Friday, September 9, 2016

Flexible Seating...On a (very tight) Budget!

After seeing all the cool posts and pics about Flexible Seating, I decided I wanted to change my room up a bit as well.  I've always been pretty "flexible" on seating.  I don't use desks...For years, I'd had five long rectangle tables with community supplies (pencils, crayons, scissors, etc.) in the center.  Each table had a bookcase at the end for Data Notebooks, book boxes, dry erase boards and supplies, and folders.  Kids were able to stand and work, work on the floor with clipboards, sit on a pillow for reading, etc., but they still had a home base seat with a name tag.  I liked this set up, but all the shelving at the end of each table took up a bit too much space for me.  I wanted to downsize my furniture a bit.

I was ready to start something new this year after seeing lots of great setups in other elementary classrooms.  I wrote a Donors Choose funding request, but it wasn't funded. :(  I was still set on trying this out...However, I could not go spend a bunch of money on all the fancy things because I was getting married and taking a honeymoon this summer.  That's where ALL of my extra money went this year!
I sat down and listed what I wanted, how it would work/look, and worked with my awesome neighbor teacher (who has always done "working areas", long before "flexible seating" became so popular) on arrangement ideas and logistics for things like backpacks, supply storage, and such.
I bought a few inexpensive items and used other items of mine from past years or that we already had at school.
Our "kneeling" table and Ikea pillows
The kneeling table is the most popular area in our classroom and my personal favorite as well!  This was one of my long rectangle tables from last year, with the lower half of the legs unscrewed and taken off, so that was free!  I bought three different types of pillows at Ikea (six pillows total).  They were $3.99 each!  Students kneel or sit on the pillows.  This table can fit 6 kids easily and more, depending on what they are working on.
Total spent on this area:  $24.00  If you already have suitable pillows, then this would be FREE for you!

Tall/Standing Table with Ikea stools
The "standing" table is a rectangle table, but shorter length than my old ones.  This was something we already had at school and I had the custodian raise it a bit.  It's a great place for kids to stand when writing or playing a game.  Some of the taller first graders bring stools over and sit at this table as well.  This is a great place for about 4-5 kids at a time.
Total spent on this area:  $0  (stool prices coming later)
Good ol' desks with school-issue chairs.

A few of my kids love having their own private work space, so these desks work well for that.  The little table in the middle is something I used to have at home.  It works well for setting a supply tub in between the desks for two friends to share.
Total spent on this area:  $0 (and I used a piece of my furniture from years ago that I just didn't want to get rid of!)
Rectangle table with Ikea stools and school-issue chairs.
I kept two of my long rectangle tables from years past. (Three, if you count the kneeling table)  They both have a combination of Ikea stools and school-issue chairs.  Students can move seating around as needed.  This table regularly has 5-6 people working at it.  My other rectangle table has room for 3-4, because I have bookcases on one of the short ends and one of the long ends.
Total spent on this area:  Six Ikea (Marius) stools (throughout the room)-$30.00
Orange tiger and purple cow camp chairs
I stumbled upon these beauties at the grocery store last spring and HAD to have them!  I bought two tigers and two cows.  Kids sit in these to read or if they need to write, they grab a clipboard for a hard writing surface.  Always be on the lookout for cute seating choices that you can use in your classroom!  Easy-to-move seating choices for 4 kids.
Total spent on this area:  Four camp chairs-$28.00
Two Ikea rugs for floor work
I put two square rugs together in our Classroom Library area.  Super soft and cozy for kids who want to work on the floor.  Another great place for 3-4 kids to work.
Total spent on this area:  Two Ikea rugs-$20.00
Hooks for backpacks and coats
I almost forgot about this part when I was setting up!!!  Luckily, my neighbor reminded me that they wouldn't have an actual "seat" to hang backpacks and coats on, so I bought these Command Hooks at Walmart.  (I don't have a coat rack or anything like that...)  Then, I wrote a number on each hook, so they always use the same hook each day.  Each student has a number which is on their book box, data notebook, etc.  This has worked wonderfully!  They take their lunch boxes out in the morning and put them in a big tub, so the backpacks aren't too heavy.  These hooks are made to hold up to 5 pounds and we've had no problems so far!
Total spent on this area for me:  $28.00, but FREE for you if you already have a coat/backpack rack!

$78.00 if you already have pillows and a backpack area
$102.00  with cute Ikea pillows
$130.00 if command hooks are needed
And, that's it!  I'm so happy with my room.  I feel like I have so much more open space after getting rid of two big rectangle tables and moving my bookcases around.  The kids are champs at choosing and using their working spaces appropriately.  I may add other types of seating in the future, but this is working wonderfully well and the kids are happy and busy!  I'd love to hear about other budget-friendly options that you are using with your students, too!  I'd also love to answer any questions that you may have if you're ready to try this!


  1. Great set up. I love how you used what you had and were very purposeful in planning where every area is and how it would be used.

  2. Thanks! You are the "awesome neighbor teacher" referred to in the post! Haha...thanks for your help. I am SO loving my room and how things are going this year with my seating choices! I actually love sitting at our kneeling table, too!
    Jennifer~Practical Primary Teacher