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Why is Colour Important in a Classroom?

Posted By:

Early Learning Furniture


25 February 2022

There are so many things to consider when designing and choosing your classroom furniture, from layout to furniture height to cost… but have you considered how important colour might be to your classroom design? 

What is colour psychology, and how is it relevant in a school environment?

The psychology of colour is a scientific study of how different colours have different connotations, meanings and psychological reactions. It centres around how different colour palettes affect human behaviour.  

Colour psychology has its origins as early as 1704 when Sir Isaac Newton discovered the colour spectrum and developed the colour wheel, but it wasn’t until Carl Jung studied the effects of colour on the human mind that the psychological phenomenon as we understand it today was born. Today, colour psychology is primarily used in marketing and advertising, but it is also frequently adopted by schools, offices and hospitals to encourage certain emotional reactions; for example, calm, happiness, focus. 

Although the efficacy of carefully selected colour palettes in educational and work environments has been proven, it’s important to remember that personal preference, age and culture can all affect the success of a particular ‘colour psychology’ scheme. 

How can I introduce colour to a classroom?

Aside from painting the walls or replacing the flooring, there are a number of easy ways you can introduce colour to a school environment:

  • Seating - Classroom chairs are a simple way to get a pop of colour into your classroom. Mix and match different colours to create a ‘rainbow’ effect or choose a complementary spectrum for a more coordinated look. We have stackable school chairs, ergonomically designed seating, stools, chairs on wheels and wooden designs to choose from.  
  • Desks - Classroom desks are also available in a wide range of colours so you can coordinate with your seating or choose a neutral shade to let the bright chairs shine. With height-adjustable, stackable tables, fully-welded desks, wooden and Enviro tables available, you’ll be spoiled for choice. 
  • Noticeboards - If you don’t want to paint the walls, covering them with colourful noticeboards for schools is the next best thing. These flat, wall-mounted pinboards are available in a wide range of different hues so you can create colourful displays and use them as backdrops to display student work. We also have framed and lockable displays available for busier or more public school areas to prevent tampering and protect your displays.
  • Dividers - Classroom partitions are an incredibly useful tool for dividing up larger spaces into smaller areas. Finished in a variety of different shades, you can coordinate them with your classroom colour scheme or mix and match to create different colour ‘zones’ for different activities. Wipeable room dividers for schools are also available for a more hygienic setup.
  • Play Equipment - One of the most joyful ways to bring colour into a school or classroom for younger students is through school play equipment. Specially designed for primary schools, pre-schools, playgroups and nurseries, our collections include soft play, activity mats, dress up racks, home furniture play and even sensory furniture like sand pits. All are crafted in safe, durable plastics or wood with colourful finishes to create a welcoming, inspiring and playful environment.

Which colours work best?

Classrooms, particularly for younger children, are often a mish-mash of different colours - particularly when you take into account the displays of student artwork that frequently adorn the walls. An interesting aspect of the colour psychology studies suggests that older children, adults and children with certain learning difficulties can find a chaotic clash of different colours creates a stressful environment that promotes feelings of anxiety. Therefore, in secondary school or office environments, a tone-on-tone or complimentary colour palette is recommended. However - this doesn’t appear to be the case for younger children. In fact, for the majority of youngsters, bright, colourful environments can be incredibly stimulating. We suggest if you’re planning to use a variety of different colours in your classroom, to think about colour ‘zones’ - and choose hues that support what you’re trying to achieve in each area.

Red - Red is a bright and bold colour that’s perfect for attracting attention. It can increase alertness (and appetite!) and inspires students to action. Red is also a hue that can encourage creativity.

Orange - Similarly to red, orange hues attract attention and can inspire creativity. Orange is also an excellent mood-boosting colour, provoking excitement and joy. Orange can also help people to feel and express their emotions with greater clarity.

Yellow - Yellow is the most joyful colour on the spectrum. It’s a fantastic mood booster, creating positive feelings, and like other warm colours, helps to inspire creativity. Yellow also helps students to maintain focus and attention.

Green - Green is the perfect colour for education. It promotes a feeling of calm and clarity, reducing stress, anxiety and fatigue. Green hues improve memory and enhance focus, ideal for learning environments.

Blue - If you want to promote a feeling of calm well-being into your classroom, blue is the colour to choose. It’s a very comforting and welcoming colour, making it an ideal choice for nervous or homesick youngsters. Interestingly, it can also inhibit appetite - so moving students to a blue ‘zone’ in the class before lunch might help them to maintain concentration rather than focus on their stomachs!

Classroom Furniture

Colourful Classroom Furniture

Classroom Storage Furniture

Colourful Classroom Storage Furniture

Purple - Purple is a colour strongly associated with wisdom, but also with spirituality and bravery. Wisdom is an obvious thing to consider for a classroom, but inspiring students to be brave is also an important feature of learning development. Spirituality comes into play when asking children to consider the wider world around them and their place in it.

Brown - For young, nervous and insecure students, brown is the perfect colour to introduce. It promotes relaxation, reducing fatigue and anxiety and strengthens feelings of security and dependability. It helps students to boost their resilience, preparing them to tackle the day ahead.

Can colour help children with special educational needs?

12.2% of schoolchildren in the UK are currently categorised as requiring Special Educational Needs support - and a further 3.7% with severe enough difficulties to require an Education, Health and Care plan. Each individual child will have different specific reactions to colours in a ‘decorative’ sense; so designing SEN classrooms often needs to be done with care and expert input. However, there are more simple ways to introduce colour for children who need a little extra assistance - particularly when it comes to reading. It’s believed that up to 20% of school-age children experience some form of visual stress while reading; this can manifest as pain, reduced comprehension or a slow reading speed. Coloured text overlays have been proven to help. Research suggests that when students with autism used colored overlays for reading, they showed up to a 35% improvement in reading speed.

For more information about any of our classroom furniture, visit our Contact Us page or call us on 01733 511121.



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