Burbank IKEA Gives Makeover to Miller Elementary’s Teacher Lounge

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

As part of Teacher Appreciation Day in May of 2022, the Burbank IKEA asked Burbank teachers to nominate their staff lounge for a makeover. After numerous nominations and being selected into the top 5, Miller Elementary School finally got the call that their lounge had won the refresh.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Once school let out for the summer, the IKEA team visited the school and found the lounge was disconnected, cluttered, and uninviting. “Our staff lounge space was a disorganized area that was used by both staff and PTA as overflow storage,” said Miller Elementary School principal Judy Hession. “It was not peaceful to see clutter out in the open. We needed organization and relaxing and comfortable furniture.” 

The IKEA team took pictures and measurements and asked for feedback from the teachers before returning to the school with their ideas. “We came back to the store and put together a proposal for the space that included a relaxation area, a space to eat in smaller groups, a proper entry space, and some new storage solutions – and they loved it!” said IKEA Burbank Loyalty Manger, Mary Ann Barroso-Castanon. “At IKEA, our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people, and we take our responsibility seriously in the local communities we are present in. In the case of Joaquin Miller Elementary, we wanted to create a better everyday life for the teachers by creating a space for them to relax and recharge.”

The summer was spent preparing the lounge for the remodel, including removing items, painting the walls, and getting the floor polished so that it was ready for the IKEA makeover. Miller’s curriculum specialist, Laura Kubler, spent countless hours facilitating the preparation leading up to the August 12th installation day.

The main entrance to the teacher’s lounge was turned into storage to reduce clutter throughout the space, and custom cabinets were added to store PTA goods, minimalizing the overall visible clutter in the lounge.  The tables were broken into smaller pods to create more intimate seating and a better flow throughout the space.  The kitchen also received a storage system to hold appliances and sort recyclables.  

Lastly, soft seating was added to create a relaxation area that also included a rug, calming artwork, an air purifier, and a Bluetooth speaker. “After the pandemic, it was even more evident that we needed a place that was welcoming and relaxing. We envisioned our lounge as an environment where we can not only join together as a staff but a place that enables us to feel refreshed and energized,” said Hession.”

On September 29, 2022, Joaquin Miller Elementary School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen the staff lounge. “We are so very grateful to IKEA for providing a space for the staff so that we can give our very best to our students and continue to follow our school motto of ‘Striving for Excellence’ each and every day,” added Hession.