How to Decorate a Classroom

Three Methods:Make a PlanGet CreativeGet the Students Involved

A visually rich classroom welcomes,supports and inspires student learning. Get your entire class involved for a fun project that encourages creativity and teamwork. Here are some helpful ideas for decorating a classroom.

Method 1
Make a Plan

  1. Image titled Decorate a Classroom Step 1
    Think about who you're decorating for. Identify the grade level, subjects taught, and cultural context of the students. The classroom décor needs to be visually stimulating and age appropriate.
    • A cartoon alphabet might be perfect for 5-6 year olds, but won't impress a class full of teenagers.
    • What are your student's interests? What are they studying? The classroom décor shouldn't just look nice, it should be functional too. Maps, posters of division tables or examples of letter-writing formats can be visually appealing while also reinforcing what the students are learning.
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    Envision the way you want your classroom to look like. Take a blank sheet of paper and do a rough sketch of what your classroom would ideally look like. Think about the layout, the furniture, the color scheme and the theme.
    • Be realistic. Take into account the amount of space available, the existing furniture and how much artistic freedom your school is willing to give you.
    • Get the kid's ideas too. Ask them to draw what they'd like their classroom to look like - you don't know what ideas they might come up with!
    • If you're really stuck, ask local artists to come in and brainstorm with you!
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    Establish what your school will allow you to do. Sometimes your redecorating plans might be restricted by what the principal or school board will allow you to do. You might have complete freedom or you may be limited by a number of rules. If in doubt, it's always wiser to ask for permission first.
    • Will your school allow you and your students to paint a mural on the wall?
    • Are certain areas of the classroom reserved for things like announcements and school notices?
    • Can you use the outside walls of the classroom?(Some teachers use the hallways outside their classrooms for large art projects.)
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    Figure out what materials are available. See what materials are at your disposal before you go shopping for supplies. If you already have paint, colored paper, glue or any other art supplies you can save yourself time and money.
    • Things like vases, floor cushions and file folders can also go a long way in making your classroom feel comfortable and organized.
    • Ask other teachers if they have art supplies or room furnishings that they are not using or planning on getting rid of.
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    Consider your budget. There is a huge variation in how much money teachers spend on decorating their classrooms. You don't need to spend a fortune to make your classroom look good, but if you're completely overhauling your classroom, you'll probably need to drop some cash - how much is up to you.
    • Figure out if your school provides an allowance for teachers to decorate their classroom or if you'll have to fund the decorating project out of your own pocket.
    • Art materials can usually be found pretty cheaply but if you need to get rugs, lamps and wall hangings everything can start to add up.
    • If money isn't an object and you're not creatively inclined, there are plenty of classroom supply websites where you'll find beautiful, pre-made classroom decorations.

Method 2
Get Creative

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    Pick a theme. Planning your classroom décor around a certain theme can help simplify the decision process and is a fun way to make your classroom more visually appealing. The sky is the limit when it comes to picking a theme, but here are some of the most popular ones:
    • Space: Cover your walls in shiny CDs to represent planets and have kids cut stars, comets, rocket ships and satellites out of gold and silver metallic paper. Turn your teacher's desk into a space station control center by adding rabbit-ear TV antennas and big Lego "buttons". Create mobiles of the solar system to hang from the ceiling and make a picture board with a photo of each student in the center of a star - if you're good with special effects, use the computer to make it look like they're in an astronaut suit![1]
    • Hollywood: Buy a red carpet runner to turn your classroom doorway into a red carpet, turn student lockers into star-dressing rooms by sticking a gold star with the child's name on the outside and display student's work on a "Wall of Fame."
    • Western: Make a bulletin board of "Third Grade's Most Wanted" and add a photo of each child wearing a mustache and cowboy hat. Put a campfire in your reading center using rolled-up brown paper for logs and some gray stones circling around to hold it all together. Cover reading cushions with denim or bandana print fabric.
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    Pick a color scheme. Choose a color scheme for your classroom. Try to stick to 2-3 colors, this will help give a clean and consistent to your classroom décor.
    • If you're painting the walls, stick with one block color - multiple colors or patterns can look too busy and be distracting.
    • Remember - you'll have to live with your chosen color scheme all year, so choose wisely.
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    Focus on useful displays. Classroom posters shouldn't just look pretty, they should also display helpful learning materials which students can easily refer to at all times. If you can connect classroom assignments with visual projects, done with lots of color and strong graphic design elements (titles, borders, matting, and composition), then your room will be the envy of all the teachers.
    • Hang up posters featuring all kinds of helpful information - from multiplication tables, to French verb conjugations, to lists of capital cities. Use these posters as teaching materials during your lessons and your students will appreciate their value.
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    Personalize it. Personalizing your classroom with photographs and student artwork will create a unique and meaningful environment for your class.
    • Showcase student artwork, creative writing and photos from field trips and class activities.
    • Try to use student-produced material to decorate your classroom, rather than posters or decorations you bought in a store. Have the kids work in groups to make their own posters, containing the information they think would be most helpful - whether this is an explanation of tricky math problems or guidelines for doing cursive writing.
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    Google "classroom decoration ideas" for further inspiration. The possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating your classroom, and the internet is your best resource for ideas. Whether you're decorating on a budget or trying to make your classroom stand out from the rest, you're sure to find inspiration online.

