The last few posts on décor looked at barren vs. bursting classrooms and left off saying that we would give some ideas on putting it all into practice. How can we decorate our classrooms so we create a home for our students where we all want to be without overloading our senses, ourselves or our wallets?
Picking Your Colors: Sticking to no more than two main or base colors with perhaps one other color ‘pops” will help create consistency and knit your classroom together. Even if this is all you do, sticking to a color scheme helps tie your classroom together. Limiting the number of colors you use also helps reduce the amount of visual distractors in your room. As a side note, having to stick to a limited number of colors keeps you from buying every classroom organization basket or bin you see. If it’s not your color, you can’t get it. Using your school colors helps connect your classroom with your larger community.
Covering your Boards: An easy way to cover your bulletin boards with something that lasts and is relatively maintenance free is to use fabric. Paper fades and can be a pain to get on without ripping. Also, if you are in the habit of changing what is actually on your bulletin boards through the year, then fabric holds up better than paper when dealing with multiple staples or tacks. You’ll spend more on fabric, but you can use it year to year. You could go with purchasing fabric by the yard, or go with buying flat bedsheets. If you want to go with some sort of pattern rather than a solid color you have to consider how visually stimulating and distracting the pattern is. A high contrast or visually busy pattern can make it difficult for anyone to actually focus on what you are putting on the board.
Here’s an example of a fabric to avoid. While it does seem bright and sunny and easy to find a color in it to capitalize elsewhere, there is simply too much going on with the variety of colors and shapes.
You may scoff at using this fabric for any purpose, but Aileen totally made a pair of pants using something very similar in middle school home ec, and they were FABULOUS!
Here’s another example of a fabric. At first glance, it avoids some of the pitfalls of the last one. It sticks to just two colors and just one shape. However, the high contrast and high number of shapes can make this pattern a poor choice on a large scale.
One way to avoid a too distracting pattern for your fabric is to simply pick a solid color. If you absolutely must have some sort of pattern (like we do) go for one that does not have high contrast between the colors or too much going on in the way of shapes.
Something like these give you some pattern without being too distracting.
Ultimately though it comes down to what you want, what you need and how much money and time you can invest. Whatever you do to your classroom, it’s your and your student’s home away from home for long stretches of time so it has to work for you! Next up we’ll have some picture tours of our own classrooms so you can see how we put it all together.