The Top Color Schemes for a School Classroom

A pale yellow wall color allows teachers to display a variety of colors without too much of a contrast.
A pale yellow wall color allows teachers to display a variety of colors without too much of a contrast. | Source

The palette of colors in a school classroom is as varied as the colors of the spectrum. The walls are painted from warm to cool and accented with shades and hues that contrast in color. During the 50's, 60' and 70's school's painted the walls a pale green or creamy white and there was little variation in color across the nation.

Color is an integral part of our lives and visually affects how we perceive our environment. Color affects our emotions and feelings and stimulates our moods either positively or negatively. Many people have a preference to certain colors due to their cultural background, gender or geographical region.

Our homes are decorated in certain colors and will set a basis for color preference in the environment outside our homes, such as a classroom. With this said, it would make sense to provide our children with classrooms complimentary to a home environment. Additionally, with the increased interest in sustainability of our environment providing our children an echo-friendly classroom would help to build their social responsibility.

Cast Your Vote

What color do you believe to be most appropriate for a school classroom wall?

  • Blue
  • Green
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Other
See results without voting

The Positive Color of Green

Consider the effect green has in a school hallway.  How can you carry the emotional experience of harmony into the classroom?
Consider the effect green has in a school hallway. How can you carry the emotional experience of harmony into the classroom? | Source

Color and How It Affects Children

Hue, brightness (value) and saturation (chroma) are basic attributes of color. Hue helps us to distinguish color while brightness helps us to understand color relationships to achromatic colors such as black and gray. When you consider how colors work together and establish our understanding of preferences, you can perceive how they elicit emotion and feeling within us.

If you use a combination of colors in a school classroom they should compliment each other and provide an environment that stimulates learning in children and not cause a distraction. Believe it or not the glare off a wall done in a high-gloss, vivid color can make note taking difficult.

Color meanings have long been studied for their effect on school children. Results have proven that lighter colors such as yellow and blue elicit positive feelings while darker colors such as deep blue, black or gray create negative emotions. The color red has been known to cause anxiety in some children. Colors can also make a room seem smaller or larger and if you have children who need space, this should be a consideration when choosing wall colors.

Popular Classroom Colors & Their Meaning

Color Meaning
Positive or Negative
Balance, harmony, nature
Order, direction, peace, spiritual
Earthy, structure, support, honesty
Pure, light, innocence, completion
Sunshine, renewal, hope
Yellow in a classroom color scheme is attractive to younger children.
Yellow in a classroom color scheme is attractive to younger children. | Source

Using Color Schemes In The Classroom

The colors in a classroom create an environment that helps to stimulate learning and prevent anxiety. It is important to note that color also affects children differently according to age. Younger children below five are empowered by bright colors such as yellow. Older children work better in rooms painted in light shades of blue and green which are less stressful and distracting. Adding cushions, rugs and soft materials in paler shades will not only enhance the learning environment but will add a touch of home to the classroom.

The furniture in the classroom should also be a good color match for the classroom. As more schools are going green it is suggested that the furniture be a light-colored natural wood. Other green ideas are skylights and large windows that provide not only good lighting but bring out the colors of the walls.

As color is a necessary part of children's positive perception of life in general, it is a good idea to use bright colors that stimulate movement where appropriate such as hallways and gymnasiums. Suggested ideas are shades of purple, red and yellow.

Color schemes in a school classroom can be used to increase comfort and promote learning. Although some schools may have a preference to certain colors, consideration of how colors affect children should be a factor in making a final decision in painting a classroom.

Positive Blue

Blue can be used to accent room decor. Keep it minimal so it does not overpower the main classroom theme color.
Blue can be used to accent room decor. Keep it minimal so it does not overpower the main classroom theme color. | Source

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Comments 73 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Oh those green walls of my school days. High school was the worst! It took me a long time to get over it.

What you mentioned about the importance of the right finish is interesting. I like pale colors on three walls and a deeper color on one for classrooms. All four colors should be different, at least different tones of the same color.

Colors in schools most definitely should increase comfort while they promote learning. This is a helpful look at an important topic--thanks!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

RTalloni, the funny thing is that my doctor's office at the time was the same green! If you connect the two places it would cause anxiety. How funny is that? Thanks for your visit here as I always appreciate your insightful comments. Take care.

