Flexible Seating Classroom Design

I always loved my classroom, but one day I decided to change almost everything! It was time to try a  flexible seating classroom design!

This was my list of classroom design must-haves:

  • clean and bright
  • less clutter and more space
  • kid-friendly and teacher-friendly
  • organized and accessible
  • flexible but manageable

This is the classroom I am happy to share with my first graders every day!

Here’s how I turned that must-have list into a reality.
I designed classroom posters with lots of white space, bright colors, and crisp photographs.  All of my bulletin boards got covered  with the same fabric. It has tiny little flecks of color so small marks and staples won’t be noticeable! After all, I want everything to last a long time!
I collected white or light colored furniture pieces. I know that sounds crazy when working first graders, but I promise it’s okay! I’ve had my big bookcase for 12 years and it still looks great!

A room where my kids had lots of space to move, wiggle, and play while they learn was a must! The solution for me was getting rid of some student desks and my teacher desk. Getting rid of my desk also eliminated some clutter! Trust me- the drawers were a disaster!

With 27 kiddos on my roster, I had to some extra planning. It was important that they all have a solid work surface for when the art teacher comes to the classroom. I was required to keep some desks in my classroom so I turned them around to make small tables.

Creating different types of seating allowed our learning environment match the needs of my students. I took the legs off one table to make it low and raised another up high for a standing surface.

I found some smaller tables that are perfect for partners or kids who prefer to work alone.

I also added laundry baskets with pillows for a relaxing Smart Spot. I highly recommend buying pillows with indoor/outdoor fabric so you can wipe them off and clean them.

We have scoop rockers and clipboards in bins so kids can grab what they need and find a Smart Spot to work. There are also kid-friendly chairs around the classroom for reading and working.

I have to tell you- my classroom has not always been organized, but this one tip has really, really helped!
I started labeling EVERYTHING! It’s the best, because I know where everything goes and the kids know where everything goes! They love to help clean up and now they won’t ask you where to put something a hundred times!
 I love my teacher tool box and Sterilite drawers to organize all of the things that used to be in my desk. I got them both from Amazon. I store my copies, books, and materials for upcoming lessons in these drawers too. All of the labels make it easy for me, my kids, and substitutes to find supplies! You can download the storage drawer labels for free!

I use lots of baskets and bins for our community supplies but they all have labels! The kids can quickly see where everything is organized, and clean up quickly!

Our library is organized with labels and matching stickers too. I have one area with topics and genres and another that is organized by reading level.

  • flexible but manageable
I can only keep my sanity if things are well managed in the classroom. I wanted our classroom design to help with that management.
My kiddos all have personal supply drawers for their writing folders, take home folders, math workbooks, and pencil boxes.  They also have book bins for independent reading. I have the drawers and bins at different spots around the room so 27 kids aren’t all trying to squeeze into one space at the same time.
Click here to  learn even more about organizing a flexible seating classroom.
And now the finishing touches!

I wanted a bright, clean look, but I strongly believe in the importance of environmental print. I only hung things that I knew my kiddos would use as they grow as readers and writers.

We use our word wall and word sight helper posters  ALL. THE. TIME! The posters have a rhyming picture (like flower and our or hay and they) to help with reading and spelling tricky sight words. You can download the sight word helper poster for free by clicking here!

Are you ready turn your classroom into a space you love even more? Your students are lucky to share this space with a teacher who understands how the classroom space impacts learning! If you have questions or ideas about creating a bright and clean classroom, please share them in the comments. 
If you want to save some time, all of my photo classroom decor is ready to download and print!
Shop for our favorite classroom finds on Amazon.
Emily Yerty

Emily Yerty

I’m a first grade teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

7 Responses

  1. THIS is my style! Could you tell me what bins you used for your book bins and student book boxes? I'm having a hard time locating clear bins with the correct dimensions!

  2. Thank you so much! This bright space makes me so happy! All of my student book bins are from Oriental Trading. I also had a really hard time finding clear bins, but these are perfect! The large clear bins in my classroom library are sterilite bins from Big Lots. I just removed the lids so all of the books can stand tall.

  3. Emily – I love your use of alternative seating! Where did you purchase your wobble chairs and ball seats? I also love your idea of removing the table legs to create the low work table! Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  4. I love your classroom transformation! This is so inspiring! Did you paint the teacher tool box? I cannot find a white one. Also, did you purchase a Reading stuffed animal for each child to read with? If so, I like that so much better than sharing and everyone gets the same so there is no arguing. Finally, any pointers on where to get the funds for flexible seating? Or, perhaps pointers on where to find affordable pieces.

  5. Hi Emily! Where can I find the "Rock it" Posters for your Behavior Management board? I would love to utilize these for this upcoming year! Thanks. 🙂

  6. I know it’s been awhile since you posted this but where oh where did you get those procious chevron and gray chairs?

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