How to Make Over the Teachers Lounge

One of the most fun things your PTO can do to delight your staff is to give them a renewed space that meets their needs.

I don’t know about the staff lounges in your children’s school, but the ones in some of my children’s schools leave a lot to be desired…

Too cramped, too cluttered, too uninviting.

Not exactly a space where teachers and staff and gather to relax during their lunch break or even collaborate!

If you’ve decided to take on the project of a teacher lounge make over whether it be for a PTO sponsored teacher appreciation event or another reason, here are the general steps to follow in order to get the job done with amazing results, no matter your budget!

How to Get Started

Start off by asking teachers what they’d like for the space.

I’m sure you have ideas, but the space really isn’t for you.

As long as the needs of the teachers are met, they’ll love the space!

Plus, you may be really surprised by what they come back with.

There’s sure to be a few things you wouldn’t have thought of without the teachers’ input that are essential for the space.

Make it clear that you probably won’t be able to incorporate all of their ideas.

But you’ll get the best responses when you don’t put reality based constraints on the creative thinking about the space.

And it’s always possible to fulfill the wishlist of items over a number of years, instead of all at once!

Plan a concept

Once you have the ideas, work with a small committee to get a plan together.

Make sure to include your building Principal as well as some staff members in on the decision making process.

Depending on what they do or don’t feel comfortable with, you may have to scale back your plans.

Make sure to give your principal a complete idea of the project’s scope before doing anything, just so there are no surprises on either end.

Budget for the make over

Once your group decides to move forward with the plan, carve out a budget to use.

Think again if you don’t think you have the funds to make over the space.

A teacher’s lounge makeover doesn’t have to break the PTO budget!

If the room is in need of a massive makeover, but you’re working with limited time or resources, you can still make changes that help renew the space.

And you can always work in stages to spread out the cost of the project.

Be smart when using your budget and look for deals at garage sales or second hand shops.

Get Donations

One of the easiest ways to keep your project within budget is to get donations of both services and products.

Check to see if your school maintenance department will paint the space if you supply the materials.

If not, ask around to see if there’s a school parent that is a professional house painter?

Maybe they’ll be happy to add the new color to the space.

Also look around for an interior decorator or a professional organizer.

Both will be able to give ideas about putting the space together with good workflows for the space.

Whatever route you take, the point is to ask parents and teachers if they have a contact who will pitch in to help make the makeover happen.

Zero or Low Cost Makeover Upgrades

Ready to get started with inexpensive or no cost solutions?

Here are some great ideas to get you started!

Clear the clutter

Has the teacher’s lounge become a dumping ground for all sorts of things that are making the space a jumbled space?

Think of how different the space will look, feel and function without all of the crap in the way?

Begin the makeover by starting to clear out the clutter.

Have teachers put no longer wanted items into the lounge and the leftovers are languishing there, and are in the way?

Pro tip: Make sure to put the teachers on notice that items will be removed.

Give them a deadline to remove items (make sure to approve this process with your Principal to get support on that level) with a note posted in the room.

That way, no one will be able to complain they didn’t know the items were going to leave.

Even better if the notice can come from your Principal!

Organize cabinets

Shared spaces like Teacher’s Lounges suffer from a lack of organization because no one has been assigned responsibility or taken ownership for the space.

Instead of adding more storage to the space, try organizing the cabinets and shelves in the spaces to open up available space.

Create zones

The fastest way to bring order to the space is to create zones in the cabinets or on the shelving.

In the cabinets, have a zone for mugs in one area and another for utensils.

Use the basic principles of organizing to group like items with like.

Add like items to baskets to maintain the order.

Add labels

Maintain the organized space with labels.

The easiest to read labels come from a printed label from a label maker or a computer.

Label both containers and the face of the shelf, so it’s easy to see where the containers belong.

Add decorations

If the lounge is a relative plainly decorated space, consider adding a little flair with some quote art.

Teachers LOVE quotes, so it’s a no brainer to find some quote art to adorn the walls!

Here are some options I love!

Even More Make Over Ideas

If your budget permits, or if the space is really crying out for a larger change, here are some options to consider adding into the space.

Stock supplies

Stick the fridge with drinks and fancy coffee creamers.

Create a coffee and tea bar with Keurig pods or individually bagged teas.

I think this Keurig/traditional drip coffee station is a good option for a teacher’s lounge.

Teachers who already have the Keurig pods can bring their own pods in, while there’s still the option of having another coffee making option available.

