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Ask Melanie – Color suggestions


Michelle Greenberg,  7th grade Science

“I would love to purchase chevron borders and accessories for my new classroom, but I don’t know which color to choose.  I’m moving up to middle school after years at the elementary level, and my new room is depressing.  The walls are a grayish purple, there are no windows,  only 3 small bulletin boards, and there are lots of cabinets (former home ec room).  See attached picture.  I would love your advice!  Thank you for considering my color question.”



Oh dear.  I agree that this poor room isn’t ideal, however, we can turn it into a beautiful showplace with a few ideas:

1.  Can you make sure your chairs match?  Maybe switch with another teacher?  Get rid of those red chairs for sure!  Try to get a set of the neutral chairs or a set of the blue chairs.

2.  The grayish purple walls may seem ugly now, but I have an idea that will make it look like you WANTED your walls this color!!!  Decorating tip!  Do not ignore your existing colors.  If you can’t change them, you need to work with what you have.  Maybe you have your heart set on a red and green apple theme?  Unfortunately, you just can’t do it with the purple/gray walls AND the yellow counter tops.  Stick to the colors that you already have!

I searched Pinterest and found a color combo that I LOVED!  This incorporates the gray, purple, and the yellow counter tops.  My inspiration…

purple yellow nursery


3.   Search for fabric that pulls the color scheme together and use it as a tablecloth, skirt your desk, or you can even use a tension rod and add a valance between the odd “holes” between all of the cabinets.

4.  The area above the cabinets are screaming for something.  You NEED to put something there, otherwise your room will look so washed out with all of those cabinets.  Here’s my idea…

IDEA #1 ...Use my Monogram Art to create inspirational words or science words around the ceiling.  Before I do this, I would cut purple/orchid fadeless paper and hot glue it around the perimeter of the room above the cabinets.  Use black border around the paper.  Place the Monogram Art on top of the purple paper.  This will give you the POP of color this room desperately needs!

Monogram Art


IDEA #2…Cut black bulletin board paper and add it to the perimeter of the room above the cabinets.  Frame with purple border.  Write science words with white oil pastels or a white paint pen.  I used this same idea in my County Fair room.  Check it out…


5.  Now for the FUN stuff!  Choose a collection to decorate with!  I would choose one of the following…

1.  Black and white Chevron Chic


2.  Black and white I HEART School 


3.  Gray Chevron Chic


4.  Learn Colorfully (Use the purple polka dots)


5.  Lavender polka dots from my Simple & Stylish collection


6.  Now, it’s time to pull your color theme together with some Schoolgirl Style accessories!  All of these items can be purchased in the Schoolgirl Style Shop!

gray yellow black lavender classroom inspiration board by Schoolgirl Style

7.  Lastly, I would purchase some yellow gerber daisies or maybe some large sunflowers, put them in a cute polka dot container and place around the room!



That ugly, boring, bland classroom will now be the cutest room in the whole school!

Happy Decorating!


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  1. Where’s the after pictures? 🙁 I was so excited to see those. It’s going to be spectacular when it’s done and I wanted to see the magic.

  2. Love these ideas. However in our district we can only use fabric that has been fireproofed.

  3. Those are awesome ideas. I teach middle school science as well and in a former home ec room. The cabinets are the worst. I chose a black, white and purple scheme last year. I’m glad to see I wasn’t too crazy. I can absolutely add in this stuff for next year.

  4. Thanks, Melanie! I love your ideas for my new space. I like my new classroom, but now I’ll love it!

  5. I love your ideas and I absolutely love this color combination, even though I usually choose blues and greens. : ) I hope she will post or submit lots of before/after pics, too!

  6. Middle school classrooms are tough to decorate, but I love your plan for this room! Those three colors will look beautiful together and will still be adult enough for middle school! This was so much fun to see planned out!

  7. I think you are right on about the colors and chairs. I love chevron and polka dots, too. You could cut rectangles to put on the cabinet doors, letting the door peek outvaround the edge as a border. Hanging paper or placing anything above the cabinets could be considered a fire hazard. Check to make sure, as you don’t want you and the school written up upon inspection.

  8. I’m a high school teacher and love what I do, but your website is so exciting that it sometimes makes me wish I taught elementary. Instead, I do what I’ve been doing for years: adapt, adapt, adapt. Too many people think that high school classrooms don’t need to be decorated, and it’s almost impossible to find books or websites on the topic. I love your ideas! This blog was the best one I’ve read yet. I wish you’d do this more often–take a “blah” classroom and explain step by step what can be done with it. Keep up the good work.

  9. I love using fabric as bulletin board background, to cover the top of ugly filing cabinets or as simple curtains on an extension rod to hide old shelves! The color scheme you chose of purple, yellow, and gray is so unique and gorgeous!