Affordable Classroom Decor: 7 Creative Ideas on a Budget

Teachers practically live in their classrooms! So, creating a warm and inviting space for you and your students is a must. You’ve probably scrolled social media looking for easy yet creative classroom decor ideas, only to find over-the-top classroom decor pictures from fellow teachers. Honestly, how do they manage that on a budget? Well, here’s a little secret—they may not be spending as much as it seems. Guess what? You don’t have to either! Thankfully, there are many affordable classroom decor ideas you can use. Here are seven creative classroom decor tips to get you the most bang for your buck!

Classroom Decor Ideas on a Budget: Cheap Ways to Decorate Your Classroom

Classroom Decor Idea #1: Forgotten Supplies to Inspiring Decor

Teachers always go above and beyond for their students. Their classrooms are no exception. Teachers spend so much money each year on classroom decor and supplies. Before emptying your pockets for new classroom decorations, hold up a second! Why not give your existing supplies a chance to shine?

Take a moment to dig through your stash of supplies. We’re talking about those forgotten piles of supplies hiding in closets and corners. Clear a day for decorating your classroom and gather all of your supplies. Honestly, laying it all out in front of you can ignite some serious inspiration. Additionally, you’re being resourceful and saving yourself some hard-earned cash!

Classroom Colors That Promote Learning

Unleash Creativity: Choose a Color Scheme from Your Stash!

Did you know that specific colors can promote learning? It’s true! Colors can have a true superpower in your classroom. The color scheme you choose for your classroom decor can significantly impact students’ learning styles and moods.

Bright colors like yellow and orange stimulate creativity and encourage a positive, energetic atmosphere. This makes yellow and orange ideal for areas intended for group activities and interactive learning. Meanwhile, cooler hues like blue and green can foster a calm, focused environment. Blues and greens are conducive to individual study and concentration.

For color to impact your classroom, you must create a color scheme. Teachers know the importance of a cohesive learning environment, and complimentary colors are the perfect place to begin. As you dive deep into your supply closet, keep an eye out for patterns and colors that naturally mesh together. From here, pick a color scheme that your classroom can rock!

Thankfully, understanding the psychological effects of colors allows you to incorporate them wisely into your classroom decor. You can create a more effective and engaging learning experience using supplies you already have. It’s a win-win!

Classroom Decor Idea #2: Buy Only What You Need

Have you ever begun decorating a bulletin board, only to be short a few inches of border? Or, grabbed a set of posters from the store, only to find they didn’t exactly match your classroom decor? I’m sure we’re all nodding along right now.

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, this can be so frustrating!

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

Luckily, there are printable classroom decor packs that allow 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. With these classroom themes made easy you get to choose between ready-made decor, or creating your own with the editable templates!

Honestly, using printable classroom decor has saved my sanity. No more running to the store at the last minute just to find the decor you needed is sold out. You will have access to the printable resource for years to come!

Classroom Decor Idea #3: Dumpster Dive for Treasures

The things teachers do for awesome classroom decor! Okay, now I’m not saying go diving headfirst into your school (or any) dumpster. However, 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.

Apartments are notorious for this. As people move out, they often discard items that are still in great condition and need a new home. Keep an eye out in your school hallways during the beginning of the year. Many times, teachers will move out what they don’t want. One teacher’s trash is another teacher’s treasure!

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.

You may find things that need a little TLC. With some elbow grease, or a fun summer DIY, you can bring these back to life and give them a new home in your classroom.

Classroom Decor Idea #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. Thankfully, we also have Amazon at our fingertips! Amazon has great deals for classroom decor and teacher supplies year-round.

Don’t just look in the school supply section. Navigate to other areas and see what items you can use for your classroom. Shop with the purpose in mind instead of just looking for random things. Looking for an item to meet a purpose makes it easier to see everyday objects in a new light. For example, plastic cups for kids make great school supply holders while adding some fun colors.

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. Truly, just taking the time to shop for discounts goes a long way.

Classroom Decor Idea #5: Think Outside the Box

Creating classroom decor ideas that don’t break the bank can sometimes take work. It’s important to think outside the box. Don’t get caught in the trap of only using things for their stated purpose.

For example, if you need something to cover your bulletin board, try some inexpensive fabric. Fabric is an excellent alternative to butcher paper, lasting all year! If you’re looking for sturdier paper to cover your bulletin boards and are okay with spending more, try Better Than Paper. Spending a bit more on this never bothered me because it lasted all year (sometimes multiple years), and it doesn’t tear or crease! You can save money in the long run.

Additionally, tissue paper is one of the cheapest and most versatile classroom decor supplies. You can make hanging poms, 3D bulletin board accents, or Truffula trees with a quick YouTube tutorial!

Bulletin Board Ideas for the Classroom

Creative Uses With Bulletin Board Borders

Bulletin board borders don’t have to be exclusively for bulletin boards. You can use these colorful strips of paper in so many ways. Use them around your whiteboard as a fun trim on your desk. You can also write your students’ names on the strips and laminate them! Students will love seeing their name displayed as a colorful DIY desk name tag.

Another outside-of-the-box use is to wrap your border strips around supply containers, bookshelves, windows, or even the door frame. Getting creative with bulletin board borders makes for a colorful, unique, budget-friendly classroom decor idea.

Do you want fantastic classroom decor inspo? Check out @joeyudovich on Instagram. Her classroom decorations are drool-worthy! Look at how she uses her 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.

Classroom Decor Idea #6: Create a Welcoming Environment

Classroom Decor Lamps and Pillows

We all know teachers spend most of their time in their classrooms. So, creating a welcoming classroom environment is essential. Luckily, you can create a homey classroom with affordable decor.

Using floor lamps, oversized cushions on the floor, framed pictures, and plants can switch up a classroom vibe. Honestly, this can turn your classroom into your home away from home. It will also set the mood and atmosphere of the class. Don’t feel pressure to do this all at once. Homey classrooms can be built throughout the school year as you continue to find affordable decor pieces.

Skim the aisles at your favorite discount store for home decor items. Traditional items you usually purchase for your home also look great in your classroom!

I don’t know of any teacher who enjoys those harsh fluorescent lights. Unfortunately, many schools do not allow separate lamps in the classroom. Thankfully, there are 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.

Classroom Decor Idea #7: Motivate Students with Classroom Decor

Choosing a new theme for your classroom each year can be fun, but it can also be stressful and not so budget-friendly. Why not use a theme that never goes out of style? Decorating your classroom around the theme of encouragement and motivation is an excellent way to send a wonderful message all year.

Whether you focus on general motivation, growth mindset, or social-emotional learning, you can’t go wrong with motivational posters as your classroom decor theme! Thankfully, with these printable motivational posters, you can easily change them throughout the year. Create a fun gallery wall, frame quotes, or place them where students can easily read them.

Motivational Posters
Growth Mindset Posters

Creating a Budget-Friendly & Beautiful Classroom

Setting up a classroom isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes hard work and lots of time. It can also get really expensive really fast. With these seven classroom decor tips you can create a wonderful classroom that is affordable.

Remember, 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 pack. Cheers to saving money and creating your most inviting and decorated classroom yet!

Ocean Animals Classroom Decor
Watercolor Classroom Decor

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Classroom Decor Ideas on a Budget: Cheap Ways to Decorate Your Classroom

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. The Teacher Treasury

    A mural in the classroom is nice. I like these ideas, thank you so much for sharing!

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