Ask any teacher over the summer what they are thinking about and they will tell you that they are busy planning out how their classroom will look. No matter what grade or age level, a well put together room will create the optimal environment for learning. If you are stuck for ideas, there are plenty of ways to set your classroom from the rest of the teachers.
The first thing that you can do to find inspiration is to talk with other teachers in your school. Find out how they have designed their classrooms in the past. Ask what worked for them and what has not. You don’t have to replicate their entire set up, but chances are good that you can find some useful things from them. Experience teachers will be more than willing to help you put your students in a position to succeed, so you might as well use their knowledge if you need the help.
You can also turn towards your lesson plans to determine what would make good designs. You probably won’t have the entire year planned out specifically, but you will have, at the least, a general idea of what you will be covering in the coming school year. Use that and get creative to build an environment that will plunge students fully into the material.
Finally, outside of topic specific designs and decorations, you can simply supple more practical and modern elements to your classrooms. You can visit a site like Design Within Reach for great ideas that don’t immediately deplete your budget. You don’t need to recreate your entire classroom every year, but a few modern elements can be a good way to get students excited to be in school and learning. Adding a few pieces every year allows you to keep things fresh, while also giving you the opportunity to give, borrow and share with other teachers as well.
Teachers have a difficult enough job as it is, so knocking out a classroom design should be an opportunity to have a little fun and be creative. There are plenty of great ideas if you are stuck, all you have to do is find them and see what works for your class.