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The psychology of colour in classrooms

The psychology of colour in classrooms

Incorporating colour into your classrooms and lessons can boost student learning and memory, affecting feelings, attention and behaviour when learning.

The science of colour psychology has been widely studied among children in the learning environment.

Colour and student engagement

These days, school classrooms are encouraged to be bright and colourful, with soft-furnishing areas, student work on display and soft lighting. Student engagement can be heavily influenced by their surroundings and believe it or not, colours and colour schemes play a role in this.

Green, for instance, is an excellent colour for improving concentration. It’s relaxing and encourages long-term concentration and clarity, making it a good choice for classrooms, as opposed to red, which is considered stimulating and exciting.

Colour psychology shows that blue is the most effective colour for learning. It promotes memory and enhances creativity, and depending on the shade, can have a calming effect on students. That said, overwhelming use of the colour can create a ‘blue’ mood, so it’s best used as an accent in chairs or other furnishings.

Brights, but don't forget the whites!

Orange can be a welcoming and mood-lifting colour for learners, which in turn promotes comfort and improves neural functioning. 

While it’s sometimes labelled as an ‘angry’ colour, in small doses, red has been shown to mentally stimulate and promote creativity in students. Incorporating red into learning hubs like booths can create a fun learning zone for kids to thrive in.

Let's not forget white. It continues to have a role to play in the classroom. Although the days of bright, stark white walls might be over, white remains a great, flexible base colour for many schools. Using white for hallways and walls is a great way to complement bright or patterned furniture. Warm hues like off-white or beige paired with neutral earth tones also have a calming effect – perfect for the Staff Room!

More ways to consider incorporating colour into your environments

• Thoughtful choices of colour in atmosphere & surroundings that can encourage; attention, calmness, concentration and positivity.

• Maximising use of colour in learning content through the use of coloured paper, notes and presentations.

• Considering the colours used when grading and giving feedback and associations with them.

• Using colourful memory triggers

Ultimately, colour is a huge part of our lives and our perceptions, and we can use that to the benefit of students and staff!