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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

First impressions last. That’s why your reception area should be used to its full potential. It’s the one room that everybody sees; it sets the mood at the start of each day; it’s a window for visitors into your school.

Your reception should:

  1. Be welcoming
  2. Capture your ethos
  3. Inspire those who walk through it every day


As Rachel Webb, Headteacher at Hafod Primary School, says, ‘We want a place where children walk in feeling safe and excited to learn.’

Design Principles


Choose a colour scheme of a small number of shades in line with your school logo - the best way to establish a clear identity. Accent the entrance with your selected colours - on doorframes, panels and ceilings. Use your colour scheme for signs and directions - handy for visitors and new pupils.

Be Bold

The reception should reflect your school’s ethos with confidence. To that end, bold colours and inspirational design are often best - you could take inspiration from the boldest colours in your school logo or uniform.

Engaging Everyone

If your reception is large with high ceilings, paint the walls with a neutral shade for a welcoming bright and airy feel. To offset this simplicity, create a mural for the ceiling or floor - and involve your pupils in the process. Display children’s work and achievements to encourage pupils and boost morale.

Case Study

Hafod Primary School, Swansea

With over 25 first languages among children and staff, Hafod is a diverse school and its inspirational reception mirrors that vibrancy. The school logo of a rainbow - a representation of its diversity - is painted on the wall in reception and a recurring theme throughout the building.

Walls are painted with trees by pupils - symbolic of growth through knowledge. The ceiling is painted sky blue for a light, airy atmosphere, easing the transition for visitors from the outside. Vision is front and centre, literally written on the wall - so every visitor knows what Hafod stands for.

Getting Started

Useful Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Does your reception area reflect the excitement and ethos of my school?
  • Is there enough reference to learners’ work in the reception area?
  • Is wayfinding in and from the reception easy, for children, staff and visitors?


The Perfect Product

Diamond Matt, our most durable paint ever, will look better for longer and is perfect for busy areas that take lots of knocks.

How We Can Help You