Classroom Decor Ideas and Inspiration
Classroom decoration ideas can help you create a calming environment. Today I’m sharing the easiest ways to update your room on a budget. I’m also sharing my favorite bulletin board ideas and transformations!
Creating a Calming Environment
I’ve been teaching for fifteen years. During that time, I’ve read countless studies about the difference a well organized classroom can make for students. The results are even stronger when you have a student diagnosed with ADHD. A more calming environment with less “stuff” can truly help your children succeed. Teachers with well organized and less cluttered classrooms tend to have higher test scores since students are truly able to focus on what matters. Where do you begin? Let’s start with color schemes! (This post contains affiliate links with no extra cost to you!)
Of course, if you have been here for a while, you know I started my teaching journey using primary colors. Instead of having a good classroom theme, I simply looked for anything with those colors. It was easy to find items at garage sales or thrift stores that would match my color scheme. After all, how many times do you see rainbow-themed supplies? The summer before my first year of teaching I just loved to look around at yard sales for EVERYTHING that my future kids might need.
If you want to read about my previous classroom setup, you can go here.
I still use primary colors in my centers and folder bins. Children enjoy the bright colors and they can sometimes add just the right amount of excitement to an activity. Resist the urge to change everything!
Calming Classroom Decoration Ideas
If you are ready to take the leap with me, these are my best classroom decoration ideas and tips to help you create a calming classroom. Although, if you want to skip to a resource that will help you, head here!
After about 10 years of those primary colors, I was ready for a change. Even though they didn’t know it my students would respond to this change in a positive way. This time, I wanted to make sure all of my classroom decorations were intentional and had a purpose. Every single item in my classroom needed to prove useful or it would be gifted or donated to someone else.
First, I made sure to leave plenty of white space. One of the first things I did was tear all decorations and photos off of my door. Our State Fire Marshall has asked teachers to keep their doors plain and decoration free so my classroom door is one place that is now empty. I currently strive to only fill about 25% of my classroom walls with decor. (This keeps the Fire Marshall happy too!)
Throughout the year, we will create and add anchor charts that will be added. The photo above shows how I covered the fluorescent lights with these cloud covers. They are absolutely beautiful. I’ve suffered from migraines for years and really think they helped with those too.
Bulletin Board Ideas
Next, I replaced my bulletin boards with peg boards. There are so many creative ways to use pegboards in the classroom. This will be covered in more depth in a later blog post but it was one of the best ways that I’ve updated the classroom. I no longer waste time changing out bulletin board paper or searching for bulletin board borders. This is such a simple but great way to quickly change out your standards and learning objectives.
Interactive Writing and Math Centers
The peg boards are the perfect place to put my interactive centers. Changing a bulletin board into something that I no longer stressed over truly brought me some freedom. Even better, the unused bulletin boards became interactive centers and work areas where 2 children could sit and CHOOSE what they wanted to work on. If you would like to learn more about how I use interactive writing and math centers, head here!
One of the biggest changes to my room was the implementation of my Sound Wall. If you are following the Science of Reading approach, a Sound Wall that consists of Vowel Valley and a Consonant Wall is so important. You can grab your FREE individual Sound Walls and Science of Reading tips here. I really enjoy using these black pocket charts (affiliate link) for my Sound Wall. It is so nice to keep extra cards in the bottom pocket.
If you are really diving into the research behind the Science of Reading, you need your classroom centers to be organized in the best possible way as well. Head here to read about the centers I use in my classroom.
Donate or Give to Students
The best thing I did was DECLUTTER! I spent time donating items that I no longer used. I know as a mom how much children love to play with teaching materials. Consider sending home readers, books from your classroom library, and games that you haven’t utilized in the last year or so. I can promise you that your kids will love playing with them but you will be secretly sneaking in some learning opportunities and extra practice for them!
My students were sent home with puppets and books. I had so many puppets and was ready to part with some. I showed students how they could help their puppets learn to read or read to their new friends. Then I sent them home with readers from a previous textbook adoption and books I no longer used in my classroom library. They were thrilled!
I donated a kitchen I no longer used to a church and another kitchen to a new teacher.
These are just some of the ways that I made more space making my classroom feel so much larger!
Classroom Decoration Ideas: Exchanging Bins
I exchanged baskets or tubs for ones with texture or calming colors. I went to the Dollar Tree and used their website to purchase 30 white tubs to replace the colorful tubs above my cubbies.