Sturgeonl profile image

Sturgeonl 4 years ago

I agree that creating an asthetically pleasing environment for students with color is a consideration that is easy to do and can make a big difference in the overall quality of the learning environment. Interesting hub!

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

You are preaching to the choir. I am an artist. I taught vocational classes at an adolescent mental health facility for 10 years. We painted everything, and the facility was all about creating the best atmosphere.

There are studies that indicate the effect of colors on mood and behavior. As an artist, I have learned that colors change in relationship to each other. Sometimes it is a complex interaction. That is why I am glad that you stressed color schemes. Every aspect, even the carpet or tile should come into play.

I had an apprentice program where we painted murals on the residential units, and academic hallways. Much to everyone's surprise, they were almost never damaged by the teens who often acted out with "property destruction". On one unit, we did silhouettes of palm tress and such over a gradient background on the overhead wall (4'x 90') around some recessed lighting (community area/living room).

The colors were bold, but the scene gave a feel of space and a windless sunset. The staff noticed that the "clients" weren't as antsy when they had mandatory gatherings, and more kids chose to hang out in the community area to read or chat.

Great hub!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Something I never thought of for my classrooms. We usually ended up with whatever color they had the most paint of....when I did have a choice I usually went with blue but simply because I liked it.

Interesting read; too bad I'm retired now from teaching. :)

Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Colors brighten up the classroom. A dull boring grey would definitely put off students. Great information on classroom colors and their meaning. Interesting and useful. Voted up.

kelleyward 4 years ago

Another fantastic hub teaches12345! I am one of those people affected by light and color. I think color is vital to successful learning and feel what you wrote here is extremely important. Voted up and shared socially! Take care, Kelley

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I really enjoyed looking over the various effects each color has in your table! I wish classrooms were generally more colorful. I was exposed to a LOT of taupe as a kid, and I hated it.

michememe profile image

michememe 4 years ago

I am like the first commenter, I hated those green walls in high school. I never even thought to put school colors with stimulation of the brain and focus. Never. Great up.

krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

Color is so important! We used color everywhere in boys homes. Bright colors were for classrooms and soft colors were for padded cells and bedrooms. This is excellent and very informative, teaches.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Thanks for validating the hub topic content, Sturgeoni. Your support means much to me. Take care and be well.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

WD, thank you for your insightful contribution on color. Coming from a professional artist it means much to me. It is interesting how color affects a person's state of mind. I have studied color meanings and watched over the years how people react differently to a subject based on the color environment around them. I appreciate your visit and support. I am going to look into your hubs, as I expect that you have some really good topics on this.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Hello,my friend. Likewise, Bill, I learned and taught in rooms that were painted the same green or bright white. It was ok, but think of how much more we could do with a room today! ...if only.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Thanks Vellur, I appreciate your comments on the topic as I know an artistic person such as yourself knows the value of color and thought process.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Kelley, you are always such a great support. Your mention of light is so important, the color is affected by the light and it does make a difference. Thanks for stopping in here. Have a great day.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Simone, I am glad that you enjoyed the topic. Yes, I think most of us had those same basic color schemes. Guess back then they thought it would keep us focused. Have a good day today, my friend.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Your comment is interesting, Krsharp. I am so glad to know that there are places that consider how color affects a young mind. Thanks for your add to the subject. You have a good day and be safe.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

You and I both were taught within those green walls. I can still see them today in my mind. It would have been nice to have a classroom with walls of color that promoted a positive learning experience. Thanks for your add to the topic and support. Take care, my friend.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

I don't remember the colour of my classroom walls. I work in new school which has a colour scheme throughout its wide open long central corridor 'the street' one end a Pantone green, the other Pantone purple. The classrooms are white but very colourful with displays etc so all in all it's pretty colourful throughout. This is an interesting hub and I agree that colour does have a huge effect on the children.

Voted up.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

Color has a major impact on our mood and our ability to concentrate or relax. This is a very important hub. Voted up, interesting and useful.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Jools, thanks for sharing your classroom colors for comparison. Sounds like your school is pretty up to date on décor that adds to the learning experience. Take care and be safe.

