School Colors – Colors to inspire and create a sense of community

The right colors in a school can be inspiring and can create the feeling of community identity.

Younger children are more drawn to brighter colors as in yellows and reds. If the colors are too bright the stimulation from those colors can be energizing and not conducive to learning. There needs to be a balance to the colors that are applied.


In the younger classroom, there is frequently artwork that is stimulating and colorful. If the wall colors are the colors children are most drawn to, rather than paint a bright energetic color I would suggest a creamy lighter yellow. It is warm and pleasing to sit with all day, and is not taking the attention away from the personal artwork that decorates the space. For any age an effective use of colors is to paint the wall behind the teacher a stronger color to draw the students attention to the front of the room. Remember color can be added into a space as furniture, window coverings and flooring.

Older children require a bit more stimulation in the classroom. Generally the older student will see the primary colors as immature. A softer quieter palette will be stimulating offering the opportunity of the accent walls to be bright and invigorating. Teenage students tend to be drawn to the same popular schemes as the fashion world. Brighter teals and oranges are fun and uplifting without feeling like the younger primary palette. School colors can also be incorporated into a space to enhance school spirit. Whatever the grade level the colors in any educational environment should never be so stimulating that they take away from the purpose of the room or the subject matter.

In regards to school subjects, there are a few rules to keep in mind. For rooms that are filled with computers the walls should not be too bright. The walls should be calming and with less contrast. For larger spaces, brighter colors can be overwhelming in rooms such as gymnasiums and cafeterias. Some color is advisable for sure but not too saturated and bright.

If there are rooms that share the same subject matter, I like bringing them together into a theme of colors to create a sense of community. For example a hallway color for all the rooms in the music department might be a color to give that hallway a sense of identity, and community. Another hallway with all sports related rooms will have it’s own color.

Using colors for hallways in a school can also be used as a navigational tool. The hallway color can be the paint color or flooring color. If you have a large school with all the same color hallways, it can seem overwhelming and rambling. A school that uses different colors for different transitional spaces is easier to follow and feels like the school has recognized the identity and value of each division whether the colors change by subject matter or grade level.

   Adding new colors to the school encourages creativity and a keen sense of awareness. By simply changing the colors the education environment feels refreshing with a sense of renewed inspiration and new ideas. Color is tremendously important for the teachers and students alike who want to enjoy the hours they spend in their home away from home.


About the Author: Amy Wax

Amy Wax, creator of Color 911®, is an artist and experienced color consultant, recognized for her expertise in the world of color and design. Fifteen years ago, Amy created Your Color Source Studios, Inc. a company specializing in the architectural application of color. Amy has received numerous awards for her color expertise.

Learn More About Amy

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