The Use of Color in Schools

Children of preschool age think in concrete terms. Everything is exactly as they see it. They do not think in abstract terms or reason. They grow up bolstered by the experiences they gain in their homes, schools and environment. They learn by using all their senses. They like to taste and smell things. And they continuously observe. They look, move around and try to learn what is going on in their surroundings. Due to the fact that they are naturally very active, warm and bright colors attract their attention.

We now know that in an educational institution, in addition to the academic personnel, building structure, education materials and other relevant factors, use of color is also important. Appropriately used colors protect the eyes, provide the means for learning and support the health of the mind. Scientific studies support the fact that the discomfort, attention loss, and behavioral problems experienced by children are mainly a product of the environment they occupy most of the time. Unplanned use of light and color is one of the most significant causes.

Use of Color in Preschool children
use of color in schools
Use of color in the 3-6 age group

Children in the 3-6 age group are lured by bright colors. They are especially drawn to red and yellow from among the primary colors. Although warm and bright colors might appear to be complementary to the active and energetic nature of a children in this age group, the brightness and intensity of the colors will only be effective in attracting their attention, as excessive stimulation does not contribute to their learning.

Preschool children, as well as those of elementary school age, are extroverted by nature. Warmer and brighter colors complement their energy and contribute to their learning by reducing their anxiety, tension and excitement.

Instead of very bright yellows and reds, pale salmon pink, light yellow or light peach colors can be used in the classrooms of preschool children.

Children in this age group need more of a boost to their attention and concentration at school. Greens with a little bit of beige and blue in them are appropriate for this age group.

It is important that the walls that the students and teacher face in the classroom are different from the side walls. The colors of the walls that they face must be specially selected to ensure that the students don’t strain their eyes by looking at the same tone all day and that their eyes are rested; also the color of the wall facing the teacher should be relaxing. Another reason could be the need to draw attention to certain points. For example, the blackboard is an important factor, and the color behind the blackboard must be relaxing and ensure continued attention. (Mahnke, 1987)

use of color in elementary schools
use of color in high schools

As soon as children enter puberty their tastes change from warm to cool colors. Although orange may remain in their lives, they probably prefer blue and green more. Blue and green are colors indicative of maturity and calmness. It is appropriate to use soft colors in high school classrooms. Children in this age group are expected to be more focused and concentrated on their lessons instead of being energetic in the classroom. Beige, light green and green-blue are colors that can be used in the classrooms of the children in this age group.

Shades of beige and green can be used in the corridors in high schools. If possible, these two colors can be used together on the walls.

Math and physics are usually the classes that students most dread in high school. If there is a separate classroom or laboratory that is used to teach these classes, then shades of blue that focus the attention, bring calm and lower blood pressure can be preferred.

Functionality is important for meeting rooms. People who attend meetings are generally not alike and change from one meeting to another. Some people’s attention can be distracted easily while others can be tense. The colors chosen must, on average, appeal to the personal traits of the people concerned. Yellow is generally considered an attention improving color that is necessary in meeting rooms; however, excessively bright yellow can cause high tension and uneasiness after some time. For this reason we must pay attention to the value and saturation of colors when choosing them. The color in meeting rooms must be relaxing, refreshing and of the type that will ensure concentration and focus the attention. Shades of yellow and green can be used with neutral colors.

While executive rooms reflect formality and seriousness, they must not be painted in gloomy, boring or disturbing colors. The colors used must reflect warmth and must not strain the eyes of both the visitors and occupants. Hues of beige and light brown with tints of warm red are the colors that can be most suitably used in executive rooms.

The colors that can be used in corridors can also differ based on age group. Livelier colors can be used, or each corridor can be painted in a different color in preschools and elementary schools. Corridors painted in lively colors are suitable for children who continue to be active after leaving the classrooms. Shades of green and beige can be considered for secondary and high schools.

Shades of pale or light green create a calmer and more passive effect that we seek to achieve in libraries and study spaces. Shades of green improve attention and concentration. Use of these shades in school libraries is appropriate due to their calming and concentration-improving effect.

Due to their appetite increasing effect, warm colors are more appropriate for places of food consumption. In contrast, cool colors like green and blue must be avoided due to their appetite-reducing effect. The colors that should be used in dining halls vary according to age group. In kindergarten, it is important for children to have a good appetite and associate eating with happiness. With this in mind, especially colors like orange or squash blossom can be used in cafeterias.

In elementary and high schools, cafeterias are places where food is consumed swiftly before again attending classes and therefore shades of orange can be used.

In high schools and equivalents where art education is provided, the classrooms used for this purpose must be conducive to creativity. Luminous colors like light yellow can be considered appropriate for fine arts classes. The colors used in this type of educational institution will induce creativity in the students.

Guidance services intended for teenagers who are under stress and working hard are important and these services have a wide-reaching effect. Both teacher and student are looking for the right solution to the issue they are facing. In spaces reserved for this kind of endeavor, colors must be chosen that will not increase blood pressure, will lend warmth, and ensure ease of speech, such as shades of green and blue-green.

A balance between warm and cool colors must be achieved in school infirmaries or doctor’s surgeries. Cool colors are more calming. Shades of blue and blue-green comfort people as they induce feelings of peacefulness and calm. However, if everything in the room is blue or green, then this can have a cooling effect. Then it would be necessary to bring some warmth to the room. Under the circumstances, shades of beige, warm yellow, salmon pink and neutral colors can be used.

It is appropriate to use soft colors that are not high in saturation. Choose shades of low saturation if eye examinations are conducted in the surgery.

Sports centers are usually large in surface area. Luminous colors are generally preferred in these type of halls. Warm colors such as yellow or pink should be the color of choice in sports centers where energy levels are high.