May 6, 2021

Designing for Student Comfort in Higher Education

Designing for Student Comfort in Higher Education

Posted by CMBA Architects on Mar 10, 2021 8:00:00 AM


It doesn't matter how great your educational material is – odds are, there's at least one student struggling to stay focused. While reasons vary, a common and highly fixable reason is that they simply aren't comfortable! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to conclude that students learn best when they're comfortable in their environment, so how can you increase the comfort in your facility?

Start with Seating

Makes sense, right? If you want to make sure that students have everything they need to be comfortable when seated, then you should provide comfortable seats, tables, desks and chairs. That means make choices based on ergonomics. It's also an intelligent idea to furnish your learning spaces with work surfaces that are height-adjustable! This allows students to switch things up by raising or lowering the height of their desks to the perfect level for them.

Get Your Lighting Right

Lighting has a dramatic impact on a student's comfort, and ultimately, their ability to retain their focus. For this reason, campus facilities should seek to optimize their use of natural lighting wherever possible – avoiding alternatives such as fluorescent lights. Where natural light isn't an option, choose warmer, recessed lighting sources.

Replacing light fixtures isn't an option right now? Light filters offer an affordable option for softening classroom lighting!


If your facility features active learning environments, then you know they can get pretty noisy. Students are moving around, sharing ideas, and talking with their peers. The noise this generates is somewhat of a necessary evil, making it hard for some students to focus. This is especially the case with students suffering from sensory processing issues. This is why acoustics are so vital! Walls and panels with sound absorption technology are a highly effective way of improving your acoustics and decreasing the stress and distraction caused by noisy environments.

You may also want to consider including sectioned off spaces where students can go to decompress. This allows students the space to relax for a minute without being excluded from the classroom.

Thoughtful Design

From the beginning of the design process, consider how you'll create spaces that are both comfortable and favorable for all students. This sort of thoughtfulness in your designs will have a powerful effect on students for many years down the road. Considering the factors outlined here can have a big impact on students’ ability to focus and succeed!

Topics: Higher-Ed-General