Top Affordable Furniture Options for the Classroom

It is amazing the different options to choose from to use in your classroom, for alternative seating. Here are my top affordable options for the classroom.

Couch + Chair + Table Combinations

1.// IKEA is great place to buy fairly sturdy furniture. I purchased two small end tables ad a coffee table in basic black. These have held up for two years. Placing them on both sides of the couch (garage sale) with the coffee table in front gives the feeling and look of a coffeeshop/living room. Students love to gather around, next to, behind and in front of.

2.// Target end table.  This is similar to the ones I purchased from IKEA. Small and sturdy and easy to move.  Easy to assemble.

3.// Bed, Bath and Beyond folding camp chair. I have 4 of these (with a couple extras in my closet). These are around a small end table. Students move these around the room all the time. Be warned! The only down side is they may break after months of usage. Kids can be hard on furniture. I look for these on sale at the close of summer, for as cheap as $5-8 apiece at grocery stores.

4.// IKEA Lack Black Coffee Table. I have two of these and they have been a wonderful addition to my classroom. Great to use the bottom shelf for student supplies while they work.  A similar one is here 

What great deals have you found for your classroom?




Room Arrangement

2018 Classroom Update

Happy 2018!

This is year 2 with flexible seating. I am now into 5 successful months and still stand behind this concept completely.  Here are some of the basic reasons why:

-Students love it! Yes, they do. They race to come into my room to find their favorite places to learn for the 90 minutes I have them. They know they are not allowed to “save spots”. The last ones to come in aren’t as happy yet they can still be comfortable. I have more than enough spots for students to choose from.

-I love it! Yes, I do. Even on stressful days (we all have those!), I can sit in a comfy chair or couch or stool and work with students.

-It works! Students know they will be moved by me if I deem them not on task. This is a given. Flexible seating is a wonderful opportunity to prove one can sit where one wants and with who one wants. Even the most rowdiest students will try to stay on task OR will ask to sit with their friends again (maybe the next day, I tell them). This is better than offering an extra free recess. Sitting where one wants to is a HUGE incentive to behave and work.


Yes, I do have students who can’t manage working by their best friends. I let these students know they can still pick where (the type of seating) they want to be in for the day. I let this happen, only NOT by or near their friend(s). Students can’t complain when I let them be comfortable. The goal is learning, not socializing.

What are your big goals for flexible seating in your room this year?


The Beginnings of a New Year

It is almost time! Two weeks until school starts. I ventured into my classroom to find the furnishings piled high. Nothing beats a clean floor, windows, and walls.  I have already been at work, rearranging the furniture and foreseeing what the best possible arrangements might be. I won’t know this for certain until my 30 students walk into my room and we get to know each other. But in the mean time, I can establish “areas” for collaborating, the main large-group gathering, and a general flow and welcome feeling to the classroom.

Here is what I walked into a week ago:


My furniture and beginning the task of removing things one by one from the pile and starting the placement process. You can see me holding one the comfy cushions. These are from Lakeshore Learning. My stools are from Walmart.com


The bookshelf in the back of the furniture houses my classroom library. I will move the books to a smaller bookshelf as I need the large unit to hold math supplies.


After moving things, I uncovered my newest addition: two swivel chairs. I wanted another cozy seating area. The small table is of a set of two from IKEA.


This couch has become a haven for my students. I allow 3 to it at a time. I had it against the side wall where you see the mcSquares above it. As much as we liked this seating area, it didn’t allow for ease of movement to get to the removable dry erase squares, so we moved the couch to the center of the room and made it a focal and anchor piece.


Last year this bench was a light brown color. I decided to make it something “new” by giving it a dark brown stain. It looks very appealing and matches my cowboy stand for the saddle. The rug is from Wayfair.

Stay tuned for my next post when I reveal the rest of the classroom.

What will your classroom look like?










YEAR 2: WHAT NEXT? July 18, 2017

Summer is quickly passing.

With 3 1/2 weeks left before the official start of school, my mind drifts to my classroom.

