Basic Classrooms

The heart of the school beats in the classroom.               Within this area students invest the greatest portion of their day…

…it is the goal of the designer to make this environment favorable to learning.


In General:

  • Create environments that socially, emotionally & academically encourage the whole child.
  • Colors that begin to reference home are those that reduce tension, anxiety, agitation, apprehension and promote a sense of well-being



  • Light / Color / Music
  • Full Spectrum Lighting
  • Natural Lighting
  • Ability to Control Light
  • Windows with View
  • Visually Interesting Walls
  • Feature Walls or Accents
  • Areas for Different Activities
  • Opportunities for Movement
  • Flexibility within the Space
  • There is a design direction towards creating schools where classrooms are each individual and unique to each other. The concept is that children need to be constantly inspired, challenged and presented with new materials and environments.
  • This concept is both liberating and challenging. It allows designers and teachers to explore constant design possibilities; yet, it increases the pressure to create this uniqueness which speaks to children in different ways throughout their school encounters in each area

“Research reveals that color and light definitely have a physiological effect on children. Studies show an ‘identical’ impact on blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates of both blind and normal sighted children were lower after walls were changed from warm to cool colors – The incorporation of full-spectrum lighting was included. Children became more behaved, attentive and less aggressive and fidgety” [Professor H Wohlfarth/President German Academy of Color Science & Photobiologist/University of Alberta]

  • Full-spectrum light [light containing all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near ultraviolet] has a profound effect of our health and moods.
  • The perception of color is improved in rooms where full-spectrum light is used.
  • Full-spectrum light decreased hyperactive behavior of students in first grade. [Mavron et al.]
  • Visual acuity was increased and general fatigue was decreased in classrooms using full-spectrum lights. [Douglas Kleiber & Associates/Cornell University]
  • Full-spectrum lights greatly improved performance and should be used in classrooms and libraries. [H.R. Blackwell/Vision Expert]
  • Artificial light in classrooms leads to agitation and misbehavior. [Hollwich]
  • Research reveals that color enables students and teachers to stay focused on tasks, increase effectiveness and sense of time. Elementary schools noted improved lighting and color resulted in increased academic performance and IQ scores.[H. Wohlfarth/1983]
A feature wall of approximately 20% – 50%* LRV will:

  • Add greater visibility to teacher & educational materials.
  • Relieve eye strain as student transitions from coursework to instructor.
  • Reduce glare from bright overhead lights or natural light.
  • Break up monotony on walls by introduction of additional color.
  • The feature wall should be the main wall at the front of the room and/or a side wall that is a solid plane.

*Note: Research recommends Classroom Feature Walls to be approximately 40%-50% LRV; however, depending on the color, room lighting, size, window & light exposure a lower LRV may be considered for visual comfort – In the yellow family these LRV values may be higher.

With respect to color schemes… it is generally accepted that:

  • Neutral colors of tan, beige, oyster, sandstone, oatmeal, cream, taupe, frost, smoke, pewter and silver are comfortable, conservative, stable and versatile, providing a safe, secure environment.
  • Warm colors of rose, carnation, melon, coral, buttercup, almond, honey, and yellow are warm, comfortable, cozy, nurturing and embracing, they advance toward us creating a friendly atmosphere.
  • Cool colors of pale green, mint, sea foam, robin’s egg, aqua, sky, denim and soft blue are cool, refreshing, calming, relaxing, soothing and expansive, they recede away from us which provides a spacious feeling.

NOTE: It is felt that, depending on the unique circumstances of a particular classroom, that any of the above categories may be selected for three walls of a room [w/LRV of approximately 60% - 70%] with the fourth or feature wall incorporating a complementary [or monochromatic] color with an LRV of approximately 20% – 50% – See LRV Chart for Values