Designing A Classroom On A Budget

Get all of your library bins from the Dollar Store.  

Classroom Decor

Teachers spend a large portion of their lives in their classrooms.  We want to enjoy being in our classrooms. So why not make it pleasing to the eye? I promise you that it doesn't have to break the bank.  My top 2 rules for putting together a classroom on a budget are:  1.  Look at what you have before you decide what you want your class to look like.  2.  Only choose a color theme.

Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose
Look to blogs like The Clutter Free ClassroomThe Organized Classroom and Pinterest for classroom ideas. My classroom Pinterest Board has been collecting ideas for me for years now.  Once I have an idea of what my choices are, I look around to see what I have. This is a win-win situation.  You  will de-clutter everything and save the Earth by repurposing items.  Here are a couple of examples:
 The coupon bucket came from my daughter's junk I mean bedroom.  I added stickers and ribbon and there we have a cute bucket that didn't cost me anything.  Now if you don't have stickers and ribbon waiting at home for you, look for sales.  Joann's sells the ribbon on the bucket for pennies on sale.  Walmart has alphabet stickers for $1.  The Target Dollar Spot is stocking decorative tape now.  I stock up whenever I see them.  My rainbow wall in my class library was donated by my aunt.  She had left over streamers and gave them to me.  This wall set the color pattern for my room.  Bright and colorful.  Yes, yes the fire marshal hates me. Just do what you can.  The bookcases are old rusted library carts.  They had seen better days.  So my principal isn't going to get mad when I take duct tape to hide the rust.  If she would have been mad, I would have taken off the tape.  The bench is hard to see, but it is milk crates turned sideways.  I then made a cushion and screwed it into the milk crates.  Now I have a bench that has storage for more books.  There is a tutorial for this bench on my Pinterest Board
Bright Classroom Decor

This is a picture from my classroom last year.  It has a better picture of the bench in it.  Here you can see how it's o.k. to do a little bit every year.  The tool cart came from Harbor Freight.  I waited until it went on sale and had a coupon.  It used to be red.  I primed it and painted it blue and added drawer liner.  I have repurposed this cart now to be my desk.  It holds all of my important junk.

Bucket Seats
I get the most questions about my bucket seats.  My buckets cost $2 from Firehouse Subs.  Firehouse Subs donates my $2 to local charities.  How great is that? There are tutorials for making buckets seats on Pinterest.  I used left over scrap paper and mod podged it to the bucket.  I then put a nice thick layer of mod podge on the top of the paper.  Now mod podge can be expensive.  I have seen recipes where they just add water to Elmer's glue.  Why not give it a try?

When you need to print posters and such, print on bright colored paper.  This makes the room look colorful and you don't have to buy expensive charts.  The Clutter Free Classroom has a great Blackline Design Pack that has schedules, word wall, and other fun stuff in it for around $10.  You could order the copy paper with supply money and print these at school (hopefully).  

So now you have ideas, a color pattern and have taken inventory of what you have.  It's time to set a budget.

Pick a realistic budget and stick to it.  I usually set $100 a year.  While I want a beautiful classroom, I don't want to be poor.  This is my job, don't gasp, but it comes second to my family.  Nothing will make your classroom look better than having it organized and junk free.  Plan out how much you want to spend on duct tape, paint, book bins, etc.  If there is one special item that you want, price it out and see where you can get it the cheapest.  The more time and labor that you put in, the less money you will spend.

I'll leave you with some extra pictures and a funny.  I am changing classrooms next year and moving in with another teacher.  Can't wait to tell you all about it.  She told me she wants to do a Camping Theme. A theme!!!! What? Oh my.  I told her we have to keep my bright colors and will go from there.  My first find for the class was free. I had a friend save their tree stumps (logs) for me and cut them to seat size.  So we already have a fun seating area.  I'll make sure to give you a step by step blog along with prices.

Classroom Decor