How to decorate without upsetting the fire marshal!

 

I had someone email me this week and explained that her school had a very strict fire marshall!  She went on to tell me that she cannot hang anything from the ceiling and only a certain percentage of her classroom can have paper.  Does this sound like your district? 

It is very interesting to see and hear what certain districts can and cannot get away with as far as classroom decorating goes.  As for my school, we cannot have upholstered furniture of any kind, rugs are not permitted, or any other furniture brought from home.  When I see classrooms with comfy sofas and chairs, I get so jealous…I would LOVE that in my classroom.  I also could use another rug for the children to sit and read during our Daily 5, but NOPE, can’t have that either.  I CAN hang things from my ceiling, but when I taught at another school in my district, that was not allowed either.

So, I bet you are wondering how you can STILL have a cute classroom with all of these rules, right?   Seriously, you don’t have to have things hanging from your ceiling or a ton of paper all over your room to make it look good.  When decorating a room, I have a few rules that I follow…

Rule #1

Keep bulletin board paper cohesive throughout your classroom

You really don’t need a ton of paper, but make sure you stick to the same color scheme throughout the entire room.  I see classrooms where one bulletin board may have red paper, the other might have purple, another might have green, etc…

Don’t do that!  Use the same color paper throughout your room.

Schoolgirl Style bird pic bulletin boards

Here is a picture of one side of my classroom…

I used sky paper and brown paper.

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Here is the other side of my room…

I used sky paper again.  See how I pulled the brown in with the tree and the border?

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This is the front of my classroom…

I used brown paper again.

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Here is the front of my room again, but this is the bulletin board on the left side of my white board…

Brown paper again…do you see how it is done?  Even if you aren’t allowed to put paper anywhere other than your boards, just keep the colors cohesive.

Rule #2

Double your borders and keep them cohesive throughout your classroom

Okay, this is a big one.  I see this ALL.THE.TIME!  One bulletin board might have some cutsie border with kids or a saying on it, then another bulletin board border might have the months, then another board border might have some flowers, then another one might have crayons…you get what I mean.  Don’t be tempted by all the cuteness.  Keep it to a minimum.  I chose a green polka dot border, a light green/lime bordette, and a brown bordette and used this throughout the entire classroom.

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See how I doubled the borders?  When you have such a large space, you need to think about scale.  One row of border can get lost if you have a large area to cover.

tree pic bird theme from Schoolgirl Style

This area is so gigantic in my room, I even tripled my border!  Look at how it makes an impact.  You wouldn’t be able to even see my border if I had one row.  The three rows of border pulls my entire color scheme together.

Rule #3

Create a focal point

When you walk into my classroom, your eye goes directly to my tree.  I made this large to create a huge impact in my room.  When you walk into your classroom think about what you look at first.  Whatever is straight ahead, that is where you need to create your “WOW” in your room.

My friend, Jen, just did this last week to her classroom and I noticed it right away.  I happened to be walking by and noticed a row of bookcases filled with cute, colorful baskets.  On top of the bookcases, she placed two lamps with really pretty lampshades.  She placed everything right where your eye would look first when walking into her room.  It made such a difference in the overall appearance.  I loved it!

Rule #4

Cover your open shelving with fabric curtains or use baskets that match your color scheme.

Dressing bookshelves and/or open shelving is the hardest thing to do when you are decorating.  The key to pretty bookshelves is scale.  You need to be pretty talented in understanding scale when you are putting things on shelves, if you aren’t, the end result can be bad.  This is where you can look unorganized and junky.  When I dress my shelves at home, it seriously takes me hours.  I have to move things over and over to keep everything balanced.

My suggestion…just cover and hide it.  Don’t try to decorate shelves.  Fabric will soften your room.  You don’t even need to know how to sew!  I use the iron fabric tape and it is done in a jiffy!  Now, if you have to use special fabric for the fire marshall, don’t worry about it and just use baskets instead!

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Here are my pretty brown and white polka dot curtains!

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Open shelving with yellow baskets.  This makes the room look put together, cohesive, and very organized.

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More open shelving!

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More open shelving…

Rule #5

Decorate tables

This is the final place to pull your theme together.  Make sure caddies/baskets match your color theme. 

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I chose brown wicker baskets to pull in the dark chocolate brown color that I used throughout the classroom, plus I wanted it to look more natural since I was using birds and trees.  Plastic tubs would have worked, but wouldn’t have given you the earthy look I was going for.  I couldn’t find inexpensive dark brown baskets, so I picked up some cheap baskets on clearance at Joann Fabrics, then spray painted them to match.  This saved me a ton of money!

Last…

What do you do if you can’t hang from the ceiling…

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Use pretty poms on your bulletin boards!

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Poms on your doors!

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Poms on your tables!

I really hope that I helped answer some of your questions when it comes to decorating your classroom!  The fire marshall can seem like he/she is putting a big damper on your decorating, but in reality, if you stick to my rules, your room will look cute and organized regardless of restrictions!

Happy Decorating!

~Melanie~

 

Comments

  1. says

    I am so in love with your color scheme in your room! I love that everything goes together and is cohesive. I definitely need to remember this for next year. Thanks for sharing your ideas!!

    • Marci says

      Hi- I want to use black material throughout the class bulletin boards . I love your idea of coordinating borders and using pom-poms- What color theme could I use with black?

      • Krisi Ward says

        I do all black fadeless paper and I used the b&w collection polka dot border. Then I use think sparkle lime green ribbon to double the border. The b&w collection polka dot is black background with multicolor polka dots though so you could pick any of the colors to be your main color, yellow, pink, lime green! If you have a hobby lobby close their ribbon is usually half off in July or August and the one I use is about 4 inches wide and it great to do a double border with!

  2. susan says

    I LOVE your room decor!!! The colors are so beautiful. You have inspired me to try it next year when I set up my room. I can’t wait to get started planning!

  3. says

    Thanks for all of your tips. I love the poms poms! Do you order them, or make them? Also, what kind of adhesive do you use to keep your paper on your doors or in other places where there isn’t a bulletin board. I’ve tried several things, but feel like I might be missing something. THanks!

