How to Refresh Your Classroom with a Low Budget and Repurposed Decor

It’s no secret by now that I absolutely love creating and decorating. What I also love is coming up with creative ways to stretch a budget and repurpose items as I did with these budget home decor projects. It’s amazing what you can do with a little rearranging.

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In our area, it’s already time for back to school. I know I say it a lot, but gosh time goes by so fast. My step-mom asked me if I could help get her classroom freshened up for the new year, and I said, “YES!” This project is the first time I have done anything in a classroom, and it was a new creative challenge. She teaches high-school, so we wanted to kept it age-appropriate, cozy, and a color scheme she loves. The best part, we spent less than $50 on the refresh.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The color palette we chose is cobalt, mustard, and black with variations of the colors. She had cobalt decor and sunflowers already, so this color palette allowed us to use items already in her classroom.

Cobalt, black, and mustard color palette

First, we cleaned up a bit and took down old decor and projects off the wall. Whenever I want to refresh a space or redecorate, it helps to start with a blank canvas. Then, I looked around the room to decide how I could rearrange some spaces and what DIY decor I could add. Simply sticking with the color scheme helps make the space look cohesive and purposely done.

Above is a before and after of one side of the room. Notice the movement of the bookshelves to create a specific area in the room for books. Then, repainting the corkboard black made it more cohesive with the blacks in the rest of the room.

The string lights were added to soften the brightness of the flourescents since she doesn’t usually have all the lights on in the room.

Colorful Mural

I added a mural above the bookshelves which matches the color scheme. The mural adds color and brightens everything. It was one of the budget DIYs I did for the room. Here’s how it easily comes together.

First, take a black poster board (this one was $.69 at Dollar Tree) and add a quote. The quote was printed on computer paper and cut out. You could also use paper letters or letter stickers, but printing it from the computer was the cheapest for this project.

You will also need various colors and shades of paper from your color scheme. I bought all the colored card stock paper from Hobby Lobby. It was 50% off the week I went too! I bought black, various shades of mustard, and various shades of cobalt.

I cut up all the card stock into different sizes of squares and rectangles. It was random cutting and no particular need for sizes. I did want clean lines though, so I used my favorite paper cutter like this one. It makes cutting and trimming so much easier. I stuck with square and rectangles for an almost pixelated look.

Once I had all the shapes, I started gluing them down. You can also create this on paper if you want to attach it to the wall a different way. Below is a look of it after I added the black squares. I started with the dark colors and worked my way out to the lighter ones.

I love how it looked once it was all done. The colors bring out the colors throughout the room, and I think it will be something fun to see when they walk into class every day. They will know this quote by the end of the year for sure. Total cost for the DIY mural was about $7 (this $7 includes the paper for the sunflowers as well).

Below is the other side of the room before and after. On the walls before were previous year’s student projects. We took those down and added more permanent decor. Again, keeping with the color scheme makes the room look put together.

Paper Sunflower DIY

A DIY for this side of the room were the paper sunflowers. I have made felt flowers, fondant flowers, and clay flowers, but never paper flowers. These were fun for me to make. I looked over a few instructions on Pinterest and made up a way to make these from what I learned. I didn’t take any photos of the process (UGH I blame Netflix!), but I’ll explain with words as best I can.

paper sunflower diy

From black card stock paper, I cut a large circle. Then, from the yellow paper, I drew a long petal and used it to trace out all the other large petals. I did the same for the small petals. So, all of the petals were the same shape with two different sizes. I drew a flap onto the bottom of them and cut a slit into this petal. Here’s a rough sketch of what I mean.

After I cut the petals, I curled them around a glue stick. Just roll the paper around the stick like you would curl your hair. Then, hot glue one side of the slit to the other. Gluing the pieces together makes a 3D petal. Start gluing the large petals around the edge of the circle. The next two rows add smaller petals leaving a circle in the middle.

For the middle, I folded the paper over twice and cut slits into the top. Then, I rolled it and glued it onto a smaller circle and glued the circle in the center of the sunflower. It’s hard to see the center in the picture, but it looked great! (I promise I will do better about taking process photos or videos in the future. I get in the middle of things and don’t want to stop. Haha)

Once I got to the school with the flowers, I just hot glued them onto the block wall. It’s just what this wall needed!

mustard high school classroom decor

The posters are from Amazon and come in a variety pack. I loved all the sayings, and the simple chalkboard look goes with lots of colors. You can check out the posters here. The hanging decor is from Dollar Tree. One of my favorite places to buy party decor! These add fun color to the room. I bravely stood on my tiptoes on the desk to hang those things!!! Thankfully, the desk held. Hahaha! They are hanging from a paper clip slipped over the ceiling grid.

Interactive Bulletin Boards

These two board ideas were inspired from Pinterest, but I love the idea and concept for them. The first one is a graffiti wall, which I thought high school age would enjoy. Since part of their assignments is reading books, they can add favorite quotes to the graffiti wall. This idea was a simple DIY made with two black poster boards and paper borders. I hand-lettered the title with color pencil. You could also use a white gel pen or a chalk marker.

high school classroom decor

Then, we added another board for the students to “take what they need.” Again, this is made with two black poster boards side-by-side. I bought the yellow letters from Dollar Tree. The kraft paper envelopes are from Hobby Lobby and were 50% off the week I bought them. I hand-lettered the wording myself, but you could also print on the front or use stickers or stamps. I glued the envelopes onto the poster and added the paper boarder. She will fill the pockets with notes, quotes, scriptures, and encouragement for the students to take. I hope her students take advantage of this wall.

class room bulletin board idea

Repurposed Decor

The rest of the decor we moved around and reused. Behind the desk and on the bookshelves are photo frames and decor she already had. Just regrouping them and placing them in different places freshened up the room. Sometimes all it takes is some rearranging to feel like you have a new space. This idea is true for your home too. If you’re getting tired of a room, try rearranging, taking away, or adding items from other areas.

class room desk area

So, for all the items I purchased and brought with me, she spent around $30 plus the cost of the poster pack. The best part is she has a space she loves and will enjoy looking at all year. I hope the students enjoy it too!

If this post was helpful and you love affordable DIYs, subscribe to my blog, so you don’t miss my next project. I love sharing what I create with you.

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