Too Cool for School: 9 Ways to Bring Home Classroom Style

Driven by a slow and steady love of nostalgia, old school accessories have been trending into home decor in recent years, showing up in both home catalogs and thrift shops. As schools modernize and upgrade, castoff supplies and old furnishings are turning up at secondhand stores and flea markets, making it easier than ever to pull together a well-studied aesthetic. Check out our classroom favorites, and gather inspiration for some schoolhouse decor that will really make the grade.

  1. Framed Chalkboards

    The Chalkboard

    Forget about spelling lessons! A well-placed chalkboard lets you concentrate instead on dinner menus, family reminders, or your favorite quotes. Frame a patch of chalkboard paint to mimic the classroom's real deal. (Cue flashbacks to staying after school to write "I will not forget my homework" a hundred times.)

  2. Pull-Down School Maps

    School Map

    Because you're never too old to learn something new, an old school map works as both decoration and a sixth-grade geography refresher. If maps aren't your cup of tea, with a little digging you can find a variety of pull-down styles featuring everything from botany diagrams to anatomy lessons.

  3. Teachers' Desks

    Classroom Furniture

    If you liked being head of the class, you'll love getting your work done at a teacher-style desk. We're fond of the extra storage space these old stalwarts provide. For an especially coordinated look, put old students' desks to work as bedside tables.

  4. Ruler Lampshades

    DIY Lampshade

    If you have time to do a little homework, create your own lampshade from old rulers or yardsticks. The worn wood adds extra warmth to any lamp and pairs especially well with industrial hardware.

  5. Card Catalogs

    Card Catalog

    Once home to thousands of cards decipherable only by those familiar with the Dewey Decimal System, these classic wooden cabinets make the perfect home for craft supplies, jewelry, and other small items. Tap an old filing cabinet (the big brother to a card catalog) to use as a substitute for dresser drawers.

  6. Typewriters


    Nothing says "old school" like a typewriter. If you find one in working order, keep it both on display and hard at work printing embellishments to your decor—we love the look of a typed menu at each place around the dinner table. And don't worry if you can't find a functioning typewriter; a defunct one will still catch plenty of eyes.

  7. Old Hardcovers

    Old Book

    Vintage textbooks and novels don't just look good, they also add a scholarly vibe to any office or living room. Scatter groupings of them throughout a room or arrange them by color for pleasing aesthetic value.

  8. Locker Storage Units

    Locker Room

    An old-school locker is the perfect place to store jackets in the entryway or toys in kids' bedrooms. If you don't find a tall set in working order, break down smaller lockers and use them for storage in a custom standing table. Just make sure you don't forget the combination!

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