      • Malinda says

        Wow I am excited to try the glue on the cinder blocks…. My room has 3 of the 4 walls with cinder blocks and as you know it is hard to keep anything hanging up. It gets very frustrating picking things up and trying to get them to stick over and over. It’s a good thing that our school year is a couple of weeks away so I will be trying this for sure. Thank you for the tip and your classroom is very nice and put together.

  4. Jessica Hingtgen says

    Melanie,
    I have used your green and blue theme for my Middle School Science classroom and my kids love the poms hanging from the ceiling to mark table numbers (we can have things hung 24″ from our ceilings). We also have strict fire marshall regulations in my state (Iowa). There is fire retardant spray you can buy at Joann’s Fabric that is very reasonable to spray on your curtains/fabric. I threw a fit when they wanted us to take them down last summer and one of my friends found the spray so we can keep them up!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Jessica! Thank you so much for sharing that! I had no idea there was a spray that can be used. That is awesome! I bet you’ve just helped a lot of my followers with the curtain dilemma! Thanks!!!

    • ScienceTeach says

      Hi Jessca,
      Do you have any pics of your classroom? I also teach middle school science and am always looking for ideas for this level. Thanks!!

  5. says

    Great ideas. Looking foward to using your decorating ideas when we move into a new building next year! Do you completely change your theme each year? If not, are you able to leave decorations up over the summer (if they’re still in good condition?)

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Karen,
      Yes, we are allowed to keep everything up over the summer. We need to cover bulletin boards and remove everything off shelves before we leave. This probably sounds crazy, but yes, I do change my theme every year. I just like the excitement of starting fresh every year. After teaching so long, I usually don’t have to purchase much. I have a basement full of baskets and crates in so many colors. I spend the most money on school supplies. We are given $125 for the entire school year and it is never enough. That includes all of my construction paper, glue, crayons, etc…I am already out of everything! UGH!!!

      • Sunny in FL says

        We only get $25 for supplies for the year. This includes construction paper, white-board markers, staples, tape…. Sad times!

  6. says

    Mr. Fire Marshall just doesn’t understand ‘cutsie’. He has a problem with my walls having more than 20% covered. 20%?! Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. I’m a visual teacher! Thanks for the tips. I’m going to work on some curtains.

    Emily @ Second Grade Silliness

    • Melody says

      My Fire Marshall is only allowing us 10% and he includes ANYTHING that is flammable! Even that 10% has to be sprayed with something to make it flame resistant! What is worse is that I have an old classroom with ugly walls that I cannot cover with paper, boarders, fabric, nothing! The only idea I have come up with is to collect non-flammable materials that can be written on such as metal or dry erase boards and hang them around my room. I am also thinking of using colored electrical tape to make boarders. I am only a second year teacher and these are new rules being implemented so I am working to come up with some solution.

      • Julie says

        I just found out I can not hang anything on the walls. Only on one board in my room. I teach kindergarten and I can even hang up the ABC train!!! nothing can be hung from the ceiling.
        I have 2 days before I report to my school. They still wont let us in our classrooms to put stuff away. I am freaking out.

      • Kathleen Clark says

        We had the same trouble with 20 percent paper restrictions…so some of our teachers paint their boards bright colors such as neon yellow, bright green, aqua, etc and use coordinating borders eliminating much of the butcher paper and thereby allowing them more flexibility for decorating with paper throughout the room. It really looks nice…..

    • Mary says

      Check about the curtains first. I have had them for years as had many of my friends and we were just told to get rid of them. No background paper or materiel allowed on the bulletin boards either. We are looking very institutional now. No cheeriness anymore. Also only 20% allowed throughout the room. I keep wondering when they are going to point out that 30 desks crammed into a small grade 4 class is considered a fire hazard too?

  7. Irene says

    Oh my how I love what you do with your classroom!! What font do you use for your word wall? It’s awesome and better than writing out the words on sentence strips and cutting out the words.

  8. Susan Stearns says

    I have a fire marshall who screams when he comes into my room! but….now with your help I feel like I can still have a cute room that is up to code for my kiddos. I totally need help with my classroom and now feel like I can put these ideas into place and have a better looking environment. THANKS!! (especially the paper and border tips!)

  9. shelly bowen says

    Your room looks amazing. I love your colors & how neat & organized it makes the room look. I want more info on the tree.What a cute idea. What kind of paper did you use? I will be making plans for next year. Thanks for all the geat tips.

  10. Shonda says

    I so want to do use this color scheme next year in my class. I have lockers that are painted red in my room, that take up an entire wall. What color do you suggest painting them? I was thinking brown, but would that be too dark? Thanks for posting your pictures. You are such an inspiration.

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      I would choose green. Green is considered a neutral and very soothing. This way, if you choose to change your theme, green will be more likely to go with your next color combo since it goes with almost everything. Hope that helps! :)

      • Shonda says

        Wow, that is a great idea! I wouldn’t have thought of using green. I can’t wait to get started this summer. Thanks you so much for your advice!

  11. Amy says

    I love the tree and color scheme! Thank you for sharing. How did you make the tree? I have a large focal point area right when you enter my room too. Thank you!!

      • Megan says

        Are the leaves made of paper or fabric? I want to try some kind of tree to tie in with my sock monkey theme. I’m trying to study your tree, but I’m having a hard time envisioning what can be done if my ceilings are too high to hang the branches from….

  12. tina says

    You are fabulous for sharing your ideas! I love this color scheme, but I need some advice. One of my walls is covered in purple carpet. How the heck do I work around that?

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Oh my gosh!!!! Ummmm…I have never heard of such a thing!!! Can you take a picture of it and send it to me?

    • kristina says

      Why don’t you use a bunch of purple flowers/pom-poms everywhere? Keep the brown and green but use purple as your accent color throughout!

      • Leslie says

        That is such a good idea! Believe it or not, I have purple carpet on my wall, too! I painted one of my other walls a lavender color to match. I’ll try pom poms. Do you think I could do brown and green in the room, too? Maybe brown and pink would be better?

        • emily says

          Brown and pink might be too girly with the purple. Green is a really soothing color and adds a bit of masculinity for the little boys in your room.

  13. Racquel says

    I love your room so much . Is there a way i can contact you to get some of your ideas please. I love the
    colors

  14. kristina says

    How do you hang your curtains on the cabinets? I’d love to do that to my 2 walls of floor to ceiling cubbies but I have no idea how.

