School Faculty Room Refresh
Our elementary school faculty room needed a little love so we decided to give the space a makeover this summer!
Story time: A million years ago when I was a teacher in Washington, DC, I worked in a school where a handful of children had some form of security. Without exception, these men and women were hilarious and so fun to have around. For much of their days, they would hang out in the faculty room until the kids left the classroom for a special class or lunch or something. One day I came to work and I was feeling the after effects of the night before: tired and potentially over-served so I took advantage of a free period to go lie down for a few minutes in our faculty room. The other teachers all assumed I was coming down with something but, without breaking stride, one of these security guys looks over and simply said “rough night?” I don’t know why it still makes me chuckle, but being busted by a trained security expert felt relevant to today’s post.
Giving our Teacher’s Lounge a Glow Up
The PTA President at my kids’ elementary school wanted to update the faculty room/ teacher’s lounge and asked me for some advice! Obviously I was delighted to get involved! Our school is lucky to have a faculty room, but no question it had been neglected as is often the case with shared spaces in places like schools and churches… busy spaces where no one has the time to spend keeping it in tip top shape.
We had a budget of… $0 to pull of this makeover so our focus was definitely on ways we could improve the space with elbow grease and ingenuity. I’ve helped with the faculty room at another school and one of the things we were able to do was reach out the school community for contributions. What worked best for us, was to set up an Amazon gift list and then share the link with the community via email. Although we couldn’t add everything for a full room makeover, we were able to add new kitchen supplies (plates, cups, silverware, toaster oven, etc.). I also took advantage of Amazon and added a few rolls of adhesive contact paper to help dress up the surfaces in addition to inexpensive artwork (all linked at the end of the post) and some simple decorative items. Here’s my initial vision board:
Goals for the Space
The biggest goals for the space were to organize and throw out unnecessary clutter, and to create a more welcoming environment in which teachers could spend their few precious minutes of free time during the day. Basically, we wanted to accommodate the many needs of a busy faculty room.
For our school, there were a few key considerations as far as layout/ zones in the faculty room: the copier, the laminator, the kitchen, the large board room table and then a TBD comfortable space for just relaxing. As far as the design direction, the PTA president suggested green paint for the dated wooden cabinets and then inexpensive cohesive decorative touches throughout the space.
The cabinet area had an old bulletin board above it that we decided to paint also.. in the digital age, there’s not really any need for this large of a cork board anymore and the paint hides quite how old and dingy it was. There were *so* many mismatched surfaces in this room so we brought in adhesive contact paper to help set them all apart a bit better. This cabinet area now has a faux concrete look to tie in the black of the chairs. The detail that you guys like the most was definitely those prints above the cabinets. They’re decorative paper that I got on Amazon for under $10 each.
Oh yeah… we gave them some candy jars and will make sure they get restocked each month. 🙂
We didn’t do much to the shelves above the laminator/ copier. I added some marble contact paper to this surface and we moved all the boxes underneath because they’re not necessary on a daily basis.
Faculty Room Kitchen
The kitchen gets lots of use, but as you can see from the before pics…. there’s hardly any storage. We were able to put in a work order and get another set of shelf brackets installed in the cinderblock and then we just cut and painted some new shelves. Such a better solution for this corner and it doesn’t help that all the new kitchen stuff is streamlined and matching. Large glass containers sit on the counter to corral coffee and tea and a new stand makes space for the second microwave. All in all, this hardworking corner got an easy but impactful upgrade.
We added a table and chair to the corner near the water dispenser to double as a quiet work station and a charging station. The existing shelf brackets got shelves so now the water dispenser has an official drink station to go with it.
A pair of upholstered chairs from Facebook marketplace and a table from Amazon created the seating area we’d hoped for. The chairs are a lovely sage color that brings together the newly painted green cabinets and the blue linoleum floor.
I donated this DIY table to use as another small work area/ phone station. It’s the perfect size for the space and bonus… I used blue and green so it fits right in!
This faculty room makeover will never be high design, but it IS high function and high transformation. The teachers don’t get enough time to truly spread out and relax, but at least the 15-20 minutes they *do* have won’t be surrounded by clutter and disorganization and that counts for a lot. With COVID protocols lightening up, more faculty members can be in this space at once and hopefully it will become a gathering place for the teachers and staff to come together and enjoy each other.
You guys had questions over on Instagram, so here are the answers:
Is there a difference between a Teachers Lounge and a Faculty Room?
Not really… I suspect Faculty room might be a bit more inclusive of the entire school workforce, but maybe it’s just random.
How do you mount into the cinder block?
We had a work order for this, but I suspect they used an impact driver with a special drill bit and then an anchor made for cinder block before screwing the supports in.
Why no rug?
We talked about this and ultimately decided it was an extra expense and it also requires our custodial staff to clean the space differently which didn’t seem fair. We may add a rug one day, but for now we decided to keep it simple.
Behr Tuscan Herbs
How did we get permission?
The PTA President worked directly with the Principal and the head of our Custodial Staff to make sure the correct paint was used and any necessary work orders were filed. Aside from painting the cabinets and hanging the shelves, everything else was just superficial in its update.
Those were already in the space, but they’re Target! I know the PTA purchased them on sale, but they look like these ones here.
How did we come up with the various zones?
We spoke with any teachers we could reach over the summer, but I also channeled my years teaching and remembered what the faculty room was like at my old school… usually lots of people using the space for different things at the same time- someone’s eating lunch, someone’s making copies, someone’s putting together books of the kid poetry and someone else is trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment. All in the same 30-minute lunch period.
- Black Chairs (I think)
- Artwork (L-R)
- Poster Frames
- Table Runner
- Candy Jars
- Large Coffee Pod Container
- Paper Trays
- Marble Shelf Liner
- Concrete Shelf Liner
- Black Side Table
- Throw Pillows
- Toaster Over Riser
- Green Dish Towels