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Decorating My Sister’s New Home Schooling Room

By 09/09/2019September 30th, 201952 Comments

This weekend my sister Elizabeth was home alone without the kids. Her husband took them camping with a friend.

No one and I mean no one can get me to pick up a paintbrush except my sister Elizabeth. It literally hurts me to paint. My neck and shoulders are instantly sore and my body usually takes days to recover.

This is the reason I have never painted one single room in my own house! But I have painted a lot in my life. You can’t be someone who chooses paint colours for a living and NOT know how to paint.

So when she told me she was going to paint the neglected office/storage room (above) that’s located right beside her most beautiful room in the world, I raised my eyebrows.

‘Do you have any idea how to cut in?’ I inquired doubtfully?

‘Nope, but you can show me right?’ She responded with a twinkle in her eye. Knowing I might end up showing her how to do it by doing it all anyway, haha.

Well since I get just as excited as she does about a new decorating project, she was right!

My sister has been homeschooling my two sweet nephews for a few years now and her husband mentioned it would be nice if they had a dedicated spot to do their school work instead of just sitting at the kitchen island.

Since you look right into the office from this room, I suggested we paint the room the same colour as the x ottomans (below):

Turquoise Ottoman | White Painted Fireplace | Custom Drapery | Decorating with Pink & Blue


BM Rolling Hills Green

Also, this colour will clash badly with their old world map so I found a new one:

Need a new world map for that room

We have a budget of $2000. So here’s what I put together today.

The best way to know if everything you’ve found online will work together is to group them all on  a Pinterest Board or photoshop, or a power point presentation.

This is why our eDesign department is so busy and successful.

Then, it’s important to read the reviews because the comments will often give away if the colour is true when it arrives.


Office chair | Desk | Drapes | Printer Cabinet | Flush Mount Light

And then, we read the reviews on the curtains and someone even posted a photo of what they looked like when they arrived:

So unfortunately, we are back to the drawing board on looking for curtains. She ordered the desks but we’ll wait on the chairs until we find the off-the-shelf-curtains.

Pretty is slim in pre-made curtains. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love if you’d post them in the comments!

Here are some other homeschooling rooms I found:

Love this huge room with cubicles! How cool is that:


This one is so creative with a photo of each child above their work station:


And you don’t have to have a dedicated room to home school your kids!

The furniture blogger

Here is what my sister has to say about homeschooling her boys:

Markus & William

I wanted to homeschool from the very beginning because I enjoy spending every minute of the day with my boys.

My husband had different ideas so we ended up enrolling them at our local school.

By the time my oldest, William, was finishing grade 2 I saw a drastic difference in his behaviour. My usually happy-go-lucky boy was not happy anymore. I could see he was depressed and he would complain a lot about not having enough time to play and make all the projects he had planned in his head.

In Kindergarten he had been so social and confident and over just a few years he was not that. The summer before grade three, I convinced my husband that we needed to homeschool our boys because I couldn’t watch my dear sweet boy suffer anymore. The boys were both overjoyed and we haven’t looked back.

William has blossomed and is back to my joyful, happy, creative boy that he was before school. The boys are busy all day long building, creating and also getting some schoolwork in too. The house is always a mess as many of you have seen through Maria’s before and after pictures, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is my dream job and I’m so thankful that I don’t have to work outside the home.

The longer I homeschool, the more my husband and I are convinced it is the best thing we could’ve done.

They are able to explore their passions and learn what they want to learn and also being able to spend hours on a project such as a popsicle stick boat.

I know they will be ready for life because they live in the real world everyday whether it be going to a bank appointment with us to renew our mortgage or going to a doctors appointment with grandma.

I can go on and on but if anyone is thinking about doing it I say absolutely go for it.

Okay, I also wanted to mention that my husband noticed the stress level went down in our house as well because he would come home from work and instead of the kids and I being stressed from the days events we are happy and present with a warm welcome home.

Colour is Timeless

Here are my sweet nephews, hanging out in their freshly painted home school room!

I’ll post the before and after when I have them!

How many of you noticed a difference with your kids once you started homeschooling?

If anyone has a source on where I can find the leafy (not tropical) curtains, please post it below!

Also, I’d love to write a post about my colour wheel. If you have questions on how to use it and photos to go along with how you’re using it, please email them here.

Related posts:

The Best Colour for your Child’s Bedroom Furniture (before & after) William and Markus room

The Two Kings of Muck Mountain on Elizabeth Avenue (when they were MUCH younger)

Smile Sweetly and Ask Nicely When You’re on Vacation

3045 pins


  • Sherry says:

    Have you ever checked fabricland for curtains? I’ve had some good luck there.

