Colorful Furnishings A Catalyst for School Success
By Amee Meghani
While often ignored in the classroom, color
remains an important element
to consider. Studies indicate that it plays a role in emotion, productivity,
communication and learning. According to Ohio-based interior
designer, Elizabeth Stout, color in school room design is rarely a
“Furniture is usually chosen based on functionality,
ergonomics and durability,” Stout said. “Schools generally never choose
light colored furniture because it makes dirt easy to spot. Additionally, in some
elementary schools, chair
color is dictated by size.”
Looking at the effects of color on emotion and relating that to the
purpose of the learning space can help guide the color choices – on walls
floors and even on furniture.
Because classrooms are used primarily for active learning, color in
this environment should maximize information retention and stimulate
participation. For that reason, it’s crucial to avoid over stimulation so avoid
large amounts of bright colors, especially reds and oranges. Rather, opt for
calming and neutral colors such as green and blue.
Furniture can liven up otherwise dull classrooms by supplying color. The
relatively small amount of color on furniture does not have the same
affect as bright colors on walls. So, select yellow furniture to elicit feelings
of liveliness, energy, happiness and excitement. Red and orange in small
quantities can also demand attention and attract learners’ attention to detail –
a great way to lead students to a certain part of the room for an engaging activity.
If the intent is to match all elements of the room, use furniture colors that are
similar to wall colors focusing on the calming greens and blues.
The one exception to color in the classroom occurs with younger children,
who unlike older children, thrive in a bright-colored environment. Bright
colors can be used on the walls and in the furniture. Color can also be used to
help children understand how certain areas of a room are used. For example,
the blue chairs
in the corner may be used as a reading and relaxation area,
while the red table
may be a free-play space.
Color in a library setting should be used to align emotions and behaviors
with the purpose of the space. Since different areas of a library are intended
for different activities, have fun experimenting with color. Take a reading
area, for example. As an extension of the learning environment, reading areas
are intended to be calming and relaxing allowing learners to reflect.
In this instance, matching calming wall colors – like greens and blues – with
furniture colors maximizes the effects of color in this space.
In contrast, if an area is used for lounging and conversing, color can
provide excitement. Consider using a more neutral wall color and
experimenting with furniture color by using bright-colored cushions, fixed
colors on lounging chairs or vibrant accents on tables or shelving. Color
selections might include deep reds, oranges and yellows, or pastels in any
GIVE COLORFUL FURNITURE A TRY
In libraries and classrooms, it is clear that color can have an effect on mood,
emotion, and productivity, which ultimately influences student success.
Consider letting the purpose of the room guide the color scheme selection.
All of Smith System’s inspired colors are available online for purchase on many products; from book trucks and study carrels to computer tables and activity tables.