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5 Ways to Optimise Education Space Design

5 Ways to Optimise Education Space Design

In 2020, Boris Johnson announced a ten-year rebuilding programme for schools throughout England. They will receive over £1 billion in funding to refurbish buildings and raise standards. The rebuilding projects will be eco-friendly with a focus on modern construction processes. At 01EX, we understand the importance of education space design. The layout of classrooms can affect a students’ capacity to learn, and interior design should reflect this.

So, what is the best way to design an educational space? And what factors contribute to positive teaching environments?


All children deserve the best possible start in life and the opportunity to succeed. It’s vital that they have spaces that encourage growth, focus and creativity.

Education interior design now takes into consideration academic, social and emotional development. The interior of a building is as important as the exterior with features that are calm and welcoming. This promotes a positive psychological impact on how children learn.

To optimise learning potential, classrooms and spaces should be:

  • Bright and light
  • Comfortable
  • Visually stimulating


Research shows that children absorb more when surrounded by natural light. Working under skylights or big windows instead of bulbs and strip lighting has a beneficial effect.

Mood lighting creates an alternative and fresh view of studying. For example, soft lighting during reading times lets the mind take a break and reset.


There are simple ideas that can change a teaching area from claustrophobic to cosy. Places where students are taught, that feel like home can increase productivity.

To be productive in lessons you need comfort. Focussing on a hard, wooden chair or the temperature of a room is distracting. Now furniture design is top of the agenda when planning a school layout.

Bringing the outside in is another option. Including nature and plants in class can improve grades and make students feel relaxed. Allowing kids to explore an outdoor area that’s an extension of the teaching space provides variation.


Our senses come alive when we see new things. Fresh and relevant visuals in schools breathe new life into class. Posters, images and objects with positive reinforcement grab students’ attention. It’s necessary to rotate or replace displays often to keep the mind active and interested.


Adaptable working is not just for office employees, students can benefit too. Moving and changing seating helps to break out of ruts and creates a fresh perspective on lessons.

Zones – an area can look good but if it doesn’t offer functionality, it won’t be used. Teachers can utilise zones for different learning styles and activities, from working in groups to private study.

Furniture – varied seating spots and pods allow students to work on different projects throughout the day. The best arrangement of tables is in clusters of 2-3. Clusters let pupils interact with their peers while paying attention to the teacher.

Playful spaces – to help teams work together and keep them engaged longer, build fun spaces for creativity, exploration and expanding the imagination.


Emotional connections are crucial to the learning experience. Certain room shapes encourage both. Rooms with curved, open, high ceilings activate the brain’s emotional network. Children pay more attention, and it decreases stress.


A review by The Education Funding Agency (EFA) developed designs for academic buildings in April 2011 – led by Sebastian James. They show standardised drawings and specifications which apply to a range of educational facilities.

The details for primary and secondary institutions include environmental modelling and costs. Contractors can use the guidelines to develop detailed schemes, along with those involved in the construction of school buildings and their grounds.


It’s clear that children benefit greatly from bright, airy and open spaces. The money invested by the government will see schools renovated with better amenities for pupils in the years to come. Ensuring the next generation of students excel, thrive and reach their potential.

If this blog has sparked your imagination, or you want to learn more about our education space design, please get in touch to discuss your exact requirements.

We design and fit-out schools, colleges, universities and clubs. Whether you need help with a newbuild or existing premises, our teams work to timelines and budgets to deliver exceptional service.

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