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Making Shelves Useful & Artistic

Lots of classrooms have the bookshelves with the not so pleasing pegboard backing on them; but they don’t have to be an eye sore in your beautiful classroom. I have found ways in the past to make these serve as both functional and artistic as well as found some new ideas while searching the internet. It is great when you can use the shelf to divide classroom areas and still be able to have the back of the shelf be functional so both sides are serving a purpose and it saves on having lots of furniture in small spaces.

Here are some of the ideas leaving the pegboard feature showing but maybe painting it to look cuter:
~ add peg hooks with cute baskets to hold supplies for art or writing centers
~ use hooks to hold tools and materials in the block area
~ hooks can be added to hang up clothing in the dramatic play area
~ pegboard holes can be used as fine motor activity area or to create 3-D art mural by using items such as
pipe cleaners or straws to stick in the holes; my last class discovered this idea on their own and loved

Some ideas for the backs of shelves that will cover existing back are:
~ Attach felt to back and use as a felt board for story time or reading center
~ Paint with chalkboard paint (which you can make yourself in any color) and use in art or writing center
~ Paint with dry erase paint (yes they sell that too!) or you can buy sheets or laminate a larger sheet of
paper and use for circle time, art or writing areas
~ Paint with magnetic paint (another great invention!) and use in science area or for magnet stories
~ Using shelves for documentation and displaying the children photos and work is great idea too, especially
because it is as their eye level and looks way better than a bulletin board with stapled papers on it!
~ Make into a work of art by covering with material, paper, sheet, anything that the children can paint,
draw, etc. on and it can hang on the shelf as art mural

Some new ideas for shelving without the typical shelving units:
~ Using old dressers without the drawers; paint it up pretty and looks cute
~ Paint or line with cute contact paper/wallpaper the inside back panel of shelving units
~ Adding baskets to the shelves to hold lots of small items

I will post some photos of the ways we use or shelves and some of the new furniture trends we decide to use in the new classrooms to organize and create separate areas as we begin moving in the center. In the meantime, how do you guys use shelves in your classrooms or homes, making them functional and pretty?

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