      • Dawn says

        Many of the teachers in my school use to have curtains hanging on our open shelves. We used the small spring loaded rods. It made the rooms look very nice and covered any clutter. Last year we were instructed to take them down. New fire marshall rule :(

  15. anne says

    really great ideas. adorable. but all that paper would be outlawed by our fire marshal. looks like way more than 20% of the wall space. when you divvy up space, 20% really isn’t much. additionally, the curtains would be a complete no-no.

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Gosh! I am hearing a lot of that! It is so crazy how some places have rules and other places don’t. As for the curtains, you can spray fire resistant spray on them and supposedly it passes with the fire marshall.

    • Karen says

      Along with the 20% wall space, we aren’t allowed to have anything within 36 inches of doorways in all directions. We can’t have any paper on doors or windows and if we use fabric anywhere we have to have proof that it is fire resistant. Forget about hanging anything from ceilings. In fact, anything we hang on the walls has to be securely attached to the walls (ex. it can’t be hanging from a clothespin on a line). I’m am kind of in the mind frame now that i will do what I want and until I am told to take it down, it’s staying up.

  16. krissy says

    so many adorable ideas…thank you! …and yes, mr. fire marshall is a bit of a nuisance in our district too. we are told 20% too but we feel it’s better to ask forgiveness rather than for permission on this bugger of a subject. thank you again for all your wonderful ideas. =)

  17. Lynn Hines says

    Love your room and ideas! I am slowly working at changing things in my classroom. I teach an all day preschool in a public school. I bought some adorable fabric that is black background with different colored crayon people on it (red, orange, blue, yellow, and green). How would you suggest I use these as my base for my scheme. I found online some border that is black with crayons on it from carson dellosa and going to order it, but need ideas of how to tie other stuff into the room, decorating doors, etc. We also can’t hang things from ceilings :( I have a large area for a focal point (we have a large vent system that has a top we can store things on top of and a brick wall white color all the way up) , but I have no idea what to do for a focal point. I would appreciate any suggestions!!!!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Can you send me some pictures of your room? It is easier to get an idea for a focal point if I could see the room! Thanks! :)

    • ChrisAnne says

      I love your crayon print fabric. Could you make giant crayons in each of the colors to put as your focal point? I have used a flat piece of wood on the floor, bending a piece of poster board around it and attaching the poster board on the sides of the wood to make it round like a pencil. Faces can be made out of a number of things for the crayon people. My favortie face piece is a round pillow form available at just about any craft store. Good luck!

  18. Christy says

    I have been trying to think of a color scheme to use in my classroom. I teach kindergarten and I have lots of baskets that are primary colors. Do you have any pictures of your room in those colors? Thanks!!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Christy!
      I am doing a rainbow room next, so that could be an option. I am also creating tags in all primary colors – it should be out in April. I should probably do a theme with primary colors – thanks for the idea! :)

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Jessica!
      Those bins are my book baskets. I number my students and they keep their independent reading books in their own basket labeled with their number instead of name. When I use numbers, I don’t have to change it out every year! :)

  19. Jody Billiard says

    Your room looks amazing! Thanks for sharing but I am curious as to the reasoning about not using different colors and borders. This is what I have now ( I love the bright rainbow colors) but next fall we will have a new school and I would love to do something similar to your room. Thanks again ;)

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Jody!
      I like rainbow colors too! In fact, one of my next themes is rainbows. I am talking about doing a theme. If you are doing some sort of a theme in your room, you should stick with the same color combination. Take my pirate theme for example, if I had black,red and white pirate decor and then stuck in an alphabet border or a purple border in the room, it would look silly. When you create a theme – it is best to stay cohesive throughout the entire room. Hope that makes sense!

  20. Christine says

    Hi Melanie,
    I absolutely LOVE your classroom!!! It is adorable. I love the frames you have hanging that are different colors. How did you make them? They would be perfect for that high area of my classroom that needs some color. Thank you for sharing!
    Christine

      • Christine White says

        Thanks Melanie! You have inspired me but I am running into a problem. So much of “teacher stuff” comes in the bold’ primary colors. I am trying to figure out how to revamp my room without breaking the bank. I have a frog theme going because I fell in love with a “ribbeting” frog garbage can, toothbrush holder and soap dish from Target a couple of years ago. Now “Freddy the Frog” and his mom are focal points in my classroom. I love your blue, green and brown color scheme. They would go so well with my frog theme. However, I have a ton of red in my room currently (lamps, bean bag chair, listening center chairs, baskets). What do you suggest? Thanks for sharing your expertise! ~Christine

        • SchoolgirlStyle says

          I have so many people that have emailed me with the same problem! Well, you can either spray paint everything OR you can change your theme to incorporate red! Okay…another thought…why don’t you add red apples to your trees and do the bird theme, this will incorporate the red into your room. Another idea…I am doing a bug theme with all of those colors (and red) – you could do that and keep your frogs. My bug theme is coming out in May, so you can see if you like that! Hope that helps! :)

          • Christine White says

            Melanie,
            Thank you again for your great advice! Where did you get your dark brown scalloped border? I can’t find it anywhere except for in the corrugated cardboard style.
            Thanks,
            Christine

          • SchoolgirlStyle says

            That’s what I used…it is called Bordette! It is my staple in every classroom! I love that stuff!

  21. Tiffany says

    Love your classroom!!! Beautiful!!! I am SO with you on sticking with a theme!

    In my classroom, my window blinds were broken and fixing them was not in the budget…for several years! So, I took the blinds down and made curtains! LOVED IT!

    Our fire marshall is pretty strict too, so I had them fire-proofed (coated with fire retardant). You can’t do it yourself because it has to have a special certification…it was about $65 for 3 panels about 2×6 feet, but worth the safety (lockdown drills) and helped my kids not be distracted by what was going on outside! I had to call around to find a place that did this type of thing…they are all over the place though…hotels, convention centers, and other places have the same codes they have to abide by.