Breakfastpop, thanks for your support and votes. Some colors are more relaxing than others but overall, they do definitely impact your mood. Take care.

truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

I always wonder why they make classrooms so drag and boring. I guess because they get the paint for cheap. A little color would liven up any room, but especially important for the classroom. Interesting how no one is picking green as their color of choice. My vote was for blue. Your hub was very detailed and interesting. Thanks.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Green was the color way back when! However there are newer shades of earthy greens that are attractive. Yes, I think we agree that the old schools must have gotten bargains on the green. Thanks for your support Truthfornow.

Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

This is a very interesting and useful hub. My fifth grade students and I were discussing warm and cool colors today, and the majority of the students preferred cool colors. Voted up and sharing.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Great Hub on the importance of color. I grew up on military bases and saw lots and lots of that pale, boring green. I hated it, but in general I like a wide variety of greens, it just has to be the right shade. Green was my top choice as the basis for a classroom palette. It was encouraging to see that on the choices list. I also like the fact that you mentioned that areas where more movement is allowed or required (hallways, gymnasium) can handle brighter, more intense colors. Helpful information. :)

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Hello Paul. Thanks for your validation of older kids preferring cool colors. I love those fifth graders as they are still wanting to learn and explore education. You sound like a great teacher! Take care.

Phdast7, good to see you here on the hub. I am with you on the green. Love it, but let's have shades and mixtures with other complimentary colors. And, yes -- I believe that the brighter colors in active areas promote energy and lift the tired spirits a little. So thankful for your add to the topic. Take care and be well.

donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Oh the mint green walls. I am glad that the school I work in is a bit more modern than the HS I went to. My classroom has beige walls. I have a dark green chalk board (which I will not give up), a white board, and a white interative board spanning one wall. I have another wall of green cabinets, but they are a nice green with a darker green counter. My back wall is a big huge bulletin board that opens into the next room. It too is green, a nice green. I never thought about the color really. I do try to spice it up here and there with bright posters and bulletin boards, especially in the rather dark entryway of the room. Creating a calm atmosphere where students can focus and work is important. I was never concious of the color's role in that, but I see now that it does help set the tone.

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is one of my fave hubs of yours yet, teaches! You know I never thought about the classroom's colours. But your hub makes so much sense. I vote up, useful, and will share too. Great work.

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

As one who loves the color blue, I guess I'd like all classrooms painted a medium blue. I think blue is relaxing and peaceful. Might be too relaxing for school kids (they may nod out). Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

I remember those sickly green walls very well! Such a drab color choice. I could see doing neutral colors on the walls and introducing more vibrant colors through furnishings. What you say makes sense. Anything we can do to give our students an edge is worth it, and introducing stimulating color palettes seems to be a relatively inexpensive way go! Voted up, useful and interesting!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Shades of green are a good backdrop to work with. You can add touches of color in appropriate areas to stimulate learning. Thanks for the great add to the topic, Donnah. I loved your visit here. Take care.

Christy, colors are inspiring on any topic for me also. Thanks for your share, visit and supportive votes. Glad you got something from the read. Have a great weekend.

Mary, blue is the color of the sky and is always such a comfort. Some schools have added soft clouds to the ceiling and it works well for the kids. Great contribution to the hub. Thanks for your support and votes. Take care.

Lindacee, thank you for validating the color palette for classrooms. I love neutral backgrounds as adding splashes of bright color make for a home-like feel to a school room. Be well and safe.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

I totally agree with you--colors and mood go together. Classrooms should be made conclusive to learning with the use of appropriate colors. I love white, blue and green and I'm glad they are listed in your hub. Rated up.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

We have come a long way from the traditional green and white school room. I think the children are benefiting from schools who take colorful walls into consideration. Thanks for visiting and rating the hub. Take care, my friend.

Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Okay the pictures make me want to go back to school! Just to visit! LOL

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

You and me both, Angela! I actually work in a college setting right now and it's been a year since I've walked the halls of a primary grade school. They have been updated. Thanks for you visit. Take care out there.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I agree that kids are turned on by yellow but I'm surprised you didn't have a meaning for it in your table. Voting this Up and Useful.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

I love yellow and it's brightness does much for younger kids. It is not as popular a color scheme as the others mentioned, but I will update and add it for reference. Thanks for the insight to the hub, Alocsin. You always have great suggestions. Take care.

twentyfive profile image

twentyfive 4 years ago

You make me miss school days so much. :) This is a very excellent and well explained hub.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

I am glad the hub proved a positive experience for you, twentyfive. I myself would love to go back with the knowledge I have now so that it would be more enjoyable. LOL! Thanks for your visit and support. Take care and be safe.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

How interesting. I knew that blue is soothing and to stay away from re. But you have taken this concept of color in the classroom to another level. Great Hub!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Kids relate blue to the sky and clouds, which in a room equals open space and calm. Red is ok in larger, movement places like a gym (I have it in my livingroom!), but in a classroom it's best as an accent. Glad you came by here, Rebecca. I value your opinions.

sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Our schools are littered with colors... and there is so much stimulation and distraction all around.. A good choice of color is very important... Great hub.. I love the different aspects of schooling that you bring up in each of your hubs. Thanks for sharing.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Sofs, colors are stimulating in a child's learning environment but let's keep them simple and basic. I think some schools overdue the themes and cause kids some hyperactivity.

snowdrops profile image

snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

it is indeed very important that we put colors in the classroom especially if it's primary grades. they love colorful walls and will happy and inspired. colorless or brown or black/dull colors would make them boring.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Snow, it's a great motivator: color makes your mood in a primary classroom. Have a wonderful day, get out there and enjoy it!

internpete profile image

internpete 4 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

What an interesting hub! In my high school in Japan, all the walls were unpainted cement or some were painted white. I don't think it affected me very much, but it probably would have been much better to paint it a more positive color! Great hub, and I am sharing this with my sister, who is becoming a teacher!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Internpete, schools have become a little more aware of how paint colors affect learning -- thankfully! Yes, I remember those lime green walls as they reminded me of my Doctor's office. Not such a great connection at tmes! Thanks for sharing and your visit. Be safe out there!

scribblingdaddy 4 years ago

Thanks for the article! When I was a teacher, I was cognizant of the overall aesthetic in my classroom. This was easy when I actually had a classroom to myself. A lot of teachers "float" and have no say in the overall décor. Also, veteran teachers can be very territorial and eschew changes that newer, younger teachers wish to implement. This goes for color presentation as well. I always strove to have a lively, colorful presentation in my room as much as possible. This is good for most students, but those with learning disabilities, autism, aspergers and other such maladies may become distracted by the color choice. Another point to consider is budget. I worked on the county paint crew once and the choice of colors that we painted in the schools was partially dictated by what could be afforded at the district level. In the end, I agree that a classroom's color scheme and overall presentation are somewhat important, but the real emphasis should remain on finding the best teacher who can motivate and help students succeed. This can be done in any setting, regardless of color scheme. Thanks again for your very thought-provoking article!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Scribblingdaddy, you have brought some very interesting and truthful thoughts to the table. Yes, sometimes the budget is what decides the color scheme, and yes, the veterans on board sometimes do not want change. It is hard to implement new ideas, especially paint and décor when the teaching is what really matters -- as it should. Children wit special needs do need to be introduced to change over time so that they are not alarmed. I worked with special needs children and they do love color when it is properly introduced. Thanks for your input here, let's hope that these ideas posted on color scheme will help those that want a little positive change.

scribblingdaddy 4 years ago

I am familiar with the veterans on the school board not wanting change! Great point. Personally I would put tons of colorful posters up. My rationale was if they are not paying attention to me (!) at least they will maybe look and learn from the décor. Great point about properly introducing the color scheme to special needs students. I never thought of that!

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Voted up, useful, and interesting Teaches. Your right on with those creamy colors of the past. Most the schools where I live are creamy and from that time period. Colors can enhance your mood or put you in a raw mood, it is true. The right colors in a classroom are vital and this was very educational. Colors apply anywhere you go, even your home. The right combo is important. Cool hub teaches. Best to you gal:)

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Thanks, lyricwriter. I agree colors make up so much of our world and affects our moods. Great add to the hub interest. Take care.