Keep all the coffee and tea accessories with this nice organizer.

This set up also allows everyone to see what’s available and on hand.

Add in grab and go snacks, organized nicely, of course!

This snack organizer is fun because you could keep it stocked with seasonal treats, with choices for every palate!


If there’s a work zone in the room, consider stocking the space with office supplies like tape, pens, an electric pencil sharpener, an electric stapler, etc.

Ensure it’ll stay organized by providing a system to keep supplies in check, like this desktop organizer.

This is the same organizer I purchased for the teacher’s lounge when I gave it a mini makeover.

It’s held up well (better than expected, to be honest)!

New furniture

Is the couch in the lounge dusty and ancient?

Consider replacing it with a newer version you find at a second hand furniture store.

If the furniture is salvageable, have it professionally cleaned.

The cleaning might just make it look brand new!

If the bones of the piece are good, add a slipcover.

Add seating

Is there enough seating in the room?

Is the existing seating in good shape?

Make sure the existing seating is comfortable.

If it’s not in the budget to replace the seating, perhaps a slipcover will work?

New appliances

Is the refrigerator in the space sufficient for all staff or is it cramped and inefficient?

Ask a few teachers about how the fridge is used and if it actually meets the staff’s needs.

If replacement is needed, get a new-to you- appliance from a reputable shop that refurbishes fridges.

This strategy can save you hundreds of dollars!

Add in some fun!

Give staff a chance to blow off some steam by shooting a few hoops.

Popping a few baskets in might be just the mental break they need to reset and have a good day!

This small basketball hoop can be mounted on a door or wall.

Real life make overs

Tiverton Middle School, Rhode Island

Before

It’s clear to see why the PTO was game to take on this space!

During

Amazing wide shot look at the beginning of the teacher’s lounge makeover project.

Amazing wide shot look at the beginning of the teacher’s lounge makeover project!

The new school logo looks amazing on the wall!

After

What a transformation!

The colors chosen not only go with the school colors, but are timeless and will stay looking fresh for years to come.

The neutralized counter tops really help to calm the space and make the cabinets not feel so dated.

Now the space feels fresh, clean and ready to help teachers recharge!

How they did it!

“This lounge was in quite a depressed state. 

A small dorm fridge, old fixtures and terribly uninspiring. 

Our amazing principal was able to get some furniture donated from a local university. 

From there, we took over and tackled the space with some much needed cleaning, organizing, painting and decorating. 

We bought slipcovers for the couches, an area rug, table covers, resurfaced the countertops and painted. 

We painted the entire room and we also painted our new logo on the wall.  We were also able to get a new, full size fridge donated! 

We added plants, lighting, magazines, pillows, etc to help make the space warm and inviting. 

It was very well received and we had sooooo much fun on this project! 

This was a surprise for teacher appreciation week and they seem genuinely grateful with the transformation. 

It’s also worth noting that our principal worked side-by-side with us during the entire weekend. 

Cleaning, scrubbing and painting. 

We can’t wait to do more projects like this throughout the building.” 
– Jocelyn Sherman, PTO President

Westwood High School, Texas

Before

The sage green color choice probably was intended to be relaxing and soothing, but it darkened the space.

No wonder the PTO team decided on a brighter color palette!

After

And wow, what a difference in just the colors!

I love how they layered the patterns, colors and textures.

The sage green certainly perked up with the addition of the coral color!

This space truly feels homey and is a place to relax.

The bright colors make the same feel alive, but don’t overwhelm the space.

basketball game in teachers lounge

I love that they added in some fun aspects to the space!

How they did it!

“Our high school redid our teachers’ lounge two years ago.

We added foosball, basketball hoop, new furniture, art, tv, and painted the room our school colors.

Our staff had a wish list and we met as many of their wishes as we could.”  – Jetti Nasrallah, Westwood PTSA Vice President of Programs.

Over to you

I sure hope this has been inspiriting for you and that you now have some great ideas about how to pull off your teacher lounge makeover!

If you’ve already done a teacher lounger makeover, share with us how you did it!

What other things did you include in your make over?

Let’s chat about it in the comments.

More on Teacher Appreciation


*Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Etsy Affiliate Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and Etsy.com. This means that when you click and make a purchase at a site via a link I have provided, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products I genuinely love and either have or would purchase myself. I always have my readers’ best interests in mind when making these recommendations!

Posted in Teacher appreciation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.