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Middle School Classroom Themes That Aren’t Babyish

You want your classroom to be a colorful, cozy, and inviting learning space. 

You’d love to have a cohesive theme or at least a color scheme, so everything looks put together. 

But are themes childish? 

Aren’t middle schoolers too old for classroom decor?

My answer to that is a big, fat NO!

In fact, I don’t even believe high schoolers are too old. 

There is nothing wrong with decorating so that you have a comfortable, attractive space, and there is nothing wrong with that decor having a theme.

A classroom theme is nothing more than decorations that go together. What’s immature about that?

It’s all in how you execute the theme.

Here are 12 different ideas for classroom decor themes that are totally appropriate for older students.

Coffee Shop

A coffee shop or cafe themed classroom has been a super popular idea for the past few years. And with good reason! People tend to hang out in cozy coffee shops or cafes and work independently or collaborate with a group. Just the very activities you’re hoping for in a classroom that’s on-task.

Setting up a coffee shop environment for your classroom creates a vibe that’s comforting, trendy, and productive.

coffee shop classroom decor
coffee shop classroom theme

Outdoor Adventure

Camping is a fun and unique classroom theme for older students.

Think evergreens, cozy plaids, and rustic textures to bring the great outdoors and a sense of adventure to your learning space.


Everyone loves a bit of magic and whimsy.

You’ll love spending time in your classroom with an enchanted theme.

Fairies, gallant knights, airy forest motifs, toadstools…

If you love the idea of a fantasy theme for your middle or high school classroom, check out this post packed with more ideas and inspo for an enchanted forest classroom.


Even if your classroom has no windows you can fill it with plants if you have a plant-themed classroom aesthetic. 

Vibrant illustrations of all sorts of house plants look chic with black and white geometric patterns and the occasional pop of color. 

School colors 

Decorating with your school’s colors can boost  school spirit and unity right in your classroom.

Or, you can decorate with colors to represent your favorite sports team, or showcase your alma mater. 

Boho desert 

While all things boho tend to go in and out of vogue, a classic boho vibe is always a cozy and stylish option for a classroom theme for older students. 

For a unique twist, go with a desert motif: a muted, sandy color scheme, clean lines, dramatic landscape vistas, and of course cacti. 

Add in some tassels, macrame, and wicker, and you’ll have the snazziest classroom on the hallway. 

Alice in Wonderland

Do you want your classroom to be a magical place where anything can happen? 

While at first the idea of characters might seem childish, think of how a vintage Wonderland motif might bring a twist to this theme that makes it fresh and more mature. 

alice in wonderland classroom decor


A floral classroom theme might initially sound overly feminine, it doesn’t have to be! 

Even if it is a little feminine, think of it this way: ultimately you have to decorate your classroom for you. You’re the one spending 8 hours in there every day. The students are only there for one hour. 

No matter how you choose to decorate or not decorate, some students will love it and some will hate it. You can’t please everyone (take it from me, I tried when I first started teaching, and my feelings were always so hurt when someone made a snide comment about the decorations I worked so hard on). 

So maybe go with a classroom theme that you enjoy seeing every day. 

And if you’re worried about being overly girly, consider a floral like these red poppies that “pop” off fun black and white patterns. 

red and black poppies classroom decor
Click on any of the pictures throughout this post to learn more about the various classroom decor sets for older students!

Calm Nature

When I surveyed teachers and asked what kind of classroom decor they’d most like to have, many said something calming.

I agree that a calm classroom is a happy classroom. And to me, nothing feels calm like cool colors, soft watercolor style, and nature motifs. 

Plants are such a big trend right now, and it’s easy to find accents with nature vibes everywhere. 

Retro Brights

Bright colors are a classic classroom theme. They’re vibrant and happy. You really can’t go wrong here. 

But because I hate feeling like I’m just like everyone else, I try to put a variation on things. 

So how about a bright classroom, but with a color palette that feels retro, and maybe some accents that are a little industrial like metals and distressed wood? 

This little twist would also make the bright colors feel more secondary and less elementary.

Bright classroom decor
bright classroom decor


Hand-in-hand with a calm nature theme would be a focus on succulents paired with fun patterns. 

Pepper your classroom with little cacti and happy plants that feel full of life and joy. 

I know we’ve all seen the cactus “we stick together” bulletin boards, but you don’t have to make it cheesy like that if cheese isn’t your thing. 🙂

cactus succulent classroom theme


A final classroom theme perfect for middle school, or even high school is steampunk! 

I love it so much, my steampunk decor ideas have their own post. Check it out for more ideas. 

I love that steampunk can take so many directions to fit the subject(s) you teach: history, science, literature, even math. 

It’s edgy, it’s unexpected, it’s imaginative, and at the same time, mature enough for any student.

steampunk classroom decor
steampunk classroom decor
steampunk classroom theme

For more classroom decor and bulletin board ideas, follow my Classroom Decor board on Pinterest!

Oh, and one last thing! If you’d like some FREE classroom decor, grab this big bundle of 50 different bulletin board headers that will allow you to sample several different decor themes!

8 thoughts on “Middle School Classroom Themes That Aren’t Babyish

  1. Great post! I’ve recently switched from kindergarten to upper elementary and I’m struggling to find that balance. I don’t want anything to girly or kiddish but still want things to be organized and inviting for my students. Also, I’m trying to work with things I already have so I don’t have to spend tons of money on new classroom decor (book bins, supply baskets, etc). I’ve gone with a rustic watercolor theme, but I’m still tweaking things.

    1. Awesome! The balance can be tough! Ultimately, I just like to have decor that makes me happy, because I’m the one who spends the most time in there. Have a great year!

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