Do you have trouble decorating a speech room on a budget? Here are some tips on how I made an ugly janitor’s closet into a cute and quaint speech room on a budget!
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Last year, I began the school year sharing a room with 3 other SLPs, one OT, one PT and our ELL teacher! Needless to say, we were a little cramped and our room was in constant chaos. Mid year, the other SLPs and I scoured the school to try to find some type of extra space.
We found the old janitor’s closet which was currently being used as the daycare’s closet. Not ideal, but it was doable! So, the principal approved us to use it and we (SLPs) finally had our own space for IEPs and therapy! Here was our UGLY room (I am pretty sure you will agree that it was UGLY)!
After the initial excitement, it hit me that we needed to redo the room, without a budget. My husband would not be happy if I spend hundreds of dollars to redo this room, so I gave myself a $50 speech room budget..and I spent $35! Part of the reason that I was able to keep costs so low was because I asked for donations! Never hesitate to ask for help.
Issues To Address:
1. The desk was probably older than my great grandparents!
2. The window was untreated and had a cement windowsill.
3. The floor was rusted and dirty.
4. The janitor had to keep her cleaners in the back corner.
5. The walls were full of screws, paint stains and metal bars.
6. There was a ladder in the back corner of the room (instant liability issue)!
7. There was a serious lack of furniture.
The first thing I did was go shopping at my favorite store…The Dollar Tree of course! There, I found duct tape for the table ($7), cute pencil baskets ($3), random posters and decorative borders ($3), a vase ($1) and some fake flowers ($3). Finally, I went shopping on Amazon.com for window curtains ($6), a curtain rod ($4), 2 bolts of material ($6) and white duct tape ($2).
Issue #1 The Table/Desk – TOTAL COST: $7
This was the ugliest desk I had ever seen At first, I wanted to paint it, but then I found that adorable duct tape at the Dollar Tree and decided to Duct Tape the whole thing. I have to give credit to my dad for this one…I grew up with everything being duct taped (my childhood sandals, my brush, toys, etc.)!
Issue #2 The Untreated, Cement Window – TOTAL COST: $7
I bought cheap curtains from Amazon ($6). In the picture, they looked like pretty shear fabric, but when I got them in the mail, I realized that they were shower curtain material! I contemplated returning them, but it wasn’t in my budget. So, I hung them up, placed a few flowers in the curtains and it actually turned out nice! I also taped (duct taped) white computer paper ($0) over the cement shelf and added a decorative border ($1) to make it look decent. Finally, I placed all of my games on the shelf to cover the white paper.
Issue #3 The Rusty Floor – TOTAL COST: $0 (donation)
I needed carpet…I couldn’t afford it, so I asked our janitor if we had any extra. She was extremely nice and found some for me, but it was the 3X5 carpet from the boiler room. I decided to find my own. I called around and found out that my dad actually had carpet in his basement that he wanted to get rid of. He brought it to the school, we cut it up and it fit perfectly! If you can’t find someone who wants to donate, I recommend calling carpet stores. They tend to have junk carpet from shows or random pieces that they can’t sell.
Issue #4 The Janitor’s Cleaners – TOTAL COST: $0 (donation)
In order for us to get the room, we had to agree to let the janitor keep all of the cleaning supplies in the back corner. This back corner was crammed and it had a see through curtain to cover the supplies. So, I organized the supplies on the red shelf that was left in the room and hung up a solid white curtain. The OT I work with donated the curtain, but they can be found for $10 on Amazon.
Issue #5 The Ugly Wall – TOTAL COST – $0
The walls had pipes, wires, holes, paint splotches, rust, etc. everywhere! Nothing a little printable decorations couldn’t fix! For this, I used some of my ‘Decorate Your Speech Room’ printables (Free Download Below) to cover the ugly wall. I didn’t have money to paint it, so my goal was to hide it! I printed out my decor, laminated it and then went to town!
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Issue #6 The Dangerous Ladder – TOTAL COST: $6
The only way I could think to make this ‘disappear’ was to hang bolts of fabric from the ceiling. I used duct tape (my dad would be proud) and taped the fabric to the top of the ladder and wallah!
Issue #7 No Furniture – TOTAL COST: $0 (donations)
The only furniture in the room was that ugly table! I sent out an email to the entire school staff and begged for any leftover furniture. The staff was extremely generous and I received a filing cabinet, round table and 5 little chairs!
Finally, after $35 and two evenings of staying after school (about 5 hours of work), the room was finished!
I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment with what types of rooms you have been in or tell me about your speech room on a budget!
Need more organizational ideas? Check out these blog posts!