How colour can impact children’s behaviour

by | Apr 10, 2019

Subtle changes in the colour of the classroom can have an impact on children’s behaviour. In fact, there have been many studies to show that colour can affect us all in ways which we might not realise. Knowing how colours can affect our behaviour means that where possible, we can create a classroom environment that supports learning and creativity in children.

Colour and emotion

There have been a number studies on the affect of colour on our behaviour and emotions over the years and many of these have concentrated on how reds or blues can change the way we work or feel. There are others that look at a wider spectrum of colours and how we might use them in our everyday lives to support what we want to do.

We also need to look at the different shades of colours, too. A bright, deep blue will affect us differently to a lighter, softer shade of blue. The same is true across all of the colours in the spectrum. A simpler way to look at colour is to see it as a scale of warmer colours (reds, oranges) all the way to cooler colours (whites and blues).  When you think of how alert you feel when you are in a cooler climate in comparison to how you feel when you are snuggled by a warm fire or sitting on a hot beach.  This is how those colours can change our attention levels, creativity, and energy.

Impact of colour

We already know that the colour of our lights can impact our productivity. The colour of our whole environment has that same effect. Let’s have a look at how colours can make a difference to our actions:

Red: A warm colour that in some cultures be a warning sign. Studies have shown it can increase appetite and improve your concentration on certain tasks. Think about the warm colours when you go into a restaurant, the subdues lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Yellow: This colour can bring happiness and energy yet some research has suggested too much yellow can over stimulate and cause bursts of anger.

Blue: At the cool end of the scale, blue can be a calming colour that is known to increase productivity and creativity. Think of those cooler blue-white lights that almost match daylight and help keep you alert.

Orange: As a warm colour, there has been some research that this can help in exam or test areas to aid concentration.

Green: This is a relaxing colour. Think of the term ‘green-room’ where actors wait before going on-stage. This is to put them in a relaxed frame of mind or balance out the surging adrenaline.

Pink: There have been studies that support pink as a calming colour. When used in the right environment, pink can be supportive of reducing aggression.

White: As a cool colour, this can make a room seem brighter and more spacious but using too much white can make it feel cold and sterile.

Right colour for the space

During the school day, children need to spend time sitting and concentrating. They also need to be creative and have periods of activity. Classrooms and communal spaces within a school are used for very specific things. An art room needs to bring out the creativity in students, the PE hall to encourage high-energy and activity, a maths classroom some calm concentration.

In much the same way, you wouldn’t expect these rooms to be laid out with the same seating and tables, you wouldn’t expect them all to have the same wall colours or even lights.  If we know that using the right hues of colour in a room can impact children’s behaviour, how can we implement this to get the best out of our school spaces? The walls and furniture can play a big part in this and so can the lighting.

Colour of light

The colour of light, measured in Kelvins, can also have an impact on the behaviour of children in school. The lower the number of Kelvins, the warmer the light colour and therefore more relaxing. The higher the number of Kelvins, the cooler the colour and more stimulating. There are many factors such as natural light, use of the space and age of the children to take into account when deciding on the best colour of light for the space.

Over the years, there has been some recommendations that primary schools can benefit from warmer colours. While secondary schools can use cooler colours to help concentration.  Not all parts of the school will need the same colours and while it may seem overwhelming, here at Save Energy 2 Day, we have experience in understanding the right colour of light, as well as the level of brightness needed for the room and its use.

If you want more information on how different lighting colour can benefit a room, do get in touch.

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