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The Schools Environment Survey of 2010 showed that the learning environment is key to children’s behaviour and happiness - and over 95% of teachers agree.

At Smarter Spaces, we want to help make school environments more attractive, affordable and inspiring for teachers and learners.

To do this, we have gathered all of the evidence from existing research to inform our education design principles.


Areas of Consideration

Your classroom should be a focused, engaging and fun environment that’s flexible to different subjects and styles of learning.

‘There is clear evidence that the physical characteristics of primary schools do impact on pupils’ learning progress in reading, writing and mathematics. The impact is quite large, scaling at explaining 16% of the variation in pupils overall progress over a year’ (Barrett 2015).

In classrooms with lots of pupils it’s especially vital to maximise your available space with natural light and good ventilation - to provide the best environment for learning.

Design Principles

Focused Learning

Wall displays inspire a sense of belonging for pupils. However, be sure to locate yours at the back of the room, so pupils’ focus is straight ahead. 20-50% of your walls should be clear, so not to distract their attention. Help frame important teaching content with bold feature walls, so pupils are focused on what matters most.

Learning Zones

Support different types of learning by dividing your classrooms into zones for different play-based activities. Relate your colour scheme to the activities - for example, blues for water-based play and calming purples for reading areas.

Light & Ventilation

Studies have shown that poor air quality can see performance drop by as much as 7% (Claussen, 2015). Be sure to plan your classroom so you can easily access all windows and blinds to control light and temperature at optimal levels.

Case Study

Rosemary Works Primary, London

A small, personal independent school, its philosophy openly encourages ‘being different’, with this approach very much cemented in the way they have used their learning environment.

In 2015, Rosemary Works redesigned a number of their classrooms to make them fit for the style of teaching and learning that the school was adopting. Colour was an incredibly important part of this transformation - using it to zone specific areas in the classrooms to tailor for different learning or task requirements. As a result, this gave learners more responsibility for how they wanted to undertake tasks, creating an incredibly engaging experience for teachers and learners alike!

Getting Started

Useful Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are there areas in my classrooms for different styles of learning?
  • Could I use colour to define different subject zones?
  • Does the room often feel stuffy, due to lack of ventilation?
  • Are there elements in my classroom that block out natural light?

The Perfect Product

Diamond Matt Light & Space uses revolutionary Lumitec technology that helps reflect twice as much light around a room, making even the smallest spaces look bigger and brighter.

How We Can Help You



Get in touch

Contact us to find out how we can help. If you’re already carrying out design projects in your school, we’d love to see how you’re getting on! Share your photos with us on social media.