    I kept the certificate of proof in the office and a copy in my classroom. The fire marshall was impressed that it was up to code! =)

    Any curtains in your room (even those that cover the front of cabinets to hide storage containers) have to be fire-proofed! Many schools have a “no curtains” policy so they don’t have to spend the money or deal with out of code curtains, but maybe they will make an exception if they know you know the law and are abiding by it!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      This is so good to know, Tiffany! Thanks so much for sharing! If you don’t mind, I would like to share your email with my followers. I think this is something that everyone should know too! :)

  22. Melanie says

    Love your room! Wish I had an eye for decorating!!! You have given me some ideas I think I can do next year. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Jaimee says

    I love your room! I am decorating a room for VBS that is suppose to look like the inside of a treehouse. I love the tree you did and would like to make them for all four walls. can you send me the instructions on how to make them. Any other suggestions for decorating would be appreciated. You are extremely talented – your students are so lucky!
    Thank you.

  24. Mindy says

    Just a thought… A ton of red things in a room to me just screams for some type of ladybug theme. Maybe red as an accent color with black and white polka dot stuff splattered about???

  25. Susie says

    I love your room, it’s absolutely darleeene, but our FIRE MARSHALL would have a major fit. HE says no pom poms, no material, not pop outs, no ceiling hanging things, AND the kicker is that any paper upon paper counts as double and adds to the 20%. It is so sad, we can basically have nothing. Oh, well……. maybe after he leaves!

  26. Marybeth Farriss says

    I LOVE your style! I did my room in red, yellow and black this year and doubled the borders. Polka dots and gingham. It made such a difference! I also used yellow and red plastic bins for my library. But like you, I like to change it up every year. Just can’t afford a huge color change for the upcoming year. Any suggestions?

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Oh my gosh! That sounds so stinkin’ cute!!! I don’t know if I would change it – you just gave me some inspiration! :)

  27. Eden says

    Hi!! I loooovve your room! Definitely gave me a lot of ideas for next year! I am confused about the frames from lakeshore? They look so cute! Are they paper?! Did you add the strong for the hanging look? Do you put anything on them or leave them empty?? Thanks so much!!!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Eden!
      Love your name, by the way – that is my daughter’s name too! Yes, they are like a cardboard type of material. I bought Command hooks and tied a string through the holes on each side of the frame to hang. I have my student’s self portraits in them. Hope that helps! :)

  28. Autumn says

    I have been looking at your site for several days planning for next year. I think I am going to go with the owl theme. Here is my question……I have a room with three cream walls. One yellow(this one also houses my windows)……..I have Large cubbies for book bags, these are moveable(Kindergarten Class)….They are a very ugly DuKe blue.
    Should I paint them cream? I love teal blue, but wonder if that would be too much with the owl theme? What color would you suggest? And also, where is the best place to buy plastic baskets? I will need lots of these. :-)
    Thanks for your time!!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Autumn!
      I wouldn’t paint them cream – I would choose a color from the theme. If it were me, I would probably choose a pretty green color – green acts as a neutral. Teal is also a very nice color and would compliment the yellow and cream walls. Don’t be scared of color! It will be beautiful! :) I like to buy my baskets from dollar stores. Check out Dollar Tree or Dollar General. If you can’t find the colors you need there, you can purchase them from Really Good Stuff. Target is also coming out with affordable baskets. I would keep checking their dollar bin every time you go. Hope that helps! ~ Melanie

  29. Melanie Farrow says

    I am switching schools and grade level for the first time on 13 years. I too will have a first grade. Currently the room I will have is cluttered, small, and painted coral. I can see from your photos that I want a creamy white wall color. I would love to see a couple more shot of your room from a distance. Also I would love to see a floor plan. I love lime green and turquoise so this theme is perfect for me. The trim in my new room is already chocolate brown. Where did you get the brown and dot fabric. Also all your labels have the same font do you do that by hand, crickut, or on the computer? When I saw we not only share the same design flare but the same first name I was sure I should contact you.

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Melanie! :)
      I bought the fabric from Hobby Lobby. The font on the labels were created on the computer. Hope that helps! :)

  30. Paula says

    I love, love, love your room. I have done primary colors for way too many years. I am inspired to shake things up next year! Thanks!

  31. Tiana says

    HI, I am so in love with this color scheme. I am moving from fourth to first next year and I was wondering if you could help me out by answering a few questions. Do you have or can you provide a tutorial on how to create the large tree? Also I need to create a print rich environment within my room ( abc line, number line, word families, phonics rules, etc.). How can I do this and not upset the color scheme? I really don’t want to buy all the colorful posters with animals that will clash with the color scheme. Thanks for your time.

  32. Sue says

    I love the look of your room and would love to try a more cohesive look in my room. I’m wondering what you do with holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day that have their own color schemes. What do you do with kid’s work/projects that may have colors that don’t fit with your colors?

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Sue!
      I don’t worry about it. I put all of their work up and decorate for the holidays and ignore my color theme. Once the kids are in, the room becomes their room. My decor is just the base. Hope that helps! :)

  33. Brookie says

    Love your decorating tips. I also was thinking about a rainbow theme for next school term. I have a green wall and two white walls. Can you share some of your rainbow ideas?

  34. says

    Ok, I love this, but please explain to me how the kids don’t end up destroying everything?! Maybe it’s since I teach Middle School, but the buckets & supplies I have at their desks are always getting destroyed.

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Everything does get destroyed. I always redo my classroom every year for that reason. I don’t think there is any way to get around it. I do keep my bins/tubs/bulletin board paper every year, but I do need to replace everything else. Not fun, but it goes with the job. I can keep things pretty intact until Spring Break, then it goes down hill after that.

  35. Karen says

    I love your classroom. I was wondering how you made the frames hanging on the wall?
    Thanks,
    Karen

  36. Nichole says

    I am going to be doing a black, white, and red polka dot themed room next year. I have been trying to come up with a way for the kids to display their work throughout the year, and I love the frames you have from lakeshore. Unfortunately, they only come in yellow, blue, and green. Any suggestions?

  37. kari says

    I LOVE your ideas and how everything flows/goes together. I LOVE the tree as the main focus when you walk in your room. I teach 7th grade math and don’t think the tree would quite work for me. Do you have any suggestions for what I might be able to use? THANK YOU!!!

