7 Classroom Decor Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

With most of your waking hours spent in your classroom, you want to be sure the space is welcoming and pleasing to you and your students. Every year you see teachers posting pictures of their beautiful classroom decor and think, “How can they afford it!?” Trust me, those teachers probably aren’t spending as much money as you think they are, and you don’t have to either! I am here to help you get the most bang for your buck with these classroom decor tips and tricks that won’t break the bank.

Classroom Decor on a Budget

1. Use What You Already Have On Hand

First things first, don’t go out and buy all new classroom decor when you probably have many supplies on hand that can be used again. One of the best ways to do this is to take a day and pull out everything you have. It’s a lot easier to see things that can go together when you can see it all laid out in front of you. Look for common colors and themes. Be sure to choose and stick to a classroom color scheme that will help to create a cohesive learning environment.

Classroom Colors That Promote Learning

Start with a Classroom Color Scheme!

You might find that using a color theme allows you to put together resources from different sets to make something new. Using what you have on hand can be a really creative way to save yourself some money. This classroom decor idea saves you money and saves you time that you don’t have to spend shopping.

Another way to use what “you” already have is to actually use what others already have! Have a classroom decor swap session with teachers on your campus or your teacher friends from other schools. This one takes just a little pre-planning but can save you money and time while having some fun with your teacher friends. At the end of the school year or over the summer, plan a time and place for teachers to come together to swap out some classroom decor they no longer use. Because you are swapping supplies with other teachers, you won’t need to spend any money on your new classroom decor. Another bonus is that you can get classroom decor that is already cut and laminated! This is a great option if you like to change out your theme every year or two.

2. Buy Only What You Need

So often, classroom decor sets at a teacher’s store provide more than what you need, or not enough. This leads to leftover bits and pieces that go unused. There’s not quite enough border for another bulletin board, or there are not enough nameplates for next year. Ugh! So you are left storing these bits and pieces in your very limited storage space.

Use this colorful watercolor decor set to decorate your classroom without breaking the bank this year.

Instead, consider purchasing a printable classroom decor set. This allows you to print exactly what you need when you need it. New student? No worries, just print another nameplate.

This can also be a great way to avoid the “shiny object” syndrome. With an all-in-one printable classroom theme, you have everything you need in one place.

Start by printing the parts you know you need, then print any additional pieces you want to use. You can always go back at a later time to print out something else. And . . . you have access to the same theme for years to come without worrying that it will go out of stock or get discontinued!

3. Dumpster Dive

Okay, now I’m not saying go diving headfirst into your school (or any) dumpster, but… I am saying to take a look at what items are being discarded. These might not even be in a dumpster at all! Sometimes you can find great supplies, furniture, and resources that someone is throwing away.

a little diy can turn a dumpster find into a great classroom resource

Apartments are notorious for this. As people move out, they often discard items still in great condition and just need a new home. Other times, you can find things that just need a little TLC. If you don’t mind a little elbow grease or some summer DIY creativity, you can bring these back to life and give them a new home in your classroom.

With a little out-of-the-box thinking, you can find some great, free resources that can be used to create a fun and welcoming classroom environment. An old paint drop cloth could make a great bulletin board backdrop with a colorful twist. A large sheet of cardboard or a large box can be used in so many ways! You can even build some furniture out of pallets.

4. Shop Discount Stores and Clearance Sections

If you have a dollar or discount store in your area, start there! Many of these stores have some classroom decor supplies in the office or school supply sections. The Target Dollar Spot is also a great place to start looking mid-summer. But don’t just stop there.

Get out of the school supply section and see what else they have that can be used in the classroom. One of the easiest ways to do this is to think of the purpose as opposed to the item. Looking for an item to meet a purpose makes it easier to see common, everyday items in a new light. These kid’s plastic cups make great school supply holders while adding some fun color.

Pencil Holders from Target Dollar Spot
These straw holders at the Target Dollar Spot are perfect for holding pencils! @targetteachers
Michael's Stores Teacher Storage Cart
Storage solutions are made easy with this organizing storage cart at Michael’s. @michaelsstores
Classroom Cup Storage from Walmart
These kid’s plastic cups from Walmart make great school supply holders while adding some fun color. @aloveofteaching
Dollar Tree's Teacher's Corner
Dollar Tree’s Teaching Corner is a great place to start when shopping for school stuff-as a teacher! @dollartreeclassrooms

Need bins or boxes for organizing? Look for baskets, home decor, or home organization. Depending on your needs, there are lots of options available. Want a colorful bulletin board? Visit the gift wrapping aisles. Wrapping paper makes a great background, and those gift topper ribbons make great corner accents!

