While selecting colours for a home or office space may be based on trends or personal preference, choosing colours for an educational environment is a different story. Research in the area of colour theory in education is varied, however nearly all studies conclude that colour significantly impacts learning habits and abilities within a classroom – and beyond.

Thus, selecting colours for a school’s walls, furniture, artwork and so on becomes much more than an interior design project. It’s about creating an atmosphere that holistically considers every aspect of a student’s needs.

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Colour and Emotion

According to the International Association of Colour Consultants, a school’s physical environment is just as important as its academic and emotional environment. The right colour protects eyesight, promotes positive feelings, motivates students – even helps curb behavioural problems. Studies on specific colour families has shown blue lowers the heart rate and encourages concentration, making it an excellent choice for a classroom focused on the sciences or mathematics.

Meanwhile, yellow stimulates creativity and works well in spaces designated for artistic pursuits such as art and dance. Because green is one of nature’s main colours it evokes a sense of balance. Interestingly, because green is a combination of blue and yellow, it simultaneously promotes concentration and creativity. Orange tones are full of energy and are great for athletic facilities and media centres.


Student Age as a Factor

Not all ages react to colours the same way, so it’s important to consider the students who will inhabit the spaces. Younger children are more active and can handle a brighter colour scheme. However, be careful not to create an over-stimulating environment with too many competing colours. Younger children tend to prefer primary colours such as blue, red and yellow.

Experts suggest selecting a warm primary colour – such as a creamy yellow – and making that the main colour in a space. The goal is to create a balancing space that promotes both energy and focus at the same time. As students get older, they begin to develop more of an interest in blues and greens and benefit from softer shades, which help promote concentration.


Outside the Classroom

Of course, there are many rooms and designated areas in a school, each with its own purpose. Libraries are similar to classrooms as they are extended learning environments. Library colours should encourage a sense of calm, however brighter colours are appropriate for areas of the library intended for lounging.

On that note, because school common areas are also intended as more informal conversation areas, the appropriate colour spectrum is much broader. Common areas are a great place to showcase a school’s chosen colours and logo using bright artwork or a mural. As for administrative areas, try to strike a balance between welcoming and authoritative by mixing a neutral with a welcoming accent colour such as apple green or sky blue.


(Image Credit: Design Milk)

It’s All About Balance

For architects and designers involved in the interior finishing phase of a new or renovated school, the colour options can seem limitless. It’s important to remember colours should not be chosen based on adult preferences. Certainly, selected colours should create a welcoming work environment for teachers and other staff, but the most important aspect is providing students with a balanced and nurturing learning environment.

Where Cadillac Coatings Comes In

Cadillac Coatings is all about delivering the perfect colour and look. We work with a wide range of substrates to help powder coat exteriors that truly shine, but we can also powder coat wood projects inside of your classroom to customize your learning space, as well as create a place that encourages learning.