  38. Dana says

    I love your classroom. I am thinking I would love to do a LadyBug Theme for the new year. If you have any if you have any ideas they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Dana

  39. Kristi B. says

    This is so beautiful. I’m moving in from a portable for next year, and I’m so glad I found your website when I did. School got out Friday, and I started shopping for my new room on Saturday. :) My problem is that I have bright orange cabinets on one whole wall and another wall is light blue. I’m horrible with color. What do you think I could do? Thanks so much for all your inspiration. I’m looking forward to downloading one of your sets as soon as I figure out what to do!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      The Owl Collection has orange and blue, so it would definitely match your classroom. I also created a garden theme that will be out next week with the same colors. Stay tuned! :)

  40. Leila Ross says

    I love your room!!! I am going to redo my room this upcoming year. I have always disliked the primary colors that overtake my room. We do not have strict fire codes (that I know of) thankfully. However, one of my walls is nothing but windows. I don’t want to cover all of them with curtains because the windows are so tall and I feel like it would just make me feel to enclosed. Do you have any suggestions for tying in a theme with the windows? The windows are the first thing you see when you walk in my door. I don’t know if it will help, but there are 3 windows, a small wall space where an air conditioner used to be, and then another set of 3 windows. I’ve been overwhelmed with these windows every year since I’ve been at this school. I’d greatly appreciate any help. Thanks

  41. gina says

    Last school year, I used plastic shower curtains to cover my shelves. My theme was monkeys. I found the curtains at Wal-Mart and they had cute monkeys on them. Next year, I may do frogs. I found shower curtains again at Wal-Mart that has frogs and polk-a-dots on them. Really cute!

  42. Amy Jones says

    I have enjoyed reading the comments and seeing the pics of your classroom! I never thought about having one color theme throughout the room. That is a very interesting idea. My principal wants to do a school-wide theme next year “Wild About Learning.” I would appreciate any ideas. Also, I need to organize my classroom library. I am definitely using your idea of baskets in the same color. You have some wonderful ideas!

  43. Ivy Hoang says

    Hi,
    I am going to try this color scheme for my second grade classroom next year. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your page. It looks amazing. I would love to have a picture of the entire room so I get a picture of how everything is laid out. Thanks for your help and awesome ideas!!!
    –Ivy

  44. Chris says

    I just wanted to tell you that I am glad that I found your site. I am moving out to a newly refurbished portable this fall and have been trying to decide what to do with the room. I love the colour scheme of this room and am going to try it out this fall. Thank you for sharing your ideas and your classroom. It is greatly appreciated! Chris

  45. Gina says

    I love all your ideas!! Can you tell me where you purchased the borders and who the manufacturer is? I want to use them in my room next year. Thanks so much!!

  46. Susan says

    Just stumbled upon your site. My room already has lots of blue and green things but with the monkeys and chicka chicka tree. I am sick of monkeys but didn’t want to invest a ton of money on new stuff. I was inspired by pinterest to paint my rocking chair in hopes that would help me feel better about my room. Then I found your bluebird theme and feel in love with it. Just bought all your downloads. Replacing monkeys with birds. LOVE the tissue bird nests and flowers! Going to get my 14 year old daughter to make those. Can’t wait to get started. And my chair is going to be amazing! I will send a pic when done. I picked colors to go with the theme and it is going to be funky! Making a matching star student chair as well!

  47. Kathy says

    Hi Melanie,

    Thanks for shaing your decorating ideas with all of us. Yesterday was the end of the year for me; yet, I can’t wait to start planninghow I will decoate my room for next year. I hae a question for you…my classoom walls are a very (dull) shade of blue. Similar to a sky blue, but no shine – probably flat paint. Anyways, I was on the right track with thinking that I should choose a color theme, but my question is what colors would you suggest I use? I love green and brown, but should I go with something blue so it doesn’t clash? Or should that be my third color, perhaps? No chance of painting my room either. It was painted last summer. I hope you have time to repsond. Thanks a bunch! ~ Kathy

  48. Kathy Miller says

    I love your decorating ideas! Thanks for sharing. All of my walls are a dull light blue. Do you have any suggestions for colors that I might use? I love green and wanted to go with an owl theme, but I’m not sure if that will work. Would you suggest incorporating two or three other colors when consideing border? Thanks so much!

  49. shari says

    Great Job. Love it! I am so inspired. DO you suggest using fabric on the bulletin boards or did you just use paper?

  50. Veronica says

    I’ve decorated my classroom in animal prints. The kids love it. I made giraffe print lamp shades for my lamps. Animal print is easy to find in fabric and wrapping paper. I use animal print throws throughout my room.

  51. Barry says

    You have a great website. My wife who is also a teacher told me about it because she knows about my research concerning fire hazards from classroom decorations. I speak to teachers each year at a local college about fire safety in the classroom. You may already know that the 20% rule that is discussed on this blog is from the International Fire Code. The fire marshals are in a tough spot trying to make sure that the students have a safe classroom environment while keeping the teachers that working so hard on their classrooms happy and safe. The key here, I believe, is compromise: making sure that teachers use fire retardant butcher paper, keeping upholstery out of the classrooms (it burns like gasoline), keeping the walls decorated no more than 20% and keeping the decorations away from the exits. Also, by doing proactive things such as the one teacher who said that she had everything “fire proofed” at a local shop and she kept records of the certifications; this is a great idea. For more information that may help the teacher see a video I made at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEwrM-polkA ) …this is a video of classroom decorations being ignited to show how quickly a fire can spread in a classroom. Also I wrote a research paper which is available on the National Fire Academy’s website discussing fires that have occurred in schools and other assemblies and recomendations that were determined through this research. Much of this research discusses teachers and the pressures they face to decorate their rooms; also the troubles that the fire marshals face in enforcing the fire code. It is on the web at (www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo42524.pdf ). Again, great website, you are doing a great job…just thought I could take a little pressure off of the fire marshals that are just trying to do their job. Be safe.

    • TinaFightsFire says

      Barry – Thanks for your response. I came across this blog in May and emailed Melanie directly to give some clarification on the codes and offer up some advise on how to work with Fire Marshal’s.

      I am a Fire Marshal and you are correct about how Fire Marshal’s are in a tough spot. We are doing our jobs by enforcing the code as it is written. I agree it does take education and a working relationship between everyone to be fire safe yet still maintain an environment for enjoyable learning experiences.

