Monday, July 29, 2013

An Affordable Ikea Classroom

 So, let's start with some blog business.  
  • My apologies for the lack of posts.  Teaching summer school and a serious family illness has essentially eaten up all of my time.  August promises to be just as hectic on the family front, but summer school will be over after the 8th so I'm hoping to be a more productive blogger soon!
  • Yes, I am still looking to redesign my blog.  I know that header has been up there for ages, but it will happen people!  
I know many of you are getting ready to head back to school in August.  I've seen lots of blogs with teachers already crafting, creating, laminating, and decorating.   Honestly, I can't even think about it yet!  We don't head back to school until September 3rd, and students don't start until September 9th.  My head is not yet in back to school mode. Having said that, no serious academic post here today!  :-) 

But, here's one on classroom decorating.

I was in Ikea the other day and found a lot of items that would be great for the classroom.  Thought I would share a few and some ideas for using them.  I'm limiting this post to things that are on the smaller side and affordable. Yeah, I would love to buy all new Billy bookcases for my classroom, but that's so not in the budget! Mine or my school districts!  So, here are some smaller items that can add a little color, fun, and function to your classroom without busting the budget.  See if you can guess which is my favorite item that I may have just purchased more of than I will probably ever need!  By the way, all images are from Ikea and this is not a sponsored post.  Just some things I like and think you will, too!  But, Ikea if you are out there and want to throw some Billy bookcases my way. . .Just kidding!!! 

Okay, here we go. . . 

This is the Hopplek rug.  It's 2' 7" x 5' 11" and only $12.99.  I think this adorable for the younger grades, but the measurements on the side make it great for upper grades, too.  This would be great in front of a math center area.   Kids could toss one or more bean bags and then create a math story using the numbers or measurements they land on.  I also think it would be a good game rug. I'm sure you can think of even more to do with it!
This is the Hampen rug.  It measures 2' 7" x 2' 7" and is $9.99.  These rugs would be great partner rugs for smaller friends.  You could have them rolled up in a basket, and when it it time for partner reading they can just grab a rug and find a spot.  For your older friends, it might fit only one.  It also comes in a couple of other colors.

This is the Fargglad chair.  It's a child's chair, so it is a bit on the smaller side.  It's $14.99.  The chair back and seat are woven plastic, so easy to wipe down if needed.  It is also stackable, so if you get some for a guided reading table you can easily stack them and move them aside when not in use.  But, in keeping the affordable in mind, I was thinking of what could you do with just one chair. It would be a great author's chair, special seat for the student of the day, a birthday seat, etc.  You could even doctor it up a bit with some ribbons to make it extra special.

This is the Tolsby frame.  It holds a 4" x 6" picture, and they are only $0.99 each!  There is no back, so you can put two pictures in each frame.  They are made of plastic, so perfect for the classroom and clumsy people like me!  These would be great for classroom signs, activity directions, library labels, and a ton of other things.
The Rigga clothes rack is $12.99.  When I saw this, I thought it was an inexpensive answer for anyone in need of a chart stand.  All you would need are the rings or some clips to hold your charts on the top bar.  I even like the rack on the bottom because you could put a few baskets on it to store materials for your charts. That would probably also help make it a bit more sturdy.  And, it's on wheels!
Here is the Dokument wastepaper basket in pink.  It is $3.99 and also comes in silver.  I actually bought this last year for my desk.  Our school does a great job of giving us those big, round, gray, plastic trash cans and recycling trash cans, but I wanted something smaller by my desk that wouldn't be filled with students' tissues and other icky stuff!  It is made of steel and fairly indestructible.  Ikea doesn't give its measurements, but it is on the larger side as far as wastebaskets go. For $3.99, you could also use it for holding project materials, books, or a few of those Hampen rugs. :-)
These are the Kvissle clip-on bookends.  You get a set of two for $4.99.  I love these because they clip on to the shelf.  No more falling over books and bookends when someone takes a book and the bookend moves.  What I love even more is the wide bar that faces you once you clip it on.  It's just made for a label. You could print out genre, alphabetical, or leveled labels to put on the bookend.  It would not only separate the books, but it would help in organizing your library while giving your friends a clear visual.

These are the Kusiner storage baskets, and you get all three for $4.99.  I have a similar set of baskets, but they aren't as nice as these.  These baskets have a soft coil in between the fabric, so they collapse for easy storage.  When you need to use them, just unhook the loop and they will spring right back into shape.  They are about 7" high and are great for handing out small materials to groups.  Unlike mine, these have numbers on the front that helps with identifying the groups just by having the basket on the table.  If you needed more than three baskets, you could always get two sets and put an A and B on the numbers with a Sharpie.  They are also great scrap baskets for the table when everyone is cutting and you don't want a constant parade to the trash can.

The Riso chair pads come in assorted colors for $3.99 each.  These would also make great floor seats for your friends if you don't have a carpet.  They are non-slip as the underside has anti-slip dots.  These remind me of the sit-upons I made when I was a Brownie back in the day.  In fact, the Crafty Texas Girls blog has a tutorial on how to make a sit-upon using newspapers and a vinyl tablecloth.  That's how I remember doing it!

Tins!  These are the Nidelva storage tins, which come as a pair for $3.99.  No grand plans for these, but they are cute.  And, who couldn't use a cute storage tin for erasers, paper clips, or anything else you can think of?

And finally, it wouldn't feel right if I didn't mention the Flyt magazine files!  You can't beat 5 for $1.99.  I use these as book baskets for my friends' independent reading books.  I actually picked up striped ones from Ikea a couple of years ago, but I like the plain white.  As a back to school activity, you could have your friends decorate and personalize the box to tell about them as a reader.  They could draw pictures of their favorite book characters and book covers or pictures of things they like to read about.  It just might be a fun way to get them excited about filling their book box.  I have reused my striped files/boxes for a couple of years, but for the price I wouldn't having a problem letting my friends personalize one for their own.  I did find putting a strip of book tape on the bottom of each to be a good idea.  Sometimes they can get a bit heavy once all the books are in, and the tape helped them hold up very well.

If you look closely in the picture below, you can see my boxes lined up by the windows. This picture is from a post I did back in 2011 on how I set up my classroom that year.

In looking at that picture, I think maybe one of the reasons I liked all those Ikea items above so much is that they are (almost) all very colorful.  My classroom is usually a colorful place!

After all that I can only hope you have an Ikea near you. :-)  If not, I would bet you could find similar items in craft stores or home goods stores. By the way, my favorite item?  Those Tolsby frames! Love em'!
What has been your favorite back to school purchase so far?


  1. Thank you for posting these fantastic IKEA finds! You have given me a reason to go back to IKEA!

  2. Ikea might be one of the greatest resources for teachers. Everything is super cheap and works so well for what we need in our classrooms! I used the decorative magazine files for my personal collection of read alouds when I taught Kindergarten. I keep eyeing the white ones and trying to decide how I would use them in my 7th grade classroom.

  3. sources for instructors. Everything is extremely inexpensive and performs so well for what we need in our classrooms! I used the attractive journal information for my individual selection of study alouds when I trained Pre-school. I keep seeking the white-colored ones and trying to choose how I would use them in my 7th quality educational setting.
    Rs To Gold

  4. Love IKEA! I'm trying to figure out when I have time to go the one in Charlotte before school starts. Don't know if it will happen. Thanks for sharing!

    Have a great year!
    FlapJack Educational Resources Blog

  5. Great post! I Love IKEA & You have give me a reason to go back to IKEA