I think of many things:

-physical setup       -supplies     – lesson plans      – students’ supplies        – website

-communications    – grading    –  technology    – paperwork    –  office supplies

The list goes on and on. We all know that, as educators, the work is NEVER finished nor is there enough time in the day or even a year, to accomplish all we tell ourselves we want to accomplish. My summer “to do” list is impressive, for both myself and school. I am one of those teachers who does work during the summer BUT at my pace and my timing. Still, I never accomplish everything.  Like a 12 volume series, I expect to get through all volumes by the end of summer, everything on my lists. I have learned after all of these years that it is OK not to.        Prioritize.     Work-life balance.    I am getting better at it.

My top priority for this summer (at this point) is the physical arrangement of my room.

FLEXIBLE SEATING is a choice I have made for my classroom and I will never go back to traditional seating.

Now with year 2 looming in front of me, eager to start, like a puppy dog begging me to play, I have to attend to this task before anything else.

I will share photos of my room when I first walk into it at the end of summer: you can guess before I even share, what the room looks like: furniture piled in one spot of the room. Clean carpets, floor, walls, light fixtures, and windows and sills. Probably the cleanest it will be all year before 30 kids descend upon it.

While I set up my room I have to think about several things:

-low, middle, and high seating options      -ease of movement of bodies and furniture

-accessibility to materials and students around the room

IN ADDITION: I will think of the different configurations for learning:   whole-group instruction, class morning meeting time,  small-group,  and  independent

Won’t you join me in my next post as I share photos of my first-glimpse into my classroom for YEAR 2: FLEXIBLE SEATING.





Three articles to promote flexible seating

Welcome to Coffeeshop Classroom!

I have started this site, as a crossover from my previous site, “Study Like Starbucks”.  Tht blog site was the first year of transforming my classroom into a flexible/alternative seating environment.


This blog site starts where the other left off: yer 2 and my new adventures.

I want to share my journey in education and flexible seating. I never know what will happen from week to week: it will be a learning experience and one I invite you to take with me.

This first entry was my last one from Study Like Starbucks. Enjoy!


Happy Summer! It’s amazing how quickly this summer has flown!

Since we’ve had time to sit down and plan for this upcoming year, there’s been time to research and find new inspiration for this year.

More and more articles keep popping up about alternative seating, and it has been encouraging to see so many teachers thinking “outside the box”.

The first article comes from the Cult of Pedagogy. I was honored to be featured on this blog tin June, 2017,  for my classroom and my journey to alternative seating. In the article, I discuss why I went towards flexible seating in my classroom.

There are a few more articles that have stood out to me this summer, and I hope they will inspire you just as they have me.

The amount of resources out there for flexible seating astounds me. It’s been of great value to collaborate with others on their own journey towards this new classroom evolution!

How are you working towards Flexible Seating in Your Own Classroom?


Classroom Management · Room Arrangement

Welcome to Coffeeshop Classroom!

I don’t know if you are like me, but there is nothing as comforting as walking into a coffeeshop, ordering my favorite tea drink, and finding a spot to relax and unwind or wait for a friend to join me.

Seating is utmost in my mind, once I have my drink. I want to be comfortable, focused. Some days that means a straight back chair at a table if I need to stay focused and work, spreading out my things. Sometimes I need a soft and cushy chair to be by myself and my own thoughts. Sometimes, it must be the couch in the far corner of the place where my friend and I can visit, holding onto our beverages or setting them on the coffee table in front of us.

I believe classrooms should be this way too: inviting, relaxing, providing opportunities and unique venues or areas to sit in and work.  Places for students to be themselves , in pairs, triads, or small group, solving complex math problems, completing  science experiment, or writing an essay. Being comfortable allows us as creatures of habit, to function at our best.

Thus I began my journey last year (2016-2017) into what is known as flexible seating. It was an interesting process. I learned so much and discovered along the way it is a way of thinking and teaching, not just learning. It doesn’t work for everyone yet is what probably most of us believe would be best for kids. When I consider how I feel, when I walk into a coffee shop, I know my students feel the same way when they walk into our classroom.

SO I begin YEAR 2 of flexible seating.

Come along and join me for the journey.  Share with me your process and transformation.