Influencing student behaviour with interior design

Suhayl Laher, from Tiles Direct, explains how the science behind design can impact students

When we look at the educational set-up in schools today, it’s clear the days of utilitarian design with uniform rows of desks and bland decor are a thing of the past. On the whole, modern establishments give more consideration to interior design, striving to create more welcoming, productive and inspiring environments to deliver a positive influence on student behaviour.  
From the psychology of colour to classroom furniture and greenery, we’re looking at how the science behind interior design can have a significant impact on students and boost productivity, wellbeing and learning progress.  
Clever classroom design can boost learning   

With students spending a large proportion of their education in classroom-based learning, it isn’t surprising that classroom design plays a significant role in influencing students’ behaviour and development. A study by the University of Salford found that the physical aspects of a classroom, such as colour, light and air quality, could potentially improve pupil learning progress by up to 16%. Therefore, ensuring these physical characteristics are taken into consideration and optimised is crucial to influencing students’ learning.  
What is the key to classroom colours? 

It’s well documented that colour has a profound effect on our mood, evoking different emotions and feelings. For instance, blue and green are often seen as calming colours, while vibrant hues like orange, yellow and red are associated with warmth, creativity and comfort. Incorporating different colours throughout your establishment could help stimulate students more effectively. Whether you’re introducing blue into school bathroom tiles or yellow into the wallpaper in classrooms for a bright and stimulating environment, a splash of the colour in the right place can make all the difference. 

The effects of lighting 

The level of lighting in schools has been proven to affect students’ learning ability, with results from a Korean study showing greater alertness and performance when variable LED bulbs were used in place of fluorescent lighting. Where possible, try to maximise natural light, and also try adjusting lighting to different tasks. For example, using brighter lighting for test taking and lower lighting for study areas has the potential to create a positive impact on learning performance.  
How greenery can make a difference 
In recent years, interior designers have started to incorporate greenery into workspaces because of the numerous associated benefits, which include improved air quality, productivity and wellbeing. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to apply the same principles to schools. Beyond their air purifying properties and attractive aesthetic, indoor plants create a natural and calming atmosphere, as well as providing an opportunity to get students involved in caring for them.  

The impact of a comfortable environment 

Another key aspect for interior design in educational establishments is comfort. If you’re expecting pupils to sit still and concentrate for extended periods of time, you’ll need to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible, while still remaining alert.

From ergonomically designed classroom furniture to a well thought-out layout, stimulating colours and engaging wall displays, these elements will all work towards influencing students’ concentration, learning performance and overall wellbeing.  
By taking these science-based interior design elements into consideration, it’s possible to create learning spaces specifically designed to have a meaningful influence on student behaviour in schools.  



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