  • Brenda says:

    Maybe not for this project, but Pier 1 has some lovely curtains. I found some green leafy ones but they have a very different look.

  • Lillian YORK says:

    The review of the curtain that showed the picture was the curtain in the 01 pattern, NOT the 05 pattern you wanted. So maybe they would still be ok!

  • Sarah says:

    I am CERTAIN my teen daughter keeps my husband and me in the loop and still talks to us due to the connection maintained from being together every day in homeschool. She needs someone to tell things, and I’m always handy. Lol. It has also forced us to work through struggles and weaknesses together—ouchy sometimes, but worth it. But we do have fun. And I get a front-row seat to watching her mature. What a challenge, and what a blessing!

  • Lisa says:

    You might check out for curtains. They have cute patterns in a variety of colors.

  • A-L says:

    These don’t seem like the green of the wall, but it appears to be a similar green to the curtains you originally chose (and the chairs). It’s also called the Brayden Studio Clayfield Geometric Room Darkening Grommet Single Curtain Panel at Wayfair for a higher price.

  • Laughed when I saw the blue painted room and thought why are there rolling pins on that wall? Shows I’m not around kids and looking on a small screen. I, too, was going to say try buying the ones you like and if they’re terrible, send them back. Someone was sharper on noticing the different color was the one reviewed.

  • Claire says:

    Lauren Liess has some beautiful curtains that she designed. Nature-inspired yet homey and a bit rustic.

  • A-L says:

    Another option might be these curtains from Pier 1. It has the green of the chairs, but it also brings in the aqua from the backs of the chairs in the library (aka, the most beautiful room).

  • Lorri says:

    Go to Etsy and search for “Leaf Curtains”. There are lots there! You can order the exact size you need.

  • Elaine says:

    How about Ikea

  • Lorri says:

    CORRECTION: Go to Etsy and type in “Green Leaf Curtains” and you’ll get the results you’re looking for. A fantastic source!

  • Ronna Snyder says:

    Retired homeschool mom of four. My claim to fame? None of them have felonies. They all speak to me and my hub of 43 years. And they all live within 30 minutes of us (with all 8 of our grands). Extra-dividend? None are on welfare, all work in amazing jobs (3 of them together as a team) and all have spouses who work in amazing jobs. Soooo proud no one grew up to be a serial killer. Am I serious? Well, yeah, sorta. Homeschooling back in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s (18 years in all for the four kids) was fairly unheard of. So much so, it was illegal in our rural school district and the state of Washington itself. But I just didn’t feel right about sending my country kids off to spend 80% of their waking hours with a perfect stranger…..kinda like when that perfect color of aqua chairs isn’t quite so perfect when set next to an even MORE perfect aqua (writes she who follows Maria Killam). Anyway, I defied the law. Made friends with the school district peeps. And the Congresswoman for our area. Joined up with 8 other homeschoolers and literally wrote the law that’s on the books in Washington State making it legal to homeschool—at a time when most didn’t even know what that word meant. At any rate, my young kids didn’t go to public school until the first (when he was a sophomore in high school). He got straight A’s and became the JV quarterback (because, heck, Mom, there are SO many plays to memorize). A dang shame on my part for not figuring that puzzle-piece out. The second, our only daughter, entered in 8th grade. Also straight A’s. And a cheerleader. The third, at 7th grade. (Class-clown.) But still made honor roll and then state varsity football and basketball in high school. The fourth at 4th grade—the heartwrenching one. The singleton left behind in a quiet home in the country. THIS was a tough one. Still got great grades. But sooo hard on me as mom. Hard on him as a kid. I have no frame of reference for change once I started homeschooling as that’s how we started (homeschooling wasn’t even a word then). But. When they entered school? Different changes for each kid. Adapting. Learning how to make choices. (NONE of which had to do with academics.) All got good grades. But within a year? Some “settled”…..”Mom, no one cares about grades”. And, unfortunately, in many ways, they were correct. It was a rural country school. A B+ was just as good as an A-. Hello?, NOT. But, by then, I had to let them make choices. When they went on to college (which all did), I had to do so even more. Homeschooling is NOT for the faint of heart. Would I do it all again? I’m not sure—especially with sons. I think there reaches a point where boys need to be in the company of boys/men to get their “set-point”. Being with Mom is just too-too much estrogen after about 13-14 for boys. That said, as a result of homeschoolers from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, (and the advent of online instruction) there is far more educational stimulation. The sky really IS the limit. (We were fortunate in that my husband had a business than enabled the boys to be part of it at a young age–they were all working heavy equipment in their tweens. Surprise-surprise, all three are builders, excavators and/or developers with their lone sister as the Realtor riding herd on the ones she can corral at any given moment. Can’t comment much on color here except I adore your blogs. My daughter, the Realtor, and the staging genius in her development follow you and referred me to you—but I WILL say homeschooling colored my parenting years in ways I’d never imagined. If your sis wants to pow-wow about it, have her e-mail me at: [email protected]. We’ll schedule a talk. And, yes, it’s likely to be VERY “colorful”.

  • sandyc says:

    Maria, I’ve had good luck on occasion at Pier 1 also and I have curtains that I purchased from World Market several years ago that I love, love and still love. They don’t have nearly as much as they used to but there is set of Indigo Ikat Concealed Tab Top Curtains. They aren’t anything like the curtains you picked in pattern or green color but the BM Rolling Hills Green appears to have more blue in it on the color circle as well as on the wall (computer monitors are notoriously off most time) and some of the circles in the Indigo Ikats seem to have a similar tone. Of course, none of it seems to match the green office chairs which appear to be a more yellow green like my office chair. It might be worth taking a look. I’ve also had good luck in the past at Bed Bath & Beyond. Although recently they haven’t had much of interest, I briefly scanned and they do have some green prints so that might be worth a look as well. I wish you luck because I’ve been searching for green too and it is really hard to find anything. I’ve tried the Amazon route recently and have ended up sending two sets of curtains back (at least they have an easy process for doing that).

  • Sheila Gustafson says:

    Checked the link to the curtains and I think the woman whose order you saw may have mistakenly ordered a different option. It’s the first option out of all the choices on Amazon. Take a look at it…

    • Maria Killam says:

      Thanks for that suggestion! I thought of that too but couldn’t figure it out, I’ll look again! Maria

  • Donna says:

    A friend had beautiful long curtains from Lowe’s or Home Depot. Surprising place to look.

  • ann says:

    I have used ikea ritva panels many times…just double them up if you can sew a straight line 🙂 How about adding a green ribbon trim on the leading edge or all the way around? Then you would have nice custom looking draperies that look happy and sophisticated! easy peasy 🙂

  • Greetings from Ottawa! I homeschooled my two boys and it was the best gift we have ever given our family! They are now 23 and 25 and they are flying high! Any financial sacrifice you make is totally worth it. You don’t get those years back! Always open to questions, if you have any.

    I too am looking for pre-made curtains for my living room. Looking forward to seeing suggestions.

    Thanks Maria!

  • Stacy W says:

    I’ve recently sourced curtains from, spiffy spools and also Regal drapes.

  • Carol says:

    I would definitely look into. Curtains come beautifully packaged.

  • tara dillard says:

    Had to smile, at the Before pic. Human Nature deeply ingrained with spaces we need to have function for us, beyond the point of utilitarian, yet instead, aren’t fully organized and harm their usefulness. Yet most never realize it could be wildly more functional, and gorgeous too.

    Coming from Garden Design, 3 decades, and ‘The Garage’. How many garages have been organized , to the point of leveraging helpfulness, in all my years with clients? Correct, none.

    Began including the garage, and its arrangement, to more easily caretake the home, inside/outside. Often this includes two sets of tools, for garage, and daylight basement. Access to clippers, blower, broom, wheelbarrow, often the difference between getting something done, timely, or not at all. With the latter, in a garden, it leads to, unfortunately, hired help. Hence, having more tools, cheaper.

    Have had several clients thru the years that homeschool. They all had leveraged their spaces to be more useful/gorgeous. Interesting. Yes?

    Mud room, garage, closets, sheds…………mine must all leverage my life easier, and prettier.

    Those boys look Happy !!

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  • Penelope says: has a couple.

  • Yvonne says:

    We homeschool our girls and have done so right from the beginning. My son from a previous marriage struggled in school all the way through highschool and as a single working mom homeschooling was not an option.I knew if I had more kids there was no way they would attend public school. We did opt to use a co-op so twice a week they attend ‘school’ for a full day and they love it. The education they get is far above what public schools offer…and they are happy!

  • Charlotte Rinehart says:

    Absolutely loved your explanation of helping Sis and the boys! I hurt after painting, as well, so I understand your love for
    them! Can’t wait to see the results.

    What I loved most is the joy your sister has by home schooling her young men. I am way past the age of home schooling but it is exciting to learn that it is a joy, not a burden, for mother’s and sometimes fathers! I hope the readers who have considered the huge responsibility can see the joy that your sister has. Excellent!

  • Sheila T says:

    I’ve had success with tablecloths and flat sheets at Target. Some of the patterns and colours are on-trend. Check the online store.

  • Lucy says:

    Maria ya just got to love your followers! Just reading all the comments is an education! With all of the suggestions of where to find the curtain panels I’m sure you will find them or something similar. As far as homeschooling I am all for it! Public schools don’t teach the things I learned growing up anymore. I wish I had tutored my boys when they were in grade school but I was able to put them in a private school where they got an excellent education. I did let them go to public high school however and they were far ahead of their classmates. They turned out to be very responsible adults and can think for themselves. I am proud of them!

    I’m looking forward to seeing the finished classroom! Also I would love see a post about your new color wheel. I absolutely love mine and am using it alot! Thank you again for your generosity!

  • Pam says:

    Tell your sister to enjoy and embrace every minute with her boys. In May 2020 my homeschooling career will end after 18 years with my son. I have already begun to grieve the loss. I have loved having this time with him, reading books together, following his passions, seeing him grow and thrive. Every year after 6th grade, I have allowed him to choose. He always chose homeschool. He has played basketball, varsity football, and competed on air rifle team, winning state and regional awards. He is a kind , sensitive gentleman who cares about others. I know he is ready for life and all that it brings and he knows where home is.

  • Ana Maria says:

    Anthropologie has the prettiest curtains

    These are most similar to the ones you had chosen but maybe the others will give fresh inspiration.

    Thank you also for the homeschooling info!

  • Millicent Yount says:

    I homeschooled my kids too! It was a great option for us. My children are successful adults, and I’m proud of who they are. I applaud you for doing this too!

  • Hello Maria and Elizabeth! I am very excited to hear about this new project, and I look forward to seeing the before and after photos – and also the finished project in real life when I visit. William and Markus must be thrilled!

    Love, Lea

  • Martha Intrieri says:

    A source of well made window coverings is surprisingly Vermont Country Store. They bought Country Curtains last year and carry the same products. Good quality, large selection, and some clean colors. Love learning about your projects!

  • Beverly Leeck says:

    I have a really good workroom whose owner is really knowledgeable when it comes to cost effective fabrics, which are wider and self-lined. I get to chose from many patterns and fabrics and the end result is so much better than online guessing. Also, I have access to ready made drapes through an interior decor shop that carries several lines. I then see exactly what I’m getting and they’re very cost effective. Sorry, they are in Edmonton, but there should be many in Vancouver.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Beverly,
      I have access to inexpensive fabrics and a workroom as well if necessary, but it still adds up to more than $69.99 a panel from IKEA for example. . . we are on a budget for this room 🙂 Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Beth L says:

    I’m looking for affordable print curtains, and you’re right, pickings aren’t great!

    I loved hearing Elizabeth’s story. The best I ever did in my life was homeschool my three girls all the way through high school. They are all wonderful women who love and are well-loved.

  • Gwyn says:

    My cheat for curtains with texture:
    If i don’t need them floor to ceiling, is to buy extra large Peshtemal throws on etsy. There’s all kinds if you look around. The diamond weaves are gorgeous.

    If I need them static on a rod, I fold generously over the top to give a tier and show off the handmade fringe and sew a casing. If they need to be opened and closed lot, I flip the tops over for that tier effect and suspend them from rings with clips from Ikea. This is what I do for shower curtains. I don’t even use a liner since they are easy to take down and wash about once month. Just be sure to get them made from linen and not cotton to stand up to the constant damp.

    Oddly enough I’ve found some pretty floor length curtain at Urban Outfitters. They tend to be sheer so I layer them with rattan blinds.

  • Dana says:

    I homeschooled my 3 children — now 25, 23 and 20 — and I don’t regret it for a minute! The time we had together as a family is priceless and they all consider each other best friends. It was a sacrifice but one that has reaped a hundred fold. Keep up the good work, Elizabeth! There will be days when you are tired and just want some peace and quiet — but it is over in a blink of the eye. My daughter was telling someone not too long ago — “We sat on the couch and read a lot!” That about sums it up but they are all excelling in their chosen professions.(2 commercial pilots, 1 horse trainer) Thank you Maria for a wonderful blog!

  • Ana says:

    Fun to read about Elizabeth‘s experience with homeschooling too. I have ordered curtains and fabric from this website successfully. Something might catch your eye. A local seamstress made simple curtains for me from the fabric.–textiles/fabrics/fabrics-sold-by-the-meter/?q=&colour=Grön&p=1&sort=Popularity
    Can’t wait to see more.

  • Patsy Urbanovsky says:

    Maria, the room looks great – I homeschooled my 4 children all the way and they are now ages 20-32 and wonderful adults with productive lives. I don’t regret a minute of it. I spent 25 years of my life on this and can’t think of a more important thing I could have done.

  • Candice Hill says:

    I just saw a new display at Bed Bath and Beyond. All leaf patterns in different colors. But all solid colors. 2 panels per pkg. but only 31″ wide per panel.Also, Penney’s has some leaf pattern drapes in long lengths, with an actual off white(they called cool white), just for some extra information. ?

  • Becky S. says:

    I love reading about about homeschooling families (there is such a huge homeschooling population now!). We’re contemplating homeschooling ourselves. Best wishes and a new homeschooling room would be SO FUN!

  • Ann says:

    We homeschool! In fact, I had to laugh when I read your kitchen island post because it’s where all the educational magic happens in my home; I love my huge island! My kids actually attend a one day a week classical cottage school that provides class instruction and work for the rest of the week. It’s really the best of both worlds: the positive aspects of school and the flexibility and lifestyle we enjoy with homeschool. I’m just thankful we enjoy so many educational options in this country and you can choose what’s best for your family!

  • Diane says:

    I purchase fabric from Fabric Guru, and look in their remnant section. Often fabric is 75% off. I recently purchased 12 yards of Duralee fabric for $28, including shipping & tax. It did have a very slight flaw, but as a drape, you’ll never see it. Making drapes is fairly easy if you can measure and sew in a straight line, even lined drapes are simple. You do need big work tables for layout, pinning, etc. It might be a good home school project!

  • Little added colors bring new life to the designs. We at Interior Designers at Hyderabad take an opportunity to appreciate your article on Interior Designs.

  • Carmela says:

    Hey Maria

    Wayfair has a lot of green and white leaf patterned curtains. I am enrolled in their professional program and they have been fabulous with me and my orders. Give them a try. By the way, green is one of my favorite colours, so fresh and happy. Love it
    Can’t wait to see the after pics

  • Christine says:

    I saw these when I was out shopping yesterday and thought of your request. They do have a lot of blue in them and not just green but a good price point.

  • Laura Talbot says:

    When my Daughter gets her home-school room finished I will send a pic! Halfprice drapes is a good source – they will send you 10 swatches free of charge and have a good trade discount program. I have found their colors fairly true (not always) and their prices for the quality good. Here is an option

  • Rebecca Campbell says:

    We homeschool and it is wonderful for our family. We do have a room we call an office that is half computer area and half school area with an arm chair for me. The kids prefer sitting on a milk crate, lol. They use a folding table so we can move the table when we’re doing other things but I’m thinking about getting them a table/work bench that attaches to the wall and folds up and down.

    The cubicles in the example photo look cool but they won’t create the collaborative feeling of homeschool with everyone separate and looking at the wall.

    Looking forward to the after pics.

  • Rhonda says:

    We homeschooled our five children for many years, and this post brought back so many happy memories! I will say, the stress increased greatly when they went to school!! Wish I had pics of our homeschool room, and can’t wait to see the nephews’ new place to learn. My best to Elizabeth and her boys!!

  • Julie says:

    Reading your sister thoughts on homeschooling brought many fond memories of the years I homeschooled my 2 kids, now 25 & 22. it was the best thing for our family and I have no regrets. I still miss it after 4 years.Yes, there were hard days, but so worth it. The relationship my husband and I have with our kids now is priceless and I contribute that to homeschooling. It gave us to time to invest in each others lives and our family. If you are thinking about homeschooling I say give it a try.

    I love the paint color and look forward to seeing the after pictures.

  • Marina says:

    Hi Maria,

    I love children and adore being in their living spaces and play with toys😅 👧🏼👦🏻 .. All kids want their own room with nooks and handmade cabins, and I like this vivid emerald color chosen for boys. This is one of my fave colors, BTW .. 👌🌊
    I think homeschooling is good for shy and slow children, as they can learn faster at home where they can concentrate and not compare themselves with others. Besides, often in the class the teacher spends too much time on all children, so the teaching slows down. However, I think homeschooling is not for all kids. For boys the social aspect of homeschooling is a problem, as they need a masculine teacher, who will be more strict with them, and a boys’ company, as guys are very social. Homeschooling is for boys who are responsible by nature, like Steve jobs, who managed to succeed without studying much. I also think children should attend complicated subjects like math, especially in higher grades, as it is hard for parents to teach them. But the literature, languages, history and geography are the right subjects for home teaching.. So yes, I fully support the idea of making a kids’ room, where they will create their own small world .. 🌍🎸🚗🕹🔭🧸📝📚

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