Choosing paint for school buildings

25th January 2022

Schools, nurseries, colleges and universities have unique requirements when it comes to painting and decoration.

The overall environment has to be attractive and conducive to learning, but also durable enough to withstand a constant flow of heavy traffic.

Colour in schools can have an enormous impact on students’ emotions and focus – and it’s certainly possible to improve educational experiences with the right aesthetic choices.

Finding the right colour balance

Today, many institutions focus on colour and design to help define a space’s identity and purpose.

When making interior design choices in a learning setting, the goal should always be to seek a balance between over-stimulation and drabness.

Research has shown that primary and bold colours promote playfulness and positivity, making them ideal for pre-school and primary school environments.

On the other hand, subtle, cool and warm colours are better for high schools and further and higher education, as these colours promote concentration and can actually relieve feelings of anxiety.

What impact can different colours have on a school environment?

According to research, here’s how common colours are perceived to impact spaces and the people who use them:


Conveys simplicity, clarity and hygiene.


Stimulating; provokes conversation and action; improves performance and concentration.


Promotes awareness and helps to release serotonin that’s important for a happy mood.


Uplifting; stimulates critical thinking and increases appetite.


Enhances creativity and alertness; promotes tranquility; improves memory and mood; lessens fatigue and depression.


Has a calming effect; stress-reliever; promotes concentration.


Soothing; reduces heart rate; can have an energising effect with saturated shades or a comforting effect with paler shades.


Suggests sophistication, security and efficiency.

Durability and health impact

Oil-based paint is thicker and more durable than latex paint, making it a good option for high-traffic areas in schools, nurseries, colleges and universities as skirting boards, trim, doors and windowsills.

However, oil paint is not a realistic choice for large areas as it can impact and trigger asthma and other breathing conditions.

Oil-based paints contain more volatile organic compounds that are released into the air, and they also take longer to dry. This increases the time during which the health of students and teachers might be affected if you’re painting while the building is in use, and also means that areas will be out of bounds for longer.

Colour coding

Whichever colours you choose in a learning environment, make sure they’re chosen with care and purpose.

Thoughtfully-coordinated colour schemes provide a simple way to create a unified identity, improve functionality and develop a sense of place within a school.

And to encourage easy navigation, it’s possible to colour code certain locations and help people get to where they need to be. 

Well-placed colour accents in areas such as floor tiles, wall alcoves and ceiling soffits can help students (and staff!) distinguish different areas of the building which may otherwise look alike.

Choose a professional, experienced team

Whether you’re planning to repaint during a holiday period or need significant maintenance work in a busy building with minimal disruption to students, you need to work with contractors who can work around your schedule.

A good firm of reliable, professional painters will cordon off the work area and leave everything on site, with clean work practices that give clients peace of mind.

GME – driving school transformation

We help transform classrooms into environments that are not just visually appealing but also support teaching and learning.

To find out more about our painting and decorating services for the education sector, call us on 01924 723723, write a message in the box below or email and we’ll be happy to help.

Follow Us


Send us a message.

There was a problem sending


GME Painting Contractors
Our details
GME House
High Street
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom