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  • Writer's pictureMia Hable

Teachers' Lounge Makeover

Labor day traditionally means the end of summer; parents get a break as kids head back to school. The start of a new school year doesn't just apply to kids, teachers and staff head back as well. Teachers wear so many hats during the day, they are teachers, councelors, and nurses, so wouldn't it be great if they had a space to call their own during the school day? When the principal and assistant principal of St. Genevieve Catholic School reached out to me to ask about doing a makeover for their teachers' lounge, I jumped at the chance to create a multifunctional space for such a deserving group of people. I set out to turn a room that was piled with furniture, school supplies and science equipment into a space that would make the start of a new year a little bit brighter for the faculty and staff at St. Gens. Here is a glimpse at what the room looked like before.

The first step in creating a new space was a fresh coat of paint. I wanted something light and modern feeling, I went with my go to color combination; the upper walls were painted white, while the wood paneling and trim was painted grey. I was lucky to find that St. Genevieve had this paint on hand (no money spent). Next I set out to reorganize the space. The room needed to be multifunctional; as there is no separate copy room. So I divided the room into 3 zones; the dining area, a lounge area, and a work station. It was fortunate that there were multiple large tables that I could repurpose and use to differentiate the areas of the room, a budget friendly solution.

The dining area consists of a coffee station, the fridge, a place for a microwave and to share snacks as well as two lunch tables. The coffee and snack station was one of my favorite spaces to create. I assembled a utility cart from Wayfair and styled it with everything the teachers might need to start their very early days. I placed coffee pods in glass containers and included coffee cups, sugar packets and straws to create easy access for those mornings when coffee is a must! Next to the coffee cart I placed a repurposed table that I DIY chalk painted in Express Blue. A set of modern drawer pulls from HomeGoods, some motivational posters, a bit of chalkboard art and this area was complete!

Of course all dining areas need a space to eat lunch. I repurposed some tables that I found in the room, rearranged the seating to create more space floor space and easier flow. I chalk painted these tables ( Polar Bear) then added a layer of wax to seal the table and allow for easy clean up. I needed to include enough seating for 14 teachers. Rather than purchase all new chairs I chalk painted ten of the old wood chairs in the Express Blue to match the coffee station and reupholstered the seats with some durable upholstery fabric in a graphic grey and white print from Joann Fabrics. This was my first attempt at reupholstering a chair, but with the help of Artisan Upholstery's youtube channel, I was feeling like an upholstery pro in no time! It's amazing that a few coats of paint and some DIY skills can transform furniture so completely. I rounded out the blue chairs with a few stackable chairs from Ikea. Now if they need to hold staff meetings in the Teachers' Lounge, everyone will have a seat!

On the back wall I created a lounge space, with new furniture from Wayfair. I wanted the teachers to have a relaxation zone, where they could have a cup of coffee and chat with each other. I chose a navy velvet couch and two grey and white slipper chairs for the conversation area and paired it with a stylish hairpin leg coffee table, and a bold graphic rug in blue and yellow (school colors) to ground everything. A few fun pillows and a throw from HomeGoods and Target rounded out an excellent relaxation zone. I couldn't resist adding in a little motivational chalk board art. As Chip Gains from HGTV's Fixer- Upper likes to say "Today is a Good Day, For a Good Day". I couldn't think of a better sentiment to impart on these wonderful teachers, who do all they can to ensure that the students do their best, and approach every day with renewed hope. In anticipation that this will be a well loved spot, I sprayed Scotchgard on everything (including the rug)! Now whether they are drinking coffee or working with art supplies the teachers won't have to worry about spills!

The work station presented a few challenges. The copier had to be placed in a particular area (where the outlet was) and there needed to be enough space for the teachers to utilize the bulletin board paper and laminator. The solution: surround the lounge area with tables, paper tower and the copier. Now the teachers will have the option to print out their papers, laminate and organize while standing at the tables or to have a seat on the couch and dig into some grading. Everything in this room had to be organized, within easy reach and multifunctional. Teachers have a lot to do; create lesson plans, look over projects and of course grade papers, and they needed the space to do it. Now the faculty of St. Genevieve has a place where they can relax, eat and of course get some work done in the little down time they might have.

The budget for this project was $1,500 (completed under budget) and I am happy to say that with a little (ok a lot) of elbow grease, a fresh coat of paint and a mixture of repurposed furniture and new, this is now a beautiful and functional space for the faculty to enjoy. The next time the Parent Teacher Association is looking to show your teachers some appreciation, hold off on the Starbucks cards and ask if what they really need is an adult space to enjoy during the school day. I had a wonderful time giving this teachers' lounge a makeover; I couldn't have asked for a more rewarding summer project!

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