Teacher desk decor can range from super cute and personalized to nonexistent. There are few places that students don’t have access to and those are your chance to make your space feel more like your home away from home. You can decorate and organize classroom bookcases and even your computer teacher desktop.
If your classroom supplies budget is already at a negative balance, you will have to take more of a DIY approach to your decorations as opposed to heading to the nearest home furnishings store to buy your desk accessories.
Sitting at my desk one day, I needed to grab a colored marker as I was getting ready to grade a stack of comprehension tests during my planning period. I slide open the desk drawer and stuck my hand in only to:
- get stabbed by a pushpin rolling around in it
- get a cough drop stuck to my hand due to it being hot in my room and melting through the wrapper
- then, have a nickel also stuck to man from the ooze of said cough drop also creating a mess on everything around it
- and – all while still digging through the rolling mess of paper clips, writing utensils, change, gum, stickers, thumbtacks, scissors, and other various office supplies while still on the hunt for a simple marker so I could cross grading these tests off my to fo list in the limited planning time I had.
There had to be a better way to organize this desk drawer…
I thought a fun DIY tutorial would be a great post – and this one is super simple and fun! Have a drawer you need to organize? Well, if you have to organize it anyway, might as well make it cute along the way!
This is so easy, you can complete it in an hour or less!
How to Decorate a Teacher Desk
Step One: Empty a drawer (that step might take you a little longer than the other project – lol).
Step Two: Grab some empty jewelry boxes. You might have a bunch sitting in your jewelry box already, and if so – score! If you don’t have any laying around, I found mine at the local craft store, at a cost of less than $10 for 4 packages all in different sizes.
Step Three: Set up the jewelry boxes in your desk drawer however you like best! Tip: Take a picture of this arrangement so when you start pulling the boxes back out to add your inserts, you don’t have to remember what goes where.
Step Four: Grab some washi tape (mine came mostly from Downtown Tape) in any color combo you like. Pull off a little piece of tape and place it in each box so you can see how your colors and patterns will play out in the final version.
Next, I actually pulled the boxes out of the drawer and replicated the same design on my worktable just so I had more room to work. You will also need plain cardstock in any color you choose and either scissors or a paper cutter. I didn’t end up using the ruler.
Step Five: Place some tape for your first box on the cardstock. Try to match up the patterns as best as possible when you are lining up the strips.
Step Six: Take your box and place it on top of the tape. Use a pencil to trace the box shape on top of the tape.
Step 7: Use the paper cutter or scissors to cut on the lines – or even slightly inside so it fits nicely in the box.
Step 8: Take your insert and place it inside the box. You can choose to tape it or glue it in if you prefer for it not to move at all. Personally, I like letting it sit unattached because if you choose to change your colors or arrangement at any time, just flip the box over and replace with a new taped cardstock piece.
Below is another finished box in the set.
After you finish all the boxes, put them back into your drawer! I set up mine so they all jigsawed in there wonderfully, but if you aren’t so lucky or choose not to jigsaw them in, you can hot glue the boxes together so they don’t move and/or hot glue them in place inside the drawer. Too cute!
Add your supplies as you like!
Have fun organizing your custom desk drawers! You can update them as little or as much as you like, and you can coordinate your colors with your classroom theme! Yay!
Teacher Desk Decor on a Budget
Need some more Pinterest-worthy ideas for some cheap teacher desk makeovers for your school office? Even if you use some of the small suggestions for decorating on the cheap, your classroom will start to feel a bit more like your own personal style.
And since teachers spend a LOT of time in that space, it really should reflect a place that makes you smile. Check out some of these options for desk inspiration:
How adorable is that wood desk tray to hold all the supplies?
I also personally use a mug to store writing utensils on top of my desk. They sit in the cup just the write way and if they mark it up, I can always run it through the dishwasher to make it shiny and new again at the end of the school year!
Getting “love notes” from students when you teach elementary is a given. Make it even easier for them to give you those special works of art with a little desk mailbox.
The Rae Dunn pottery line is all the rage at the moment. I bet you could recreate the look yourself with some white pottery and a permanent marker. Pop it in the oven to set the marker and you are good to go!
While I am guessing this is more of a home office (those wood plank walls are gorgeous!), you can still take some cues from the desk top. The lazy susan in the corner is a wonderful idea for being able to place more supplies on the desk and make them within reach by simply turning the wheel.
A super quick way to make a space feel more inviting is by adding a lamp. The harsh fluorescent overhead lights give me headaches.
The best time of the day for me? Before or after school getting some paperwork done with only the desk lamp lit. It creates a calming space in which to work – and other staff members don’t see my overhead lights on and assume I’m not there (which allows me to get more work done)! #winning
Is your desk tiny or even missing? Use the wall as an alternative with pegboard. Or use simple stocking crates on their side as a makeshift storage area.
You can even DIY your own classroom desk if you don’t have one! Using this photo as inspiration, wrap a folding table or bookshelf with fabric. Grab a large heavy piece of wood and wrap that in a coordinating fabric design. Pop it on top and you have a makeshift desk that you can call home.
Teacher toolboxes are a great way to store those tiny desk supplies that roll around everywhere. Head to the local hardware store and pick one up.
Inexpensive mason jar decor is fun and functional! Place writing utensils, rulers, and scissors in them after designing something to match your classroom theme.
Another colorful example of the teacher toolbox option:
Little potted plants also add texture to your desk arrangement. And they help everyone in the room to breathe a little easier too!
If you love color, you’ll adore this classroom set up. It definitely feels like a happy space to me.
I really like this little desk spinner! You could use it for holding important documents or use it as a substitute resource area. It could hold classroom routines, seating charts, informal assessment checklists, and more.
Having labeled paper baskets on your desk allows you to be more organized and know what papers are coming in and going out in an orderly manner.
What other fun teacher desk straightening tips do you have? We would love to hear them in the comments below!