Bright & Clean Classroom Design


If you are a teacher, you understand why a classroom should feel like a home. You spend countless hours there, and you share that sacred space with some of the sweetest kiddos. You understand why a classroom should be a place that fits the needs of teachers and children. I have always. ALWAYS. always. loved the design of my classroom, but this year I decided to change almost everything.

I decided that I wanted a classroom that was clean, bright, and kid-friendly. I wanted a space that felt less cluttered and more open. I wanted our supplies to be organized and accessible. This transformation was not possible overnight. I spent months researching flexible seating and classroom designs. I had trouble finding other classrooms that fit my design, so I started pinning pictures of bright, clean playrooms instead.

I found lots of classroom materials on clearance and saved them for the upcoming year. I also met with our school PTO over the summer and told them about flexible seating. They generously purchased ball chairs and wobble stools for our new flexible seating options.

A week before school started, I was allowed back into my classroom to start my design overhaul. I am thrilled to show you around our classroom!





To make my classroom feel more open, I asked our custodians to remove some of the student desks. I got rid of my teacher desk a few years ago, and I honestly have never missed it. When I was setting up my classroom, I had 27 kiddos on my roster. It was important that all of my kiddos have a solid work surface for when the art teacher comes to the classroom. I was required to keep some desks in my classroom so I turned them around to make small tables (all of the openings are turned inward so they are hidden).



I took the legs off of a standard table to make it low and raised another table as high as possible. This gives my kiddos lots of choices for working if they need a solid surface. They absolutely love working at the low table!


These little tables from Ikea are perfect for partners and centers. Kiddos can sit there throughout the day. During centers, we use one for STEM and one for Draw and Write.  I covered the top of one table with some chevron contact paper to give it a little extra style and protect the surface during art.



My kiddos can also choose to work while lying on the floor with clipboards, sitting in scoop rockers, or relaxing inside laundry baskets with pillows. My pillows are indoor/outdoor pillows from Walmart and the baskets are from Target. I have four little armchairs in our library areas that kiddos can also use for working and reading. I got one set at Target a few years ago and another set was donated by my mom!




Once I had all of our seating options set, I needed to figure out how to organize everything. I keep my teacher supplies on the counter in our classroom. I use Sterilite drawers and a teacher tool box to organize all of the things that used to be in my desk. I got them both from Amazon. I store my copies, books, and materials for upcoming lessons in these drawers too. You can download the teacher tool box labels  and the FREE storage drawer labels too!



Our shared classroom supplies are kept in baskets on the front table. I had to have these colorful baskets from Big Lots so I bought them and then spray painted one of them pink. The bright labels with photographs have been a huge success! We keep our morning tub materials in clear Sterilite containers on a cart from Michaels. The kids can quickly see where everything is organized, and you know they love to help clean up!




My kiddos keep their personal supplies in storage drawers from Ikea. They are really durable and perfect for holding everything we need during the day. I spread them out around the room to avoid a pile up in one area of the classroom. I attached a number to each drawer. If you're anything like me, it takes you a while to memorize everyone's number so I also wrote their names on strips of painter's tape. I stuck the tape to the front of the drawers before school started so we could all remember which drawer belonged to which kiddo. When everyone knows their number (including you) just peel off the tape!


Each kiddo also has a book bin to keep their independent reading materials and library books. These are also spread out around the room with our book baskets. Shelves from Target fit my baskets from Big Lots and book bins from Oriental Trading perfectly. You can download the colorful number and library labels.



Our classroom library also got fresh labels with photographs. All of the categories have matching stickers that print on mailing labels so it's easy for kiddos to return their favorite books. Just attach the stickers to the front or back of your books. 



Our school has a School Wide Positive Behavior System so I needed a place for my kiddos to keep their "Rocket Fuel." Everyone gets a cup that is stored inside a clear shoe organizer. The numbers are from my Colorful Calendar set. It's easy to drop in more "Rocket Fuel" into a cup during the day, but we can also take out the whole cup when it's time to count and cash in!


I wanted everything to look fresh and bright, but I still believe in the importance of environmental print in the classroom. I only hung things that I knew my kiddos would use as they grow as readers and writers. We use our word wall and word helper posters ALL. THE. TIME! You can download all of the Word Helper Posters for FREE.








After a few months of learning in our bright and clean classroom, we are still loving this space! I have lots of tips and tricks to help organize and introduce flexible seating so check back soon for those upcoming posts!

You can follow me on Pinterest to see discover more ideas for bright and clean classroom design!



9 comments

  1. THIS is my style! Could you tell me what bins you used for your book bins and student book boxes? I'm having a hard time locating clear bins with the correct dimensions!

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  2. Thank you so much! This bright space makes me so happy! All of my student book bins are from Oriental Trading. I also had a really hard time finding clear bins, but these are perfect! The large clear bins in my classroom library are sterilite bins from Big Lots. I just removed the lids so all of the books can stand tall.

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  3. Where did you get your polka dot rug?

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  4. Emily - I love your use of alternative seating! Where did you purchase your wobble chairs and ball seats? I also love your idea of removing the table legs to create the low work table! Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is really a great and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. I love your classroom transformation! This is so inspiring! Did you paint the teacher tool box? I cannot find a white one. Also, did you purchase a Reading stuffed animal for each child to read with? If so, I like that so much better than sharing and everyone gets the same so there is no arguing. Finally, any pointers on where to get the funds for flexible seating? Or, perhaps pointers on where to find affordable pieces.

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  7. Hi Emily! Where can I find the "Rock it" Posters for your Behavior Management board? I would love to utilize these for this upcoming year! Thanks. :-)

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