Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops

Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops

Claire Hurwitz Staszak’s desk.

Have you ever heard the old saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place”? Organization helps foster productivity, and fall is an ideal time to reset and get organized. Whether you are heading back to the classroom, or need a little office update these local resources have you covered!

Desks & Storage

Pro Tip #1: It’s hard to get much work done without the all-essential desk. Keep your storage situation in mind as you’re choosing your ideal desk. If you’ve got ample storage you can go with a more streamlined look, but if you need to hide your clutter you’re going to want lots of drawers!

Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops

Check Out This Local Shop: Mint Home has refurbished more than 2,000 pieces of furniture! Shop owners Keisha and Jessie have a great eye for Mid-century Modern styles and color. There are ample options for desks and storage. My back to school picks are a vintage orange highboy ($499), ideal for storing art supplies, lots of paper, and all your fabric scraps in this bad boy! I also like the white desk with vintage brass hardware ($299), perfect for the glamour girl, just add flowers and your to-do list.

Mint Home is located in the North Center neighborhood, 2117 East Irving Park Road.

Pro Tip #2: Many retailers who sell refurbished furniture will also update your old pieces in need of some love. Think twice about what you’ve got in the house, at grandma’s place and double check the alley! A paint spray booth and new hardware will work wonders on just about anything.

Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops

Check Out This Local Shop: Owners of MegMade, Meg and Joe started painting furniture to save money while decorating their first home. Fast forward a few years, and they have a huge showroom and warehouse stock-piled with furniture and a state-of-the-art spray paint booth. MegMade also will refinish and paint your furniture in need of an update. My back to school picks include a French-style pale mint desk ($555), for the traditionalist who loves vintage charm. Also a great find is the blue wooden small storage piece ($320) for the Mid-century enthusiast who needs a few more drawers to store office supplies.

MegMade is located in Roscoe Village neighborhood, 2415 West Barry Avenue.

School Supplies & Artwork

Pro Tip #3: Inspirational quotes are great motivators! Pinned on a bulletin board or neatly framed, inspirational artwork is perfect for the dorm room, home office or anywhere for that matter.

Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops


Check Out This Local Shop: You’ll recognize owner Jenny Beorkrem’s style, because you’re sure to know her first brand and company Ork Posters ( Her brick and mortar shop Neighborly Chicago expands on her graphic sensibility with a curated collection of artwork, inspirational prints, unique school supplies, and gifts. Most items are locally or artisan made which makes the shopping experience even better. For back to school, the perfect knapsack ($75) in a classic ochre color, an organization caddy that’s way cooler than the pencil holder you had in school ($30) and a graphic and colorful notebook to fill with your thoughts ($9).

Neighborly Chicago is located in the Ravenswood neighborhood, 2003 West Montrose Avenue.

Pro Tip #4: It’s always a good idea to stock-up on extra paper goods, thank you notes and greeting cards. You’ll always be prepared for that co-worker or teacher’s birthday with thoughtful items on hand!

Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops


Check Out This Local Shop: Former ad agency executive Chandra Greer opened GREER, the kind of stationary and gift store that you’d imagine in your dreams. Artful displays are everywhere you look and you’ll get lost reading cards and perusing the pretty things for hours. Autumn isn’t autumn without the Rifle Paper Co. 2016 birch floral planner ($33), the old school blogger journal ($14) and rainbow note block ($14.50).

GREER is located in the Old Town neighborhood, 1657 North Wells.

Retro Accessories

Pro Tip #5: Have it feel like summer camp all year long with some artfully placed accessories that say “I love summer” even when you’ve got the back to school blues.

Back to School in Style with Local Chicago Shops

Check Out This Local Shop: For vintage with a big dose of prep school head to Brimfield. It’s the perfect spot to find signage, storage, vintage blankets, furniture, basically everything you need to style your study space like it’s the coolest retro summer cabin ever. Don’t miss the one-of-kind storage units like this industrial metal cabinet. It’s the perfect way to organize all your school or office supplies! The wall of sweet plaid blankets to (Brimfield is named after a type of plaid). Cozy up with one of these bad boys while you’re studying away.

Brimfield is located in the Andersonville neighborhood, 2519 North Clark Street.