Simplified cottage-style homeschool room

For the past five years, I’ve done a “homeschool room” tour (click through to see how it’s changed over the years) and it’s been interesting to look back at how it’s changed over the years. We’ve never used a dedicated homeschool room, but in our previous home, we had a whole lot of space. Now that we’ve moved to a home half the size, we’ve had to streamline and simplify even more than before. It’s funny looking back because the more I simplify, the more I wonder why I felt like I needed all that stuff.

Not only did we have a lot of STUFF, I’d also clearly not yet figured out that those bright colors and clutter just do not work for me and my brain. I hadn’t realized how sensitive I am to visual over-stimulation. {Hot pink chairs! Stuffed-full bookcases! Brightly colored everything!}

These days, I’ve figured out how to decorate and keep things organized without overwhelming my senses. I don’t know how designers would define my style but I’m going to call it coastal eclectic cottage, gradually becoming more minimalist.

Now, our homeschool room looks like this:

coastal cottage homeschool room at

As before, we don’t have a separate homeschool room but I’ve never seen the need for it. This is the only dining area in the house, so not only does our schoolwork happen here, all our meals do, too. Since homeschooling is such a big part of our family lifestyle, there’s no need to hide it away. But I do like it to be pretty — and tidy.

homeschool room supplies basket

Before we moved, I sold our dining table because I wanted something lighter. (The 5th table in 6 years = evidently I’m VERY fickle about dining tables!) I found this one on craigslist because it was cheap and works for the space. Two chairs were extras at my mom’s house and two came from a local thrift store; I painted them all white for uniformity. That bench is perfect for little kids and easy to clean.

The pie safe was originally a walnut finish, but felt too dark in the new light and bright house. I couldn’t bear to sacrifice it’s storage, so it got makeover. It holds all we really need in the way of art and other supplies we need to access on a regular basis. For even more functionality, I created a computer/iPad charging station, too.

homeschool room storage cabinet

Our old maps had seen better days and I was brutal when cleaning out before our move. I just bought this new one in antique tones but I haven’t hung it yet. I love maps and globes because they remind us there’s a big world outside our house. Related: I’m looking forward to implementing some of the read-alouds in Give Your Child the World, and may even use it as the main focus for my youngest next year.

I thought I could make do with single bookcase (to the left of those big windows) but that was crazy talk. I’ve simplified, but a bibliophile has her limits! With the addition of another double bookcase, we finally have a realistic but not overwhelming amount of book storage. Yes, this was after a giant clean out of books, and I do still have a couple of plastic bins of books we don’t currently need stored in a closet.

homeschool room and living area

High-schooler Kathryn has the freedom to take her work to her room, where she has a comfy reading chair and a small desk. But 90% of the time, we do our work at the dining table, except for read-alouds which happen on the nearby sofa.

One more thing I’d like to incorporate (without getting cluttery!) is a tray or little glass jars with nature finds, perhaps on the table in the foyer, or on the fireplace mantle. I’m still working on that.

**Tour other homeschool spaces, or link up your own post with iHomeschool’s 8th Annual School Room Hop.