  52. Sarah Hankinson says

    I just stumbled onto your site and love your ideas! Like many other comments, our fire marshal will not allow curtains, 3D decorations, things hung from the ceiling, rugs/carpets, lamps …. the list seems to go on forever! I’ve purchased lots of bright colored containers to place my centers and work stations in, which helps brighten up the room.

    Sarah @ Learning is for Superstars

  53. Jodie Hotovy says

    I absolutely love your decorations!! You have inspired me to do my classroom in black, white and lime green polka dot next year!!! My problem is that I can’t find lime green border to save my life!!!! You would have thought!! Could you tell me where you got your lime green border? Thanks so much!!!

  54. kelli says

    We can only have 20% of our walls covered, nothing on ceilings, windows or shades, nothing hanging on doors inside or outside, nothing displayed on walls in the hallway without cork strips and again only 20%, nothing above light switches or outlets. This does make for a challenging and creative decoration adventure. I enjoy your colors and am going to utilize as much of your ideas as I am permitted to. Thank you

  55. Sue says

    I love your room! I was wondering…do you decorate for the holidays? or do you keep this same color scheme for the whole year?

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      I keep it the same, but I do add art work and projects that are related to the holidays. I just use my theme as a backdrop.

  56. Terri says

    Wow, did I stumble upon your site at just the right time. I am moving from a sped preschool to first grade. The new classroom they are moving me into has a huge middle stripe of like brown berlap (1/3 of the wall) and I was just talking to my mom about colors. Afte looking at your beautiful room, I know my color scheme. Can’t wait to go shopping tomorrow!!

  57. Lisa says

    Great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing. I particularly like the idea of keeping the same color scheme throughout the classroom. I have a tendency to try and create separate work areas in the classroom by using different themes throughout the room. It ends up looking chaotic and choppy. I’m definitely going to stick with the same colors this fall. Thanks again!

  58. Christine says

    Help! I have already got a lot of my things for my classroom for next year and then I saw your website and realized I was doing it all wrong. Ur rules for decorating make perfect sense. I am doing a polka dot theme (multi) so I was going crazy with color. I bought lots of thing with multi cilored dots but they are mor accent pieces. I don’t have anything yet for a focal point and I need some guidance.any ideas? Do I choose just a couple Of colors for my bulletin boards ? I also want to add curtains. I teach kindergarten and my student tables are primary colors but I hate being limited. Please, please, offer some suggestions .

  59. SisterEducator says

    Hello,
    I started decorating in this manner about 20 years ago when a colleague from Northern Africa looked at my multicolored-explosion of a classroom and asked me how my students could concentrate with all of the visual stimuli. I gave it some thought, read up on the effects of color, ADHD, ADD, feng sui and other concepts until I had a color palette that remained constant for years; only small accents were changed.

    Your classroom is beautifully pulled together. Good job, teacher.

  60. patty edwards says

    I have a wall of windows covered with white mini-blinds! I can paint or use glue on the blinds. Usually i use clothes pins to hang my anchor charts up but it looks blaaa! Any suggestions?

    • Shelley says

      Attach bulletin board trim to colored poster board – put anchor charts in center of poster board so that it is framed. Modge podge wooden clothes pins with cute paper to make clips stylish. :-)

  61. Kacie says

    Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your classroom design, I love it! I am a first grade teacher too. We recently got Smartboards at our school and I have been struggling to find a way to decorate around it. I have white cinder block walls and it just looks so blah! I would really really appreciate any ideas you have! Seeing your classroom has gotten me so excited to fix up my room! Thank you for inspiring me!

  62. Roxanne says

    I absolutely love everything that you have done in your room! Thank you for sharing. I do have a question though, how do you get everything to stay on your walls? We have rough cement block walls and it is so hard to keep things up. I would love to cover them with paper, do you have any ideas?
    Thank you,
    Roxanne

  63. Jan says

    Do you have any suggestions for a primary color room? I feel like I need to match my large primary rug ? It has green, red, purple, orange and blue squares. What do you recommend for decorating?

  64. Diane says

    I was reading how you can’t have a carpet in your class. Could you get away with buying something like bath mats that get pulled out when you need them and then put away when you don’t. Just an idea.

  65. Lisa says

    I love your room and have such a love for birds. I have started collecting materials to decorate my room. I also was able to make the flowers but cannot find the bird nests on your site or esty. Can u help me by telling me where I can buy them or how to make them. Thank you.

  66. Jennifer says

    Hi! Love the room. It has inspired me to make some changes this year. Where did you get the cloud paper that you used on your bulletin boards? My school only has plain colors. Is this something else from lakeshore?

  67. Courtney says

    All I can say is AMEN!!! I love how simple and cohesive everything is. I’m so tired of walking into a classroom and feeling overwhlemed and over stimulated by all the “stuff going on”. Plain and simple is far nicer, looks more tidy, and allows people to see the cute details. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your room! I’m no longer teaching but I really miss being able to put a room together :)

  68. Gina says

    Im trying to figure out how you attached your tree trunk to the table/shelf and the branches. Are the branches scrunched and hot glued?

  69. Beverly says

    I was wondering where you got your sight words that are just black and white? I would like to purchase these types of sight words.

    thanks,

    Bev

  70. Susanne says

    Thanks so much for posting all the ideas. I moved from kindergarten to 5th this year and needed something fresh. I used your room as inspiration and found everything on craigslist and the thrift store. Thanks!

  71. gina says

    Do you live anywhere near Georgia? Just kidding, but seriously, I have fretted over colors in my classroom all summer. I am teaching at a brand new school where all our accents are red, so all these pretty new colors such as brown and aqua just won’t do.
    I use dark blue denim for my bulletin board, but have pulled all primary colors for baskets, border, accents and inadvertently added some neon colors. I’ve spent a fortune on my room, but I am sure it’s too busy. I can’t decide how to tie it all together to look really awesome. It’s important for the students, but also for the teachers. We spend the majority of our day in our classrooms. Thanks for any, and I mean any, input.

  72. Toscha Ferguson says

    HI, Your classroom is fantastic! Something for us all to strive for! My classroom has blue cabinets adn yellow painted walls as well as yellow tiled floor. Do you think I could use your color scheme even though theres SO much yellow and blue that I can’t change? I was thinking I might have to include one of these colors. I am doing a cafe theme and love the brown and green.. Thanks!

