clean and perfect for reading.
To the left of this sofa is a repurposed night table. The drawer holds all of our library materials and the bottom holds quilts and blankets to keep us cozy on cool days. Again, we try to utilize our limited space as best as we can.
In the corner of the living room beside the love seat is another repurposed piece of furniture.
This night-table-turned-side-table is fantastic for storage. I scored it for free then painted it with chalk paint and bought some fun knobs from a store down the street. The drawers are deep and hold an incredible amount of stuff. (I’m just hoping that the picture is grainy enough that you can’t see the way my daughter kindly coloured on top of my paint job.)
In the interest of keeping it real, do you see this door? That shelf is what’s behind it.
Let’s keep this messy little secret between us though, okay? The shelf behind the door holds the girls work bins, as well as our writing and math manipulatives. As long as the door stays open, no one even knows it’s there.
The work bins themselves are simply brilliant.
I purchased the bins from Michaels, and they’re the perfect size for the girls’ school books, with an insert that holds their favourite writing utensils, a rolled up work mat and their recorder. (I’m still not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to teach them recorder this year…😂.)
Notice, by the way, the lack of a coffee table? A couple of years ago, we got rid of our living room table so that the girls could have room to sprawl out and work, play and even (once a year at Christmas) have a sleepover. Oh my goodness, it makes the room feel so much bigger.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of our “homeschool room”. Despite its imperfections, I love our space. Ours is a home to be lived in, and we do it well.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.