Method 3
Get the Students Involved

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    Organizing the troops. The best, most enthusiastic decorating team you'll ever find is sitting right in front of you - your class! Getting your students involved in the decorating process will save you both money and time, while also bolstering the kids' sense of class pride.
    • Split the kids up into teams and assign each team a different project to work on.
    • Try to rope in a few parent volunteers to oversee each team and help with some of the more complicated stuff.
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    Making paper whirligigs. Whirligigs are a fun and easy classroom decoration that kids can make themselves. Once the kids have decorated their whirligigs with bright colors and patterns, they'll look fantastic hanging from the ceiling!
    • Decorate a paper plate any way you like. Try using lots of color, glitter, feathers and plastic jewels. Make sure to decorate both sides.
    • Cut the paper plate in a spiral pattern, starting from the outside and working your way to the center.
    • Punch a hole in the center of the plate, then tie with colored string or ribbon.
    • Hang the paper whirligig from the ceiling and watch it twirl in the breeze!
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    Making papier mâché. Papier mâché is messy and time consuming...but kids just love making it. Plus the finished product looks fantastic. Use paper mâché to make baskets for putting things in, masks to hang on the wall, sculptures of animals. Anything you can think of really.
    • First you will need to tear newspaper into lots of long, one inch thick strips.
    • Then you will need to make a glue mixture. You can do this using either two parts white glue and one part water, or one part flour and one part water. Blend your chosen mixture together until smooth.
    • Dip the newspaper strips into your mixture, remove any excess, then smooth onto whatever surface you're covering.
    • Repeat until the entire surface is covered, then leave to dry thoroughly.
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    Making woven paper baskets. Teach your students how to make pretty, woven paper baskets out of different colored card. Use the baskets to hold toys, pencils or art supplies, or alternatively, hang the baskets on a piece of string and drape across the ceiling for a creative and eye-catching display.
    • Take a piece of 12 inch (30.5 cm) by 12 inch (30.5 cm) colored card and draw two lines - one at the 4 inch (10.2 cm) mark and the other at the 8 inch (20.3 cm) mark - all the way across the card. This will help to mark out the placement of the bottom of the basket.
    • Then turn the piece of card 90 degrees and cut it into 14 strips - each 1/2 an inch wide.
    • Weave these pieces together - seven going in one direction and seven going in the other.
    • Take a wooden box with sides measuring four square inches. Place your woven strips of card over one side and adjust it so that the score marks on the card line up with the edges of the box.
    • Take another piece of card (in a contrasting color) and cut out another twelve strips, each 12 inches (30.5 cm) long and 1/2 an inch wide. Glue each strip to a second strip to make 6 extra long pieces.
    • Turn the box on its side and weave the long strips of card horizontally though the card folded vertically over the sides of the box. Turn the box to complete each side. Tuck in or trim the ends of each horizontal row before moving on to the next.
    • You can add the finishing touch by creating a border around the top of the basket. Glue two 12 inch (30.5 cm) by 1 inch (2.5 cm) strips to the outside edge and two more to trim the inside, once you have removed the box.
    • Use some ribbon or wire to make a pretty handle for the basket, if you like.
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    Drawing creatively. Everyone knows that kids have the most fantastic imaginations. Why not let your students loose on a blank piece of paper and see what wonderful ideas they come up with? Hang the pictures on the wall for an imaginative display, inspired by every child's unique personality.
    • Try using different materials. Give the kids access to crayons, pencils, markers, chalk and paint. Each will produce a completely different result.
    • Give your kids a prompt. Ask your students to draw their families, their favorite animal or their best memory. You'll be amazed and amused at what they come up with.
    • Try making scratch art or melted crayon stained glass windows.
    • Try using stencils or let kids trace their favorite picture.
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    Taking care of plants and animals. Plants and small animals can add color and life to any classroom. Teach your students about responsibility by assigning a student every week to water the plants or feed the class pet.
    • Fish and hamsters are popular classroom pets that require relatively little attention. However, if you're feeling more adventurous, a turtle or rabbit can be a great choice.
    • Make sure to ask the principal's permission before introducing a pet to the class!


  • Make a "Wall of Fame" to highlight student's good work and accomplishments. Try to include the weaker students in the class on the wall.
  • If you can't afford to buy prints, just print out copies of paintings and laminate them for display. Consider using a digital camera to take pictures of your students and the community, do simple digital altering with hue and saturation to make them colorful, laminate, and put them up.
  • Be original!
  • Ask yourself: "What feels good to look at?" and bring it in.
  • Let your interests and passions be a part of the decorating too. You can share yourself with the students. Make a little autobiographical section for the beginning of school, then ask students to use it for cues to ask you questions about yourself. Later, students can come up with their own autobiographies, using yours as an example.
  • Think outside the box: Use Christmas lights, fabric/quilts, plants, found objects, recyclables, or things students bring from home.


  • Avoid displays that promote popular culture, such as advertising, fads, or popular cartoon characters. Be original!

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Categories: Teacher Resources