5. Think Outside the Box

Don’t get caught in the trap of only using things for their stated purpose. You don’t need “bulletin board paper” when inexpensive fabric works just as well, if not better. Better yet, butcher paper from the school supply closet is free! Tissue paper is one of the cheapest and most versatile classroom decor supplies you can use. You can make hanging poms, 3D bulletin board accents, or Truffula trees with a quick YouTube tutorial.

Peel and Sticky Farmhouse Wallpaper for the Classroom

Try Peel-and Stick Classroom Decor!

Today, many great peel-and-stick items are removable without damaging the wall or surface they were on! There are many options to choose from with peel and stick wallpaper, shapes, quotes, and counter coverings. Look at your favorite big box store, home decor store, and Amazon. Changing up a wall or tabletop can have a big impact on a space. Because peel and stick wallpaper is easily taken down and replaced at the end of the school year, you won’t have to worry about making a permanent change.

Create a Mural!

Butcher paper doesn’t have to stay on bulletin boards! Use butcher paper to make a giant mural on a classroom wall or in the hallway! You can make a huge landscape scene with grass, mountains, and a big, blue sky to cover the walls in your classroom. Or, create a mural that displays school spirit with your school mascot. Because butcher paper is so versatile, you will be able to create endless classroom decor ideas.

Bulletin Board Ideas for the Classroom

Trim with Borders!

Bulletin board borders don’t have to be exclusively for bulletin boards either. You can use these colorful strips of paper around your whiteboard as a trim on your desk or write your student’s names on strips and laminate them for colorful desk name tags. Wrap your border strips around your supply containers, on the bookshelves, around the windows, and even around the door frame for a colorful and unique budget-friendly classroom decor idea.

@joeyudovich is extremely talented! Her classroom decor ideas leave me drooling! Check out how she uses bulletin board borders around her classroom. While you’re there, take a peek at her printable door decor! Her beautiful door displays offer a very affordable way to brighten up the entrance to your classroom.

6. Create a Homey Environment

Classroom Decor Lamps and Pillows

Creating a homey classroom environment is one of my favorite classroom decor ideas. Using floor lamps, big cushions on the floor, framed pictures, and plants can really switch up a classroom vibe. Turn your classroom into your home away from home. It really sets the tone for the mood and atmosphere of the class. After all, you spend so many hours a day at school. You want it to be a comfortable place for you and your students. Therefore, making your classroom homey and inviting by bringing in some elements students would find in their own homes can be really amazing.

@miss.raney found the cutest classroom decor lamp, pillows, and floormat at Target! Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Traditional items that you would usually purchase for your home also look great in your classroom and give it a more homey feel.

If you aren’t allowed to have separate lamps in your classroom, you can still combat hard fluorescent light with these Fluorescent Light Filters. These fabric filters stretch across your lights and stay in place with super strong magnets. They set a relaxing atmosphere for learning and working while reducing glare and flickering from fluorescent light.

7. Make a Motivational Classroom Decor Theme

Instead of choosing classroom decor that is a theme, make encouragement and motivation your theme. This is a great way to send a wonderful message to your students all year long. Whether you focus on general motivation, a growth mindset concept, or something else, you can’t go wrong with motivational posters as your classroom decor theme!

With printable motivational posters, you can quickly and easily change them out throughout the year. Create a gallery wall of framed quotes or strategically place them where students can easily read them.

Motivational Classroom Posters
Classroom Growth Mindset Posters

Classroom Decor Made Easy

I know how expensive and time-consuming setting up a classroom can be. I hope that these tips and ideas will help you create a wonderful classroom environment without spending a fortune. With a few clever tricks, you too can be on your way to creating a picture-perfect classroom without spending a ton of money. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when setting up classroom decor. You can have a beautiful and welcoming classroom without a big price tag.

You can also save time by purchasing a ready-to-use classroom decor set. Not only are you going to have everything you need, but you can print just what you need. You can find all of these classroom decor themes and resources in my store.

Chalkboard & Bright Burlap Classroom Decor
Ocean Animals Classroom Decor
Watercolor Classroom Decor
Nautical Classroom Decor

Save These Classroom Decor Tips and Tricks

Save these classroom decor tips and tricks. Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you are looking to save time and money when setting up your classroom.

7 Classroom Decor Ideas That Won't Break the Bank

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HI! I'M KIM!

I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING TEACHERS SAVE TIME BY CREATING MEANINGFUL AND ENGAGING RESOURCES THAT MAKE TEACHING AND LEARNING EASIER.

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