Schoolhouse Eclectic: 14 Design Ideas Using Vintage School Supplies in Your Decor

Schoolhouse Eclectic: 14 Design Ideas Using Vintage School Supplies in Your Decor

Amelia Lawrence
Aug 12, 2017
(Image credit: via Wit & Delight)

In case you missed it, school's almost back in session, and I'm feeling all sorts of nostalgia. Whether your school days were spent learning writing and arithmetic, or typing inappropriate words into your Ti-84 graphic calculator (did anyone else do that?), the common denominator of scholastic memories was probably the school supplies involved – gel pens, Crayola crayons, and Lisa Frank binders, to name a few. But those things don't necessarily translate into home decor unless you're Lisa Frank herself, so I'm here to show you a few (older) options that will surely have you jumping on the "schoolhouse eclectic" bandwagon by first semester.

Maps, biology posters, and rulers are all fair game, but schoolhouse eclectic style extends far beyond to the chemistry and horticulture obsessed. Gather some old chemistry vials and beakers as seen above, and display your favorite blooms and branches throughout the year. No need to refinish, they'll fit right in as is.

(Image credit: Better Homes & Gardens)

Gallery walls don't have to be all framed and perfectly packaged. Using old (or new) clipboards to display art prints is an affordable alternative and falls right in line with the schoolhouse eclectic look, as shown by Better Homes & Gardens. Plus, you can easily change out your artwork whenever your room needs a refresh. Just measure out the placement of each clipboard, add a nail or pushpin, and hang away.

Carry the school decor into your nursery like the space from Smile & Wave using old alphabet or math cards, clothespins, and twine. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

(Image credit: Design Improvised)

If you can get a hold of an old school desk, cheers to you! Update it with copper spray paint, and a painted pattern on the desktop, like this tutorial from Design Improvised, and you've got the perfect addition to a bedroom or child's after-school work area.

(Image credit: Keep Smiling Home)

If you were wondering if you can paint your appliances, the answer is yes. If you were wondering if you could paint your appliances with chalkboard paint, the answer is also yes. While chalkboard isn't everyone's cup of tea, this project from Keep Smiling Home is well suited for the most committed of schoolhouse eclectic homes. You'll never forget to buy milk ever again...

Expandable rulers are an amazing resource for home decor, whether it be for holding a slew of postcards and photos, or as a retractable lamp arm, like this lamp from Marie Claire. I vote yes to all things expandable ruler!

Maps could possibly be the easiest form of DIY artwork. They're great for filling large blank walls, they're fairly easy to find in most antique shops, and they can be framed numerous ways: traditionally or with wooden dowels and a pair of hooks like this piece from Smile & Wave.

For the bold decorator, why not make a statement piece using vintage rulers as flooring like this all-American installation from the Savannah College of Art and Design, previously featured here. If flooring scares you, start with an accent wall or framed piece using the up-cycled tools.

For the bookworm, card catalogs are a heartfelt must in a schoolhouse eclectic home. Refurbishing a vintage catalog and adding a set of hairpin legs like Emily Henderson's classic piece (as seen on sounds easy enough, and the result is stunning.

(Image credit: Country Living)

How about making a pendant light out of an old globe? Country Living can show you how.

Large scale art is in. Learn how to frame vintage school posters with Style Mutt Home's tutorial so you can jump on the trend-wagon.

Got old textbooks you weren't able to send back? This project from Sanna & Sania might be the most expensive nightstand out there (remind me again why textbooks are so expensive?), but it's got schoolhouse eclectic written all over it. Paint those pesky books with white spray paint, and stack away.

(Image credit: Brit & Co)

For a more modern take, old cafeteria straw dispensers can be made new and are ideal for keeping your desktop clutter free. They can be customized in just a few steps, as seen in Brit & Co's tutorial.

(Image credit: Oh Happy Day)

And no schoolhouse is complete without a wall calendar. While I'm all for vintage finds, an up-to-date, modern calendar might be a more practical option for your home. Check out Oh Happy Day and see how they made their own acrylic calendar.

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