When we made the decision to switch our children from public school to learning at home we knew that we would need to make some physical changes to our home. My ideal situation would be to add cabinets in our dining room and make that our main homeschool space. However, that isn’t an option in our current home as our dining room is barely big enough to fit our table. So we went back and forth for about 2 months trying to decide what would the best use of space. Option #1 was to reconfigure our den. Option #2 was to convert our basement bedroom into a learning space or option #3 was to reconfigure our basement play area into a learning area. In the end though, the basement options were ruled out by me because in the winter time it is quite cold down there and honestly it’s fairly dark. Plus, I knew that I would be back and forth to the kitchen and watching the kids outside as well as nursing baby and working on other projects and commitments on the main floor.
So, we made the decision to reconfigure our den and started planning out what we would do and what we would need. Our den was kind of a catch all area in our home. Below are some before pictures. The entry way is an open space in the front of our home. (I call the light fixture in this room ‘the space light’ cause it reminds me of star trek BTW.)
Two years ago my husband built custom shelving in the closet for us. We put all of the kids arts and craft supplies, some extra pantry items like flour and honey and our paperwork for bills etc. in the closet. My husband had a desk with his computer on it and our printer. The small colourful bookshelves held all of our board and baby books and one of the white cube shelves held our other books while the other one held my fabric and sewing items. On the other wall I had my desk and beside that a large double door pantry and then our piano.Once we had made a decision to go head and re-configure the den we started out by making a must-have list that the new space would need. It included some type of table, chairs, a white board, shelving, the piano, the sewing machine and at least one desk. We also knew that we would have to do something with our pantry.
Here are the after pictures:We ended up paring down our pantry a bit and moving it into the closet and sold the cabinet above.We moved my husband’s desk out of the room and put this table in on one wall. We wanted a useful space that would provide options in terms of how we would use it. Right now we only have one chair there. I would like to get a second one but for now my boys actually really like using the yoga ball to sit on (and bounce on!). Really, usually only one child is at this table at a time with the others at our kitchen table and on the couch as they all need some space to work. We added a map on the wall as well as a whiteboard for when we need to write things out. I also usually keep the kids lesson plans on there so they can see what the plan for each day is.This is actually what the table typically looks like as I like to get all the books out the night before and then they kids put them away as they finish with them.The sewing area and storage is still pretty much the same as it was. Right beside there is the photography bean bag that I made with a pillow so the kids have space to sit and read. This fun clock is on the wall above it. My children have fairly messy writing but I am just now learning that part of the problem is that they did not learn to write their letters properly. I decided to put these printables up around the room. I really liked how they showed upper and lower cases in printing as well as cursive altogether. Above the piano we removed the pictures and added two of these shelves from Ikea.Then we picked up this Kallax unit and put another one on top to make the best use of the space.The top cubbies hold the kids school books divided by subject along with some of the supplementary material that we have. The scissors, glue, tape etc are all on the top shelf as our daughter likes to get into things!
The lower 3 shelves hold the kids books, games and arts and crafts items.Above our desk we have a family tree that my son filled in for us and under the desk is hiding a massive printer/scanner/copier.
And that is it! It was a slow transformation taking us about two months in total but now it is done and the space is a happy one and an organized one. Between the purchases and the sale of the pantry and an extra desk we ended up spending about $175 with the majority going towards the shelving and some containers.