It was that time again. Nights were getting cooler. Flyers were advertising fresh pencils and pens. Letters from teachers were arriving in the mail. It was time to go back to school time and mom had plans. Plans that involved upgrading the playroom from a place filled with toys and primary colors to a place that would allow focus and learning and productivity. I wanted a…Homework Station.
My children are 9, 7, and 4, so there’s still a lot of playing going on around here, but not as much as there was a few years ago. They are in school a lot and when they’re home, their playing has changed.
While spending some time on Pinterest, I found some amazing inspiration, but was really struck by one homework station from Postbox Designs, which was clean, simple, and had enough space for three chairs.
I started to build a homework station “must haves” list in my head.
I wanted to make sure the space had:
- enough room for three (growing) children to have their own chairs and work space—and potential to someday hold a computer or three.
- paper storage for study guides and long term homework
- a display board for tests and artwork
- school and craft supply storage
- a simple, more sophisticated look
In an effort to save money and materials, I toyed around with some ideas for repurposing two different tables we already had. Unfortunately, both possibilities would have made it awkward for 3 children and chairs–which was absolutely essential. Ultimately, we decided if we were going to totally redo our room and if we intended for our children to use it for years to come, it was worth spending a little bit of money on a new surface.
We had purchased butcher block counter material from Ikea in the past and were pleased with the look and quality, so I headed back there to look around. When I saw the Karlby counter and fell in love. I loved the wood, the stain, and the simplicity. It was exactly the look I was aiming for. I was a little disappointed when I found out it was not solid wood all the way through like some other butcher block options, but it was the perfect length, so we wouldn’t be exposing any of the inside. Plus, this can be sanded and refinished, if needed. Additionally, the particleboard inside makes the counter lighter, which was helpful for how we intended to install it– mounted to the wall with legs for support.
After I scooped Karlby up and took him home with me, my vision came together. I was going deep and dark with the wood and the walls and I’d rely on white and gold accents and natural light to brighten it up. I decided on Gauntlet Grey by Sherwin Williams. It’s on the darker side but not too dark, it’s oh-so-pretty and is in the same pallet as Mindful Grey, which is what many other parts of the house are painted.
Fun Fact: Home Depot will make any color from any company. You can save a boatload of money and still get the color you want.
Homework Station Installation
After the painting, it was time for the installation.
The first thing installed was a 2×2 ledger board that was 5 feet long onto the wall. Since the counter was 7 feet long, we cut the ledger board to 5 feet so it wouldn’t be seen from the sides of the homework station. We calculated how high we wanted the table to be, then subtracted the thickness of the table. We also made sure the ledger board hit multiple studs so it would provide enough support for the counter top.
After we had the ledger board in place, I painted it grey. This step was probably a little excessive, but it ensures that even if you can see the ledger board, it blends in with the wall and doesn’t stand out like unfinished wood might.
Once the ledger board was installed, painted, and dried, it was time for the fun part! We flipped Karlby onto his back and installed 4 legs to his underside. We measured carefully, installing two legs on either end, then two evenly spaced in the middle. This left us with three perfect spaces for three little chairs for three children to sit.
Now, the exciting part. Are you ready?
I used chairs from the aforementioned tables I failed to repurpose, so those were free. While they aren’t a perfect match, they are good enough for now. Maybe someday I’ll refinish them, but not today. You’ll see those in a minute.
Now for storage and decor.
I found gold desk lamps for less than $7, so you know I had to scoop those up.
We brought in a Raskog Cart for supplies and coloring books (This ended up not being a great solution, but more on that another day) and mounted a shelf up top for decorative purposes. I also added some decor, both store-bought and homemade to finish off the space.
And that’s about it. Are you ready for ALL THE PICTURES?
We finished this project up just as school was starting.
I have never seen children so excited to do their homework.
I think this space will be really useful for our family in the coming years. There’s room to work and room for computers, should they be needed. For now, though, we’ll stick to art projects and homework.
Overall, we spent about $350 on this space. $200 was for my best friend, Karlby, and his legs. The rest was the cart, storage baskets, grid panel, lamps, and paint. Overall, I’m very pleased with our choices, although I think if you were on a tighter budget and got more creative you could do a similar space for less money.
Love it? Hate it? I’d love to hear from you!
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