5 Factors To Consider When Creating School Cafeteria Environments

5 Factors To Consider When Creating School Cafeteria Environments

When you think of a school going through a major renovation or new construction, most people will only think about the major factor - what the classrooms will look and feel like. While that is a very important aspect, it is also important to consider other aspects that will help the school be successful for the next 30-40 years.

One of the most overwhelming parts of a major school project is creating the cafeteria space. How do I know what is the right tables for my school? How do I gauge the maximum number of students I will need to support at one time? What else will the cafeteria space be used for (i.e. study hall, work studies, etc.)? The answers to these questions can dramatically affect the type of tables you can choose from when working on your upcoming project. With that said, here are the top 5 factors school leaders consider when deciding which type of cafeteria furniture they will implement into their school.


Cafeteria spaces can sometimes be one of the most spacious environments in the entire school. That is why it is very important to include mobile tables and chairs in the space so that the cafeteria can be dynamic. Do you need your cafeteria to turn into a dance floor for your annual homecoming festivities? Make sure your furniture can be folded up and stored away so that it doesn't take up too much space. Do you need your cafeteria to be turned into an extra learning space at the end of the day? Make sure the products are mobile so that you don't spend half your time trying to move all of the furniture around into a collaborative environment. As you may know, food service spaces are starting to become extensions of the classroom because they present an opportunity for social interaction that promotes collaborative learning while grabbing a bite to eat!

Classroom Extension

According to the Center for Ecoliteracy, a single student eats over 4,000 school lunches from kindergarten to end of high school! Since this space is used so much for the typical student, many educators are trying to ensure that lunchrooms are comfortable and enjoyable. After all, this space should allow for refueling, socializing, and relaxation.

With that said, many cafeteria solutions are moving away from the classic bench style (that allows for the most seating) to more single style seating options that help avoid issues like space invasion. With making a comfortable environment, many schools are seeing students escape to their lunchroom after school as a place to study or work on assignments. Thinking of ways to make your cafeteria space become an extension of a classroom should be a top priority.

Furniture Materials

Other than student effectiveness, the first thing that educators think about when buying school furniture is durability. We know that the last thing you will want to do after completing a large project is turning around and doing it again a few years later - even if you have the resources to do so! Having said that, school cafeteria spaces will in most cases receive the most "use and abuse" over their lifetimes, so it is vital that durable solutions are chosen. It is also important to consider choosing easy-to-clean surfaces so that minimal time and effort is spent cleaning after a school day. Laminate, steel, and vinyl materials are typically used in the creation of cafeteria solutions, but doing some extra research on proven products is essential in choosing the right solutions for you and your school.

Color Schemes

No matter how you choose what colors you would like to use throughout your school, it is important to let the colors define the space's identity! Colors in the school environment should help maximize information retention, stimulate participation, and boost active learning. But knowing what colors are best to achieve these results can be somewhat difficult to define. That is why we want to share some information from our partner MooreCo on what colors are best to achieve certain results.

1. Red: The Energizer
Red stimulates the adrenal glands and can generate feelings of energy and encourage creativity. In your classroom, try using touches of red in conjunction with repetitive or detailed oriented tasks in order to give students an energy boost.
2. Yellow: The Attention Grabber
Yellow generates positive energy, encourages creativity and is the perfect tool in capturing the attention of a classroom. If you want to help promote alertness in your space, try displaying important study materials on yellow glass boards and add splashes of the color throughout your room.
3. Orange: The Mood Lifter
The color orange encourages memory and critical thinking. Studies have shown that it also has an especially high effect on circulation and the nervous system and increases the oxygen supply to the brain. Orange also has been know to increase appetite when used throughout spaces!
4. Green: The Calming Concentration Catcher
Green promotes calmness and a sense of relaxation and is great for encouraging long-term concentration. Dedicate areas to use this color to spread a calming atmosphere throughout your class.
5. Blue: The Productivity Driver
Blue has been proven to have a calming effect on the heart rate and respiratory system of students. It encourages a sense of well-being, making it ideal for learning situations that are challenging and cognitively taxing.
Based on this knowledge, you can easily argue that all of these could be ulilized in a school cafeteria setting. But, many have utilized the color Orange because of its ability to increase appetite while providing a mid-day mood swing when students need it most. Want to learn more about how color can affect our feelings, memory, motivation, and attention? Read MooreCo's article 5 Colors in the Classroom That Will Boost Active Learning.

Need Help Designing Your School Cafeteria?

Your students deserve school environments that understand them, challenges them, and supports their unique learning styles. Our team at Kay-Twelve has roots in education - we're former teachers, administrators, and parents who understand the challenges you face in making your school the best it can be. With that said, we want to help you come up with the perfect solution for your school - whether that be your entire school or just the cafeteria itself. Schedule a free collaboration session with us today so that you can give your students the tools they need for success.

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