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Inspiration on a budget: refreshing K–12 classrooms for less

2024.02  ODP  K-12 Refreshing on a Budget Blog  Image 1 (1)Make the most of a modest makeover

The world of education is evolving. Lecture learning environments are in transition as teaching methodologies change. Yet some K–12 classrooms have furniture and fixtures that have remained unchanged for decades. Outdated student desks, aging teacher chairs and tables, and even faded bulletin boards are still in use in some schools and districts across the nation.

Although these items served their purpose, today’s modern learning environments are shifting to be more flexible, comfortable, and stimulating — and today’s furniture and accessories are evolving as well.


The challenge? Sometimes a complete classroom overhaul just isn’t possible. Budget constraints, tight timelines, and board approvals can put overhauls on hold. Fortunately, with some creativity and strategic planning, there are more affordable ways to give your school’s learning spaces a refresh.

Go mobile

Investing in light, mobile pieces instead of heavy stationary furnishings can give you the edge. This will let you reconfigure your space for different teaching methods and group arrangements. Solutions include:

  • Stackable, plastic chairs
  • Rolling carts
  • Customizable tables and desks on casters

Pro tip: Storage carts can double as mobile work surfaces, which is a great way to get the most for your money.

Refresh surfacesBlog_Jan_no1_Blog_Inset_images1-1

Giving worn surfaces a new look can work wonders. Consider refurbishing or replacing old wood and laminate furnishings with updated paint colors or fresh laminate. If it’s not in the budget to replace older bulletin boards that are past their prime, you can freshen them up with colorful paper.

Bring unused spaces to life

As more schools strive to create modern, instructionally driven educational environments, one of the shifts in educational facilities is making the most of every inch of the classroom. If you have an unused area in your space, consider putting it to work for collaboration and learning. Activating this space will add a new element to your current classroom.

Accessorize your environment

Add pops of color and visual interest with area rugs, artwork, baskets, curtains, and more. Want to paint but don’t have the resources to cover the whole room? Try putting a fresh coat of paint on one accent wall. You’d be amazed at how quickly it can give your space an updated look. Some key colors to consider:

  • Green = concentration
  • Orange = mood lifter
  • Blue = productivity

Blog_Jan_no1_Blog_Inset_images2-1Make it cozy

“Contemporary” doesn’t have to feel cold. You can create inviting spaces for your students to read and collaborate with a cozy rug, pillows, bean bags, or soft cushions. Folding screens or free-standing displays can be used to section off these spaces even more.

Put student work on display

Turn your walls into art galleries by displaying your students’ work, creativity, and achievements. This can turn an ordinary learning space into a vibrant, changing landscape that visually inspires.

With clever sourcing of donations and discounts, it’s possible to refresh learning spaces in innovative ways. Even without a complete overhaul, subtle changes can help your classrooms feel fresh, flexible, and energizing — perfect for helping your students learn and grow.


Want to learn how transforming underutilized spaces can help you update on a budget?
Learn how this school optimized areas that are underutilized to help cut costs: Read the full story here!


Rely on Workspace Interiors & OMNIA Partners

Workspace Interiors brings you a knowledgeable team with access to innovative furniture and ideas. We’re more than a furniture vendor. Workspace Interiors provides total turnkey solutions that suit your unique requirements, and we can manage any or all parts of the process. The Workspace Interiors team at ODP Business Solutions understands that education is critical to the foundation of a child’s journey. We want to help you create spaces for children to learn and grow, and we also know how important it is to provide areas for faculty and staff to collaborate and unwind. Together with top education-focused manufacturers, Workspace Interiors can provide you with an extensive portfolio of products and a comprehensive menu of services.

We offer pricing value that you would expect from numerous publicly solicited cooperative contracts and programs through OMNIA Partners. Count on us to work alongside you to help you achieve — and exceed — your expectations. Find out how we can help you support collaboration throughout your organization.