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Teaches, very interesting idea for a hub. I am all about colour, and I have always wanted to paint my classroom but was never allowed to. I do remember the special ed teacher at one of the schools I taught did her room very brightly, with the kids' help and it was so inviting, I thought.

This is very good research in regards to colour in the classroom. Thanks for this!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

PrairiePrincess, color is such a motivator with young children and it's good to know that the special ed teacher made her room classroom a real learning center. You are always a welcome visitor on the hubs.. take care.

Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

I shudder at the memories of drab grey classrooms.. thankfully more and more schools are looking to better , inspiring color schemes. This is a great hub on the reasons to choose vibrant colors.. great facts, very useful! shared.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Docmo, gray would be interesting if accented with bright colors. Yes, thankfully, schools are catching on to the benefits of color in promoting a learning environment. Thanks for your input and loyal support.

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

I usually couldn't paint my classrooms, because the school does that, but I always tried to decorate my classroom as aesthetically pleasing as possible with posters and even the kids work as the school year went by. That said loved this article on the top color schemes and of course shared and voted up Dianna :)

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Janine, I'll bet your students really thrived under your wings and in your room with such a positive attitude. Thanks for your visit and support.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi teaches, I totally agree with you. I remember my classrooms, they were drab and grey, or just brown and yucky looking. I love color and I think your ideas are spot on. I am synesthetic so color means a lot to me, I am sure I would have felt a lot calmer in a blue classroom, wonderful! nell

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Nell, it's interesting that you mention blue as a choice preference. Most people like blue in a classroom for the feeling of peace it provides. Thanks for your visit, let's hope grey will only be used as a color accent in the future.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

This past weekend I went to help my daughter redo her PreK classroom and we painted the cubicles a bright blue and the walls are pale blue. I voted blue! Excellent article. I'm a blue fan.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Sunshine, blue is the top color pick for classrooms. I'm sure your daughter' class will enjoy the calming backdrop during the busy learning sessions. Thanks, friend, for checking in here.

catalinafr profile image

catalinafr 4 years ago

Great hub. Voted up! It was really interesting reading!))

As for me, I'd paint biology class in green and literature class in beige))

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Catalina, good color choices for the different classes, accented with complimenting colors would be really invigorating! Thanks for your votes and visit here. Take care.

jenbeach21 profile image

jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Very interesting! I wish I had this when I was buying paint for my classroom.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Jen, I am sure you make your classroom work well in spite of the color. Thank you for stopping in to leave a comment. So valued!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I have read several psychology studies on color, and find if fascinating how color can affect our mood so much, and in different circumstances. Our office at work was entirely gray - gray walls, gray carpet, gray paintings!, gray cubicles. There were cubicle partitions that were red, and I specifically asked for a cubicle that had a red partition. As they downsized, the office seemed downright lonely and cold walking down the long hallway passing all the empty gray cubicles with no change. Lime green, dusty rose pink, and birds egg blue with touches of every other color for me.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

When I did contract work for a marketing company, they had the same set-up: gray décor, walls, etc. It was clean and organized but very dull and unmotivating. Your are right, a pop of color, even if only on one wall would have done a world of good for moods. Millionaire, thanks for add to the content. Your validation as a professional is valuable.

Missy Mac profile image

Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

Colors effect the overall classroom environment in a classroom. Students care about the cleanliness and how a classroom can have a baring on their overall impression. As educators, we select colorful material for bulletin boards and activities. Colors can impact the way a child feels about his/her classroom. Good article.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

One of the first things kids love to do is add color to something. Many parent has had to wash the walls of their home because a child found it needed colorful markings. Color does affect a child's mood, especially as it surrounds him daily in the classroom. Thanks, Missy Mac, for you added value to the hub topic. Enjoy your weekend.

johnr54 profile image

johnr54 4 years ago from Texas

I teach music at a child care center and up until last year, we had our students grouped by color teams (Red team, Green team, etc.). We found out that the students in the red room were very "active." It was then we did some color studies and decided to paint the rooms white and use the team color as accents. Big difference!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago Author

Great idea John! I think colors are something we can use in classrooms to help kids connect with each other. This method works very well! Thanks for your add to this hub. Enjoy our weekend.

Sam 5 weeks ago

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