6 ways to decorate for back-to-school

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2015

Organizing your home is always a good thing. Organizing for back to school? Even better! Use your kids as an excuse to clear away the clutter and plan out study spaces so that they always have a place to kick back and tackle Algebra. These back to school decorating ideas can help you jump-start a sorely needed organizing spree.

Baskets and boxes are your friends

When it comes to organizing for school, the first order of business is a place to put everything. Now is the time to invest in boxes, bins, baskets, and even a small set of tabletop drawers. Label each container with a printed sticker, making it clear what goes where. Then fill them up - don't count on the kids to do it! The more organized things are from the start, the more likely they will stay that way as the school year rolls along.

Bulletin boards and chalkboards help organize

Baskets and bins are great for holding all sorts of things, but sometimes the paper the kids bring home from school needs to be front and center. Bulletin boards or magnetic boards can be great for holding those papers in a prominent spot. Chalkboards can be a good way to jot down the little things that spring to mind, such as "write the check for lunch money" or "call about volunteering for the school play." If you want a really big board, spring for chalkboard paint to create an entire wall of writing area.

Write it all down on a huge wall calendar

The activities of one child can be overwhelming from time to time; add in a few more kids and the situation can quickly become chaotic. On top of that, kids often forget to tell you about that school project, report, or extracurricular event until just before it's time to get it done.

Take care of that problem by getting the biggest wall calendar you can find, one that has large spaces for each day. Hang it up in an area where it will never be missed. Hang a small pouch or box next to it for important papers, and go through those before bedtime. Make a rule: If the event doesn't go up on the calendar, it might not get done. The first time one of the children misses a track meet or gets a bad grade on a report, they will start using that calendar!

The right light matters

Some children study best at a dedicated desk. Others find they prefer spreading all the homework out on the floor. Still others might move around as they work, giving them different environments to alleviate boredom. No matter which one your child prefers, help them avoid eye fatigue with the best illumination possible.

At a desk, invest in a banker-style lamp that casts a wide beam of light across the surface. For those who prefer to move around, consider small "snake" lights that attach to the back of a chair or side of a table. As an added bonus, you can use these for targeted task lighting when doing crafts. Regardless of which style you choose, go with LED lights - they are brighter and can save you some cash.

Invest in the best chair

Anyone who has worked for long hours in front of a computer desk will tell you: The chair matters. The wrong chair can break your momentum, distract you, leave you with an aching back and make you much less inclined to come back to it another day. But the right chair can keep you in it for hours, getting work done at a fast clip.

Look for a desk chair that has ample back support and plenty of room. Armrests on the chair are a nice touch, as it gives students another way to relax as they work. Make sure the chair rolls smoothly. If your child likes to study in various places, provide a few comfortable armchairs around the house, such as next to the sunny window or up in the hidden alcove. These could make perfect reading nooks, too.

Bookshelves everywhere

Finally, remember that school comes with books - lots of books. Between those heavy textbooks and the light paperbacks that are often required reading for English class, your child will need a place to store them all in an organized manner. Bookshelves are the perfect way to corral not only that biology text, but the notebooks, binders, folders, and other must-have supplies that won't quite fit properly into the bins and baskets. Besides being nice for study time, bookshelves can also be a nice new home decor change.

Back to school decorating ideas don't have to be expensive. It just takes a little ingenuity, careful planning, and hitting up a few good sales at your local home improvement or office store to make it happen. Here's to a great school year for the kids - and for you!

Photo credit to Myryah Shea

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.