Inside my Farmhouse Classroom Makeover (with links!)

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For many years, my classroom just didn't look or feel right. While I knew that the actions inside a classroom mattered more than what was on the walls, I also wanted it to look... well, at least clean and organized. 

Thus began a very gradual, years-long process of taking my room from a color-clashing mess to a comparatively calmer, semi farmhouse look. Some of the materials I bought, and some were reimbursed or bought by the school, but it did not happen overnight and was, again, a process of finding out what did and didn't work for seventh and eighth graders. 

Why this look?
The colors and choices you see in my room were an attempt to balance several factors:
  1. Administrative Limitations: I wasn't allowed to go full-on flexible seating, and I also had only 5 authorized wall colors to choose from for ONE accent wall. 
  2. Non-negotiable colors: I didn't have permission to paint, cover, or replace anything I wanted. In addition to non-negotiable carpeting, I had dark green cabinets to work around. 
  3. Maximizing space: I teach middle school in a room that is NOT big enough, and I was desperate to maximize space for student desks, the classroom library, myself, and at least SOME alternative seating. 
  4. The fact that I watched way too much Fixer Upper while on maternity leave (ha!)

Things I Learned
Before I dig into the photos and specifics, here are some of the biggest things I learned during the process, regardless of your theme: 
  1. Have a color scheme and stick to it. The fewer colors, the better, unless you are actually embracing a rainbow or neon theme. 
  2. Work with, not against, your classroom. As stated above, working with my non-negotiable cabinets made a world of difference for a cohesive look.
  3. Containers that match are worth your money. By "containers" I mean shelving, bins, folders, wall hanging files, or any storage. Buying a zillion of the same black milk crate REALLY helped not just my OCD but the overall appearance of cleanliness (ha) in my room. 
  4. You might also like my older blog post, 7 Tips for Decorating an English Classroom

Classroom Tour!
Here are some of my favorite things, with links. (Some of the products shared are affiliate links, but many are not. All opinions are my own.) To see a complete list of products I recommend, check out my Amazon store

Also, follow my classroom decor journey on Instagram

I edged my whiteboard in black painter's tape for more contrast against the white walls I couldn't paint, and also used even thinner painter's tape to make the lines on the board itself. I used self-laminating sheets and magnets on the days of the week. I bought garlands from Hobby Lobby three years ago and use magnetic hooks like these to attach them to the board. 
These lights never recharged properly (see next photo below for my alternative), but I used painter's tape to create the "pole", along with a black hanging file, which I labeled with my Cricut machine and iron-on vinyl. 

These battery-powered lanterns with built-in timers have worked out MUCH better. I used the velcro-like picture hanging Command strips as well as these hooks to attach them to my wall.

Pro tip: If Command strips don't stick to your wall properly, use some sandpaper to gently rough up the spot a LITTLE, which does the trick for me. 

Floor cushions made from recycled material were from Target; the LED adhesive lighting under my whiteboard ledge can be found here and add great opportunities to turn off the overhead lights!

The ledge trays were custom made by my husband, but here's the letter kit. Hubby also made a magnetic faux barn door for me. The photo stickers were made with my Sprocket printer

The Closetmaid storage bench came from Walmart (or Amazon), the bookshelves are from IKEA, and the stools are also from Walmart. (The standing desks were from the school.)

Cart from Michael's (labels made with a Cricut with free font Harry P)

Trays from Office Depot; I made labels in PowerPoint and covered them with packing tape. 

Poster free from the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program; white magnetic shelf from Amazon.

Black crates from Lowe's - I used them ALL OVER my room. I made labels with self-laminating sheets, a hole punch, and binder rings. 

The vintage typewriter is a huge hit with the big kids, and not just my toddler!

Container from the Target Dollar Spot, labeled by my Cricut 

I used dollar store frames to create a "dry erase" scoreboard; the library pockets were attached to cabinets with double sided tape. 

For more information about the scoreboard and how I teach grammar, visit my blog post about The Grammar House Cup

I made the Homeroom banner myself; Fadeless bulletin board paper has been good for two years now!

I once read to put mirrors across from windows to bounce more light around the room. I don't know if that's true, but I did get a cheap long mirror from Walmart to put alongside a cabinet. This also cut down on student trips to the bathroom to look in a mirror!

Energizer brand tap lights are a little bigger and leave more room for writing! I just did Sharpie at the time, but I know many people use Cricut machines for this. 

This message board has been a huge hit over time!

Floor cushions (or patio cushions) from Target make a nice, cheap flexible seating option!

This pencil dispenser was a big hit with students. The only downside is that mine often releases two pencils instead of just one. 

I used black dry erase Wall Pops to add some definition to this school-bought round table (and remind kids that 4 people should fit). The acacia  SKOGSTA stools from IKEA are my all-time favorite and have been very durable the past two years (and are worth the $25 price tag, if you ask me). My mother sewed a custom table skirt for me, which we attached with adhesive Velcro. 

These OXO brand pop-lid containers are perfect for allergy-friendly candy. (One of these days, I will remember to make cute labels for them!)

Thank you for visiting! 

Honorable Mentions
Here are a few more of my "favorite things" in my classroom!

Do you have additional ideas, questions, or comments? 
Share them below!

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