A Note from Melanie Ralbusky: How to Decorate Your Classroom

First of all, the most important part of the decorating process is choosing a theme or a color combination that represents your personality.  Since your classroom is your second home, it’s crucial to choose something that makes you feel good about being there and brings joy to your teaching life.

Choosing colors and patterns that you can live with should be taken into consideration.  Are you drawn to neutrals and textures or do you love bold and bright colors?  Deciding on the type of environment you would like to create is the first step to creating your dream classroom.

After you’ve decided on a theme and/or colors for you space, there are some easy guidelines to follow to help you decorate like a pro!

  1. Choose bulletin board paper: I like to use just one color throughout my classroom.  I find that when you use a single color, it makes the room look more cohesive.  I’m a big fan of fadeless bulletin board paper.  It’s thicker and the colors are more vibrant.
  2. Borders: I love layering borders.  I will always use at least two borders on my boards, sometimes even three borders!  When I choose a border combination, I will always vary the prints.  For example, if I use a polka dot border, I will pair it with either a solid or a striped design.  I don’t ever put two patterns that are alike side by side.
  3. Bulletin Boards Sets: I like to leave my boards empty and ready for student work, however, bulletin board sets look awesome on classroom doors or other areas of the room.
  4. Teacher Desk: I have gone without a desk for years, but recently, I brought back my desk and I’m loving it!  This is my own special little area where I can display personal items and things that make me happy!  I like to add a stylish lamp, flowers, pictures of my family, cute folders, Sharpies and Flair Pens, a desk pad, and of course, a pretty planner!
  5. Command Center: I like to designate an area in my room for my students to have access to classroom supplies, baskets for homework, notes, permission slips, and any other types of communication from home are available.  Lunch count and attendance procedures are placed in this area, as well as a pencil sharpener.  Labeling everything in this area is so important.  I will use nameplates for longer storage solution labeling and the smaller labels are for my classroom supply basket and bins.
  6. Labeling: Labeling is always the last thing that I do, especially when it has to do with student names.  If you have experience teaching, you know that the names change on your class list up until the first day of school.  I tend to hold off as long as I can to get this task accomplished.
  7. Empty space: I really try to keep blank space on my walls as much as possible. Giving your eyes an opportunity to rest, helps keep it from feeling too cluttered and busy.  I do like to add posters in the classroom in strategic places – if I do that, I will trim it out with a cute border just to make it look more like a piece of art in your space!  The border does a wonderful job of giving it more of a finished look.
  8. Ceiling decorations: This is always my favorite finishing touch in a classroom.  I love to add lanterns or pom poms to my space to give it more of a festive look!  I do understand that not everyone can hang items from their ceiling and there IS a way to get around that…I like to add pom poms or paper fans to the corners of my bulletin boards!  Giving your board a 3D element takes it to a whole new level of FUN!  Use cutouts that coordinate with your classroom collection and hot glue them in the center of the paper fans or poms.  This is a great way to incorporate your theme into your space!
  9. Clear the clutter: One of the best things you can do in your classroom is to clear all of the clutter from countertops and shelves.  Keep it as clean and minimal as possible – I promise this will make you feel better when you are in a clean and organized environment.
  10. Storage Solutions: Storage solutions are one of the most important parts of the classroom.  I like to keep the colors of my storage pieces cohesive as well.  Using one or two colors tends to be what I am personally drawn to and gives your space a sense of unity.  I know this is an expensive thing to do, especially on a teacher’s budget, I have been known to spray paint my baskets with paint specifically designed for plastic when I didn’t want to spend too much money on this part of my classroom.




The decorating process can actually be a fairly easy process if you just remember to keep it simple.  Decorating your classroom should be FUN!  There is nothing better than getting the chance to create a space specifically designed for children or young adults.  This is an opportunity to use colors and items that you wouldn’t necessarily use in your home.  Creating a playful and engaging learning environment for your students is one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of being a teacher!

Happy Decorating!



As a passionate teacher and creative thinker, Melanie Ralbusky believes that anything is possible—creating extraordinary spaces is her obsession and inspiring teachers is her purpose. Melanie is a classroom teacher with 19 years of experience in both public and private schools. With more than 100,000 followers on social media, Ralbusky’s work has been featured on several classroom décor websites and she has worked with multiple education companies to share her love of teaching and classroom design. Feeling the need to share her exciting ideas with fellow teachers, Ralbusky was inspired to launch the chic Schoolgirl Style™ brand to help take the “guess work” out of classroom decorating.  Select Schoolgirl Style™ designs are now available through Ralbusky’s exclusive collaboration with the Carson-Dellosa Publishing Group.

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