  73. says

    Hi Melanie,

    I’m from France. I found your blog by searching on pinterest some ideas to prepare my classroom for the first day of school in september.

    I totally loved your ideas!! It really made me think seriously about my classroom decoration. I’ll have 30 three years old kids in my class next year and I know that first year of school is very important… Your ideas will help me for that! Thank you!

  74. Lauren says

    Melanie,
    I absolutely love your room too! I’m sure you get that so much! I loved your tips about making everything cohesive…I recently taught Kindergarten for the past three years and I was that teacher with the crazy borders and multiple colored bulletin boards and couldn’t figure out why everything just never seemed right! Well now I know!! I am definitely going to be using your ideas this year in my 3rd grade class. I was wondering if you have any advice for me as we too have a very strick fire marshall no more than 20% of the walls covered, 36 in from ceiling, doors, nothing from the ceiling (though my real plants have gotten past him so far), no curtains unless treated and on and on…it’s miserable! So I’ve come up with a great idea to do a magic treehouse theme and wanted to build a tree as my focal point in our reading area. The suggestions were for an old carpet roll tube covered with paper but alas I went and asked and it’s “combustible” so I’ve got to find a way around it…any ideas? Thank you!
    Lauren

    • Julie says

      coffee cans are not combustible…..or other tin cans. You might be able to get them from the cafeteria as fruit and veggies often come in them. I’ve spraypainted them brown then ducktaped them together. The plus side is that it is magnetic. I suggest filling the bottom can with something heavy like sand to keep it from wanting to tip over. Hope this helps!

  75. Robin says

    I love the hangers you have on your walls. Are they picture frames? Where did you get them????

    Also, I am going to use the bird theme in my classroom this year and was wondering where you got the birds and the nests??? Creative teaching???

  76. C says

    Am I the only one wondering how much this must have cost, or did the realistic posts get deleted? It’s cute, but very unrealistic on the financial end . . . unless her money has been earmarked, “fun money” and her husband supports the family.

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Kim…are you referring to my bird classroom? No. I have not deleted any comments. I am not quite sure what you are trying to say….my husband supports ME and my salary is just used for “fun money?” My husband and I are BOTH teachers (and supporting three children) and we do not have any “fun money” to spend.

  77. Sherri says

    I love the idea of a color theme. I have tried themes which never worked. I am being moved from kinder down to pre-k this year and in a room without windows (I’m claustrophobic). This is a great way for me to feel like there are windows..even without any. Thanks for the great ideas.

  78. Glenda Barnes says

    I have a kindergarten class and all the baskets including the rug has the primary colors. How many colors do you think I should use to decorate the bulletin boards in the room?

  79. says

    So I’ve had the picture of your room pinned forever and now that I am trying to get back into the swing of things I’m ready to organize some things in my room and I wanted to redo my red word wall. I love your letters on your red word wall…did you create those yourself? Do you still have a template or was it just scrap paper? Any info would help, I love them!

  80. Donna says

    Our district doesn’t allow fabric to cover bookcases/shelving. I purchased LOTS of cute fabric and had to take it all down! :(

  81. Lisa says

    I love this color theme! I have 3 bulletin boards similiar in size to the Math Facts board you have. Would you recommend doing all the bulletin boards with the brown paper and green border? Or should I alternate with the sky blue?

  82. Roselyne says

    I am a french teacher, my pupils are from 3 to 5 years. I am very impressed by the full of details in your room ! I have 2 questions : when do you find time for these decorations, how long do you spend to do such beautiful creations ? I will begin my school year in 14 days, with my pupils, so I have time to take inspiration for my own room. Thank you very much for your sharings !

  83. Elena says

    I absolutely love all of your decorating ideas. I have a questing about the fabric covering the shelf. I have two very big shelves in my classroom with divisions in between so I am not able to use a tension rod to put the fabric/curtains up. Can you tell me how you put yours on your shelf? I was also thinking about using tablecloths instead so it is more cost-effective, but first I’ve got to figure out how to get them up there and keep them up. Suggestions?

    Thanks

  84. Kim says

    Your room looks great, and your tips are wonderful! I think, though, that your fire marshall is a little more lenient than the one in our district! NO fabric curtains – ever. Nothing can be within two feet of the ceiling. And NOTHING can be on the door. Still, I got a lot of great ideas from your tips and room. Thank you! Hope you have a great year!

  85. says

    Hi! So happy to have found this, and I definitely put it on my pinterest ;) Wonderful ideas and colors.. I unfortunately have done the different bulletin board paper, and started doing this in my classroom! I will keep in mind to keep a color scheme for next time ;) thank you so much for your hard work and beautiful pics!!

  86. says

    I think Blogger ate my comment. Oh well., if there are two please accept my apologies.
    Melanie, I first saw your decorating tips on Pinterest. Then this summer when my school and classroom were under renovation I revisited it. I took the renovation as an opportunity to follow your rules and create a better space for my technology students. I’m so happy with the results. I went with black/white/lime green with polka dots and damask here and there. The kids and adults LOVE IT! I still have odd and end little things left to do to finish off the space, but I’m 110% happy with the results. The best part is that my room actually feels bigger, even though the ceiling is almost 20 inches lower and I lost at least a foot of space with my new counter. Thank you thank you thank you!!

  87. Ruth says

    Very cute….but our fire marshall would have major fits because you papered all the way to the ceiling….a BIG NO NO for us!

  88. Jenn says

    Hi! It is my first year teaching, and I completed three student teaching placements (one for early childhood, one for elementary, and one for middle school) in a different state than I am teaching. We were allowed to hang from the ceiling, and cover the walls, etc. In my new district it was nothing at all from the ceilings- my solution- 18 inches from the ceiling (that is the required clearance) I screwed in those hooks that have circles at the ends (O-hooks?) on opposite walls, and ran fishing line across. It is almost invisible, so it looks like the items are floating. I did it one day after school, the kids were mesmerized to come in the next day with their paper chain hanging from it (note- fishing line stretches, it is nylon, be aware of this if items are heavy). I am told ribbon works really well because it does not stretch much. My next year’s project is cohesion in my classroom (my moving truck did not show up until about two days before school started. It had all my supplies, etc., as well as the contents for my apartment and clothes). So my goal was just to breathe at the beginning of this year. Contemplating pirates or camping for fifth graders. Tough call!

