First consideration: what's available? Tables and chairs? Open floor space? Shelves or a sink? Some classrooms are equip with toys or books. Along with the available elements, layout is important. If I share a space with another ministry then I need to be mindful about the set up. Knowing the elements that already exist and how they are arranged help me set my mind to the next order of business.
My next consideration: What do I have at home? Basic art/craft supplies, paper goods, and some toys can easily be toted back and forth. Cookie sheets and magnets, rice in a tub, simple every day items can be creative avenues for little hands. It is amazing what house hold goods have traveled with me to aid in the lessons of the day.
Another question on the list: Do I have help? This helps me determine how far apart to set creative stations, not to mention some activities are just easier with a few more hands.
When a child enters my classroom there are tables or corners of activity waiting for them... a kitchen set up, a table with water colors, a reading corner and maybe a dress up nook. Each area relates in some way to the lesson at hand..this sparks conversation that prepares for the lesson and gets them engaged in the learning process. If the children are young, then plenty of open space is left for music and movement - getting those wiggly bodies some relief from quiet activities.
Carpet on the floor and paint on the walls really don't matter when it comes to welcoming a learning environment. I prefer a simple room that allows me the freedom to tote things in and change the objects as the need calls for it. It warms my heart when a little one enters the classroom asking 'what's in the box today'.. they know me..and know we are going to learn, grow, and engage our hearts. There in I know I have made the room work for me.