How to Pick A Classroom Theme

When I first got my own classroom I felt a lot of pressure to choose a good theme. I wanted my classroom to be fun and full of my personality. I wanted to differentiate myself from the teacher I was taking over for.  Really, I put a lot of pressure on myself. 

The truth is the theme you pick for your classroom really isn’t important.  There is no wrong answer. But it feels like a big decision. It was a decision I cared about.  Here are some tips to help you simplify the process and take the pressure off.


What is your budget for classroom decorations? I was lucky enough that my school provided us with a budget. That is not always the case. So, find out the school budget or decide what you are willing to spend on your classroom decorations.

What Do You Like?

I have come to believe that your classroom theme can help your students get to know a little bit about you.  Students love to learn about their teachers, so by picking a theme that you like you can share parts of your life with them.  

It’s also important that you can stand to be around these decorations for a while.  You might decide to take them down after a few months and switch it up, but that is last on my list of priorities.

Look on Pinterest to see what other teachers have done that you really like.  Set a timer so you don’t get lost.  Look for 10-20 minutes.  Then out of what you have found, pick two themes and go onto the next part.


You will already have to spend time putting them up.   Don’t spend your summer making them too, unless that’s a thing you love.

Search online to see what the options are.  Here are a few suggestions.  

  • Really Good Stuff
  • Discount School Supplies
  • Teachers pay Teachers
  • Oriental Trading
  • Amazon

These sites are not the end all be all.  There are dollar stores, Wal-mart, and Target where you can shop.  You can also post requests for donations on social media. 

If there is a theme you love you can make some things for your classroom.  Consider the time you would have to spend and your color pallet as you start your creative adventure.

Color is an amazing tool.  Maybe you don’t like any themes that have decorations available.  Maybe you are just not a theme type of person.  You can choose a color pallet and search for everything you need in those colors.  A focused color pallet really helps pull a room together. Any classroom can be cute when you have a clear color pallet.

Purpose & Function

It can be really easy to get caught up in cute decorations.  You put them in your shopping cart trying to decide what to buy and how much.  Then you find more cute materials for your theme and you are over budget. I definitely get caught up in this.  I really wanted my first theme to be fun. And I will tell you I got too many decorations that were just visually distracting.

Try to keep your decorations purposeful and functional.   If there is a decoration sitting in your cart that doesn’t serve a purpose you probably don’t need it.  Think of how you can spread your theme into function.  This will help you stay in your budget too.

I used to make labels with my theme on them.  It spread my theme and helped my students find the correct notebooks.   Tags and labels on drawers and baskets are a great way to expand your theme.  The Pinterest classrooms that look awesome keep their themes functional.  It’s the small details they add with color pallet and purpose that tie the room together so well.

I hope this takes away the pressure you are feeling about choosing your classroom theme.  It should be a fun part of the school year, not a stressful part. Breathe and review these tips to help you find your theme.

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