3 colour considerations to take into account when painting your school

Sarah Mosconi |   September 20, 2017 at 12:35 PM

3 colour considerations to take into account when painting your school

When it comes to maintaining the appearance of your school, commercial painting is one of the easiest and most effective ways of sprucing up the environment. Having a well-maintained facility is especially important when it comes to fostering school pride– parents, students and teachers all want a school that they can be proud of and brag about to others, but this becomes more difficult if the school looks old and run-down.

There are so many things to consider when thinking about painting a school – the budget, the schedule, the health and safety of students and staff, to name a few – that picking out colours might seem like the least of your concerns. But it’s an important decision, and one that has long-lasting consequences – after all, the last thing you want is to have to repaint the school more regularly than is necessary.

We spoke to Sarah Stephenson, Colour and Communications Manager at world-leading coatings company Shermin Williams, about the 3 most important colour considerations to take into account when painting your school.


1. Does the colour scheme reflect the school’s branding?

When thinking about the colours, it’s important to consider the school’s history, style and branding. “Colours that fit with the school’s branding will really help to establish that identity, and I think all kids like to understand their environment so they feel comfortable and proud of their school,” says Stephenson.

Does the school have a long history, steeped in tradition? Or is it perhaps more skewed towards creative arts? These schools would perhaps consider very different colour schemes to reflect what the school is about.

If the school already has a particular colour scheme in their branding, this may help inform the colour choice, though it doesn’t necessarily have to dictate it. You can see how we, the team here at Higgins Coatings, worked with Victoria’s Peninsula School to implement a painting maintenance solution to achieve a fresh look that reflects the school’s branding and pride.


2. Does the colour scheme have the right psychological and physiological effect on the students?

There’s been a lot of research that supports the idea that colour can have different psychological and physiological effects on students, in ways that can even have effects on academic achievement.

“Schools have a big job to do,” says Stephenson. “Curriculums span from intensely challenging learning, to creative expression, social skills development and physical activity. Clever colour selections that include not only the right colour, but the right shade and proportions of colour, can really help support learning, stimulate creative thinking and boost energy.”

Blue, for example, has been shown to have a calming effect, and can promote high levels of thinking. It could, therefore, be used in classrooms in which intensely challenging learning takes place. It is particularly effective when balanced with warmer colours, as such as orange, “which can act as a bit of a mood lifter,” says Stephenson.

Alternatively, “Green is a good colour for long-term concentration and clarity, making it a good choice for a classroom, as opposed to red, which is seen as stimulating and exciting,” says Stephenson. “Maybe it helps in the short term, but stimulation has to tail off at some point!” Warm bright colours, like red and orange, when used in large doses, may also be too over-stimulating for children who are more sensitive to sensory information, like those who have being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or ADHD.

You might also like to consider the main activity for which a certain area will be used, says Stephenson. “Aqua is a great colour for areas used for visual art or creative thinking. Aqua or turquoise is a little more complex … because it’s cool in temperature, it feels calm, but also has a way of recharging our spirits. It’s quite an emotional colour and great for stimulating creativity. Purple is also a bit left-of-centre and a great colour to promote individuality of expression. For gym or other physical activities, you’d want to ramp the heat up, so I would go for a warm, sunny yellow or orange.”

The student’s ages should also be kept in mind when selecting colours: “Younger children react more positively to warmer colours, perhaps because they can feel cosy and approachable, as well as stimulating. Kids in secondary school seem to engage better with cooler colours, which help them to stay calm and concentrate.”

And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, applying a design to the walls using stencils, like they did at this school library, can be another way to add a fun and creative element to a space.


3. Is the colour scheme practical?

While it is important to consider how to best reflect the school’s identity, as well as how to create an environment that is most conducive to students’ learning, there are also very practical matters that should be considered.

For example, how will your chosen colours fit in the building’s surroundings? “Colours like charcoal- or grey-based neutrals for the exterior will make the building sit back in the landscape, and probably increase the longevity of the colour relevance. But, having said that, it doesn’t really scream stimulation or fun place of learning!” says Stephenson.

You will also want to ensure the paint has properties that will make it more long-lasting; for example, is it hard-wearing? Is it weather-proof? Is it prone to UV yellowing?

High-traffic areas will also be more prone to general wear and tear, so you may want to use a dark neutral colour in these areas that will hide the effects of use. Stephenson suggests balancing this with a brighter accent in key areas, such as front gates, doors, hallways and signage. The ideal solution would be to work with a maintenance painting provider like Higgins Coatings. This way your school gets a tailored strategy to protect all structures, regardless of size. Our maintenance plans are designed to provide long-term savings by maximising the life of existing surfaces.

Whatever colours you choose, though, the main thing is to make sure they work together in an aesthetically pleasing way. “From a colour choice perspective, it’s really about cohesion,” says Stephenson. “So, stick to just three or four key colours and make they are used in the right proportion, in areas where they make sense. Make sure they are also used with the right amount of neutral or contrasting colours.”


Are you thinking of painting your school? Higgins Coatings has a wealth of experience when it comes to commercial painting of all types of buildings, including schools, so you can feel confident that your project expectations will be met. Our reliable teams are experienced in delivering high-quality work within tight deadlines and are available at any time, including weekends and school holiday periods.

In fact, we’ll even evaluate your paintwork free of charge! Our assessment will identify defects, review how to better protect your painted surfaces, and provide an itemised budget for a future maintenance plan. Get your free assessment today!


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Higgins Coatings provides Australia's schools with building maintenance plans, commercial painting, and refurbishment services in select areas. We understand that school facilities need to make a good impression on parents, students, and alumni at all times. Our preventative maintenance plans are designed to keep your school or educational facility looking its best while working within your timing, budget, and safety requirements. Higgins has an ISO tri-certification accreditation in safety, quality and the environment. Contact us today to learn more about our school painting maintenance solutions.