The importance of colour when specifying flooring for education
Colour psychology is playing an increasing role in the design of buildings. This is due to the effect interior shades used on walls and floors, for example, are known to have on occupant mood and behavior.
Colours can literally change the whole tone of a room or building; therefore the utmost consideration should be given to their application in large communal spaces such as schools.
In educational establishments, it is crucial to maintain a well-balanced atmosphere. Students need to feel calm and contented, whilst remaining focused and stimulated. Such is colour’s dramatic effect on memory, for example, research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council shows an appropriately-designed classroom can boost learning progress by 16%.
AGES OF COLOUR
The selection of wall and floor colouring in schools ought to depend on the age group of the students it is designed for. According to Frank Mahnke, author of Color, Environment & Human Response, early learning children prefer warmer, ‘motivating’ colours i.e: yellow, orange and red; whilst teenagers react more positively to cooler ‘calming’ shades which improve focus.
Increasingly, schools are applying colours to suit a particular learning environment. Warm colours such as orange and red, for example, which are also thought to inspire creativity, make them ideal for arts or craft rooms. Yellow, a colour that inspires energy and excitement, makes ideal decoration for play or leisure spaces, whilst green is thought to enhance knowledge retention.
Colours applied to walls and floors can also affect personal comfort levels when the exterior temperature rises. Research confirms that being in a space where cool shades and tones predominate makes us feel cooler than being in a space where warm colors prevail. Therefore, when the heat is on, classrooms decked in green and blue tones will help students remain chilled. This type of colour psychology could also be extremely useful in maintaining the comfort of occupants in schools where large amounts of solar gain and poor air conditioning is an issue.
Colour schemes can also be mixed and matched to suit a particular student age group. Bright colours, whilst helping pre or primary school children thrive, can over-stimulate older students. Therefore, neutral flooring, incorporating a more striking tone, might present an effective compromise. As part of the Equality Act 2010 it is the requirement of institutions to improve accessibility and promote inclusive opportunities for students and staff. Therefore, it is important to understand the role colour can play in this i.e: using it to improve signage and applying palates to suit the visually impaired.
As well as creating the right environment, colours can help instill a good impression. For schools, where reputation is everything, the design of entrance halls, atriums and communal areas is key to establishing a tone or reinforcing an identity.
Might these public-facing areas – which also offer students a first-glimpse of their long-term learning environment – be an ideal space to promote the school’s official colours?
Indeed, such is the alma mater flexibility of Sika’s ComfortFloor® range, there is not only the opportunity to create safe, hygienic resin flooring to suit an array of colour requirements; it allows the incorporation of patterns, logos and motifs varying in elaboration. Therefore, whether it’s a school’s coat-of-arms or an inspirational quotation, Sika ComfortFloor® can help send the right message.
Expert sources including ArchDaily, ‘the world’s most visited architecture website’, agree: as well as being easy on the eye, colour influences the mind. No matter how grand the design, if a room isn’t dressed in the appropriate shade, it’s likely to fail in its purpose. Such an outcome could have serious consequences, particularly in relation to our children’s learning. For their sakes, schools should do all they can to set the right tone.