Create in 8!™ Back to School Design Inspiration

It’s that time of year again….back to school! Surprisingly there are so many possibilities for using a school theme in design. At the beginning of the year, we participated in the Big Fake Wedding event in Los Angeles and created a number of looks based around a schoolhouse theme. The results were fun and imaginative, reminding us of bygone days of notebooks and sharpened pencils. These designs aren’t just limited to weddings however, you can incorporate out of the box, school-inspired ideas into a variety of social events, whether it’s a PTA function, a fall birthday, or even as home décor. In this post we’re going to share 8 elements of design to add that cool back to school flair into your everyday.

1. A Pretty Palette. We took inspiration from natural autumnal hues for our designs. Warm reds, sage, light blues, and hints of blush and cream kept the look soft and natural, while little pops of bright green echoed the apple theme we had on one of our tables.

 

2. Puzzles that are Anything but Puzzling. 

Puzzles made of wood are a great way to infuse back to school charm into your designs. We used a large wood puzzle in the shape of an old fashioned schoolhouse as our guestbook, asking guests to sign a piece when they came in. This idea makes for a special and memorable opening to any event.

 

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

Smaller puzzles make perfect name cards. We used these puzzles in the shape of apples to designate where each of our guests would sit at one table, and handwrote each name in cursive to lend even more school-age flair.

 

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

3. String Art on a Shoestring Budget. String art is everywhere right now! And for good reason. It’s such an eye-catching and inexpensive way to incorporate color and artistry into your design. We created a sweet bird and heart design for our sign-in table. To get this look, simply trace or draw your favorite design on a piece of wood, and then hammer in small nails along the outline of the shape to serve as the base for the string or yarn that you will “connect the dots” with in overlapping, random patterns.

 

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

4. Apples Galore! Every teacher needs an apple on her desk, so to bring that quintessential fall fruit into your tablescape, fill tall, cylindrical vases to the brim with fresh apples and let them take center stage. This design is quick and cost-effective, and since you might already have vases and apples in your home, it’s a simple way to bring that autumnal school style into your living room décor.

We also used apples as a finishing touch for our place settings at the same table. Imagine this look at a fall dinner party or for a September bridal shower brunch. Super cute!

 

 

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

5. Rulers Rule. Rulers can also be used in surprisingly innovative ways. We transformed a simple piece of cardstock into a table number with three horizontal lines at one side, a large black number, and the words “Loved Beyond Measure” on the front. This look is easily achieved on a word processing program or you can draw it by hand if you’re feeling adventurous.

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

You can also use actual rulers as name cards. By cutting the rulers in half and then lettering names on the front in pretty calligraphy, you’ll end up with a cute and smart design.

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

6. Practice Your Cursive on Chalkboards. For this look take a small, lined chalkboard and write out the table number on the front in cursive. Easy peasy!

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

7. Delightful Dishes. Keeping in line with the old-fashioned charm of our theme, dishes that give a nod to the past work perfectly. On our apple-inspired table, we used plain ceramic plates that were reminiscent of retro cafeteria wares, and then we glammed them up with elegant gold chargers. On our other dinner table, we used pretty yet simple vintage china, which lent itself well to the quaint schoolhouse feel. Both types of dishes you might already have in your home, but if you don’t, thrift stores house literal treasure troves of cool vintage plates and china sets at a steal.

8. Sweet and Simple Florals. Minimalistic floral arrangements work well for a back to school theme and are easy to execute. Small blooms placed in tea light holders, like the ones on our sign-in and apple inspired tables, give the idea of fresh picked wildflowers exchanged between school-age sweethearts. 

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

This larger arrangement is also a lovely and understated look that you can quickly pull together with fresh flowers straight from your neighborhood market.

Peterson Design & Photography

Peterson Design & Photography

We hope you found this post helpful and that you’ll try out some of these designs this season!