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Top Interior Design Trends for the 2022 Classroom 

Student engagement ranks at the top of the list as the most common pain point in education today. Motivating students and getting them interested in the subject at hand is a challenge that all teachers face. Being responsible for the education of today’s youth is no easy task, but there are ways to design learning spaces that promote a sense of wonder and curiosity. When students feel engaged in learning, they can thrive in college and succeed in their careers. A well-designed learning space increases the likelihood that a student will do well later in life.

 

Each year research places us closer to finding the optimal learning environment, so classroom design is constantly improving and becoming more student-focused with an emphasis on connection and collaboration. This blog covers the most significant and impactful 2022 classroom interior design trends.

Traditional Versus Balanced Classrooms 

Balanced classrooms have, by and large, replaced the traditional layout of row upon row of desks facing the front of the room. Research shows that a child’s environment plays a critical role in how well they perform cognitively, which is also supported by how teachers teach, which is ever-changing and evolving. So too must the designs of classrooms and other learning spaces.
The traditional layout is suitable for exams and physical distancing, but not much else. It was likely used during the pandemic, but as we return to normal, it’s essential to understand that no two children are the same, and what works for one student’s learning style might not work for the other. Enter the balanced classroom, where there is space for all activities and learning styles. Schools today are using interior design to collectively move towards a more collaborative and inventive classroom climate with a high focus on creativity. 

Student-centred classrooms are found throughout schools across the country, and both teachers and their students are reaping the benefits. So, what exactly is a student-centred classroom? It’s a learning environment where the focus of learning is shifted from the teacher to the student. A student-centred classroom aims to empower autonomous and independent learners, which is primarily achieved through collaboration and the room’s layout.  

All Spaces are Learning Spaces 

It’s an old-fashioned idea that learning only occurs in the classroom, time-outs happen in the hallway, and play occurs outside. Research and design have shown that today, all spaces found in a school are possible hubs for learning and as such, learning no longer takes place in only the classroom. Education is bound to happen if the space is open, comfortable, well lit, and visually stimulating. These days, you can find students learning in classrooms, makerspaces, hallways, learning commons, and even in the great outdoors!  

Overall, classroom sizes are getting smaller, but the number of students per class is increasing. For this reason, it’s good practice to make every space a learning space. If you can spread out the students, why wouldn’t you? When school design reflects that learning can occur anywhere, teachers and students benefit. Ideally, learning environments should mirror what students will encounter in the real world once they are done with school. The best learning happens when the environment supports collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving, all skills necessary to be a well-rounded adult: the less structure, the better. 

Technology and Agile Work Environments 

The internet has revolutionized every aspect of our lives, and 92% of teachers believe the internet positively impacts our ability to access content, resources, and materials. Technology has made its way into the classroom, and it’s here to stay. Smartphones, tablets, smartboards, and computers are commonplace, and designs now integrate these gadgets into learning spaces. For example, learning commons are great areas for tables to be set up with hookups for different types of technology. Many of our children’s future jobs are still waiting to be invented, so incorporating technology into learning is essential.

Incorporate Modular Furniture 

Studies show that students learn best when seating arrangement is factored in. Seating arrangements should never be static; every piece of furniture in a classroom should be a standalone piece. To add to that, it’s beneficial to have different types of furniture. Each child learns differently, so accommodating with varying styles of furniture is advantageous to the students.  

 

Giving students the option of where they want to sit and how they feel most comfortable is a win for everyone. The student will have better focus, which means they will retain more of what the teacher is instructing.

 

Good classroom design makes it possible to reconfigure your space depending on what you’re doing at any given time. An exam might require seating to be arranged in the traditional way of desks in rows facing the front of the room. However, if students are working on a group assignment, it’s best to arrange seating in a way where students are facing one another in a more collaborative setup. If a science class is being taught and students are doing their own experiments, perhaps a makerspace is the best use of space. The takeaway here is that classroom design should be adaptive as this design method promotes the best learning environments.

Bring the Outside, Inside 

Bring in the green. Humans have an innate, biological affinity for the natural world, so it makes sense that plants in the classroom instantly increase the teaching game. Connecting learners to nature was an idea that sprung up in the 1980s, but it’s only recently that the concept has truly taken off. Surprisingly, there is a term for this decorating method: biophilic design. Biophilic design aims to connect nature with humans, promoting a healthier and more vibrant environment.  
When plants are brought into learning spaces, environmental consciousness increases, and students feel a greater sense of responsibility because they must keep those plants alive. Studies also show that live greenery invigorates the mind, wards off stress, helps with memory and improves overall well-being. Those all seem like pretty huge benefits to us—plus, plants liven up any room! And for those who struggle to keep plants alive, research has found that artificial plants benefit well-being by improving mood, morale, productivity, and focus. 

Design for Safety 

COVID has forced us to physically distance ourselves, and classroom design has responded to that. For the time being, many classrooms have had to revert to the traditional layout so that students can physically distance themselves. This minimizes student-to-student contact, limiting the spread of COVID or any other illness. However, it will be a happy day when we live in a post-COVID world where the classroom can return to the new and improved balanced design where students work side-by-side with their classmates. 

Classrooms of Today

Science has proven that there are better ways to design classrooms: ways that promote engagement, creativity, and collaboration. If you want students to succeed when they leave the classroom and become contributing members of society, factoring in the design trends discussed in this blog is a great starting point.   

Whether it’s using modular furniture, biophilic design, re-arranging the layout of your classroom, or incorporating technology, these are all methods that have shown positive results regarding learning engagement and retention. It’s also important to remember that, like adults, children can learn anywhere. Don’t limit education to only the classroom. Sometimes the best learning happens in places you might not expect.  

To learn more on this topic, see the following reference materials we used in creating this article:  

The Science of Effective Learning Spaces: https://www.edutopia.org/article/science-of-effective-learning-spaces-melina-uncapher  

Plant Power | 5 Benefits of Plants in the Classroom: https://www.teachstarter.com/gb/blog/5-benefits-of-plants-in-the-classroom-2/  

Influence of Limitedly Visible Leafy Indoor Plants on the Psychology, Behavior, and Health of Students at a Junior High School in Taiwan: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0013916508314476  

Technology in Education: How Technology has Benefited Education: https://adamfard.com/blog/benefits-of-technology-in-education  

How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2013/02/28/how-teachers-are-using-technology-at-home-and-in-their-classrooms/  

 

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