What can you do with a budget of $100 and 100% existing furniture? Quite a lot, as it turns out. I spent the past week at Kingsley Primary School, the sweetest independent school around, bringing a bit of love to the kindergarten classroom.
The school is located the basement of a church, so not great natural light (but some cool geometric stained glass windows) and a whole host of other restrictions:
* no budget or time to paint walls
* 10' high ceilings that feel cavernous
* two entrances into the room create a bowling alley effect
* 2000 SF of space needs to support 10 activity centres, including a new area for pre-schoolers
* other groups, such as Scouts, use the room in the evenings so the furniture has to be in relatively mobile groupings to be easily moved at the end of each school day
* must use all existing tables, chairs and shelving
* total budget of $100!
Here's a view of the room Monday morning:
Yes, one huge open room with a lot of small furniture!
Out-in-the-open storage like these mats and bins made the room feel cluttered. Doing a clean sweep of the tops of shelves and cabinet and putting things into storage closets was a huge cost-free improvement.
I wasn't crazy about this mismatched, over-sized furniture that had been used in the students' reading area. The scale was all wrong for little humans and it didn't feel inviting. Putting that jumbo beige chair to the curb was a joy :)
Here's the same corner re-imagined as the blocks centre:
See what a difference clearing that shelf made? It is the perfect display spot for seasonal found objects. Kingsley has a strong outdoor/discovery curriculum so the shelf will be filled up with student finds very soon!
A trio of donated low-light houseplants are another natural element. The horizontal band of craft paper is camouflaging a damaged wall. The students will be allowed to stencil or decorate the paper next month. The clothing rod was masked with a long length of donated fabric.
This corner was the darkest in the classroom. I mounted mirror tiles at child height and brought in this adorable $20 Ikea find:
If you look in the second photo you can glimpse the old bulletin board, which was covered in an intense green paper with a graphically busy border. Colour aside, the paper becomes faded and hole-ridden over the course of a busy year, so I covered it with canvas and added a burlap edging.
It felt visually calmer than the green and allowed the actual materials on the board to stand out. Total cost $15 per board. I used painter's drop cloth canvas from Home Depot and burlap ribbon from Dollarama. The canvas was ironed and mounted with spray adhesive.
I will upload more photos next week - stay tuned!