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Ask Melanie – High School and Middle School Decorating


“I will be a first year high school teacher, and although I want the classroom to be fun and inviting, I don’t want it to be too “kiddy” or overbearing. If you have any recommendations for me, I would greatly appreciate it. All of your collections are gorgeous!” 


First of all, thank goodness this teacher is thinking about decorating her room!  YAY!  Just because a teacher is at the middle school or high school level, doesn’t mean a classroom can’t feel welcoming or attractive.  I applaud this teacher for wanting to make her room “fun and inviting!”

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

1.  I wouldn’t choose a classroom decorating theme or add cutesy critters to my design.  Instead, I WOULD focus on a COLOR SCHEME.

 I make sure to create all of my collections WITHOUT the cutesy clip art…this makes it versatile for every taste and grade level.  For example, I created my Woodland Animals collection with and without the animals.  You can either use the trendy red and turquoise color scheme alone OR add the animals for an elementary school theme. 

2.  After you choose your colors, cover every bulletin board in your classroom with the SAME color!  Use a coordinating border to frame each board.  If you have extra border, you can add it to bookshelves, windows, door frames, or your whiteboard as well…this will pull your color scheme together.

3.  Use my pennants to create a name banner for your desk or entryway.  Pennants also look GREAT draped above windows or a whiteboard.

4.  Add some coordinating personal items on your desk.  If you have family photos, make sure the frames are the same (use three different sizes OR the same color).  Stick to your color scheme!

5.  Buy coordinating baskets to organize your supplies.  Label everything with my coordinating multipurpose labels.  I’ve never taught this grade level, but I would think that blank nameplates would be perfect for creating your schedule, classroom rules/expectations, grading scale, etc.

6.  Add three poms, daisies, or lanterns in the corner of your room (possibly by your desk) for a POP of color and FUN!

That’s it!  It really doesn’t have to be complicated.  Just think COLOR SCHEME and COHESIVE!

See you tomorrow!



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  1. Diana says

    I agree, Melanie– good for her for decorating her classroom! I see classrooms for older kids that are just, frankly, boring and look almost like a storage area than an interesting place to hang out and learn. Would be so easy to make it attractive and would help keep the kids’ interest! Would be cute to combine your Totally Teamwork collection in the school’s colors with polka dots or chevron in one of the school colors– something for everyone. Would send a great message to the kids– I care about what goes on in the classroom and you should, too!

  2. Kelly says

    I teach middle school and high school at a k-12 independent school and this past school year I used a chevron theme in my classroom using our school colors. It was perfect for this age group! The room looked colorful and inviting, but not too young! My students seemed to really like it.

  3. Karen says

    Inspired by Schoolgirl Style, I’ve been using these guidelines (except for the pennants, which I’ll have to add) for the past two years. My students are always grateful to have a decorated room in which to learn! I teach language arts, so I also add a small reading corner with a rug, beanbag chair, and coordinating pillow too. My classroom is very small, but it’s worth the real estate. Last year I did a black and white theme. This coming year, I will be using the colors from the Rainbow Chalkboard theme.

  4. Nancy says

    I teach high school chemistry, and I used your Summer Soirée collection last year. My students loved it! I hung pom poms with lab station numbers, and really decorated my room. I had students tell me that it was their favorite classroom to spend time in- guys too!

  5. Heather says

    I put a lot of effort into decorating my high school classroom–I painted my desk and two large rolly cabinets with chalkboard paint and use labels in chevron and polka dots in bright colors. My juniors and seniors–and even kids who just pass through–always comment on it. I think they see that I care about my space and associate that with my caring about teaching. Besides, I spend more waking hours in my classroom than at home. I want it to be cute!

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