Decorating your classroom does not have to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. Check out the following classroom decoration ideas for easy and affordable ways to transform your space for you and your students!
1. Add some greenery to brighten up your room and boost your mood
Greenery will brighten up your classroom, but studies have shown that plants can even improve your mood in a variety of ways. Plants can make you happy by lowering your stress, boosting your well-being, improving your productivity, and more.
If you’re anything like me and can’t keep living plants alive, then you can opt for some inexpensive fake greenery! While artificial plants don’t have the exact same host of benefits, they can still improve your mood. Even looking at landscapes and scenes of nature can give you a boost in positivity and concentration! My classroom or workspace would not be complete without fake flowers, which I usually find at the Dollar Tree, Target Dollar Spot, or on clearance at craft stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics.
2. Create or buy a set of affordable posters for a bulletin board or bare wall
You can buy posters at a store like United Art & Education or Lakeshore Learning, but those purchases can quickly add up. Plus, you can’t personalize them to fit your classroom and its theme (if you have one). After buying too many stock posters my first year, I decided to look into teacher-created poster sets on Teachers Pay Teachers. Eventually, I designed my own to fit my classroom theme! To create your own posters, I recommend PowerPoint. Just set your slide size to 8.5×11, find some cute clipart and fonts, and create!
Teachers Pay Teachers has countless options for affordable posters and complete decor sets. If you’re interested in my bundles, you can check out my travel/adventure posters here, my nature/growth mindset/writing posters here, and my watercolor reading quote posters here.
3. Use $1 frames to give your posters some class
If you create or purchase a set of posters, you can elevate their look with inexpensive frames from a dollar store. I actually did this with the front pages of The New York Times to create a fun display for my journalism and newspaper students! I often referenced elements of these pages during my lessons so it was functional AND decorative. You can find front pages through Newseum or a Google search.
4. Repurpose old planner pages as wall art
If you feel like you wasted money on that adorable planner that you abandoned after a month, then this hack is for you! Remove the cute pages before each month and then repurpose them in cheap frames for cute wall art! The prints below are from my Happy Planners and the frames are from the Dollar Tree.
5. Find cute decor & organizational supplies at the dollar store
Speaking of the Dollar Tree, it’s a gold mine for decorations and organizational supplies like bins, caddies, and trays! The framed art can be hit or miss, so you have to check often and dig through the piles of frames, but you can find some great stuff! I created my coffee corner with adorable coffee signs and even designed different spaces like the “bistro” and the “cafe” in my flexible seating classroom.
6. Skip the Cricut: Print and cut letters for bulletin boards
You don’t need a Cricut to create beautiful letters in your favorite font! Simply print your letters one per page and cut. 700-800 point font works the best. Cutting does take some time, but it’s mindless work, so I like to turn on Netflix and crank it out. It’s worth it for the extra touch it adds to bulletin boards like this one below!
7. Cover an ugly, bare wall with a tapestry
If you inherit a classroom with an ugly wall full of nail holes or peeling paint, cover it up with a tapestry! I found the ones pictured below at Five Below and Target. Walmart and Amazon also have some, and I’ve even heard of teachers using decorative shower curtains as tapestries.
8. Decorate drab surfaces with decals
This is another Dollar Tree classroom hack! (By the way, I’m not sponsored…just a teacher who loves a bargain!) They have some amazing decals that you can use to dress up drab surfaces like ugly filing cabinets or drawers. I stalk the store every so often and always find a few new ones. These decals are easy to apply and remove!
9. Give your desk a facelift with some wrapping paper
This is such an easy way to brighten your desk and make your teacher area feel more “you.” Find some cute wrapping paper and packing tape, and cover your desk to give your space some extra flair. TJ Maxx and Marshalls are my go-to stores when I’m looking for cute wrapping paper.
10. Add a little sparkle with some lights
A few string lights can make your classroom feel magical! I love to buy lights when they go on sale after Christmas. I’ve also found outdoor lights on clearance at the end of summer at Target.
11. Use fabric instead of paper for long-lasting, attractive bulletin boards
This is the one hack that might not be more affordable initially, but it’s worth it in the long run: Use fabric instead of paper for bulletin boards! It lasts longer, it’s easier to hang up, and it looks so much better. Plus, it gives you so many options for your backgrounds. You can find fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michaels. Don’t forget to use your teacher discount!
12. Transform your surfaces with contact paper
You can find a roll of adhesive contact paper for $5 at Walmart. My favorite is the faux marble, and one roll is more than enough to cover a table! This table is actually a Goodwill find that I spruced up with this stuff. It’s amazing!
13. Use fabric or burlap to create cute borders for bulletin boards
Add a little extra flair to your bulletin boards with fabric or burlap. This can stand alone or complement your existing borders. All you have to do is bunch/scrunch (whatever you want to call it) and staple your fabric. Don’t worry about it being perfect; it’s not supposed to be! There’s no science to it: just bunching/scrunching and stapling!
14. Print out your standards or learning targets so you don’t have to re-write them every day!
I used to write out my learning targets on my board each day, but I quickly grew tired of it! Instead of rewriting the same standards time after time, I created a mini-poster for each of our power standards (learning goals). I inserted these into page protectors, and then hung them up where my students would see them every day. You can find these templates here!
15. Create a low-prep bulletin board!
I remember being overwhelmed with my blank bulletin boards my first year of teaching. In fact, I would be lying if I said I didn’t decorate all of them. Some stayed empty for entire years because I never found the time or ideas to design them. I’ve since realized that bulletin boards can be as easy as you make them. If you’re out of time and ideas, go with the classic “Student work coming soon” board and just slap some student work up there when you have a chance! If you have a little bit of time, but don’t want to spend money on posters or decorations, consider the following options:
A PUNNY BULLETIN BOARD
This one is self-explanatory, and it may only be amusing to pun aficionados like me…but my students always got a kick and/or cringe out of it. Google puns and memes, print them out, add a punny saying, and there you have it: A pun-derful bulletin board! It’s the pun and only. Okay, I’ll stop.
A “TAKE WHAT YOU NEED” BOARD
All you need are some post-it notes to create this incredible interactive bulletin board. Simply write motivational quotes and compliments on the sticky notes and place them on the board. If your mind is drawing a blank, just Google inspirational quotes, and you’ll be set! Encourage students to take a sticky note whenever they need it. If you want, you can even allow students to jot down happy quotes and add to the collection (with your approval).
BONUS TIP: The famous wood wall…
This one is not easy. In fact, it takes forever. But it’s my personal favorite “hack” for making a classroom look homey: the wood wall! You can find this fadeless paper at your local teacher store or on Amazon (affiliate link). It’s just regular bulletin board paper, so I stapled mine to the walls. I have a tutorial saved on my Instagram story highlights if you want to see the process of covering my wall!
I hope these tips help you create a space that you and your students love! If you would like to see more photos of my classroom and gain insight on my design process, check out this post on my flexible seating. For more tips, pics, and tutorials, head to my Instagram! While you’re here, let me know your favorite classroom decoration idea in the comments!