We’ve all been there: your classroom is looking a little dated or worn down. Maybe you’re just feeling uninspired and need some help sparking creativity into your classroom decor! Luckily for you, we have some easy-to-implement tips that will help you transform your classroom from boring and dreary to a place where learning, innovation, creativity, and conversation flourish.
Before you dive right in and rush out to Target, Dollar Stores, etc., there are some things that need consideration. Your classroom is your students’ “home away from home”. Excluding the weekends they spend most of their awake hours during the school year in it. Spend some time thinking about how you want your classroom to look and feel!
Your Classroom Decor Affects Student Learning
You probably never contemplated how your classroom decor affects student achievement, but it is significant. The role of emotions in learning is powerful. The emotions our students experience every day have a huge impact on how they learn and remember information. This is because emotions drive attention, which in turn drives learning and memory.
The look and feel of your classroom influence your students’ emotions. A classroom that is warm and welcoming and appeals to the students’ interests creates positive emotions. Those emotions are the first step in capturing your students’ attention, and subsequently their learning.
Select a Classroom Theme or a Color Scheme
We want our classroom to be a place that kids love, but why not also make sure it is a place that YOU love as well! One of your first steps is to decide if you want to decorate your classroom around a color palette, or if you’d rather have a classroom theme.
Why is a Theme or Color Scheme Important?
A theme or color scheme gives your classroom a put-together and cohesive look
I have been in many classrooms where there’s what I like to call “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” This type of classroom has several different themes and there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to the color or pattern choices. Some things might be in bold primary colors and others in subdued pastels.
A color scheme or theme is one of the first things you should start with when designing a classroom. You can create any look from modern and chic to vintage rustic, but it all starts with picking your colors!
When selecting colors for your classroom make sure that there is one primary color plus two to three accent colors – what’s important here is a contrast in order to keep everything looking put together. For example, if we were using turquoise as our base tone then grays and a hint of yellow would be perfect accents!
A common theme bonds your students and builds classroom community
Maybe your theme is a safari theme and you are Mrs. Johnson’s Jungle Cruisers or you have an Ocean theme and your classroom is Mr. Newman’s Crewmates. When students have that common connection and are excited about their theme, they are quicker to adapt to you and their fellow classmates and build a classroom community
Your classroom theme can be incorporated into lessons
Your classroom theme isn’t likely to only be for fun! You can incorporate your theme into your lessons. Maybe you have a Camping Theme and your students can write stories about their camping adventures. Maybe they have time telling exercises about how long it takes to set up a campsite. Having students write scary stories is always a fun activity for a camping theme classroom.
This way students will be engaged and interested in what they are learning because it’s in some way relevant to their classroom.
Your classroom decor can inspire your students
You want to create a space that can inspire your students to dream and learn and grow. The environment that you create in your classroom sparks their creativity in all exercises and lets them dream of the bigger world around them.
I like to display posters with motivational quotes in my classroom. I usually create them to coordinate with my theme.
Finally, you can choose a classroom theme or color scheme that’s just plain fun! This way your classroom feels like an escape from the norm and kids will be excited to come into class every day because they know it’ll be different than what they’re used to.
The Do’s and Don’t of Classroom Decor
1. DO select a color scheme or theme that will appeal to all your students.
When selecting a theme for your classroom, it’s important to think about what your students are interested in or the message you want your room to embody. One mistake I have seen many teachers make is decorating their classrooms with things they personally like and not taking into account the interests of their students.
Sunflowers, flamingos, pineapples, farmhouse– these are all great themes for children’s rooms but might be less than ideal if most of your students would rather see footballs or superheroes as part of the décor plan.
2. DO select a theme that is timeless
Certain themes are popular for a short time and then they run their course. Changing your classroom theme can get expensive, so choose one that will be useful for years to come. Llamas, cactus, sloth, and pineapple themes are just a few that were quite popular a few years ago.
Timeless themes will remain year after year. Some examples of timeless themes are:
- The Ocean
- Jungle or Safari
- The Farm (mainly for preschool and primary grades)
- Bees (mainly for preschool and primary grades)
3. DON’T overdecorate
- Be deliberate about the things you decide to display in your room. Leave plenty of white space. Nothing makes a room look cluttered and distracting more than having each inch of wall space covered with a chart or display.
- Leave plenty of space to display student work. When your kiddos see their work covering the walls, it gives them ownership of the classroom and builds classroom community. There are so many decor items to choose from but think about the things that are really essential in your classroom
- Make posters like color and shape charts smaller by printing them 2 to a page.
You can get a free copy of this Classroom Decor Checklist in The Teacher’s Toolbox, our FREE Resource Library.
4. DO Consider painting just one wall as an accent wall
Too much color is not always a good thing! Does your classroom have one wall that could be a fun focal point? Consider painting an accent wall or maybe you’re super artistic and can paint a mural on one of your classroom’s walls.
5. DO label everything and use tubs and other containers to organize and store your materials.
If you’ve ever had to move your classroom you know just how much STUFF ends up packed in those rooms. Grab some tubs from Target or Amazon and get organized so all of that stuff doesn’t drive you crazy. Bonus: Labeling all of those tubs and supplies will help your students keep everything organized so all of that work isn’t on you.
6. DO Prioritize your needs.
Your first few years of teaching your classroom most likely won’t have everything you want. Set expectations without spending too much time on Instagram or Pinterest looking at other “perfect” classrooms. Maybe pick one area you want to focus on each year that would make YOU happy and increase the joy you feel in your classroom. I’ve always loved a good reading corner with a rug like the one below.
Finally, make sure that whether you choose a classroom theme or color scheme, your classroom looks just plain fun! This way your classroom feels like an escape from the norm and kids will be excited to come into class every day because they know it’ll be different than what they’re used to.