Using Colour to Improve the Learning Environment
The colour of both walls and flooring in the learning environment can impact either positively or negatively on learning outcomes for pupils. The Salford study notes that when taking age into account, warm colours complement young pupils’ exuberant nature, whilst cool colours enhance the ability to concentrate. Strong colours are not recommended as they can distract. We have worked with many schools where pastel colours are used on walls, with a brighter splash of colour used on doors and door frames. The overall effect is uplifting, calm, and positive.
Those schools keeping an eye on budgets may prefer every room and corridor to be painted the same colours so that just one touching up paintwork is less costly – while still effective, this limits variety and expression of identity. It’s also been found that pupils do not like a uniformed, identical look for every classroom. The Salford study stresses the importance of pupils (especially primary) having one or more aspects of their room that are unique and give character. Pupil input should be sought in the design and decoration of the classroom if possible, to help establish a sense that it is ‘their’ space.
The colour of flooring is also important; whether vinyl or carpet, colours and tones should complement each other.
Of equal importance is the colour of furniture within the room. If buying new chairs and tables, colours can be selected with care. If you’re using existing furniture, establish whether you can trade mismatched items with other classrooms to create a set that is harmonious, if not the same in colour, texture or style.