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School Interior Design Trends and Ideas 2021

A school interior design scheme can play a key role in helping students to unlock their full potential. When done right, it can help to make learning an enjoyable and enduring experience that will give kids the best possible chance of succeeding in life.

School design can have a big impact on teachers’ lives too. With advances in modern technology, teachers can really bring education to life for students, while a few changes to the staffroom design can go a long way in reducing stress levels!

In this blog, we look at some of the trends that are helping to make school life better for students and teachers alike. From modern technology to colour psychology, you will find plenty of inspiration in our list for 2021.

Read on to find out more.

School Culture and Identity

A school’s culture and identity can be infused into its interiors to make for an eye-catching and fitting design scheme. As we’ve seen in our previous projects, there are a number of creative ways to do this, including the following:

  • Murals – Wall murals are a great way to establish your school culture and send out a positive message to students. For example, in one of our recent projects for Haringey Sixth Form College, we printed a Nelson Mandela wall mural along with the inspirational line, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Check out the project for yourself here.
  • Branding – Every school has an emblem that tells people a little about its history and ethos. And just as these emblems are emblazoned on school uniforms every day, they can feature proudly on interior elements too. In recent years, we have introduced them in the form of glass manifestation, graphic prints and aluminium wall signs like this one on Holy Trinity Lamorbey’s school classroom wall.
  • Reflect Your Specialism – Many schools now have a specialist subject such as sport or maths & computing or technology, and this can be reflected in the interior design scheme. For example, a school that specialises in art should be visually arresting and include areas where students can showcase their artwork.
  • School Colours – Such a simple idea, but one which is really effective in helping to establish a sense of identity. A school’s unique colour scheme can be integrated into carpets, storage solutions, furniture, decorations and more. By introducing these, schools can really encapsulate the school’s spirit, ethos and identity. This will serve to inspire students and make them feel part of something special.

Focus on Mental Health

Students’ mental health is something that must be taken seriously. These days, the pressures of exams are greater than ever, while more technology has meant that young people are exposed to a number of risks online, including cyberbullying.

With this in mind, here are a few things schools can do to improve mental health in young people:

  • A Door That’s Always Open – According to statistics, 51% of students feel embarrassed about mental illness. Therefore, it’s essential that there’s always a private place where students can go to confide in a teacher or councillor. This could be a designated office or classroom with calming colours like pink.
  • Quiet Areas – It’s good to have an alternative space to a bustling playground or field. Some students may prefer an indoor area like a library, which is invariably much quieter and calmer (perfect for the Matildas of this world!) For a modern and inviting library design, consider introducing booths and soft seating.
  • Uplifting Words and Mottos – Words are very powerful and can be very effective in promoting kindness and wellbeing. For example, in one of our recent projects for Holy Trinity in London, we printed words like “love” and “courage” that contributed to an uplifting interior.

The aforementioned statistics also revealed that 75% of mental illnesses start before a child reaches their 18th birthday. Therefore, it’s hugely important to make the education environment as sympathetic as possible to this and ensure coming to school is an enriching experience.

Technology-Led Classrooms

Keeping up with new technology is an excellent way to enhance a child’s learning experience, and given that children are digital natives, it makes sense to introduce technology that will help to engage them in study.

Some schools make learning more fun for students by introducing portable devices like iPads and digital textbooks, which are often complemented by storage ports and furniture appropriate for group settings (something we will look at later).

Teachers can also benefit from technology in the form of interactive whiteboards, known as “smartboards”. Smartboards allow teachers to project an image and interact with it by writing on it or moving it around. While the smartboard is a touch screen device, notes can be made using special pens which come in a range of colours.

Want to see something cool? Take a look at how we introduced a table with integrated touch screen devices in one of our latest school projects here.

Flexible Furniture

In recent years, schools have started to introduce handy, easy-to-move furniture into their classroom setups. This includes versatile pieces like modular seating, lightweight tables, wheelable chairs, and even giant bean bags.

The benefit of flexible school furniture is that it can be easily reconfigured to suit different study groups and tasks. This is particularly useful for older education groups like sixth formers, where they are likely to do more work in group settings.

Flexible furniture also complements the technology-led classroom, where portable devices used on a daily basis. A truly efficient space will also have plenty of power sources and outlets to ensure no one runs out of battery mid-task!

For school furniture inspiration, take a look at our projects here.


Relaxing Staffrooms

According to a recent study, teachers are more likely to suffer job-related stress than other professionals. Furthermore, one in five teachers feel tense about their job all or most of the time compared to one in eight workers in similar professions.

One way to help mitigate the stress factor is to create a relaxing, inviting staff room. In our recent projects, we’ve helped schools by introducing tea points and dining facilities, comfortable furniture like sofas, calming colours, relaxing wall murals, breakfast bars, and modern lighting solutions such as hanging pendants.

The concept of a relaxing staffroom is nothing new of course, but with the rise in stress among teachers, it makes our list of school interior design trends for 2021.

Read also: School Staffroom Design Ideas.

Uplifting Reception Areas

More often than not, a school reception area is just a place you go to for information. Visually, they look pretty straightforward, with a desk, a hidden office space and maybe a few decorations to make the space look pretty.

While many schools still overlook the aesthetic aspects of a space, others are starting to take the “first impressions are everything” stance and making a big effort with their designs. For example, we recently transformed St Mary Magdalene’s reception area with a dazzling light-up desk that makes it impossible for visitors to get lost.

Additionally, we added in a glass partition with the school’s emblem to establish a sense of identity and meet safety regulations.

Colour Psychology

As we’ve looked at in our previous blogs, colour psychology can have an impact on a child’s learning abilities and behaviour. With this in mind, it’s important that you take colour psychology into account when refurbishing your interiors.

Here are some guidelines from the book “Colour, Environment and Human Response”, which helps schools to choose colours based on age and academic environment:

  • Primary and Elementary SchoolsWarm and bright colours are perfect for younger children. For example, yellow is a colour of sunshine and happiness that fuels intelligence; red is a stimulating colour that helps with repetitive and detail orientated tasks, and orange is good for critical thinking and memory and can enhance performance in exams.
  • Secondary Schools – Cool colours like blue, green and purple aid concentration and are recommended for older children. Blue enhances creativity and creates a relaxing environment; green helps to relax and contributes to improved wellbeing in kids, and purple is an attention-grabbing colour that also falls into the cool category.

Before you go and splash blue on every single wall, it’s worth noting that too much of one colour can have an adverse effect. For example, too much blue can invoke feelings of depression or sorrow, while too much yellow can make students feel stressed. Therefore, it’s a good idea to combine them with other complementary colours to ensure they are effective.

Creative Acoustics

Schools can be noisy places, so introducing acoustic elements that reduce noise pollution are a godsend to teachers.

These days, you even can buy fun acoustic solutions that complement the interior design scheme. For example, in our recent project for Haringey Sixth Form College, we introduced V-shaped hanging acoustics that look like flying birds and panels shaped like Lego.

For an added touch, they were designed in colours that reflect the school’s branding.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope our blog has given you some bright ideas for your future school interior design.

While COVID-19 may have meant students and teachers have been at home in 2020, there’s nothing to stop you planning for 2021 and beyond. In fact, while the schools are quiet, now might be a good time to re-imagine your interior design scheme. In doing so, you can make the education environment an incredible place when students and teachers return.