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Congrats! You have successfully passed Classroom Decorating 101! You know how to spot the trends vs. creating a color scheme and the dangers of a theme. Next up on our list of simple steps to creating the classroom of your dream… Classroom Decorating 102: Shopping Basics!

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I picked out my color scheme and patterns. The next step is to bring it together. I always start with my walls as they are what draws the eye when one walks into the classroom. Your bulletin boards will set the tone for your room. Don’t neglect them. 

Below are the 9 things that I purchase first when setting up my classroom. When you are on a limited budget, focus your resources here. When you set-up your room at the beginning of the year, this is where you will devote most of your time. 

Everything you add to your classroom after this is what I call “Adding the Cute.” We will get to that another day when time and your budget allows. 

.01 Borders

Bulletin Boards take up a huge amount of space in my room and for this reason, I always start my classroom set up here.

Layering borders are the easiest way to give depth to the space. I use several different ones in my color scheme. Using the same boarders brings my overall design together and creates a cohesive look in the room.

Borders can be scallopped or straight. I tend to prefer the straight in designs and use the basic bordette in a scallop to accent my designs.

.02 Paper

If you read enough of my blog posts, you will learn that I strongly believe in doing things right the first time. This includes bulletin boards. I do not enjoy putting them up. I am perfectionist. Do you know how hard it is to get a bulletin board completely straight if there is no guide?

It is a pain! This is why I believe the investment in fadeless paper is not only worth the money but absolutely necessary for my survival! I put up the paper once a year and it stays the same color all year long!

I have always used a solid neutral color for the backgrounds of my boards. Usually black. However, I have seen some pattern backgrounds used as accents that I have been admiring. Maybe this is the year to add in a new paper!


.03 Letters

When it comes to labeling your bulletin boards, the sky is the limit. I have seen vinyl, balloons, burlap shapes, tissue paper, rope lights, card stock, and more. This is really all up to you and what you have time for. 

I have always opted for some cute letters premade and easily purchased on Amazon or my local teachers store. I store these in a binder for easy use and use them year after year. This just keeps things simple for me. 

.04 Anchor Charts

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to anchor charts. I love creating these with my students. I use them to model how to complete Interactive Student Notebook Pages. 

What is a cute anchor chart without cute pens to use? When out shopping basics you must pick up some good pens for your use only. Scentos, Sharpie, and Flair are 3 of my favorites!

.05 Birthdays

I love celebrating my students birthdays in class just as much as I love celebrating my children’s birthdays at home. This means I need a cute way to display the birthdays in my classroom. I have made some cute homemade designs in the past but if you are looking for simple, there is nothing better than picking up a pre-packaged board and just adding your student names. 

As a bonus, the birthday board helps the students feel a since of belonging. They have made a mark on the room and it is starting to become theirs. This is an essential component of the classroom. 


.06 Classroom Management

In every classroom, you will find the rules, procedures, classroom jobs, and other items that help run the classroom. It takes everyone’s help to make the room look good and to have a successful year.  

I tend to make my own materials for my classroom in regards to these components and many of them can be found for sale in my store. 


.07 Bins & Tubs

I am obsessed with organization. Everything has to have a place and everything must be in that place. Label it. This helps to keep things running smoothly. For this reason, organizational tools are a must when shopping for the basics. In fact, it is usually the first thing I buy! 

I love Iris Containers! They are a bit on the pricey side but absolutely worth the money! I invest in these a lot. In fact, these are some of the few things that made the journey from Arizona. However, my husband has re-purposed them for his needs. Guess I will just have to buy more. 


.09 Let’s Write!

I told you about my love of school supplies. Shopping Basics has to include things that make you happy when you write. I do not share these. These are for the teacher only. I might share with my team mates. MIGHT! I’ll have to think about it. 

You can never have too many of your favorite pens, post it notes, or other school supplies that make you happy. 


Remember, happy teacher = happy students. Shopping Basics is all about creating an environment where you both will thrive. The basics are the minimum that you will need to purchase to set up your classroom.