The appearance of internal spaces make a difference. If this were not the case then you would not encounter couples in the paint aisle of your local high street decorating outlet (naming no names!) arguing the toss between Elephant’s Breath and Wild Mushroom. So why should this be different in a learning environment? Decorative forms can have a real impact on the receptivity of learning for those within the space. Study, though, isn’t a single discipline. From tiny tots to adult students, there are sometimes the most unexpected aspects of a room that can impact on learning.
Although many visual adornments in a preschool room will be created by the small people who spend their days there, the walls, floors, doors and windows that form the space need to reinforce functionality. The quality of product is key in these areas where a lot of use is demanded. In fact, huge importance lies in the design details of spaces for young children. For example, some doors should be accessible to the children and some should not – this affects where a handle should be placed on a door. Safety considerations need to be made with moving parts, making the requirement for bespoke design a necessity.
A common scheme for decoration of a primary school space is to use bright colours. However, the core consideration should, in fact, be that the children are often based in a single classroom for the majority of their learning. For this reason, decoration should indicate clear, focused zones of learning. When children are active within the space for the majority of their day floors should be hard – something that most people remember from school. Functionality shouldn’t be the end of the story though; incorporating learning tools into walls and floors is a growing trend that uses the space interactively.
In these spaces, students move from area to area with a much greater frequency, and so a different approach to encourage focus should be implemented. Calming tones of green can inspire an openness to learning. Be wary of getting it wrong though, as this can easily tip into a sickly tone that will have quite the opposite effect. It is for fine details such as this where a professional eye that is familiar with a wide range of products can be instrumental in creating the correct environment for teenage learning.
A time of dread and pressure; but an exam room is not always an exam room. Hall spaces are communal, multi-use rooms which need to function in a chameleon-like manner. They need to be both blacked out and flooded with natural light. They also should show a marked difference in tone of decor to the more learning focused rooms of a school at any educational stage.
A much more mature space where many of us will remember tones of brown featuring heavily! Not the case anymore; in a world where University fees have increased considerably, learning spaces should be designed to attract potential students. Study spaces often need to be flexible and collaborative. Areas should be linked together and inspire creativity and independent thought. This is not just achieved through colour but through finish, light and integration of learning tools.
Learning at all levels is fundamentally important, and maintaining a receptive environment is key when either designing or refurbishing an educational space. It is easy to assume that this all lies in the colour of a space, but there are so many more aspects that should demand attention. Taking a view on the use of a room that is based on the learners that use it can utilise small elements in order to make a big difference.