  89. ammara says

    i just wana say that i say ur alllllllll comments…i couldnot find any pakistani person here.i just wana say tht im a pakistani :)
    i really appericate ur work..its awesome
    i ll try to make a tree which u hav been made in ur class its awesome…… :)
    great job.. wish u best of luck ever

  90. Stephanie says

    I love this room but would really love to know if you rotate in any holiday decorations, and if so how you go about that

  91. Jackie says

    What a beautiful classroom! I love the cohesive theme! I also love the double borders with simple colors, that just looks so much better than multiple cheesy borders. I was wondering where you got the yellow baskets that you put in the shelves.

  92. Benita says

    We were told we can only have 20% of our walls covered. though this is very cute you are still using more then the 20%. my question is how to decorate not using paper on the walls.

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Just cover your bulletin boards. The last teacher in that classroom used permanent marker and velcro dots all over the wood that couldn’t be removed. I used more paper than normal to cover all of that up. We don’t have a paper limit in our district.

  93. Amanda says

    Love your room. How would you suggest decorating/choosing a color scheme for a room that had orange counters, orange cabinets and orange carpet? We are talking decor straight out of the 70’s!

  94. Beth Osborne says

    I love your classroom decoration. I had decided last year I liked the same green you had and bright pink. I’m going to steal your bulleting board idea and put black background with the green boarders that you have on yours. AWESOME!!!

  95. Laura says

    Our latest fireman suggested that we use plastic tablecloths on our walls and/or boards instead do butcher paper because it won’t burn, it just melts.

  96. says

    Love your classroom!! I have an unrelated question though …. I have been researching like crazy to research how to put a pin it button on an actual image and keep coming up shorthanded. Do you have any quick directions for me?

  97. Tiffany says

    I followed your suggestions about cohesive pattern throughout the room & double border and I must say, my room came out beautiful. Thank you!! I do have one question. I want to create the picture frames to match my color scheme. How did you make them? Thank you for everything.

  98. Rhonda says

    Would you give one more color scheme suggestion? I teach 5th grade math. We have a new building due to a consolidation. The school has navy blue and a light blue gray scheme already (tile, walls, cabinets). Suggestions for a decorating theme and colors? Please

  99. Amy says

    I’m a secondary (high school) Geography teacher, wanting to decorate my room..unsure as to what colours would do well together, would blue & green go or not? I’m rubbish at this sort of thing…

  100. Sharon Young says

    I just wanted to say that you are such an inspiration to me. I have always put such efforts in making my room cute. Looking at your rules makes me realize I was doing it all wrong. As a matter of fact, I walked into my room today to begin working, I looked at my boards and said, “Those don’t even look good.” I thought they were really cute last year. LOL!!! I’m taking down my red and blue boards and making them both black. I am going to accent with zebra, white, and green. I am also going to keep with my monkey theme. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for all you do to inspire us!
    Just a question, I have my tree in the corner of my room that spreads across my library. My limbs are suspended with fishing line. You see it when you walk in to my room. It’s pretty big! Should I move it to the middle of my room???

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Hi Sharon!

      You gotta do what feels right in your classroom! If you think it should be in the middle of the room, go for it! If you want to have the center of attention elsewhere, keep it in a corner.

      Schoolgirl Style~Kandin

  101. Jami Dixon says

    Hey there! I’ve just finished decorating my classroom and thanks to your book I added many extra touches that I love!!! However, my husband mentioned that it might be too girly- it’s animal print theme, with pink, green, blue, and black….I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t even consider if the boys would like it, I was just trying to create a space that was inviting, beautiful, and comfortable. Any thoughts o. This? I am sure hoping the boys don’t hate it!

  102. Janet says

    Your classroom is awesome! I also use the same colors and boarders on all of my bulletin boards throughout my kindergarten classroom. So it was nice to see my idea validated with rule #1. Our bulletin board paper selection at school is limited, so I’ve been going to the fabric store and buying “small print” material to cover my boards. I’m always looking for a bargain, so if I can find material for a $1.00 a yard, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot! Some fabric stores have discount bins. 5 yards of material goes a long way and it doesn’t fade like the paper. I leave the board material up for 2 or 3 years, but change the boarders every year to match my theme. Currently, I have a lime green print fabric on my boards with a black boarder that has a bright rainbow pattern of circles. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I can hardly wait to try the hot glue with the sky/cloud paper I bought and trying the double boarder trick. (rule #2) I spend so much time at school, I might as well make that space inviting to the students and parent

  103. Heather says

    I absolutely love your sense of design! Everything I have seen is just so appealing! You are my go to website when I need inspiration (& for supplying my classroom)! Thank you for sharing.

  104. victoria says

    i too was just told i can not hang my beautiful red 19 inch daisies with the table numbers from the ceiling- so upset- any ideas?

  105. Sari Mazon says

    Any suggestions for decorating without butcher paper?! The fire marshall said no butcher paper on walls OR boards!

  106. Teresa Murray says

    Hey, everyone. Consider using sheets for maximum fabric coverage on the cheap for bulletin boards. They work very well, especially if you’re going for a solid color.

  107. Bridgette says

    I am teaching first grade this year and am thinking of doing a Lego themed classroom. What can I do for this ?

  108. Laurie Lambie says

    There have been so many studies done on the brain and how room decor is so important for optimum learning. This room is so beautiful and calming to the eye. The only question I have is do you have alphabet posters that go along with this theme? If not, which one in your store would you suggest to go with it.
    Thank you!!

  109. Kricket Uecke says

    Great ideas!! We just found out about the new rules and guidelines about 20% of our walls being decorated. I decided to paint a large mural on one wall and alphabet letters will either be painted on with the use of stencils. I also painted my one bulletin board with paint and a seasonal tree which the children will decorate with art work. The other boards are going to be painted and have art work displayed. Calendar will most likely be made with a white board and masking tape to divide it. Than i will just write numbers on with erasable markers. For border on my bulletin boards I am going to use masking tape so many fun designs now.

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