5 Tips for Creating a Classroom Theme on a Budget {Photos and Ideas for Classroom Organization & Decor}

Teachers often tell me they would love to incorporate a theme into their classroom decor, but are hesitant because they are on a tight budget. Today I am going to share some classroom theme ideas and photos that will enable you to decorate your classroom without spending a lot of money. 

If you haven’t already downloaded my FREE Classroom Decor Guide I suggest you check that out. It’s filled with tips and images that can be applied to any classroom color scheme or theme. In the meantime, here are some additional tips specific to saving you money while creating an organized and engaging space.

Classroom themes provide a fun environment and give you a focus when putting your classroom together. If you decide that you want to use a theme, my advice it to do so in a way that looks cohesive but not distracting. Incorporate the theme into useful items and resources (calendars, nametags, deskplates, etc) or things you would need to include anyhow (fabrics, trims, containers to house supplies) and avoid adding too much useless decor that doesn’t serve a purpose.

Dollar Stores are wonderful resources for teachers. Browse the aisles and see what you can find to create a theme. Here are a few examples from my local store.
Duck tape comes in so many varieties now that it would be easy to find a style that will complement your theme. Use it in place of bulletin board trim, to outline posters and charts.
I’ve had so many teachers request a Dr. Seuss theme for their classroom.  To avoid infringing on any copyright, I made sure not to include any images or phrases specific to his work, but instead used colors and patterns that provided a “Seussical” feel. Covering your bulletin boards with fabrics or papers that enhance your theme and then adding a few accent objects will create a cohesive look and make your theme obvious without spending too much additional money.  

{Pair these items found at the Target Dollar Spot with red and blue fabrics to create a Dr. Seuss themed classroom}

Lots of black and yellow will give you a bee theme. Black and red will be the perfect backdrop to a ladybug theme or a Hollywood theme. Animal prints make it easy to create a jungle theme. Denim and red gingham are perfect for a western theme or a farm theme.

One of the first themes I did in my own classroom was a camping theme. I brought in camp chairs and coolers from home that would’ve otherwise sat in storage during the school year. The kids used the coolers as seating during group time and I was able to store extra supplies inside. You could repurpose decorations from a 4th of July party to create a patriotic theme. Cleaning out your kitchen might give you artifacts to include in a cooking / baking themed classroom. Bring in your beach chairs to provide thematic seating in an ocean themed classroom.
{Discarded Christmas decor makes a great border for a Camping Theme Classroom Bulletin Board}
You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to quickly and easily make a few items for your classroom that will give it a finished and thoughtful appearance. By pairing bright colors with some common school supplies you can create a look that is not too “themey” and won’t cost much money at all. Simply use a hot glue gun and boxes of crayons, color pencils or markers to create custom pieces. Attach them to cans to make pencil holders, glue them onto frames or solid color bulletin board trims. 

By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.