By: Rebekah Murphy

It's finally summer! By now you've had a chance to rest and refuel. If you're like me, you're already making plans for next year. While back-to-school time can often bring a lengthy to-do list, perhaps at the top of the list is getting your classroom or office ready for a fresh, new year. If you're looking for some ways to refresh your space in a way that is easy on your bank account, keep reading.

Functional & Free

Functional + free = a school counselor's dream, am I right? This calm down bulletin board sign is a click away. It will signal to your students where to go when they need to calm down. Pro tip: add a sequin pillow, a bean bag, and a few fidget toys and you're good to go!

Carve out a space in your classroom to display student work as well. Displaying student work can make your students feel valued and they can help you decorate your classroom at the same time! Win, win!

Simple Upgrades

Take your office from drab to fab by trying one (or all!) of these low-budget updates:

  • Like Your Desk!

    • Do you have an outdated desk that is an eye-sore? Add some wallpaper in a fun print to liven up your space. There are lots of prints and colors to choose from with adhesive backing. Peel, stick, and you're done!

  • Instant Dry Erase Board

    • Does your classroom have a chalkboard, but you would really prefer a white-board? Pick up some dry erase contact paper and give your board a facelift.

  • Light it Up!

    • Because twinkle lights aren't just for Christmas. Place a few strands over your board or around your desk to brighten up your room.

  • New Year, New Wreath

    • Dress up your door. Cut out a thick cardboard circle, hot glue crayons or rulers to the cardboard, add a ribbon or a small chalkboard with your name in the center and you're golden!

Dollar Decor

Make a big statement in your office space with a positive poster or by skimming the party supply aisle at your local dollar store. Snag some tissue paper in fun colors and make bright pom poms, tassels, or garland to liven up your classroom. You can find instructions for how to make decorations out of tissue paper by going to this site.

You also may surprise yourself with how much you can do with cardstock. Geometric bowls for your desk, mobiles to hang from your ceiling, flowers to place on your wall, and lanterns are just a few things you can make out of paper. Go to this website to learn how to make them.

Feelings Check

When it comes to getting our office ready for a new year, we all fall somewhere on the spectrum from drudgery to delight. No matter our feelings toward getting our classroom ready, perhaps you join me with a feeling of accomplishment once your space is Back-to-School Night ready! I hope these tips and tricks will help you and your students feel more comfortable in your home away from home.


What does your classroom/office space look like? I'd love to hear about it or see a picture in the comments!

About the author: Rebekah Murphy has nearly a decade of experience working with students holding various titles such as third grade teacher, K-5 school counselor, and K-12 gifted and talented teacher. She enjoys developing curriculum for Bright Futures Counseling and writing in her free time.


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