Calming Classroom Colors
I have used my classroom decor bundle to introduce lots of whites, blues, greens, succulents, and other subtle pops of color. Using classroom decor sets like mine will help you achieve a cohesive look. It’s an easy way to create a comfortable and welcoming learning environment. The blue is the perfect accent color to pair with white. I’m in love with the finished result! I’ve honestly noticed that classroom management is easier with the less jarring colors and more space for my students to move around.
Grab the classroom decor pack I created here.
Monthly Tub Labels
Want to try out the bundle first? I’ve created this set of monthly tub labels that you can grab for free by signing up for my newsletter list.
I use these monthly tub labels to hold everything I need for each month. They are stored in hanging file folders with tabs that are labeled “Parent Communication”, “Handouts”, “Assessments”, “Monthly Projects”, “Crafts”, etc. Then I keep ONE (YES! Just one!) copy of each thing I need in the hanging file folders. This will really help you reduce your paper trail and quickly find what you need.
Now, it’s important to remember what to put in the tubs. When you are organizing, you only want to put handouts that are specific for that month in there. Think back to school items for August, Grandparents Day printables in September, and fall things in October and November. Then, items that don’t go with a specific month are placed in other tubs or file folders to make them easy to find.
Classroom Decoration Ideas using Faux Boxwood
This is a little bit of an investment but a small amount can go a long way. I tend to cover large walls with this but a small wall has a huge impact. You can find faux boxwood panels on Amazon or even in the Target Dollar Spot!
Great Work GROWS Here
This is the BEST and my favorite way to display student work. I used faux boxwood and clothespins to quickly change out their best work. Students are even invited to change the work out when they’ve finished something they are proud to show off.
Have you ever tried using wallpaper in your classroom? Me either! I decided to cover up some ugly walls in my classroom. I started by buying wallpaper like this from Amazon . Then I used foam tape to press it on to the wall. I’ve also used hot glue. It works although it’s hard to reuse the wallpaper that way. I just loved the way this turned out and put it on one large wall in my classroom. This made for the most inviting classroom library ever!
Classroom Decoration Ideas using Egg Chairs
Wondering about the chairs? I get so many questions about those! I purchased mine from Walmart. They are kid size and less expensive than the Target ones. However – they are still expensive. My girls used them at home at first and they will return home with me at some point. I love that outdoor fabric is used on them. You can toss the pillows in the washer and it’s so sturdy. Keep an eye out on craigslist or FB marketplace. I’ve seen many people selling these!
I love my center storage. It took me many years to figure out what types of learning centers and organization work best for my classroom. I have 3 Trofast Storage Units from Ikea. This is another item that I decided to purchase with my own money so I can reuse them at home at some point. I’ve been so pleased with them. They hold so much. The kids are really good about cleaning up when they have an organized way to do so.
They don’t know it but these tubs are differentiated according to what they need more practice with! The first set of drawers 1-9 are used with my medium/average group. Then, drawers 10 – 18 are used with my lower ability group. Finally, drawers 19 – 27 are used with my classroom experts. I love to call them experts! I simply change out the drawers as needed to keep them fun.
In a later blog post, I’ll go into this in more detail but students are told to pick one drawer from the set they are assigned (1-9, 10-18, or 19-27). Then
One of my favorite updates was this ombre bookshelf I created. Isn’t she beautiful? Using ombre colors on such a statement piece in your classroom is such a fun idea.
This bookshelf was on it’s way to the dump and an ugly rusty brown color when I first found it. I spray painted it red so it sat like that for years. When I grew tired of the red, I picked out several ombre colors. I set those up in the order I wanted them and set to work on every other shelf. Later, I taped off the ones I was finished with and painted the other shelves. You can see videos of this on my IG page if you are still a little confused. The results were beautiful! I’ve never had so much fun pulling painters tape off. Worth it!
Are you obsessed with mini-erasers like me? We use them in our task cards and as math manipulatives. I love to search for different ones at the Target Dollar Spot. Honestly, I just think they are the quickest way to really up the engagement and get students excited about a not-so-exciting task.
These containers at Michaels Craft Store work perfectly. You can usually fit the whole set into one little box. Your students can learn how to open and close the lids. When we are ready to start a new task that might include one-to-one correspondence or letter formation, I tell the kids to pick out a favorite. They instantly light up! You have provided them with a choice and something that keeps the task interesting.
Classroom Decoration Ideas: Rugs
I have absolutely loved my new classroom rugs. They aren’t exactly new. The first one was repurposed from my living room. The green leafy rug was funded through a Donor’s Choose grant. You can head over here to learn how I use Donor’s Choose with my students.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour of my classroom! I’ll be back with another post soon! Let me know if you have any questions!