Indoor climate and well-being
Interior design

Colour and Texture Selection for Learning Spaces: Best Practices for Educators

Rockfon Brand & Communication Team
February 21, 2023

How might incorporating vibrant colours and tactile textures into a classroom setting boost student learning outcomes, inspire creativity, and create an atmosphere of positive well-being? Let's explore the exciting possibilities that come with focusing on those design elements!

Colour and Texture on Student Learning

As the UK education system evolves, educators increasingly recognise the importance of building engaging learning environments that meet the unique needs and challenges of all students. Adding colours and textures to a classroom is about more than aesthetics. They can directly improve each student's ability to learn.

The Impact of Colour on Student Learning

Colours can impact attention spans, ease of focus on "dull topics", and the ability to retain information. Colour psychology research has established how colour affects learning outcomes.

Colour and Student Perception

A study published in 2021 [1] found colour played a significant role in student perception, with specific colours creating anticipated learning outcomes. The results found that some colours, specifically white, green, and blue helped add a feeling of curiosity, satisfaction, and hope. On the other hand, black and grey had the opposite effect, creating feelings of worry and fear. The study found a direct link between colour in learning spaces and student performance, mood, and behaviour.

Colour and Memorisation

Another study, published in 2015 aimed to determine how colour impacted students' abilities to memorise words. [2] It found:

  1. Group 1: Words presented in shades of grey
  2. Group 2: A specific colour corresponding to each word
  3. Group 3: Random colours applied to words

Group 2 performed 34% better than Group 3 and 8% better than Group 1. This showed that not only did colour help the students recall the words. Students presented with random colours performed worse than those offered with no colour at all, showing a direct link to the learning outcome.

How to Use Colour to Create an Engaging Learning Environment

In a classroom setting, students often focus on different areas of the classroom at various times during the day. Consider how colour works in various spaces:

  • Red: Use red where students need to pay attention as it stimulates focus.
  • Yellow and Pink: Place these colours in areas to stimulate creative learning and exploration of new ideas.
  • Orange: Orange encourages openness and may be beneficial in areas where active learning discussions or interaction are necessary.
  • Blue and white: These colours tend to be calming but can be a good option for reflective spaces.
  • Green: Green is soothing, making it a good choice for areas where balance and contentment are key.

Colour and Special Needs Education

Every student has a unique learning style, and providing them with the most supportive learning environment can enhance their learning experience. For students with specific educational needs, Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) can be beneficial as it reduces any unnecessary obstacles that may impede their learning progress. [3]

Some students, such as those with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders, are more sensitive to colour schemes in learning environments. Studies have shown that certain colours can have a profound effect on their sensory response and visual processing abilities. [4]

For some, exposure to the colour red causes an increased heart rate and higher blood pressure. [4] Blue, by contrast, has a positive learning environment impact because it helps to slow the heart rate and lowers body temperature. [4]

Over-stimulation through the use of colour creates a sensory overload in some children, causing distraction to classrooms and limiting learning success. This is a heightened reaction in those with sensory processing disorders.