Thursday, August 2, 2012

How To Create a Cozy Classroom {and a Sneak Peek!}

Creating a classroom where students feel safe, comfortable, and valued is so important to me. I also want my classroom to be cozy, because it is really their "home away from home" for about 10 months out of the school year! Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working in my classroom a little bit at a time and I thought I'd share some ideas for how to create a cozy classroom!

1. Curtains- Curtains make a classroom feel very homey. You can do either short or long curtains. Every year up until this year, I've done short curtains at the top of my windows. This year, I decided to try something different! I bought long red curtains at Wal-Mart, cut them off and sewed them so they were the right height and then added a polka dot tie-back. I love how they turned out! Curtains are such an easy way to change your classroom feel.

2. Chair Pockets- Adding chair pockets to your classroom provides color and functionality. These are very simple to make! I made 12 total for my classroom: 6 for my guided reading table, 3 for computer center, and 3 for writing center. These pockets will be used to hold activities for each center and books/reading response folders during guided reading. There are great tutorials all over the web for how to make these. I just made up my own as I went!

3. Classroom Rug- Adding a rug to your classroom is not only colorful and cozy, but it is also beneficial so that students know where your meeting area is. You can purchase large rugs at Wal-Mart, Target, or any other store that sells home decor items. I was lucky enough to have this amazing rug donated from some generous donors on If you don't know about this organization, you need to check it out {here}!

4. Paper Lanterns- I was so inspired by Schoolgirl Style when I saw these adorable paper lanterns on her website. These add a bit of whimsy to the classroom! I used matching ribbon to tie a bow at the top and then hung a table number below each lantern.

5. Ribbon- Speaking of ribbon, here are a couple of ways that I incorporate ribbon into my classroom. The picture on the left is a trash can that sits on top of each table. I found these adorable buckets at Garden Ridge. I used the same ribbon that is on the paper lanterns and tied a bow around the middle. The picture on the right is my calendar area. Using fun ribbon is a great way to hang pocket charts, posters, or anything else that you can think of! I used the green polka dot ribbon to hang my calendar and my Common Core posters.

 6. Wooden Bookshelves- I found this cute little bookshelf at a garage sale a few summers ago. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew it had potential! I painted it red and use it for my students' check-in area. They clip in here and also get their lunch envelopes from the baskets. Garage sales are great places to find cheap bookshelves that can be painted to match your classroom!

7. Pillows- Adding pillows to your classroom gives students comfy areas to sit and adds some coziness to your classroom. I love these pillows from Lakeshore Learning! They are great because they are easily cleaned and wiped off. (You know all about the germs that float around our classrooms!) The health inspector especially liked these pillows that weren't made of regular fabric =) I use these at my listening center so that students can sit and enjoy listening to a good book! I also had these donated to my classroom through!

8. Plants- (Please don't mind the SOLO cup and label!) Plants are a great way to teach your students to take care of something and be responsible. They also enhance your classroom's appearance! This is actually a picture of a plant that we used during a science experiment, but if you look at the picture of the classroom curtains above, you will see the red pots that I use to hold our classroom plants. I just bought cheap clay pots and spray painted them red to go with my classroom. We have a classroom job called the "Plant Caretaker" who is charge of watering the plants each day. They love taking care of these and the plants just add a nice touch to the classroom.

Well that's about it! I know that you may not be able to do some of these ideas due to rules at your school (such as hanging things from the ceiling) but I hope this gave you some ideas for adding some coziness to your classroom! I will be posting more pictures of my classroom as I continue to work on it (there is still a long way to go!)

Have a great Thursday everyone!


  1. Looking good. I put curtains up last year and one of the retired teachers walked in and said it looks too homey in here. Classrooms should not have curtains. She is crazy. Everyone else really likes them.

  2. Love your cozy room! I really need to improve my rug area this year and make it cozy!

    Krazy About Kiddos

  3. Fantastic post today . . . love your chair pockets. I can't sew (not even to put a button back on), but I have to find someone in my little town who can do this for me. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Kelley Dolling
    Teacher Idea Factory



  5. Love your ideas! Your classroom does look nice and cozy :) I am thinking about purchasing those pillows from Lakeshore... I've had my eye on them, and now I feel like I need them even more!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  6. I have the same rug in my classroom! I love it because it is so big and students actually have room to sit and not be on top of each other.

    Diving Into Learning

  7. What company did you buy the carpet from? I love the colors!!

    One Class, One Sound

  8. Oh my heck, I enjoyed reading your post today! I love the curtains! We have thick curtains provided by our school (yuck)! I like the pillows you picked up. I am using lap tables this year so the kids can sit on the floor and do their work. I am excited to see the children's faces light up when they see these!
    Where Seconds Count

  9. I love all your ideas about making a classroom cozy!! I completely agree and have been working on making changes each year. I am adding curtains (valances) this year and hope they turn out! I haven't tried plants yet because I can't seem to keep them alive at home:(

    I saw your comment about leaving your kiddos at the end of summer and I am the same way. It takes a few weeks to adjust but I miss them terribly!! Stop by my blog if you get a chance and enter my giveaway!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  10. Erin,

    Thank you so much for the shout-out! What GREAT ideas you have for the classroom. We wish you the very best of luck in any of your future projects on!

    All the best,
    Jessica, Marketing Employee

  11. It's nice you can do that. We're not allowed to hang anything on the ceiling, have carpet or hang any flammable items on or near windows or doors.

  12. I added podiums to my classroom this year. . .I teach 7th grade (but I think it would work for any grade). I, myself, simply can't *sit* all day long and know there are students out there that feel the same way. You should have seen faces light up (I'll admit, it's mostly the boys) who find out that they are allowed to stand up during class and do all of their work that way too. I put chairs next to them if they do get tired and want to sit. . .I came up with this idea last year when I had a student who just couldn't, physically, stay still. I did have to give him "boundaries" as to how many steps he could take away from his desk but I did allow him to stand (in the back of the room) and not sit the entire 65 minutes class every day. Not a "homey" tip but kind of goes along the lines of your rdg center and another commenter's blurb about lap desks. . .DI in action!!!

  13. Looks great! I did have curtains but the fire marshall unceremoniously ripped them down one day. :(

  14. Where did you buy your paper lanterns!!? I love how it looks!!! What a great idea!!!! I teach kindergarten and this would be perfect in my room! I love, love, love!!!!!

  15. What size lanterns did you buy? Where did you buy the matching ribbon!!! I loveeeeeeee how it looks!!!

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